Single review: ‘Berlin’ by J.W. Paris

JW Paris
J.W. Paris

Full of grit and raw blues infused grunge elements, J.W. Paris are back with new single Berlin. The band’s finesse and grunge rawness is what makes them such a wonderful band, and I’ve been a huge fan of the three piece since catching them live last year with The Amazons. Made up of Daniel, Aaron and Josh, J.W. Paris have this thrashing blistering sound to their music, with very raw rough DIY rock elements to their sound. They’ve built up a unique image and musical edge as a band, and are an electrifying presence of rock’n’roll in the music industry right now. Featured on my Bands to Watch in 2017 feature, the band released debut single Rapture last year, and Berlin really is the perfect follow up to this. The track has this really rough gravel to it, with the chorus opening the track and crashing down throughout as the track progresses. Attitude wise, there’s this very abrasive confidence to the track which makes the band’s delivery of it even better; the delivery of the lyrics are gritty and messy, with both Daniel and Aaron singing together. Their vocals work together meticulously, paired by wonderful guitar and Josh’s thrashing drumming. Opening with a slightly quieter vocal from Aaron and acoustic guitar, the track immediately lifts in intensity as a more powerful guitar kicks in with the drums, backed up by that rich deep bass. ‘It’s taking me over, it’s dragging me down‘ Aaron broodingly sings, with him taking lead vocal on the track and Daniel singing and harmonising over certain parts of the track perfectly.

The rigour and energy of the track is blinding, and the chorus has an immensely catchy guitar sound to it. It’s pure authentic guitar rock, with a garage bluesy feel to it. Both Daniel and Aaron have these really gritty tough vocals which pair perfectly with the deep grunge infused sound the lead guitar and bass have together. The build up mid way through the track before crashing down into the line ‘I’m no fun’ makes for a sense of adrenaline and anticipation, keeping you as a listener on your toes and craving that heavy crashing down chorus which the band deliver. ‘Berlin’s my chosen place, I leave without a trace’ Aaron sings, with that bold amped up guitar from Daniel further adding to the roughness of the track. It’s tracks like Berlin from small rock bands like J.W. Paris which proves guitar music is more alive than it’s ever been before, and the clever riffs used and little musical techniques show just how exciting the current rock scene is. J.W. Paris match bluesy rock’n’roll with a rough indie bite, and the wonderfully distorted guitar paired with that rawness of the vocals makes Berlin one of the best tracks I’ve heard in a long time. Having seen Berlin performed live before, it’s safe to say J.W. Paris are just as brilliant live as they are on record; upcoming dates for the band include Nambucca (London, N7 6LB) on April 15th, and Hoxton Underbelly (London, N1 6NU) on April 21st. You can purchase tickets and keep up to date with the band via their Facebook page here.

Single rating: ★★★★★

‘Berlin’ will be available to purchase and listen to later this month (April 2017)

Blaenavon delight us with hazy daydream of a track ‘Alice Come Home’

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One of the most unorthodox bands out there currently: Blaenavon

A hazy, meticulously composed daydream comes your way with Blaenavon’s latest single Alice Come Home. It’s this hauntingly mystical track, very delicate and fragile with the most beautiful composition and meticulous, refined production. The band are so honest and authentic, and this is what makes their sound so captivating and intriguing. Alice Come Home features this stunning guitar introduction, accompanied by Ben’s soft soothing vocal, where his voice flows from those soft high notes to his unique, deeply rich vocal. The electric guitar and drums kick in then, bringing the track into a more energetic, powerful stance. There’s an element of vocal distortion, with a raw roughness at the back of Ben’s throat. The track then progresses back to this melodic beauty from the start of the track, with the soft lightness of the guitar accompanied by Ben’s mystical vocal. It’s got this almost sad, haunting aura, very raw and stripped back and emotional. Blaenavon are full of rawness and honesty, with an uncompromising twist which makes their music so unbelievable. Alice Come Home then picks up again, with exceptional guitar from Frank and Ben, accompanied by these fantastic drum loops from Harris. The drumming continues with these clever loops and riffs, before the track falls into this dreamy, hazy trance. It’s very light and trippy, with an aura of light headed delicacy. The faded soft vocals are blurred and hazy in the background, giving the track this immensely atmospheric feel, which is emotional and dreamy at the same time. It transports you into another mind frame as a listener, putting you into a trance almost. Blaenavon have yet again delivered a piece of stunningly complex music, with an unreal composition and the most perfect, dreamy delivery. It reminds me of tracks from the band like Hell Is My Head and I Will Be The World, with those unique drum rolls and blared guitar which mixes sharp meticulous riffs with a delicate bass. For a group of young lads, the immense maturity and harrowing pain and emotion from Alice Come Home just proves how much the ‘young indie’ sound can resonate with you as a listener, and as always, Blaenavon do this in the most touching and beautiful way possible.

