The first time I saw the new video to ‘Breathless’ - by Essex band Tate... I cried.
Yep. A 36 year old grown arsed man and I cried ... like a baby.
That’s the power of music, especially a track that is accompanied by some powerful visuals. It’s storytelling at it’s finest.
Perhaps for me ... as a writer, the lyrics on a track might speak to me more than they would to say ... a drummer or a bassist, I dunno. I would imagine that we all have our own vested interests in the composition of a piece of music - depending on the angle we are coming at it from.
My angle means that I appreciate that ‘Tate‘ lyrics are evocative, they are inspiring - and they always seem to put a positive spin on proceedings.
I dare say that’s not the only reason why I love ‘Tate’ - but it definitely is one of them.
Just to give you a small example - the first track ‘Future’ deals with the paradoxical nature of how we tend to view life - our obsession with projection into the future, whilst simultaneously and consistently looking into the rear view mirror and concentrating on the past.
Number 2 on the EP - ‘Breathless’ - also has a lyrical maturity and a depth that comes from a band of people who are intelligent and thoughtful.
This is not music made for the sake of making music ... this is music made because it has a message to deliver.
‘White lines’ is a straight up banger - the drums absolutely pin down this tracks potential from the off - the build up is understated and the rousing chorus is sublime.
It’s the first track I ever heard the band perform and it’s been one of my favourites ever since.
‘Animals’ is another track with a some seriously good hooks, it’s almost ethereal in it’s nature and has just a little smattering of Chilli Pepper vibes ... AND it has a fucking beautiful video to boot...
Another one (alongside ‘Breathless’) that the Tate boys produced in collaboration with Carousel Films.
‘Chase me’ is probably one of the tracks on the EP with the most cross over commercial appeal..... it’s an absolute masterclass in syncopation. Whatever formula it is that Tate have found works - and this is a fantastic example of it. These boys have something. I have no doubts about that. They have a style and a sound that is distinctively Tate.
The last track on the EP is another belter - ‘Let it Out’ ... this track lends itself to what in essence Tate fundamentally are ... which is an insane live band.
Whenever I have watched them, I have been transfixed and this track never fails to catch fire.
I genuinely can’t wait to see them again.
They are electric, they are hypnotic and they are energetic.
They are also celebrating their EP release by playing at Chinnerys in Southend on Saturday night. The band always pull a crowd and it seems like this gig has been a long long time in coming.
One of the best venues in Southend plays host to undoubtedly one of the areas best bands.
If you are at a loose end on Saturday - come along and watch it all go off.
‘I found a place’ is worth celebrating - and if you are searching for a place ... there is definitely one waiting for you amongst Tate’s already burgeoning and blossoming fan base.
’I found a place’ can be streamed: HERE...
Thoma? More like fucking tomahawk ... spinning thru the atmosphere, before landing with a thump between your shoulder blades.
... and ‘blades’ is a pretty apt jump off point for this next paragraph as well - because ‘Wild Love’ cut me to pieces.
I used to lay claim to being a ‘front man’ for a band once upon a time, but I was always very much aware that whilst I had a great presence - my natural singing talent left a lot to be desired - Thoma though displays a gift that seems almost limitless... the vocal range on show is genuinely fucking nutty.
A unique tone to the timbre of the mid range is usually enough to get by as a singer - but this lad goes all over the spectrum and he hits falsetto notes that I couldn’t ever dream of hitting even if my babymakers were being gradually squished in a vice... it doesn’t even sound like a push for him. It sounds so effortless and controlled.
He shows a soulfulness and a maturity well beyond his years - which is a stupid thing to say - as maturity has nothing to do with age I don’t suppose, and all to do with experience. It’s clear that Thoma has been thru tough times already, and he has come out the other the other side, fearless, braver and punching.
For me there is talent and then there is hard work... the scary thing here is that Thoma shows both. If this is his debut, then Jesus wept. The sky is the limit.
The tune itself is ‘radio’ simple as that. It is the work of a songwriter who has his finger on the pulse, but his mind just slightly ahead of the curve...
The lyrics are personal, raw, honest and show vulnerability. That is brave. I hope that whoever it was that this song was written about gets to hear it.
Whilst the subject matter is not unique, we can all relate to heart break, self-destruction and the want for healing - the delivery of the message is so beautiful that it cuts thru all the bullshit and lands like a dig to the ribs. A wake up call for some, and a ‘I’m sorry’ to others.
