Sunday, 31 December 2017

Top 5 new discoveries of 2017

I've already listed my top 10 releases for the year here but now it's time to mention those Artists who either didn't release anything in 2017 or their releases didn't quite make my top 10 list but who still impressed me.
Without further ado and in no particular order here are my Top 5 new discoveries for 2017.

Ibrahim Maalouf if a trumpeter born in Beirut, Lebanon and living in France. He has been recording for other artists since the early naughties but released his 1st solo album in the mid naughties. His name is very well known in France and somewhat well known outside of France. Playing primarily Jazz and Funk his music will transport you or make you want to get up and shake your money maker.
This collaboration with Rapper Oxmo Puccino is the song that introduced me to his music. Thanks to my good friend Alex P. for putting it on in class earlier in the year. 

Electro Deluxe are another French band who were once again introduced to me by friend Alex P. (thanks for sending the link through buddy) Funk, Soul, Big Band, Nu Jazz call their music what you want but personally I call it happy music made for dancing, I'm sure you'll agree. Here's the song that introduced me to them:

Kelly Auty  is a name many Australian music fans will already be familiar with and while I had heard her name been mentioned by many people in the past it wasn't until a few months ago when I got my hands on her latest release simply titled Live 2016 that I heard her sing and what a voice she has been gifted with! Not only can she sing but her delivery has a swagger to it that is infectious. I have yet to see her perform live but I am hoping to remedy that in the not too distant future. Here is the lead song from her Live 2016 album which introduced me to her. 

With a name like Afrodyssey Orchestra it's not difficult to guess the style of music these guys play. This being said, while the Afrobeat elements are most certainly there this music is not straight out Afrobeat and incorporates various elements from the Jazz and World genres also which is perhaps what makes me like it so much. Hailing from Athens, Greece these guys are further evidence of the thriving music scene in Greece that is only getting better. Here is an interpretation of a well known traditional folk tune from Greece which is how I came to know of this band.

Los Petit Fellas hail from Bogotá, Colombia and are very similar in style to Electro Deluxe who I mentioned earlier. The Rap elements of the music for my personal tastes can sometimes be a bit much (just like with Electro Deluxe) but the instrumentation is drawing on classic funk which is right up my alley. Once again this is happy music made for dancing and I need to thank another friend of mine Mariana for putting me onto these guys. Here is the song that lead me to discovering this band:

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Top 10 full length releases of 2017

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado
Change My Game

Released in early 2017 Thorbjorn Risager & Co. are one of the best Blues/Rock bands going around at the moment & are finally starting to get the recognition they're due. This album is the perfect mix of Guitar driven Blues Rock, Soul and Country. If you do not know this band track them down and everything they have released to date you will not be disappointed. They even won a Best Band award in this year's European Blues Awards

Tuber - Out Of The Blue
The band that introduced me to the "Stoner" genre Tuber released their 3rd full length album this year Out Of The Blue and it's everything I could have hoped it would be and more. For this album they have added some electronic elements and also stepped up their songwriting. It's a step up and beyond from where they were at with their last release Desert Overcrowded. Quite possibly my favourite instrumental band ever.

Petros Klampanis - Chroma
Petros Klampanis has come a long way since his 1st solo outing in 2011 Contextual. Chroma (meaning colour in Greek) further expands on the cinematic style of composition that Petros has been developing. The music on this release could be the Soundtrack to a movie that includes chases, nature and romance elements. The players that Petros has surrounded himself with on this release also deserve high praise as they are fantastic composers in their own right.
If this is what we can expect from Petros in the future then I am very much looking forward to what he comes up with next.