Blaenavon set off on a huge UK tour today (Friday 24th March), and will release their debut album “That’s Your Lot” on 7th April. You can purchase tour tickets or pre-order the album here

Hazy psychedelia at its finest: Club Kuru release new single “Giving In”

Club Kuru

Club Kuru are one of the most intriguing bands out there currently; based in London, the project was originally a solo one fronted by Laurie Erskine, and he is now joined by Graham, Ferg, Jess and Laurence. They mix synthetic indie sounds with dark cleverly meticulous R&B sounds, incredibly soulful and unique. Unlike other tracks like Layla or Seesaw, which have more heavy R&B elements to them, Giving In has this hazy trippy edge to it, with these beautifully soft psychedelic vibes throughout. It’s very slow and dreamy, with this very raw, drugged up sound. I like the authenticity of it, and the hazy vocals give the track this almost haunting sense of nostalgia and wistfulness. It’s got an almost romantic edge too, very soft and sexy with that drugged up 60s feel.

“I was thinking of an old man looking back on his life and his relationships. The ménage à trois he still dreams of, the lost love and the bad choices he made, so this song’s like a little snippet from his dreams and his nightmares. Where did he go wrong?” (Laurie Erskine)

The bass line is prominent throughout, and has this stunning synthetic overlay. The guitar and keyboard are played so beautifully too, and add to the softness and laid back wistful vibes of the track. Giving In blends psychedelic indie with funky R&B, and these two genres are fused together perfectly. It’s such a delicate, controlled track which gives you that hazy light headed feeling. It almost feels like you’re in a trance with it playing, like you’re inside one of Erskine’s dreams. To me the band’s sound is reminiscent of artists like Tame Impala, Pink Floyd, James Blake, Palm Honey and King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, whilst maintaining an incredibly unique sound. The track is a pure trip from start to finish, with blurred psychedelia taking over the piece completely, putting you as the listener into a delicate, dreamy trance.

Club Kuru will release the Waiting At The Corner EP on March 20th

alt-J release new intoxicating nostalgic track “3WW”

Three years on from the release of second album This Is All Yours, psych-indie rockers alt-J have made a vibrant return to the music scene with new single 3WW, the lead single from upcoming third studio album Relaxer. Musically, 3WW is one of the most skilled, intricately produced tracks to be released in the last few years, really showcasing the incredible skill and talent of alt-J. It’s a very broodingly melancholic track, with a sense of nostalgia to it; maybe this nostalgia arises from the fact that it’s got that pure authentic sound that’s so reminiscent of the 2014/2015 indie sound, when bands like Peace and Swim Deep were heading the underground indie scene. It’s a very carefully controlled track, and the thing with alt-J which makes them such an intriguing band is how meticulous their tracks are and how well written and well constructed they are; 3WW has this aura which leaves you almost breathless, just wanting more and more from the track. It’s a dark art-pop indie quality 3WW has, a track you just wish would be endless.

