Tuesday, 1 August 2017

EARGASM Feat-Alex Francis

There's not much that gets my nether regions rumbling  these days.....erm? .... a well made cappuccino, a large slice of cheesecake,....and now I've just added the soulful rasping vocals of Alex Francis to the list, what a voice!

Before reading his bio i'd just assumed he was from the states, the quality and production of his new EP  "These Words" from vocal to musicianship screamed stateside, but while he has been touring the US and been working with production team Truth & Soul, the duo responsible for the classic sound of  Amy Winehouse & Adele, he originally hails from Hitchin in Hertfordshire..... What?  I always think its a travesty when we have great talent like Alex not getting the  attention they deserve here in the UK, the same thing I ranted about when Craig David  first came on the scene, tell me I'm wrong? 
But hopefully that's about to change?  there's definitely an old soul residing in Alex, and as I sat listening to the EP a  gazillion names soared across my cerebrum  ( For those more used to pictures? front of brain) from Jim Croce, Al green, Robin Thicke  to Curtis Stigers. Any of the 5 tracks could be singles which just highlights the standard of his songwriting ability, but first track "The Last Time" is the chosen one, an uptempo catchy acoustic which is a great opener. The video for it is a montage of his year so far, from performances at the Isle Of White Festival  & Live At Leeds, to scenes from his tour of the US & supporting Melanie C across the UK & Europe. 

Second track "Somewhere In a Memory" drops down to a a really intimate sexy soulful spill of the heart where you find yourself caught up as if part of the story. 

Third track  "Borderline"  takes you further into that intimate space and by the forth track  I'm feeling well and truly warm and fuzzy. "Make Believe"  is a hit in every sense of the word . 

His  clear distinguished vocals make it so easy to want to sing along, and  track five  "Won't Get You Nowhere" will have you doing just that , my only disappointment? at 2.55 the track was too short. I didn't want the EP to end, Alex just has one of those vocals that you could listen to all night.

you can  catch him Live tonight 1st August  at Camden Assembly, August 2oth at the Smoked and Uncut Festival Bath,  Goatsfest Festival Codicote & August 26th Chase Park Festival Whickham. The EP is available now on Spotify    &  ITunes   
& you can follow him on  Facebook  Twitter  &  Instagram  .  One thing's for certain you won't be hearing the name Alex Francis for  "The Last Time".   

                                 Til Next Time, Stay Blessed
                                        Back Before Elvis  x                         
                                 


Saturday, 22 July 2017

EARGASM-Feat Roxanne de Bastion

Rarely have I come across a record company independent or otherwise that has shown such consistency in the quality of artists that they promote..... step up and take a much deserved bow Director of Folkstock  Arts Foundation Helen Meissener . I've just had the pleasure of listening to Roxanne de Bastion who is about to  release a double A side single on the 28th July taken from her self released Album Heirlooms & Hearsay.

Before a musical note had left the laptop speakers I was already intrigued by her promo photos & an Audrey Hepburn vibe, they spoke of mystery and stories to be told and I was eager to hear them.
First up, Heart of stone that begins "I woke up feeling old" ....yup! I was sold, a lyrically beautiful song that I'm sure many will relate to?  She describes it as a song  about "overcoming or repentance, to wash your hands clean and start anew, to let go of those dark thoughts and memories that weigh us down"  
There's a childlike truth about  Bastions  vocals & video that make me believe that she has lived what she is sharing with us & I'm  reluctant to move on & leave the track behind, but knowing I could come back to it made it easier to hit play on the next track. 


And so "The Painter" Begins, a track co written with  friend Thom Morecroft ,and it's ambiance  paints a picture of bare feet and daisy chain headdresses as I'm transported to a 60's psychedelia festival , the track floats along with yet more clever lyrics and a harmonium played by Roxanne herself  that belonged to  80's Electronic pop star Howard Jones although she says she didn't realize it at the time. 



The soon to be released double A single had left me wanting more, so I went in search of the album only to find an array of similarly stunning tracks, like the hauntingly "Thicker skin" intensified by the ebb of a beautifully played cello. So who is Roxanne de Bastion? 



