You Wait Ages for One Cosmic Bus…

Modiwo are a Romanian band, though are more like a solo project with lots of musical helpers. Their figurehead, singer Oxana Gherghel, is eminently likeable, just like the band’s music – it’s traditional europop on one very basic level but clings to your brain far more than flotsam you might watch on Eurovision. Perhaps it’s the combined musical prowess; perhaps the slightly ethereal vocals with their subtly exotic twang; perhaps it’s the super-trippy video which accompanies it, leagues ahead of anything else we’ve seen recently. Maybe it’s the exotic folklore which continues to flow from their Transylvania base. So, what to gently sip whilst drifting off to their honeyed pop?

We’ve opted for a couple of shot of palincă, a spirit brewed in the Carpathian basin, in the shadow of Dracula’s castle. Made from plums, apricots, apples, pears, or cherries, it originated in Hungary, though it has a very similar variant in Romania.

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Grappa Music – The Wondrous World of Johann Sebastian Punk

We’re delighted to add grappa to our list of beverages to enjoy music to, not least because it gives us the opportunity to push Johann Sebastian Punk into the spotlight.

Since 2013, Johann has been aggravating the Italian music scene cognoscenti (and anyone else in his way) as he embarked on a determined campaign to bring his remarkable personae and music to an audience being spoon-fed plastic sound. It wasn’t an immediate success. In fact, it wasn’t much of a success even after the immediate lack of action had passed. Although supported by a loyal band of fans in his home country, there was no way the Italian media were going to stand for his unconventional look and sound, both of which apparently change with the weather – often during the same day.

So, he was launched his latest album, Phoney Music Entertainment, to a much larger audience, specifically targeting the UK, a place renowned for taking rebels, waifs and strays under its wing and nurturing their wayward talent. We’re not sure if Johann needs nurturing, his album sounding so robustly confident, that if anything it’s us that need gentle encouragement. Although portraying himself as something of a court jester, Johann is actually on a serious mission to get audiences to demand more of their “pop stars”, both in terms of material and as artists. We readily accept appalling music as either a joke or a trivial annoyance, but in truth, it’s grating and mood-adjusting for us and depriving musicians of genuine talent and worth the airtime and platform they desperately crave.

Phoney Music Entertainment sees Johann honing his technique (this is his second release) yet drifting from the shoulder-shrugging classic pop of “Tragedy” to the quasi-disco squelch of “The Quintessential” – none of it should really work together but it does – primarily because we’re programmed to accept rock/ballad/rock as a template that has to be stuck to. It’s a quite marvellous record, full of joy but at the same time making us feel somewhat gloomy that this is but a sparkling raindrop in a somewhat sorry puddle. But the album and do your bit.

https://www.facebook.com/johannsebastianpunk/

https://soundcloud.com/johann-sebastian-punk/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/56zl6Mvbe1S3nPWI8MGFin

Furnace and the Fundamentals – Live in Cambridge Review Augst 23rd 2017

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With a name like Furnace and the Fundamentals, it should be a cast-iron, nailed on the wall, skewered into the core of the Earth given that said band is as blood-boilingly elemental as they suggest. If only we had a pound for every time we were led along this merry path, only to be disappointed. Prepare yourselves – it actually happened. On an unassuming evening in Cambridge’s famed Portland Arms, the go-to venue for anyone who’s actually ANY GOOD, there was the quasi-religious spectacle of a band living up to their name. Bless everyone involved.

Party band? Weddings and bar mitzvahs? Soggy sausage rolls? None of it. Furnace and the Fundamentals is an almost perversely talented, energetic, musically-muscular volcano of a band which just happens to play cover versions. Forget your covers of Bon Jovi’s Total Eclipse of the Heart; forget even Bon Jovi’s own version of Total Eclipse of the Heart, and revel in the glory of 6 Australian-based go-getters in glittery red suits shaking you silly.

If you’re after a toilet break during the slow number, you’re in for a troublesome time (or at least the person stood next to you is). Furious from the off, Furnace and his cohorts don’t give you a second to collect your thoughts, powering through song after song without so much as a care for the audience’s collective cardio-vascular system. Half way through you realize you’re jigging along to songs you always thought you hated.