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alt-J

alt-J have yet again produced a beautifully nostalgic track which has this emotional, almost sad, aura to it, very thought provoking and emotive. The track, which features the London Metropolitan Orchestra, also features guest vocals from Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell. Ellie’s voice is easily one of the best in the rock industry right now, with this hauntingly raw raspy quality, which layers over the music in the most stunning way. The band use a mixture of  distorted electronic sounds as well as orchestral instruments to build up the track’s immensity; they also use the soft lightness of the piano and background sounds of people speaking and laughing to add to the brooding authenticity and nostalgia of it.

Featuring Ellie on the track was a genius move from alt-J; her voice can be gritty and loud and powerful (just listen to tracks by Wolf Alice like Giant Peach or You’re A Germ), but on certain tracks by Wolf Alice like Soapy Water, Turn To Dust, and The Wonderwhy, you get to hear the softer more light, cutting tone to her voice. Wolf Alice and alt-J have always been linked quite closely, with alt-J partaking in last year’s Bands 4 Refugees gig which Ellie organised, and back in 2015 Wolf Alice performed a beautiful cover of alt-J’s Matilda in the Radio One Live Lounge. Lyrically the track is beautiful too, with the soft emotive line of ‘I just want to love you in my own language‘ being used repeatedly throughout the track. It’s emotive as in the lyrics and beautiful melody build up to create a romantically nostalgic, emotional track. It’s sexy too, with this intoxicating drugged up effect that just takes over you as a listener completely. As the lead single for the band’s upcoming third album which comes out in June, Relaxer is set to be one of the most class releases of 2017.

You can stream 3WW now, and pre-order their album Relaxer here

 

Introducing new indie four piece VITO: exclusive interview with guitarist Andy & debut single review

Fresh of their release of stellar debut single Masquerade, new indie rock band VITO are creating a brilliantly raucous, captivating indie sound, filling an obvious gap in the music industry. Made up of Tom Conway (guitar and lead vocals), Andy Bell (guitar and vocals), Jasper Watson (bass guitar and vocals), and Dom Willis (drums), the band have elements of classic indie rock to their music with a more modernised alternative edge. They have a very pure, catchy indie sound, which is enthralling and a lot of fun to listen to. What I  love about the band is how they embody all the elements of traditional indie rock, yet maintain a unique edge which makes them slightly different to other bands out there currently, whilst keeping a strong, solid indie sound. Like bands such as Catfish and The Bottlemen or The Strokes, VITO have brilliant guitar riffs and blaring rock choruses, giving their tracks that indie rock anthem feel. The band released debut single Masquerade earlier on this year in January, and it’s safe to say the debut single alone promises a lot for the band. The track has this fantastic guitar sound to it with the meticulous riff playing throughout the track, with a deep rich bass line and short sharp chords layered over it. The drumming has a fantastically steady, rhythmic beat to it too which helps tie the track together. It’s very polished and professional, which is exciting to hear in a band’s debut single. Tom’s vocals remind me a lot of Van McCann or Liam Gallagher; there’s that classic pure indie rock/ Brit-pop sound to them. The band have quite an atmospheric aura too, one which I can see being moulded into something much bigger than it already is. The catchy explosive riffs tie in garage and alt-rock sounds too, which just adds to the immensity of Masquerade. There’s a lot of dynamism to the band, which makes VITO an extremely exciting new force of indie infused rock’n’roll.

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VITO live

For more on VITO you can read my exclusive interview with Andy below

Tell me about your band; who’s in it and how did you form?

I’ve been playing in different bands with Tom (our singer) for close to ten years now but they fell apart because of people going to uni and pursuing other interests. Tom knew Dom (drums) from going to college, and we went through a few bass players before finding Jasper on Facebook – he looked good so had to be in the band.

How did you come up with the name VITO?

We couldn’t settle on a name as everything’s taken these days. Tom just said VITO and it sort of stuck. It’s got connotations with life and power so it reflects our music well – loud, fun and big choruses.