The Ivory Elephant - Number 1 Pop Hit

The Ivory Elephant are the "other" band of band leader Trent Sterling who is also the brainchild and driving force behind one of Melbourne's favourite afrobeat bands the The Seven Ups.
A 3 piece Psych/Blues/Rock outfit that should be getting a lot more attention than what they currently are in my oh so humble opinion. This is their 1st full length release and is being distributed worldwide by the Kozmik Artifactz label who have also released albums by another Melbourne Psych Blues outfit Child if you are a fan of heavy blues psychedelia and are not familiar with this band then you should remedy this immediately.

OOLLUU - Deep Six
OOLLOU's music is very hard to pigeonhole/label. It has elements of Rock, Electronic, Prog and Retro Dance. Whatever label you choose to hang onto their music the one that is certain is that it will make you sit up and take notice as soon as you hear it.
Do not miss the chance to catch these guys live, their performances are a sight to behold

Electric Moon - Stardust Rituals

More overly long, self indulgent, psychedelic choonage here by a band who does it extremely well. Electric Moon are a band I only discovered this year thanks to fellow PBS-ian Chris Pearson who hosts Pojama People and who has been pushing their music onto an unsuspecting radio audience since he 1st started.
I may be slightly late to catch on but I have now caught on and am loving this band. The music presented on their latest release Startdust Rituals (and in fact on every other release of theirs) is about as far removed from your usual FM radio friendly pop music as you can possibly get and is probably best listened to in an altered state of mind

Banda Magda - Tigre
I absolutely love everything about this album. Clocking in at only around 35 minutes Banda Magda have released an album full of lush orchestration with Latin rhythms and Classic 60's era movie soundtrack like qualities.
None of the songs are sung in English but far from making the listening experience difficult I would say this just endears the music to the listener even further. Tigre is quite possibly the best world music release of 2017. 


My Dynamite - Otherside
Melbourne's very own version of The Black Crowes My Dynamite released their 2nd full length release this year roughly 5 years after they released their debut and it is everything you can expect. Catchy melodies, strutting choruses and more.
Immediately after the release of the album and the big launch show at Melbourne's Rock N Roll institution The Cherry Bar the band went on hiatus! Here's hoping the hiatus does not last too much longer and that they start playing shows again in the not too distant future.

The Teskey Brothers - Half Mile Harvest
The Teskey Brothers debut release Half Mile Harvest has been earning the band kudos from all over the country and with good reason. This album is a perfectly crafted Soul, Country, Blues record that is an absolute delight to listen to. They have been playing sold out shows all over the country in venues that international artists who visit our shores have struggled to half fill and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down.
Now that they have conquered Australia it's time for them to take on the rest of the world. UP THE TESKEY'S!

Samantha Fish - Belle Of The West & Chills and Fever

OK so I'm cheating somewhat with this one. Samantha Fish released 2 albums this year and each one is brilliant and unique. While Chills & Fever is essentially a feel good soul record Belle Of The West sees Samantha collaborating with Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars fame and has a definite hill country blues feel to it and she sounds right at home in both styles. See what all the buzz is about and track down either one or both of these releases and you will see that the praise that everyone has been heaping on Samantha is extremely well deserved. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

OOLLUU live @ Bar Open 4th Nov 2017

I’ve seen many a live show since my last live review many moons ago and while there have been some great shows none have inspired me to put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking) so I can tell the everyone willing to listen about what I witnessed.
There were 4 acts in total on the bill this night but I was there to see one & one only and that was OOLLUU. I had seen these guys once before opening for another great act Glasfrosch and was thoroughly impressed but that was a mighty long tome ago. Were they really as good as I remember…? Would they live up to my expectations…? Well to say that my memory served me correct and that they lived up to my expectations would be an understatement. They were ginormagantuanly, fantasmagorically amaze balls!
OOLLUU play a style of music that I really don’t know how to describe. It’s electronic, but it’s heavy. It’s rock music, but there’s no guitar. It’s intense, but it’s poppy and danceable. There’s many contradictory elements in their music and things that probably shouldn’t fit together that somehow seem to blend wonderfully well and create a soundscape that will leave you on a euphoric high once it’s over.
Playing to a crowd of roughly 50 people on a “stage” that barely fit the band on it the performance these guys put on was a thing to behold. Stage right was Bassist Davarj who in his mind I’m sure was playing to a sold out crowd at Wembley Stadium or Madison Square Garden. Stage left you have Ehsan on Synths (“fluent in 3 languages… Linux, IOS and Windows”) who while is somewhat restricted in movement was no less a giving it his all. The interaction between these 2 “frontmen” of the band was fantastic and a joy to watch. The smiles on their faces as they were playing evidence of just how much they were enjoying themselves. Lastly, hidden from view slightly was Drummer Ben Crook who was driving the band like his life depended on it.
Sure there were a couple of little mistakes, but the crowd most certainly didn’t mind (or probably even notice) and I’m sure these guys gained a few more fans on the night. 