Born in Berlin she started writing and performing at the age of 15 and soon after leaving school armed with a guitar and one way ticket she headed for London and hasn't looked back since, as an opening act for  artists  such as Martha Wainwright ( Daughter of Louden Wainwright) & Ricky Ross (Lead singer with Deacon Blue) in the USA  &  performing across Europe in her own right she's been one busy woman and there's no doubting its about to get a whole lot busier with the new release. 

She has already been chosen as UK support act for USA artist Lambchop with ten dates from 8th to the 18th August & she'll also be  performing to the crowds at Cambridge Folk Festival on Saturday 29th July at 2.30.
One to catch live for sure and exciting times ahead. Don't forget to download the single on the 28th July & Follow her on Twitter @Roxannemusic , Facebook & check out her website

                                             Til next time, Stay Blessed
                                                   Back Before Elvis x                                   
s
 



Friday, 9 June 2017

EARGASM Feat-The Org

As someone who was around at the birth of Rap & Hip-Hop, like a limb I have a deep attachment & affection for it, and while I'm excited to review all genres, Rap & Hip-Hop will always be home..........Cue The Org, Short for  "The Organisation"  & also  "Only Rep God "  aka Shawn "B Down" Chapman  & Clinton "360" Smith.  

having been a fan of these guys  for a number of years, I contacted them the other day just by chance to ask if they had anything coming up?  and as if by dream timing it turned out they were releasing their single "Assemble" at the end of this week...did I want to hear it?   And so Christmas dropped early via my inbox with the arrival of an MP3 file . 



Produced by  Mark "The 45 King"  James, the same music master behind Eminem "Stan" & Jay z "Hard Knock Life"  I was smiling like a Cheshire cat from the get go, from the beat to the lyrical flow, by it's evident old school vibe.
  

"Assemble" is everything that's good about the genre  & what's often missing in today's disposable  predictable, sexual, violent offerings. But don't take my word for it ....

 If that wasn't enough you also get   "Wim (Livin Right)"  so musically smooth it slides underneath from start to finish with another concrete lyrical performance  on its surface, produced by Grand Daddy IU whose worked with the likes of Tupac, Krs One & Roxanne Shanti, You just know The Org mean business.

Living In New Jersey, B down & 360  both met  during the 90's at the studio while working on separate projects, but it soon became apparent they shared the same music vision, to reach souls, inspire generations and bring something different to the Global table and thus The Org was formed and their music and their message just keep on soaring.  
The Single is available on Itunes from Monday 12th June & is the first single from their Album dropping in August. 

As well as their evident talent, B Down & 360 are two of the nicest guys in the business, badass music with a message doesn't have to be uncomfortable or negative, so if you have that stereotypical image of the genre?  then think again.  Go download the Single &  show them your love & support.  You can also follow their journey via  Instagram , Twitter & Facebook          

                                Til next time, Stay Blessed
                                      Back Before Elvis X
                                             





Thursday, 1 June 2017

EARGASM-Feat Toni Sidgwick Lions E.P

On the 10th of June Toni Sidgwick will be releasing  Lions in her home town of  Barnard Castle, Teesdale, County Durham, but have no fear, the sound of roaring is likely to be coming from the crowd at the launch party of her debut E.P.



"Lions"  begins with the single "Carry My Heart" which I recently reviewed and is still one of my fave tracks on this 5 Track E.P.   There's no doubting Toni has one of those unique voices, whether it sits in front of a whole kit and caboodle of instruments or at the side of somebody sitting on a desk popping bubble wrap there's going to be no mistaking its her vocal,  and as the twanging guitar intro of second track  "Only One Way" kicks in, it's also evident that it has  producer Lauren Deacon Davis's stamp smacked right the way through the E.P, far from being a bad thing, Lauren's forte is showcasing her clients talent in all its raw, honest and earthy glory without the use of auto-tune or overload of effects that often saturate many tracks today. Welcome to real music.
With Third track "Dance" I felt my shoulders drop with a tad of disappointment at the seemingly moon & june style lyrics but the song reprieved itself with the introduction of a harmonica, there is also a beautiful section in the middle where instruments drop to a minimum leaving Toni out there on her own vulnerable but still ballsy best and by the end of the track I was won over. 