Tell me a bit about where you’re from and your local music scene

Me and Tom are from Gateshead and Dom and Jasper are from Sunderland. It’s pretty cool being from both places because there’s bands who’ve done well like The Futureheads and Maximo Park. Most people just talk about ‘The Newcastle Scene’ but for us it’s more of a ‘North East Scene’ and it seems to be there’s never been a better time for music making up here. There’s some bands doing really well for themselves and we’re seeing more and more people showing up to shows so we’re really excited about the future.

Who would you say are key musical influences on the band?

Probably Catfish and The Bottlemen, The Strokes and Gaslight Anthem. We also listen to loads of Classic Rock like Thin Lizzy, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen – anything with guitars really.

What’s your first memory of music?

I used to have this music teacher that would come in primary school and just play guitar and sing to us. He used to play The Beatles and that and I completely adored him. I picked up the guitar around then and started getting lessons off him too.

What influences your lyrics?

I can’t really speak for Tom but we always write songs about being young and wanting to do big things. I guess it’s sort of escapism.

Given the state of politics currently, would you ever consider embodying that in your music?

Yeah, I think with our songs it depends how you read it – they can either seem really political or not political at all, which I like. Like I said, we tend to write about being young and the problems that our generation faces as a result of what the older generations have done, so it’s only natural that it’d become political at parts. It’d be cool to actually write a protest song though, we really like what VANT are doing with how political they are so it’d be cool to follow in their footsteps a little.

Tell me about your debut single Masquerade

It actually came out a while back and we’ve been overwhelmed with the reaction so far. We really didn’t expect it to be as well received as it has been! It’s class to see a song that must have gone through about 5 different iterations over two years come out to people loving it and singing it back to us at shows. We wrote it about Newcastle and how much we love the city but also want to get out and do big things that would hopefully gain some attention for the city.

What’s the best gig you’ve been to?

My first show was Green Day in Manchester Arena in 2009 – we were right at the back and they were just tiny specs on stage but to have that as the first show was really memorable. I love their energy and that it’s more of a show than just playing a few tunes to a crowd.

What’s the dream venue/ festival to headline?

It’s really cliché with what I’ve just been talking about but I’d actually love to headline St James’ Park in Newcastle. We saw Kings of Leon play there a while back and would be amazing to come out to a home crowd there. As for festivals, probably Reading and Leeds to be honest. I’ve never actually been, but have grown up following the bands that come from the smaller stages to headlining and would be class to be part of that.

Who’d be your favourite artist, living or dead, to collaborate with?

Personally I’d love to do something with any of The Beach Boys – just sit and write a proper pop tune with loads of parts and go crazy in the studio.

What plans do you have for the future in terms of gigging and recording?

I’m not too sure what I can say but we have quite a lot of festivals coming up this summer. We’ll be gigging up and down the country in between anyway, we want to play every where, doesn’t matter how big or small the venue is. We’re putting finishing touches on a second single as we speak and will have one more single before we start an EP for release towards the end of the year. It’s going to be busy!

You can follow VITO on Facebook or Twitter, and listen to their music on SoundCloud

BlackWaters release explosive new single, “Down”

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BlackWaters, shot by Rob Blackham

BlackWaters are this mad, hectic rock band from Guildford, and earlier on today the band released fifth single Down. A hectic explosion of loud raucous punk, Down is an unbelievably raw rock track, tying in elements of loud indie rock and post punk. The band never shy away from bold lyrics either, with the track featuring lines like ‘prosperity means fuck all if you cannot inspire, and the roaring chorus of ‘I can’t get down with people like you.’ Max’s vocal is abrasive and has a really raw, punk attitude behind it, with a very rough 70s edge to it. This ‘no-shit’ approach from the band and the causal rock edge to their music is what makes Down such an exciting track. The track opens with a mad guitar riff, giving the track a very raucous anthemic feel; you can easily see BlackWaters, with their bold youthful edge and loud abrasive music, becoming one of the defining punk bands of the young generation. This heavy riff caries on throughout the track, all backed up by James’ fantastic drumming. The chorus really defines the track, with a build up in the guitar just before that wild chaotic drop. ‘I can’t get down with you, whoa-oh-oh’ Max shouts into the mic, in a proper punk way. The riff that kicks in after the chorus paired by the drums crashing in sync perfectly give Down a polished edge too, with the wild chaotic rock sound not taking away from the faultless sound the track has. It’s similar to the wild raucous sound other tracks by the band possess, such as Jarr’ed Up Generation or So Far Out, with Down packing a brain-exploding punch.