There were 2 more bands on after OOLLUU and while I’m sure they put on admirable performances I didn’t stick around.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Album Review: Banda Magda - Tigre

Banda Magda are a band whose sound is very hard to pigeonhole. The band is made up of musicians from the world over and their music ranges from sounding a little bit Jazz, a little bit Psych, a little bit Chanson Pop, a little bit Latin and many other things besides. However, perhaps the best word to describe their music is simply this: Brilliant!
They have just released their 3rd album called Tigre which has been 3 years in the making, which is an eclectic release full of worldly sounds and rhythms which is pure ear candy and an absolute delight to listen to.
The lyrics are mostly in French & Greek (none are in English but don’t let that deter you) the songs are catchy, the orchestration throughout the album is sublime and the production is fantastic also. At times the sound is like something from a 60’s romance movie soundtrack, while at other times you'll want to get up and dance to the Tango & Bossa-Nova rhythms while the final song on the album Diamandi (meaning Diamond in Greek) even has a slight Massive Attack type of feel to it. This band seems to be going from strength to strength with each release. If you want to hear something slightly different to what you hear on mainstream radio and perhaps challenge your ears somewhat, then this album comes highly recommended. Without a doubt one of the best releases of 2017 so far.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Single Review: Altin Gün - Goca Dünya/Kırşehir'in Gülleri

Oh hells yes, these 2 songs are the definition of psychedelic pop bliss!
Sung in Turkish I couldn’t tell you what the lyrics are saying but it really doesn’t matter.
The A Side of this Single Goca Dünya starts off with a very Pink Floyd sounding bassline before bringing in the sounds of shakers shortly after. The staccato guitar riff with the drums (and added handclaps) kick in next and we’re off on one hell of a rollicking ride.
This is a song designed to get you out of your seat and dancing and it achieves it’s intended outcome perfectly. This is the 1st single by this band hailing from Amsterdam, Netherlands and if this is any indication of what the output from this band is going to be like in future you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be amongst the 1st people to be reaching for my wallet.
The B-Side to this tune is the equally brilliant Kırşehir'in Gülleri which has kicks things off with a great saz riff before pausing to allow for some dreamy psych vocal riffage. The song the snakes it’s way slowly back into the main surf psych saz riff again and so it goes for the rest of the song. While some of these sounds may be somewhat new or unfamiliar to some people these 2 songs are far from a difficult listen, quite the opposite in fact this is easily accessible ear candy for anybody who willing to listen.
The 500 Vinyl copies which were available on have already sold out and these guys seem to be getting some well deserved attention on Amsterdam radio. Now if only I could find a reasonable priced copy of the 7 inch vinyl single!