 

Never having thought myself how easy it would be to segue from KISS’s I Was Made For Lovin’ You to a wallpaper-peeling medley of Adele hits, Furnace make us all the eager students to their tartrazine-fuelled headmaster. Blurred Lines becomes Billie Jean; Ginuwine’s Pony becomes Bohemian Rhapsody. It seems obvious when Furnace and the Fundamentals rearrange what you ever thought of some of the most recognisable sounds from across the decades. We’d show you the setlist but with nods sometimes as brief as a couple of lines, we’d be here all day writing it down and our fingers simply wouldn’t stand it.

A packed crowd, who were clearly already savvy to the allure of the band, were joined by the performers on the floor as they did the conga through the crowd and keyboard master, Lachlan Nicholson, knocked out a killer keytar solo. Whilst drummer, Mike Solo, was confined to the corner of the stage, he still managed to add his two cents to the performance antics with stick spins, cross-handed drumming and some ingenious trills and transitions that hold the mash-ups together like superglue.

In some ways, it seemed like The Portland didn’t do justice to the quality musicianship and performance on show, with it struggling to keep a lid on the seemingly unlimited supplies of energy from every member of the band. These guys deserve to be playing bigger venues, packing out tour dates, day in, day out – because if everyone knew that cover bands could be like this, there wouldn’t be the stigma that is usually associated with them. Nonetheless, the lucky Cambridge crowd was treated to an intimate, no-holds-barred performance that proved that Furnace and the Fundamentals are the ultimate party starters – full stop.

It was all pretty revelatory stuff – the band come with a reputation for full-throttle, Olympic-standard party shows, complete with glitter cannons and can-can girls (possibly) but it still comes as quite a shock in the flesh. I really can’t recommend highly enough, one of the most (ahem) incendiary gigs in Cambridge this year. Toto? Check. The Darkness? Check. Beyonce? Check. Paul Simon? Check. How long have you got?

 

‘Land of Hope’: a new protest song from Beldon Haigh

Scottish singer songwriter has already written himself into the history books, being one of the only modern day curators of protest songs, but now he is back with ‘Land of Hope’- a song inspired by the refugee crisis which has seen so much exposure in the media of late.

Beldon started off his career back in the 80s playing in a number of bands such as Mikifin and Boxing Clever, but after taking a long break from music, he returned to his passion with a vengeance – penning a protest song about Donald Trump after a dream gave him the inspiration.

However, ‘Land of Hope’ depicts all the feeling and sentiment that you would expect from a song that was written after Beldon saw the famous photo of Alan Kurdi, a 3 year old Syrian boy, who drowned and was washed up on the beach after his family tried to cross into Europe.

Despite the severe nature of what Beldon is addressing in his music, ‘Land of Hope’ is actually a very upbeat song, and whilst some may find this odd, or even disrespectful – those people would be missing the most important word here: ‘hope’. This is a jovial, upbeat song because it needs to be; after all, it’s aim is to get people really thinking and acting on the atrocities they see on the news.

What drink to accompany ‘Land of Hope’?

It doesn’t seem right that we pair an intoxicating beverage with a song of such seriousness and relevance but if anything, perhaps a strong coffee might propel you from your sofa into becoming an activist against the refugee crisis. It might happen. You never know.

 

Links:

https://twitter.com/beldonhaigh

https://www.facebook.com/Beldon-Haigh-Freedom-An-Anti-Trump-Protest-Song-1270990246327550/?fref=ts

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/freedom/id1195525999?i=1195526008

 

 

‘Three Faces of You’ by Corinna Jane

The highly talented Corinna Jane is restoring the lost ethics of quality pop music with her clever songwriting and catchy tunes, most evidently exhibited in her song ‘Three Faces of You’.

Having grown up in 90s MTV era, Corinna has always been surrounded by music and at the age of just five, she was already taking piano and singing lessons. Her discovered talents quickly bloomed and she began writing her own music during her teenage years.

‘Three Faces of You’ is an instantly catchy tune driven by an unusual, yet quirky violin melody and Corinna’s versatile vocals. It then takes a rocking turn as the electric guitar kicks in powering the memorable chorus lines.

Corinna’s song follows the fascinating story of her relationship with someone who lived in their own fantasy world with various personalities residing in them. The feisty feel to the song is mirrored in Corinna and her band’s performance in the video, which has a strong resemblance of the powerhouses of Fleetwood Mac and No Doubt.

What Drink?

There’s a cheekiness and edge to Corinna’s music that calls for a glass of red wine, make it a big one.