BlackWaters feature on my Bands To Watch in 2017 list, and you can read my live review of their gig last Saturday (28/1) here

SPLURGE: new single review & exclusive interview with lead vocalist and guitarist Joe

Described as ‘troubled two piece noise makers moaning about growing up,’ Splurge are a punk rock duo made up of Rob and Joe. The band recently released new single Lunatic, a heavy messy burst of hectic madness. The guitar is really heavy, drawing in alternative rock, post punk, and classic rock sounds. Joe’s vocals remind me a lot of IDLES or The Clash, with a very classic punk accented vocal. The line ‘I’m a lunatic’ is shouted throughout, with Rob’s heavy rolling drums adding to the thrashing aggression of the track. It’s a proper punk rock head banger, with really fantastically raw DIY punk elements to it. It’s blunt and abrasive, with the intensity of Joe’s guitar building up the power and forceful nature the track possesses. What I like about Lunatic is the attitude behind it- it’s a very open and blunt track, with a load of confidence and attitude behind the heaviness of the guitar and drums which crash in sync with each other. The band remind me a lot of those rough DIY punk bands such as Mummy or Pizzatramp, with a blunt punk rock sound. Recently I caught up with vocalist and guitarist Joe to chat about the new single, as well as the fluoride in our taps, worshipping shape shifting lizards, and the continuous inflation of freddo bars.

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Splurge

Tell me a bit about the band; how did you form and who’s in it?

Rob plays the drums and does the ‘ohhhs’ and I (Joe) play guitar and do the ‘ahhhs.’ We formed from a very drunken evening after being best mates since 2003 when I moved next door to him. We switched up instruments as I’m usually a drummer and Rob used to play bass so we thought we’d challenge ourselves. It’s punk though right?

Why did you want to be in a band?

We both played in the first ever band we were in. We were called ‘Last Minute Love,’ and back then we were the epitome of middle class punk rock. We thought we’d do SPLURGE because there ain’t no feelin’ like being on stage and playing to 10 people all with their arms crossed who are having full blown conversations in-between songs; I like to ruin their evening

Where are you from and what’s the local music scene like?

We’re originally from a small town in Hertfordshire called Berkhamsted. The scene used to be amazing. Ska punk was massive when we grew up so we used to go to local shows every month. We used to play a few of them as well. Rob moved to Brighton to continue his career in the circular meat foundation industry- he one day hopes to open his own place called ‘Bobs Burgers.’ I currently still live in Berkhamsted and work as a high end estate agent in Soho. Quite the contrast

You mention stress and mental health issues being detailed in single Lunatic. Can you elaborate on the meaning behind the track and the process of writing it?

I dreamt the melody. Woke up and played it and there was all these banger alerts going off in my head, I thought it would be the song of the year. The chorus goes “I’m a lunatic/ I’m alright” which I originally begged Rob to do in his best Axl Rose impression. Then we played it live a bit and I made up lyrics on the spot for ages because I couldn’t think of a good story and then just thought about what I hate- social situations where you’re out of your head. All the lyrics are conversations I would be having in my brain in these situations. We stopped doing all that silly shit ages ago. Glugs over drugs, keep off the grass kids. But seriously, that stuff is proper bad for you

What else influences your lyrics?

Work related issues, ex lovers, fascists, mostly I just scream about consistent inflation of freddo bars. I did actually write a post punk song about mars bar once but Rob told me it was stupid

Given the current political climate we’re in, would that be something you’d ever consider writing about/ embodying in your lyrics?