Pain is never very nice, it is - however - very necessary for us to grow ... and if it leads to the creation of something as poignant and relatable as this track, and goes on to help other people to understand that what they are going thru is normal, that they are not alone and that they’re gonna be okay - then isn’t that beautiful?
Love is pain. Pain is Love - and ‘Wild Love’ is painfully beautiful.
It’s also out now - have a listen below || and click: HERE for more on Thoma.
That’s how I was taught the points of a compass - and if ‘South’ is represented by ‘Squirt’ - then I find that pretty apt, as squirting is what I do every time I hear another Southchurch tune.
If the job of a compass is to point you in the right direction, then you need to be heading South.
I’ve been banging this particular drum for a while now and have been trying to shed some light on the serious level of talent coming out of Southend... for me, personally, Southchurch are a serious favourite.
I’m one of the generation that grew up listening to UK Garage and this lot are a modern reflection of that era.
Heady days when the club scene and going out culture was lit and the tunes were coming thick and fast.
Bob Marley once said that the good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain.
Sorry Bobbio, I love you.. but that’s not necessarily true.
Some songs are melancholy enough to move you to tears... the only things that Southchurch move are your feet ... and your hips...and your shoulders... and your head. The vibe is a strong, uplifting, happy one and if there was ever a time when the power of positive music was needed - now is it.
I’ve said before that I don’t feel it’s a reviewers job to break down a tune. In all honesty, I’d probably do a shockingly shit job - I’m not a musician.
If I was, I’d be writing music - rather than articles. What I am tho, is a music lover... and I love Southchurch.
I love the songs they produce, I love what they represent, and I love the fact that they are being recognised for the serious talent that they are.
I could go on to list the multitude of accolades they have received, the ridiculous number of plaudits thrown their way, the love that they are shown by fans, other musicians, publishers, and the industry as a whole - but what would be the point - if I haven’t convinced you to check them out for yourself by now... then I’m not going to.
If I have done my job, then you should know they have another absolute fucking banger of a track out called ‘Fading’ - go listen that out, then syphon your way thru their back catalogue...
With a sound that is reminiscent of a golden time for UK music, it is no surprise that the compass seems to be pointing to the future for Southchurch.
Find out more about the band: here.
Have you ever been given goosebumps and then punched in the face by the same very same thing?
No me neither... until yesterday - but then I hadn't heard Manuka Hive before.
The above is a true story. It starts like this...
I had seen Manuka Hives' social media presence before I'd heard their music. You can argue whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, but the bottom line I suppose is that it led me to their music... I'm not talking numbers, that's bollocks and means nothing. This is a band, not a spreadsheet.
No... I'm talking about them as people.... they are affable and funny lads... I'd been entertained by both Shreddy and Charlies posts long before I realized that they were even in the same band. I'd noticed hard working people who were living life on the road. Spotting them in Paris one minute, reading how Shreddy thinks he might have had a good gig the night before because he'd pulled his groin. That is funny shit.
It also helps when a band that is in it's infancy gets recognized by Mikey over at 'This Feeling' - Mikey has a gift for spotting up and coming Rock'N'Rollers (though he missed my band a good few years back, but then again - he is only human)
I noticed that the boys were playing 'This Feeling' and decided to delve a little deeper. I asked Charlie to send me some stuff over and I prayed that it would be good. I really wanted to like the music as well as the boys.
I got their debut track entitled R.E.D sent over to me - sat out in the sun, put my headphones in and pressed play... The track cuddled me, gave me goosebumps, punched me square in the face, shook me by the shoulders, made sure I was wide awake, before it walked off with a swagger.
The most prominent adjective that springs to mind, is - punchy. Funnily enough.
I call this page a reviews page. It's not really, it's a page I use to highlight new music that love.
'I don't know Art, but I do know what I like' is how the old adage, I don't know enough about the intricacies of songwriting, effects pedals, production and what not to give you a scientific break down of why this track is so good....it just is man.
I have just listened to it again, whilst writing this article... I was out in the sun all day yesterday and didn't know if my opinion was sun-baked. It wasn't. R.E.D just did exactly the same thing to me all over again. Gentle beginnings, then it all gets very fucking dirty, very fucking quickly. It's evocative. It makes you wonder what this little lot must be like live.. and on the Thursday the 12th, I'll be finding out.
'This Feeling' at The Monarch hosts Manuka Hive. No doubts or prayers that it will be good this time around. R.E.D confirms it.
Kula Shaker had a track back in the day called 'Hey Dude' - it has the lyric - 'Everybody's looking for that little bit of honey, to alleviate the pain'... and if it's honey you are after, try putting your hand in this hive, rather than getting stung though, you might want to put your dukes up and prepare yourself to be punched in the face. Musically at least.
