In Review: Albino’s ‘Belinda’

It’s at times like these you realise how forgiving you’ve been of singles which have come through for review. Why did I find it acceptable that a 6 minute track which had no discernible melody, rhythm, focus or point of interest was worthy of a carefully thought out appraisal? Albino have nailed exactly what a single should be: their new track ‘Belinda’ is catchy, fresh, yet at the same time redolent of some classic bands you’d forgotten you were madly in love with; but at the same time leaving you clawing at your ears that it only lasts for 2 and a bit minutes.

There’s the well told story from Paul McCartney about the creation of ‘Yesterday’ wherby having written down the song, he convinced himself for the following month that all he had in fact done was to plagiarise an already existing wunder-hit. I almost have the same feeling here: ‘Belinda’ sounds naggingly familiar, yet having listened to it a few more times, I’m confident it is a completely original modern classic.

Yes, there are obvious reference points- the kaleidoscopically drooling organ sound is immediately all things The Doors/The Animals/Brian Auger; the structure is the gutter-garage-blues of The Beasts of Bourbon and early Nick Cave. Although Albino are London based, more specifically, London pub-based, their beer mat agenda is being fully understood by both band and audience alike. This as much tomorrow’s sound as yesterday’s – the hangover comes for free.

What Drink?

Considering the band’s claim that they more or less run on whiskey, it’s got to be a fine single malt. Or simply anything alcoholic…

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

furnace

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

 

 

‘Shredded Jeans’ by Mark L. Oakes

‘Shredded Jeans’ is one of the latest singles from Belgian singer-songwriter Mark L. Oakes’ new album, Call Me The Moon. The record is a must listen for lovers of folk and americana who enjoy that classic throwback sound.

This isn’t to say that Oakes’ music is dated by any means; he has adopted an older sound akin to the likes of Neil Young and Van Morrison, but adapted and fine-tuned it through quality production to create a more modern version of music from this genre.

Mark states Neil Young as one of his main influences and the pair actually share a very similar vocal tone that’s both warm and emotive. As well as Young, Oakes looks up to the likes of Tucker Zimmerman, Ryan Adams and Tom Petty for musical inspiration.

‘Shredded Jeans’ is a beautifully piano-led track that builds from gentle chords and humming-organs to a chorus that really gives you goosebumps, in the best way possible – it must be the powerful combination of Mark’s voice and the screaming harmonica.

Mark himself has labelled Call Me The Moon the ideal soundtrack for a ‘karmic road trip’ and listening to the music immediately explains why. There is a very cinematic quality to his sound that would be easy to pair up with the visuals of a classic road trip film. The emotion is so strong, particularly in tracks like ‘Shredded Jeans’ and ‘Aloof Again’, that Mark’s music might just make you smile, or even cry.

The album was recorded at Mark’s home studio in the Ardennes with the help of cellist, Ben Trigg, and was mastered by Grammy award winner, Gavin Lurssen. Mark is a keen traveller, often voyaging between Europe and the US with a number of musical projects, but he believes that Call Me The Moon is a ‘silver thread out of the vague existential maze’.

What Drink?

The relaxing and easy-listening vibes at play within Mark’s music call for a quality single-malt with which you can begin to contemplate the ‘vague existential maze’ that is life.

Find out more on Mark L Oakes here:

https://soundcloud.com/mark-l-oakes

https://www.facebook.com/oakesmusic

https://twitter.com/markloakesmusic

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8pq-OE8Cknqw4FwMdfhMLA

www.oakesmusic.com

 

 

Alonestar’s ‘Lovelorn’

Alonestar is the musical moniker by which artist and producer, Jethro Sheeran, otherwise goes, and before you ask, yes, he is related to Ed – they’re cousins. However, this should by no means diminish Jethro’s work just because his cousin is a world-wide superstar.

In fact, upon listening to Jethro’s music, it is easy to see how Ed has been influenced by his rap style. Nonetheless, Alonestar has returned with his latest single ‘Lovelorn’, which also features the talented vocals of singer, Rosie Ribbons.

The pair wrote the track together with their past experiences and relationships in mind which provided fuel for the context of this addictive track. Combating themes of unrequited love and heartbreak, Jethro explains that ‘Lovelorn’ “is the strongest and most powerful song I have written & produced to date, it reflects my new sound and style. It’s something fresh and different to anything else out there at the moment. I dug deep to exercise the darkness in this track, and fell into the depths of my soul when coming up with the concept.”

A powerful and resonant beat underpins the whole track, adding a sense of seriousness that’s comparable to some of Eminem’s best work. Alonestar’s lyrics are fast, clever and witty, exuding attitude and emotion from every word. With his signature rap style, Jethro paves the way for the super-catchy and emotive chorus sung through the crystal clear vocals of Ribbons. There is a strong contrast between the two in terms of how they sing, but this only adds to the quality production of the track, exemplifying Jethro’s own talents.

‘Lovelorn’ was produced by Sheeran himself with the help of Massive Attack’s guitarist, Angelo Bruschini, and drummer Damon Reece.

What Drink?

You can imagine this one being played in the club so why not accompany it with a vodka and coke, or lemonade- your call!

Check out more on Alonestar here:

http://www.alonestar.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/alonestar/

https://twitter.com/ALONESTAR1

https://soundcloud.com/ALONESTAR

 

 

‘When The Innocents Go To War’: Marilyn Carino

Having shared stages with the likes of Black Star and David Byrne, Buddhist musician Marilyn Carino has hit us with her second solo album Leaves, Sadness, Science. Also, featuring the talents of Mike Mills (bassist of R.E.M), the record is a unique fusion of electronic, hip-hop and soul vibes.