Listen, there’s fluoride in our tap water. We’ve all been brainwashed into this current state of affairs. Turn off your TV, get down a museum and learn what happened before all this bollocks. Earth is a repeating cycle. 2000 BC, the ancient Egyptians worshipped cats, we worship shape shifting lizards. We’re all gonna die so just do what you fuckin want

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Which musicians have influenced you growing up, and are there any key musicians who influence your music?

From a writing side, SPLURGE is influenced by grunge, punk and hardcore. Bands we would call influences are Ceremony, Melvins, Misfits, Nirvana, The Clash, Ramones and so on. From a lyrical side I love hip hop, so a lot of our verses won’t have rhyming couplets like traditional punk, I like to write verses where every line rhymes with the one before- like rappers. I also like for verses to have the exact same amount of syllables in every line when I can do it.

For example we have song called Bullfight;

“Woah

Excruciating pain

Woah

It’s going in my brain”

What’s your earliest memory of music?

My mum used to play me a lot of hip hop and 60s mod as a kid. But my earliest memory of music is probably singing Hark The Herald Angel Sing in assembly in school

What’s the best gig you’ve been to?

Just before Rob moved to Brighton we were going to attend a Nirvana tribute band who have an Elvis impersonator as their front man- called Elvana. I bought the tickets, we booked it off work. That same night I contacted Elvana and asked them if they wanted a support band and the rest is history. That was the best gig I’ve ever played and been to

Who are your favourite new upcoming bands?

PINTS, Drawstring, Middle Distance, Mummy, Revenue, Who Cares?, WACO, Brunch, Consuumer, Cruelty, Chain Of Flowers- rock and roll

Tell me about SPLURGE’s upcoming plans in terms of gigging and recording 

We’re releasing our new EP Mood Swings through Honeypot Records on 21st April. We want to do loads of tours and make another records. Come say hello at a show, we’re really friendly to people who say they like us

You can listen to SPLURGE on SoundCloud and Bandcamp, or follow them on Facebook

Introducing the dark grit of The Varletts; debut single review & exclusive interview

Raw and deep with dark garage rock undertones is the perfect way to describe the sound Nottingham three-piece The Varletts create. The band released new single City of Sin on Friday (13th January) and I was blown away by the cutting edge grit the track has. It is a bit slower than your typical rock song, but it’s brooding and dark, with a really intriguing mysterious bite to it. Laurie’s vocals go from deep and low to longer projections on the chorus, which remind me a bit of vocalists like Ian Curtis; but their music possesses a lot more gravel and grit. City of Sin has the heaviest bass accompanied by a raucous, blaring guitar which glides over Laurie’s dark brooding vocals perfectly. The little guitar riff and deep bass which end the track are what makes it for me; throughout the track these little intricate riffs play, intertwining with the richness of Laurie’s vocals and the dark beat of George’s drumming perfectly, very melancholic and almost haunting. It’s the type of rock music that gets you in the gut, and really makes you think about the lyrics and feel the music. The accompanying B-side to the single is entitled Accused of Effeminacy. Laurie’s vocals are a lot higher in this track, with him pushing that raw cutting edge voice he has just a bit more than he does in City of Sin. The guitar riff and the rolling drums in the verses match his vocals, which is just Laurie casually talking over the music. The sharp ‘oohs’ which follow give the track an undeniably catchy sound, amplified by the blurred vocals and bass over the sharp drumming. Everything about the Varletts’ music blends together brilliantly; the guitar and bass blur so well together, all brought together by George’s sharp riffs and clever little drum loops. The overall sound of the band is hard to describe, purely because it’s so unique. The blurred blaring guitar lends an ear to alt-rock/ heavy post punk indie, with Laurie’s vocals (particularly on City of Sin) reminiscent to me of artists like Leonard Cohen or October Drift’s Kiran; an unreal sound for a debut single.

The messy amped up sound the band have really stands out, making them a band to watch this year for sure. For more on The Varletts, you can read my exclusive interview with them below.

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Avant-garde and unique; the ‘City of Sin’ single artwork

Tell me about the band; who’s in it and how did you form?