Fourth track "Lions" is a worthy stand out track that grows and changes as it moves along keeping the listener wondering what's coming next, and as it marches towards the end it almost has an anthem type vibe.

The final track "Be Anything" begins with that gorgeous vocal and i'm already sold, & like track four it weaves in and out with musical surprises so you never quite know what treat your ears are going to be dealt.

So overall, is the E.P worth a purchase? too damn right, its a fine debut from an equally fine artist and one she should be proud of. Try and catch her live if you can & where you'll also be able to purchase a physical copy of the E.P . Digital download will be available  on ITunes, Spotify and  other, be sure to follow her journey : Website,  Facebook  & Twitter  
                                       


                                        Til Next Time,  Stay Blessed
                                            Back Before Elvis X                                    
                                                 
                                                                                                    

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

EARGASM Feat- Toni Sidgwick

I don't necessarily write music reviews every day, week or month, it's only if I stumble across something worthy or my inbox pops with a track that smacks of special......New Single, Carry My Heart by Indie/folk/pop Singer/Songwriter Toni Sidgwick   is one of those tracks. Fancy a  teaser?...oh okay then......

The swimming guitar intro immediately paints a picture of intimacy in a large space, like a candle in a cathedral.  This was swiftly followed by a vocal  that had my brain juggling between Ane Bruns Live In Scandanavia Album and Tracy Chapman, neither an effort to listen to. They are the type of artists whose albums you want to play all the way through.....and then play again, and Toni sits comfortably but freshly alongside.
Originally from the Shetland Islands and now residing in County Durham  she's been honing her craft and supporting solid acts such as Newton Faulkner, Chris Helme, Mark Morriss & Maz O'Connor, not bad for someone that only started playing guitar while studying in Edinburgh and busking on the Royal Mile?

Up until now Toni's been more of a live artist, gigging in bars and venues all over the country and listing some of her influences as Bruce Springsteen, Ben Howard and London Grammar to name just a few,   but that's all about to change .....
She has teamed up with Uber Super Hertfordshire Producer Lauren Deakin Davies  and the results are stunning. Releasing her debut E.P "Lions" this summer,  If  "Carry My Heart" is an indicator, Life's about to get a whole lot busier for this lass. The Single is available  Friday 21st April in all digital forms.  If your in Tynemouth this Sunday you can catch her preforming at the Surf Cafe. To show support and follow her journey on social media you can catch her on sites such as Facebook  Twitter & many more, all listed on her  website,  

Saturday, 15 April 2017

EARGASM -Musical Hide N Seek?

As someone who's keen to discover/support new bands/artists with a view to reviewing, I have to say I'm often driven nuts by the way so many  showcase themselves badly to the point that I decided to write this little piece in the hope that some of you might take note, making my job a whole lot easier and hopefully helping you too?  

We're all busy people and live in a society where you can pretty much get anything in an instant, so with that in mind, why should anyone run around after you trying to find where you've hidden your music?                

The first faux pas is making someone  jump through hoops to hear even a snippet of your music when they've never heard of you or your band before. I'll give you an example of what I'm constantly coming across. 

I'll get a Twitter add from a band/artist and I'll click on their link and head on over to their page to hear what they sound like?......Er..where's the music? There's nothing pinned to the top of the page as there should be,  Single?  E.P?  Album? Video? something, even if its a snippet of a couple of tracks to wet the taste buds. This is simple enough to do by using  Soundcloud, Youtube, bandcamp etc and instantly show on your page without people having to leave Twitter. 

I start scrolling down the page going through the feed hoping to find something...anything  that might give me a clue as to what you sound like. As a fellow musician (Even if I use that term loosely) I have a bit of compassion because we all have to start somewhere and we all make mistakes, and after a zillion years of making music I'm still learning, you never stop. 