R.E.D is out late April - keep 'em peeled.
Find out more about Manuka Hive below:
Hailing from Robin Hoods neck of the woods, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see April Towers robbing from the rich and giving to the poor...
By that, what I mean to say is that it wouldn’t be a shock to see the electronic pop duo stealing attention from some of music's so called ‘big boys’ and shedding the light on some of the untapped gold that unsigned artists have to offer.
If you still listen to mainstream music, then in my humble opinion you are missing a trick, and if you haven’t caught April Towers yet, then you are missing a whole bag of them.
New single'Tel Aviv' has just dropped and it’s an unashamed banger.
The track opens with a fierce beat that smacks you in the face, and has your head bopping before you even realise it ... and it doesn’t take long for synth to join the party.
Once you are nicely settled into proceedings vocalist Alex evokes the spirit of Tom Meighan from Kasabian with a voice that is controlled and that also has a beautiful tone to it. Yet as the track progresses - versatility appears in abundance and the vocal range and hooks Alex demonstrates are more akin to something that you might expect from a songwriter in the mould of Paul McCartney to display.
Charlie is no slouch either having earned himself a music production degree - it’s clear that he is no stranger to and has a mad passion for electronic music and he brings the dance flavour that April Towers are so good at.
I would hate to try to pigeon hole the band, and I don’t think a review or a reviewer should attempt to do that either. I think that a music lover should be allowed to discover a new artist for themselves without a prejudiced or predetermined idea of what to expect.
I will say this though - The duo are no strangers to successful musical formulas - you don’t get to play all over the Europe, have your track featured on the FIFA 16’ soundtrack, earn yourselves streams reaching into the millions and feature on BBC radio 1 without having a little bit of magic up your sleeves.
The band are not one to rest of their laurels or cut corners and so the wait for a debut album has been a long one for fans of April Towers but a pledge campaign to contribute towards the mixing, mastering and promo for it could be a shrewd move by Alex and Charlie.
Other bands might well have been tempted to have rushed the process or tried to cash in on earlier success - but that would have been detrimental to the band, the music that they are producing and their committed and passionate fan base.
They say that patience is the virtue of the Gods and that good things come to those who wait - and if ‘Tel Aviv’ is indicative of the type of song writing we can come to expect from the debut album - then the sky really is the limit for the duo.
‘Certified Freaky’ is due out in June - and like their fellow Nottingham folk hero Robin Hood, in my opinion April Towers are certain to hit the target.
'Tel Aviv' is out now.
You can find out more about April Towers below:
This is a bias review. Straight off the bat, I've said it... and I make no apologies for it. The reason being? I know the Youth Club boys ... not well, admittedly ... only to say 'hello' to - but the chaps from Essex once made a gesture that I will always be grateful for.
I manage a relatively new band called TABOU and before the TABOU boys had done anything of any real note and before they should have been given the chance, Youth Club reached out. They offered TABOU a support slot at their Chinnerys show. A 500 strong sell out and it gave both TABOU and myself the impetus to move forwards.
Gestures like that don't come along every day and when they do, they should be appreciated and reciprocated.
Youth Club are considered to be one of the hardest working bands around.
Mass levels of popularity, sell out shows, appearances on national tv... they are the full of potential, and yet at the same time ... they have been making moves long enough to have earned a pedigree that you can't argue with. They produce feel-good music. Music that makes you smile, music that makes you move, soulful, funky, 'dancey', sexy summer vibes... and with more hooks than the complete box set of Rocky films.
New track - 'The Man I Am' is in the same vein as we have come to expect from YC - every part is bang on ...it opens with a foot stomping beat, and a beautifully clean and soulful vocal, Joe and Dannys trademark guitar sounds kick in to take the song up a level, helping it skip - before the track bursts into life ..
Youth Club hit upon a formula for 'sing-along' choruses early on, and this track is no different.
It's a beautifully crafted and sublimely produced piece of pop music - full of syncopation, a track that keeps building and building before it punches you in the chest by finishing almost abruptly... I suppose that earmarks a song as a good one, when it ends before you actually want it to.
The lyrics are poignant, but delivered within a track that contrasts the subject matter. Still the message remains: 'Love me as the man... the man that I am'.
Well, the same could be said for the band in its entirety - Love 'Youth Club' for what they are. Fucking good.With a new EP due out in the Summer and a tour kicking off in April, do yourself a favour and get yourself down to see Youth Club.
I promise you, you will not be disappointed.