Laurie: There’s me Laurie (I’m lead vocalist and bassist), Matt who is guitarist and backing vocals, and George the drummer. We formed mid-2016 and we’d all been friends for a while and played and written stuff in a previous band and we decided to start something new and take it seriously (well as seriously as you can take it)

How did you come up with the name The Varletts?

Laurie: I came across it whilst reading and I was just drawn to it for some reason, it’s a word that really isn’t used much today and means a ‘dishonest man.’ Then when we were trying to come up with a name I just remembered it and we thought it just worked

Where are you guys from and what’s the local music scene like?

Matt: We’re based in Nottingham and the local music scene really is awesome. Anyone asked this question would state that their town or city is great, but Nottingham at the moment is just packed full of some really good and unique artists

George: There’s so many venues in  Nottingham too, especially smaller venues like The Maze which are so important to artists just starting out

Laurie: Yeah, it’s such a shame places like that are disappearing

Which artists have influenced you the most?

Laurie: That’s a tough question because I think we all have so many influences. For me I can undoubtedly say The Cribs, but so many other bands like The Wytches and King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard have really been my newest interests

George: But we also all love Led Zeppelin, I think that for all of us we are completely inspired by the individual musicians in that band

Who’s the dream artist to collaborate with?

Laurie: Again I’m going to have to go with The Cribs, as well as being such great musicians they’ve also self-produced several of their own tracks, so to have something produced alongside them would just be unreal. I know that Matt would definitely go with Green Day though

Who are your favourite new upcoming bands?

Laurie: There are loads, we supported a Notts band before Christmas at The Bodega called Ashfields who we love, as well as this two-piece synth pop band called Cherry Hex and the Dream Church who I like especially because I’m a bit of a stickler for 80s pop- imagine a female singer in Japan

Matt: There’s also a great all-girl punk band called Babe Punch, we’re big fans of the Riot Grrrrl movement in the 90s and having it here in Nottingham is just awesome. Menace Beach are also up there as one of our favourite new bands, as well as Vulgarians from Hull

George: There’s countless more outside of Notts too; Vultures, Unqualified Nurse Band, The Shrives, Cassia, Mint, & SKIN

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The Varletts live

What’s been your favourite album release of the year (2016)?

Laurie: It’s on everyone’s list but I think Blackstar by David Bowie is such a powerful record in the wake of his death, listening to it as a posthumous album makes it so impacting and it makes you view it in a whole new light. I’ve always been in awe of Bowie’s songwriting, and this album is no exception

What’s the dream venue/ festival to headline?

George: For us all growing up around Nottingham our ultimate dream would be to headline Rock City, it’s our biggest local venue with so much history and memories for all of us. It’s just such a great venue, and to play on the same stage as some of our idols to a home crowd would be the dream

What influences your lyrics?

Laurie: It’s a bit of everything really, it can be something from my own experience, something I feel strongly about like in our B-side Accused of Effeminacy, or from something I’ve read- one of our tracks is inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. I never feel like I have to specially write my lyrics one way, and I don’t ever like to write about something that I don’t feel passionate about, but at the same time I want my lyrics to make other people feel passionate about those things too

How about politics; is that something you’d ever consider writing about?

Laurie: I think that politics is something that some bands either go fully into and all they write about is “fuck this person” and “fuck that person,” or they’re afraid of even touching politics because they feel like it might effect their fan base. For me though I feel like politics doesn’t have to be at the forefront of my writing, but if it falls in at one point or another and it’s there for a reason I don’t see why I wouldn’t write about it. Both the single and the B-side’s lyrics focus on big issues- or at least big issues for me- and although I wouldn’t say they were ‘political issues’ they are social issues which to me are more important than shouting about politics to the wind

For more on The Varletts, you can follow the band on Facebook or Instagram, and check out their music on Spotify, Apple Music or iTunes

Small Victories single launch at London’s Water Rats, & live review of Moonlight Zoo and False Heads