Carino’s vocals have been labelled, “powerful to the point of bringing you to tears” and it is easy to see why when listening to her music. The Brooklyn native wrote, recorded, mixed and performed all of Leaves, Sadness, Science – a collection of head-space grooves formed from layered, Moog-y synths and potent beats. Her long time practice of Nichiren Buddhism is the force that forms her songs into gripping monologues that explore themes of sex and radical self-expression.

Carino recorded her first album at Neil Young’s studio with Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot acting as producer. She then took a one-way ticket to London where she landed a job as an engineer in reggae recording studios. Upon returning to the U.S. she co-founded the vintage electronic group Mudville, producing three critically acclaimed albums and wrote lyrics for the great producers Sly and Robbie (Grace Jones, Simply Red). Mudville’s song ‘Wicked’ went on to win the 2008 Independent Music Award for Best Song. She recorded and produced her first solo album ‘Little Genius’ in 2011, and recently contributed vocals and lyrics to the Words Hurt indie hip hop collective’s ‘Fuck That Pretty Boy Shit’, featuring Samuel T. Herring, vocalist of Future Islands.

Consequently, you can see the experience that Marilyn has at her disposal as a musician and her latest album exhibits this perfectly. Certainly worth checking out if you fancy something a little different.

What Drink?

The craftsmanship in Marilyn’s music calls for something equally well made, like a cocktail- I’d suggest a manhattan.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/marilyncarinomusic

https://www.twitter.com/marilyncarino

https://www.youtube.com/marilyncarino

http://www.marilyncarino.com

Dex Man’s ‘Devil Ina Blue Dress’

‘Devil Ina Blue Dress’ is the latest single from London based Afro-rap artist, Dexter Sampson, otherwise known as Dex Man. The infectious new track also features the talents of J Wanza.

Dex Man could be described as a genre-hopper, navigating his way through various styles including pop, hip hop, reggaeton, drill, house and RnB, showcasing his versatility and passion across all kinds of music.

In ‘Devil Ina Blue Dress’, Dex Man employs a strong, almost steel drum-esque beat that underlies the whole track, constantly keeping the groove going. J Wanza’s intro rap makes way for a powerful drop into Dex man’s well-crafted and witty lyricism.

It’s the kind of track that would suit the club perfectly and it would undoubtedly get people up on the dance floor as a result of its catchy hooks and innately head-nodding nature.

As part of the Leftwing Movement, a democratic music group with a focus on people and motivational lyricism, creating lyrics with meaning behind them is something of paramount importance to Dex Man and this is evident within a number of his tracks such as ‘Lean On Me’, ‘Never See Us Gunnin’ and of course, ‘Devil Ina Blue Dress’.

‘Devil Ina Blue Dress’ has received an unbelievable response after being featured on Link Up TV and Hackney’s Finest where the video received over 40,000 views in under a week.

Whilst we have already mentioned Dex Man’s exploration of genres, he has taken influence from some of the urban scene heavyweights including Dr. Dre, Meek Mill, Skepta and Drake. If Dex Man can continue to produce tracks like ‘Devil Ina Blue Dress’, there’s no reason why he can’t be up there with the best in the coming future. Watch this space!

What Drink?

The hip-hop vibes at play in Dex Man’s ‘Devil Ina Blue Dress’ call for a high-class vodka, perhaps Ciroc or Grey Goose!

Find out more on Dex Man and his music here:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

‘Pirate’ by Jvgg Spvrrow

Jvgg Spvrrow is a unique hip-hop artist with a wide range of influences hailing from the Caribbean island of St. Martin- hence his motto: ‘SM on Da Map’, meaning ‘St Martin To The World’.

Coming from an island like this, Jvgg has worked his way up from the streets to the studio, finding a place for his music within a genre that is difficult to gain traction in.

With a hugely distinctive pirate based style, Jvgg has created a persona for his act that differentiates him within the world of hip hop music. He has been inspired by Hip Hop artists such as Young Thug, Gucci Mane, Asap Rocky and french hip hop artists like Booba, Joey Starr and Dancehall artists like Bounty Killer, Movado and Vybz Kartel.

‘Pirate’ is Jvgg Spvrrow’s latest single, with a beat-strong hip-hop vibe that would not be out of place in the club. Clearly, Jvgg Spvrrow is ready to take St Martin to the world through the medium of his one-of-a-kind brand of music.

What Drink?

With such a gangsta-esque track on our hands here and Jvgg’s Caribbean heritage, a bottle of spiced rum would complement ‘Pirate’ perfectly. If not, shots.

Check out more on Jvgg Spvrrow here:

Twitter

Youtube

Facebook

 

‘Schtum’ by Lunacre

Cambridge based band, Lunacre have released the intriguing video for their track, ‘Schtum’.

The video takes a strong stance against social media, deploring the modern world in which we live where people are obsessed with online gratification.

It follows a man walking around town with his head down, engrossed with his phone; a not uncommon sight.

The song combines beautiful acoustic guitar line with complex, yet subtle beats and crisp, clear vocals. Definitely worth a listen.

What Drink?

Due to the strong message in Lunacre’s track, I’d suggest a thoughtful glass of red with ‘Schtum’.

 

‘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