Bandcamp link avaiable here

Big thanks to fellow PBS-ian Heather for introducing me to them via her (somewhat regular) show The Psych Ward and expect to hear another fellow PBS-ian Adriana either play it on her show or when she is DJ-ing around town in the not too distant future

Monday, 5 June 2017

Album Review: El Colosso - Pathways

I’ve re-connected with the Heavy Rock scene in recent times after being absent for a little bit and am loving what I’m hearing. The latest band to catch my attention are El Colosso. Having caught them playing around Melbourne town a few times recently I was eager to get my hands on a copy of the bands debut full length release Pathways and they have not disappointed. The riffs are heavy with crunchy distortion, the guitar solos are jaw droppingly flashy while still keeping to the adage of “The Song Is King” and the Bass is front and centre in the mix and once again as heavy as fuck. As soon as you press the play button on your CD player or drop the needle on your Vinyl copy you will be blown across the room and through the wall behind you.
While each and every song on this album is killer, at times I think some of the lighter songs on the album such as Pathways and King Ink don’t quite fit in with the rest of the tunes. The songs most certainly don’t suck, in fact if you heard them come on the radio they would most certainly make your ears stand to attention, but the flow of the album perhaps would have been better served by keeping the balls to the wall sound throughout.
The highlights of this release I would most definitely have to say is the relentless pace of the song Leatherhead and the nearly 10 minute epic closer Moving Mountains with it’s slow groove, added Hammond organ and the brilliant dual lead guitar work of Benny James and guest Dave Ferguson of Fuck the Fitzroy Doom Scene.
This album has all the ingredients you can expect from the Stoner Rock genre and while most of the influences the band lists I am not familiar with, I suspect that they listened to the album Carnival Of Souls by Kiss at least a couple of times during the recording of this album. While Pathways doesn't necessarily contain any surprises that’s not to say that this is a bad thing. This band has delivered an awesome heavy rock album of a caliber many others could only hope to achieve. Don’t miss seeing them play live and while you're in the process of grabbing a copy of their album grab yourself a copy of the Cannonball EP also.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Album Review: Samantha Fish - Chills and Fever

Ruf records are one of my favourite labels at the moment releasing quality blues of all flavours from soulful blues to blues rock to acoustic blues and are one of the champions of women in the blues.
Samantha Fish is one of the many female blues artists that got her break on Ruf and she has just released her 5th Album on the label which sees her breaking from her well established Blues Rock sound. This album has one foot firmly planted in the 60’s Soul/Motown era while the other is at different times planted in Rock, Garage and Country. Chills and Fever sees the addition of a horn section and the usual blistering Guitar work which Samantha is usually known for is replaced by playing of a much more subdued nature which is more suited to the Soul sounds being delivered on this album. The sound channels the retro/modern feel previously championed by the likes of Duffy, Amy Winehouse and to a lesser extent Vintage Trouble and while it can be a fine balancing act trying to tap into the retro feel without sounding kitsch Samantha Fish most definitely manages to pull it off in fine style. The lyrical content of the 14 songs over 54 minutes doesn't stray from the well worn path of relationships which can be wear slightly thin over this length but despite this minor bump in the road start to finish this album is simply a delight to listen to.
And while some small amount of people may initially scratch their heads at this new direction it is unlikely Samantha will be losing any fans and if anything will see her gaining more than a few new ones.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Album Review: My Dynamite - Otherside

Australia’s very own version The Black Crowes are back and they mean business. With 9 tracks of country blues rock Otherside is an album that has been in the pipeline for a while now and boy oh boy am I glad it has finally been released. If you own any album by The Black Crowes then this album has to be added to your collection.
My Dynamite wear their Black Crowes influences clearly on their sleeves for all to see and make to apologies about it. While it may be easy to dismiss this band as simply being clones, I dare anyone to put this album on and not sing along to the infectious choruses of songs like the lead single Witch Hat, State We’re In etc. Even though the Black Crowes influences are clearly there for all to see, this is an album that will also sit comfortably next to releases by The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and their ilk. If you already own music by the aforementioned bands then grab yourself a copy of this album and if you don’t and don’t intend on adding anything by these bands to your collection in the foreseeable future then quite obviously this album is not for you.
My Dynamite have found their winning formula and are sticking to it. You will find all the usual ingredients that a band playing this style of music throws into the mix. Slide Guitar, Lap Steel, Harmonica, warbling Organ lines filling in the gaps in the background and Gospel style backing Vocals provided by the awesomely talented Eliza and Talei Worgramm (check out the Wolfgram Sisters Album you won’t regret it!). 
Otherside is 45 minutes of pure unadulterated safe southern blues rock bliss that colours well within the lines and there nothing wrong with that. My Dynamite know their audience and deliver for them exactly what they want to hear. Now if only mainstream radio would pick up on this album and start playing it you’d no doubt see this band scoring opening slots for stadium acts and headlining much bigger shows on their own.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado - Change My Game