So as frustrating as it is, my musician head will still have a bit of compassion and will still jump through the odd hoop in the hope of finding what you're supposed to be showcasing, but take note, very few if any would or will. In the main, if someone comes to your page and can't instantly hear what you sound like, they'll be off. 
Then I'll spot your website in Twitter bio, and click through WOO HOO!...music?...music?...Hang on, where's the music? ....there's Pictures, About, News, Forthcoming gigs......Music? Sadly No, to do that i have to click on yet more links  to Spotify, Itunes etc by which point I give up the will to live, close the page and go find someone who is actually serious about showcasing their Music.



Twitter has long been the best platform for business and networking in all fields, and I believe it's only going to get bigger and better. With  "Buy" buttons  being trialed in the States that will eventually be  rolled out in the UK too, it won't be long before Twitter followers will be able to purchase your Music and Merchandise with a click of a button........but only if they can find it.  Unless your Drake, Beyonce or Ed Sheeran or any other well known artist/band nobody has got time to be playing games and  run around trying to find where you've hidden it. 

Adopt the mindset that nobody knows you......Why would they stop on your page longer than 3secs?  Grab them from the off, make it as quick and as easy as possible for them to hear what you're about .....always good when it comes to record companies, magazines, newspapers, radio stations etc . Whether it's Twitter, Facebook or any other platform,  don't hide the most important thing...your music.           
     
                                            Stay Blessed
                                       Back Before Elvis x
                                            

Thursday, 6 April 2017

EARGASM Feat-Post Collide

It's hard to describe the genre of Sheffield Duo  Post Collide Aka: Just Seppy & Bethany Holland . Their sound has a mix of flavours, Rnb, Soul, Chillout, Hiphop etc. They've been extremely busy with not one but two scorching new singles "Cool Down"   Available now on Itunes , Google Play . 


Plus another "Hard Way" available  Itunes , Google Play which has just made BBC 1Xtra Track of the week. 

There's  certainly no stopping this duo. A BBC 1Xtra regular, they've also supported Damage on tour and are set to support Leah Mcfall on her Manchester and Brighton dates this year. Impressively managing the bands interests themselves while juggling work and Uni this pair are proving that hard work really does pay off  Post Collide are hip, hot and happening with an exciting future ahead of them for sure.    
Their track M.T.A.D (Make That A Double) from 2015 continues to be a fave on the club scene: 


And while there's been a million covers of Drakes  "One Dance" this Free Download from the duo has to be one of my faves, Just Seppy spits like a pro......while also being a darn fine singer,  & grabbing you from the off, Beths vocals are like diving head first into a lemon cheesecake, Fresh and dreamy. 


As a thank you to all their supporters, they are putting on a Free show alongside some of their talented Sheffield friends and this will also be a chance to get an exclusive first listen of their E.P  "Until It Ends" dropping at the end of April. This is one Collision you'll want to experience. 

Friday, 31 March 2017

EARGASM Feat- DIDI

I've long argued that the music industry is in need of a kick up the jacksy as it's still predominantly run by neanderthals sat in their offices farting and scratching their balls, and that's why awesome female producers such as Lauren Deakin Davies don't get the attention and platform that they deserve despite an impressive work back catalogue, but hopefully that's about to change? 

DIDI aka Lauren is taking centre stage as an artist in her own right, with her stonking debut single "Sorry" .
........Now,  I'm a woman that likes to be seduced from the moment an intro kicks in and DIDI didn't disappoint. As the twanging guitar cranked up, like a vortex I was sucked straight back to the days  (Late 70's early 80's) when you'd put on a 45 , think Early Blondie,  Siouxsie and the Banshees, Undertones etc?  I was smiling from ear to ear at it's rawness and authenticity, she could've well been playing in my living room and if she had i would've  been  jumping up and down on the sofa throwing my limbs around recapturing my youth ...so probably a good job for sofa sake she wasn't? 