 

Links:

www.soundcloud.com/corinnajane

https://www.facebook.com/corinnajanemusic/

https://twitter.com/Corinna_Jane

https://www.youtube.com/user/Corinnajane

Nancy Black returns with sassy EP ‘Dirty Little Bass’

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In a music business saturated with pop starlets, Nancy Black is an independent singer-songwriter with formidable sass and style that has mesmerised audiences nationally. Having collaborated with hip hop artists Lonzo Starr and Young Rob, gained support from Major Lazor and reached number 8 on the Music Week Commercial Chart, Black has developed her own unique style for her upcoming EP ‘Dirty Little Bass’.

Watch the music video to ‘Dirty Little Bass’ here:

https://vimeo.com/187274476

The English rose meets pop princess started writing music at the age of 13 and soon formed the all-girl rock band Pink Lemons, before gaining the confidence to head out as a solo artist. From going solo Black developed her sound, having a much more commercial sound but with killer dance beats to give her music that unique edge.

‘Dirty Little Bass’ is bursting with pop anthems but with carefully crafted emotive lyrics controlling the tracks.  Black found herself writing the EP in a strange moment of euphoria, after a bad break up with a girl she fell head over heels in love with. Although a nasty break up, it led Black to grow stronger and use music as an escape from the heartbreak.

What Drink?

This definitely one for the nightclub, so I’m going to pick a classic vodka and coke!

Links:

https://soundcloud.com/nancyblackmusic

www.facebook.com/nancyblackmusic

https://www.instagram.com/nancyblackmusic/

https://twitter.come/nancyblackmusic

Brilliantly ethereal new pop track from Livia

Livia’s enchanting and spellbinding new single  ‘Natural High’ is a perfectly executed, truly expressive and encapsulating piece of music. Through her adventures of loss, grief and healing she has poured herself into the song so much so that the listener is essentially taken through their own journey parallel to hers.

‘Natural High’ contains a mixture of pop and magical elements, collating to a self proclaimed ‘Magi-Pop’ sound. The album that accompanies the single features collaborations with a BRIT Award winning producer giving it a commercial edge, Livia’s performance adding the extra dimension to the music.

Grab a nice refreshingly cold coctail and listen along to the track here: 

Going through a period of extreme depression and developing post-traumatic stress disorder, Livia has proved the healing power of music. She says “The sad fact is that in order to write music that really says something, you have to go to some dark places. The real me might have been on my knees, but my artist-self was just getting started”. Despite all the strife she drove on and created an absolute masterpiece.

Having played at Witchfest International, the Lincoln Steampunk Festival and The Magical Times’ accompanying festival for the second year running, Livia has been leaving an extremely impressive trail of breadcrumbs as she makes her way to the top of the industry.

Similar to artists such as Inkubus Sukkubus, Nightwish, Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush her tranquil and spiritually binding sound is one that would fit perfectly at festivals such as Secret Garden Party and the world famous Glastonbury Festival.

Links:

Bandcamp – https://liviamusic.bandcamp.com

Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/liviamusic

Twitter – https://twitter.com/liviamusicuk

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/liviamusic

Cool Girl- Tove Lo

Released on 4th August, Cool Girl is the brand new track from Sweedish pop sensation Tove Lo and is the lead single for her second studio album.

The electropop track describes the singer as a ‘Cool Girl’ and follows her interest in an open relationship. According to Tove Lo, the song;s main lyrical theme was inspired by a scene and monolgue from the 2014 feature fim Gone Girl.

This is the perfect song to go with a refreshing mojito.

Listen to the audio here: 

AMBIENT-EXPERIMENTAL-POP: GRAWL!X SHARES NEW TRACK ‘PANDO’ AND ANNOUNCES BRAND NEW ALBUM AYE!

Feat. Haiku Salut

For this track I would suggest a nice fruity cider (preferably cold with a summer breeze and the heat of a BBQ)

The brainchild and alter-ego of James Machin, Derbyshire-based Grawl!x has announced the forthcoming release of his brand new album, Aye! (out May 28th) and shared mesmerising new single, ‘Pando’. ‘Pando is an explosion of sun-drenched colour – with layered guitars, jumping pop beats and yearning vocals, the track was written as an ode to an elusive person that Machin had not heard from in a long time.

Recorded over months of disjointed sessions in various bedrooms and spaces, and featuring vocals and instrumentation by Haiku Salut, Grawl!x’s hypnotic experimental dream-pop album recalls Dan Deacon and Animal Collective at their finest.