Giggidy! It's HERE! To say I have been anticipating this release with baited breath would be a major understatement and it is everything I hoped it would be.
Picking up where they left off with their previous studio release Too Many Roads Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado is a band that only recently has been getting the worldwide attention they deserve for the music they have been playing for the last 10+ years throughout stages in Europe. With a sound that is equal parts Blues, Soul & New Orleans Jazz what is there not to love? Hailing from Denmark it's a wonder how this band has gone unnoticed outside of Europe for so long given the quality of their releases.
Given that this band are known for their high energy driving blues sound it's interesting that the opening track "I Used To Love You" of the newly released Change My Game album is a ballad. A great brooding song with low key trumpets, keys and a muted guitar riff that will have you swaying to it's rhythm it still feels somewhat out of place as an opening track.
Track 2 "Dreamland" is where things kick into high gear with the signature Black Tornado sound. While Thorbjorn and co. are mostly sticking to their well known winning formula there are still some other influences/sounds creeping in on this album. The title track "Change My Game" has definite funk elements coming through on it with the use of Wah laden guitar and an almost 70's disco sounding Drum beat and keyboard sound, while "Hard Time" has a distinct Country twang to its chorus.
"Hold My Lover" is almost like Deep Purple with horns while songs like "Train" "Hollar N Moan" and the closer "City Of Love" stick to the more straightforward driving blues sound that we have come to know and love from this band.
Overall Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado have delivered an outstanding release that lives up to the high standard this band has become known for and which will most definitely leave you wanting more. This is an album that will surely be on heavy rotation for the next couple of months at least and while we are only one month into the year I don't think it's a stretch to say that this release is going to be one of the highlights of 2017.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Top 5 new discoveries of 2016

I listed my top 10 new releases of 2016 but of course there was older releases which I only discovered in 2016 which made me sit up and take notice or non full length album releases which made me do the same. Here's some of them:

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado - Too Many Roads

Another brilliant release from Ruf Records this label can do no wrong in my eyes (or should that be ears?) Horns, Hammond, Blues shuffles and gravelly lead vocals with with Soul style backing vocals. Bring on the 20th of Jan & the release of the new Album 

Legs Electric - Maximum Rock N Roll

This band rocks! that's all that need be said get their EP & play it loud. Full review here

I walked into the Spotted Mallard to catch a T Rex tribute show thinking to myself "this should be cool". While there were a small handful of T Rex tunes played by the band on stage the majority of the tunes were originals. After the band had finished up I practically ran up to the stage at the end of the set to buy the bands album. These were the guys. Blown away I was!

I was aware of these guys already but had never sat down to listen to what they had released until earlier this year. With Ella Thompson on Vocals and Graeme Pogson of The Bamboos on Drums, Programming etc their sound hearkens back to the synthpop acts that were all over the radio in the 80's. These guys are just brilliant, I know finally know what everyone else was raving on about. Now I just have to get my hands on a copy of their full length release Touch.

Longtime organiser of the Cotton Club blues nights at the Spotted Mallard I had seen him play there previously and thought he was great I was reminded again of this when I caught him playing for the last Cotton Club session of 2016 and had to buy his albums.
This one in particular recorded with Chris Wilson live on the Queenscliff Blues Train is especially brilliant