There was a soft vulnerability about her vocal that was unexpected, but it gelled with the track beautifully and moved my mindset into the 90's and bands like Garbage, Elastica etc. Make no mistake this 21yr old from Hertfordshire is here to kick ass and if anyone can shake up the industry then DIDI can & that's nothing to be sorry for. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

EARGASM Feat-Tidelands

If you love music and you're on Twitter then make sure to follow @limey59music he is a great supporter of Unsigned music and i've discovered some fab stuff via him and was excited by this weeks discovery of  Tidelands & their album "Old Mill Park".  The duo from San Francisco California are made up of Songwriter Gabriel Montanta Leis who just happens to play the Flugelhorn among other instruments? 
( Yes, I had to google it too)  & Mie araki on drum & keyboards. 
As a Simpsons fan, I was first reeled in by the title of track "Dog named Bart"  swiftly followed by  the intro  (It's always a good sign when an intro grabs you by the nether regions)  and then in crept a violin and we haven't even got to the first verse, brilliant.  "Four strings and a wooden box" opens with the most beautiful orchestral arrangement by Minna Choi and performed by  Magik Magik Orchestra,  and there's a pattern developing here, these guys sure as hell know how to create an intro that like a magic spell hypnotizes from the off. Six worthy tracks in all & three other released albums to choose from.Their love for attention and unique creativity reminds me of Badly Drawn Boy. But enough chat, time to check them out for yourself:

Friday, 17 February 2017

EARGASM Feat-Kate Dimbleby

It could be argued that most of us creative types are self indulgent & I wouldn't disagree,  but once in a very rare blue moon it's taken to a whole other level of genius. The last time I listened to such an album was Kanye Wests "My beautiful dark twisted fantasy" And then along comes the folk equivalent in Kate Dimbleby. 
Her Songbirds album recorded and released on the Independent Folkstock label 23rd February & produced by Lauren Deakin Davies is an absolute corker. 
The album is accapella, something we haven't had in the mainstream for many years and by layering her vocals Kate creates an exciting backing ambience that dances around & cradles her main vocal, techniques that were inspired by her time in New York learning from  Bobby "Dont Worry Be Happy" Mcferrin" .

The daughter of broadcaster David Dimbleby and classically trained mother Josceline, Kate has already released five solo albums and toured the world with her one woman show, but it's taken 20 yrs for her to show us what she's really all about and boy has it been worth the wait. Each track is an intimate honest performance that draws you in and holds you there til the very end and believe you me you won't want it to end. Songbirds is a masterpiece that deserves every award going and I hope the industry delivers. The album is available   on Folkstock Records
                 

EARGASM Feat- Oka Vanga


Lights off, candles on and the sound of  folk and roots duo Oka Vanga aka William Cox & Angela Meyer float across the room. I'm instantly lost within the mystical music and vocals of  the Wicken Tree, which is the first track off their new album "Dance Of The Copper Trail"
It follows on from "Pilgrim" their award winning debut Instrumental album in 2014 & their 2015 EP release "Tales From Eyam" which after much persuasion from Wil, saw Angela introducing her alluring vocals. 


The same has to be said for this new album Co- produced by Mark Tucker & Angela Meyer & worthy of a mention. If you're lucky, you'll often find two or three stand out tracks on an album, I was on my sixth when I gave up.  Ashes To The Wind,  The Devils Tide, My Sweet Guitar...and they  kept on coming.

its a great album start to finish. From  guitar to mandolin to double bass (Oliver Copeland)  and a fiddle (Patsy Reid) to die for.  When it comes to musicianship this is a masterclass and one you'll want to be downloading. It's released on the 31st March but available for Pre Order from their website Oka Vanga

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

EARGASM Feat- Turner Brothers

A band I'm a big fan of,  and not just because they hail from my hometown of Watford. If you haven't heard of the Turner Brothers then you must be living on Planet Zog? 

These guys have played some  impressive gigs and continue to keep soaring, but it's really no surprising with their damn fine catchy Toonage. 

Fronted by brothers Anthony & Patrick Turner, the main fabric of their music may be Ska, but it has elements of many other genres woven within & it sure makes for an exciting sound. I defy anyone to sit still when the Turner Brothers are in Town. However, amongst the feel good tracks, you will also find gems where the tempo is taken down, as in  "Take Control" and it's clear to see why these guys are so popular on the live circuit. It's suprising there doesn't seem to be any Album or EP releases but hopefully it won't be long before they do.