Dubbed the ‘best club in the UK for future rock’n’roll stars’ by Noel Gallagher, This Feeling is one of the UK’s best independent promoters for rock music, hosting nights in some of the country’s best, liveliest rock venues. Saturday evening was a killer night at The Water Rats in London, with four intense bands taking to the stage; Trampolene, Moonlight Zoo, False Heads, and Small Victories. It was thrilling night with each act delivering gritty rock’n’roll riffs, accompanied by an intense stage presence and energy. Moonlight Zoo and False Heads were new bands to me, with Small Victories being one I’ve followed for a little while now. I was genuinely blown away by the vicious grittiness and raw rock and roll DIY ethic the night had to it, and would 100% love to see the bands again. The evening was not only a normal club night for This Feeling, but also the exciting single launch for gritty London band, Small Victories, with new track Paint The Picture.

Moonlight Zoo

The first band to perform were Moonlight Zoo, a quirky breezy indie-rock four piece from Dunfermline up in Scotland. They were the perfect opening act, with a stunning sound to their music. The four piece- Jamie, Reece, Sean and Graeme- obviously practiced like hell to come up with the perfectly refined intricate music they did, and their journey all the way down to London was 100% worth it! To me, they sounded similar to Circa Waves, with a great feel-good indie buzz to their music. Yet although they had a beautiful summery indie-pop sound to their music, there was still a strong element of raw rock’n’roll, with sharp guitar riffs and blaring vocals immensely present throughout. They really impressed me with their unity and uniform sound; each intricate riff had been carefully rehearsed, and all the unique, quirky elements of their music fell into place perfectly creating a stunning set. They’re definitely set for big things, and you can get more on them via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Small Victories– single launch of Paint The Picture 

Next to the stage were Small Victories, who were ridiculously good live; they have this unreal grunge rock sound, with blaring indie rock riffs and heavy bass throughout. They premiered new track Paint The Picture live for the first time, and the catchiness and vivid energetic fire in it was enthralling. It’s a great single on record, with a heavy bass and quirky intricate guitar throughout, accompanied by soft, perfect in sync drumming from Andy. Live, it has a whole extra element of heavy rock, with really deep raw undertones to it. Last time I’ve been this excited by such a small upcoming rock band would have been Fiende Fatale, who are definitely comparable to Small Victories in terms of rawness, energy, and fiery passion. The lyrics ‘you show your face but you ‘aint my brother, you got friends but you’ve got no lover’ run throughout the song, with a crazily catchy drumbeat and riff. I was so impressed by their set as a whole; they were clearly having a lot of fun too, and channelled this excitement into the crowd. There’s a very polished sound to their music too, with a wealth of pure raw rock’n’roll to it, and to me, they sound similar to bands like The Pigeon Detectives and Spring King.  The band are made up of Nick on lead guitar and vocals and Andy on drums, with Louis playing bass live with them, and they are based in London. The dynamism and electric vitality of Small Victories was an honour to witness live- rarely can bands excel their on-record sound when you see them live, but Small Victories did that with ease. For more on the band, you can check out their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or listen to their tracks on Spotify

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False Heads

False Heads are, like Small Victories, another raucous three piece, who completely ripped the stage to pieces. They had an immense vibrancy and intense rawness to them, belting out heavy rock riffs and blaring fast-paced rock tunes. It was around the time of their set that the crowd began to get more amped up and excited, with Luke crowd surfing and playing on a mate’s shoulders. Their energy was really intense and atmospheric; made up of Luke, Jake and Barney, the band have a nail-bitingly tough rock sound, with punk, garage and alt-rock influences clear. They’re crazily dynamic and energetic too, with a fiercely bold presence on stage backed up by their impeccably rehearsed tracks. Similar to groups like Yak, Pulled Apart By Horses and VANT, their post-punk immensity had made them a colossal force of power and energy on stage, definitely one to catch live. You can find out more on False Heads via their Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, and Soundcloud.

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Photos of Trampolene’s set, plus more photos from the gig can be found here