Truly captivating; swells of psychedelic guitars accompany layers of distant voices, and hazy, hypnotic drums – stylistically reminiscent of Panda Bear and, in parts, Alt-J. The album theme was derived from a concept taken from the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of dealing with grief, with Aye! (the third album in a trilogy) exploring the final stage – acceptance.

Aye! was written over the course of a number of months in an almost abandoned church on a hill in the Derbyshire countryside. Machin would walk to the church in all weathers, never encountering another soul there. Machin explains: “Inside that rather foreboding structure is an old upright piano, displaying a laminated sheet of paper with the words ‘This Piano was Meant to be Played’. So he did, regularly.

This inspired the concept of an entire church tour – with a full band, Grawl!x played numerous tour dates in some of the UK’s most beautiful churches, bringing audiences Machin’s melodic creations as they were originally intended.

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The record’s lyrical themes centre around an unfortunate incident involving a mysterious ‘friend’ of the ex-My Psychoanalyst singer and guitarist. Speaking about these themes, Machin said: “Whereas my response to that would have been to mope around, his was to say ‘YES’ to whatever came his way. An affirmative attitude, that I admired.”

Hence whilst reflections on such dark subjects might in other hands have produced something grim and mawkish, out of grief Machin has wrought songs of beauty and wonder. The multi-instrumentalist played and recorded all of the instruments on Aye!, keen to create an album of two parts – a dream-pop A side and a slicker, electronic B side. Experimental soundscape ‘Compliance’ serves to mark this divide, and signpost a turning point in the album. This is a record about coping with the aftermath of grief – and how life goes on. It’s there in the haunting ‘Destination’ and the cyclical ‘Circadian Riddim’, laden as they are with drum machines and spacey synths.

Final track ‘Gumption’ features instrumentation by acclaimed Derbyshire band Haiku Salut woven around Machin’s carefully constructed soundscapes, these are compositions that tastefully blend acoustic and electronic elements that grow deeper with each listen.

The music James Machin makes as Grawl!x (pronounced ‘Grawlix’- a term used in comic book circles to refer to the ampersands and hash-tags used when a character is using profane language) is gentle and spacious, but with a deep well of feeling that often rises up out of nowhere to take over. This can be joyous, riveting, sometimes even terrifying.

Aye! starts out with simple piano and a string quartet arrangement, a gentle opening that acts as a sort of ‘reset’ button on your world, readying you for the 9 tracks that follow.

Machin will be touring with Grawl!x – full band – in June. Details to follow.

Tracklisting:
1. (Night Start)
2. Frontispiece
3. Pando
4. Kumquat
5. Dearth
6. Compliance
7. Circadian Riddim
8. Destination
9. Gumption
10. Aye

Katie Malcolmson

9PR

Office: 02073752725 | Mobile: 07545002695

@KAMalcolmson

www.9pr.co.uk

Pop Songstress Elaine Blake debuts new song ‘The Back Door Man’

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Booze? Cosmopolitan.

Nottingham native Elaine Blake is a dynamic gospel and soul singer with a passion for pop is set to unveil her new single ‘The Backdoor Man’ early next year. Having worked on numerous radio stations and played with jazz bands and girl gospel groups, Elaine is ready to unveil her own creative offering.

Elaine Blake was born in Clarendon – Jamaica and raised in Nottingham. She spent most of her adolescent there and was joined in the holy union of marriage in the jewel of the Midlands. Politically minded, Elaine spent 12 years as a local councillor in Newcastle where she encountered people from all walks of life that subsequently inspired her music and lyricism. She wanted to embody what makes people happy and put on smile on people’s faces.

She describes herself as a sensual, spicy and happy go lucky person and her music translates these qualities perfectly. Her latest offering ‘Back Door Man’ is a joyous song inspired by her eldest son’s love for cooking in the kitchen at the back of the house and the beauty of friendship.

Elaine cites influences ranging from RnB, soul and pop and sounds like a combination of Macey Gray and Tracy Chapman by way of Natalie Cole and Chaka Khan. She has mastered the ability of writing a catchy song with meaning and is well on her way to cementing herself as a pop staple with the short, sharp and sensual hit ‘The Backdoor Man’

The new single from Elaine Blake is out on February 12th

Links:

https://twitter.com/blakeisaac2

https://www.facebook.com/elaine.blake.589