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SINGLE REVIEW: Nightsong – ‘The Spell’

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Nightsong is a project, or perhaps better described as a collaboration. The artists are John Reed – well known to us here at LSF as a cittern playing folkish singer/songwriter, producer/musician Ali Karim Esmaiil and songwriter/musician/producer Jo Beth Young – Talitha/RISE /Yates and Young. This is their second release – the first being ‘Pauper’s Son’ – and there will be an album – ‘The Peasants’ Revolt’ – released at the end of the year.

The trio describe their sound as prog-folk, and perhaps this needs further explanation. I think it’s probably better to use the term progressive folk; a sound that is at its base folk but includes contemporary sounds and has bang up to date production. It is folk that has progressed, taking in elements of other music.

‘The Spell’ is mesmirising from the opening – gentle plucked cittern, Jo Beth’s vocals are spell-binding. And it gradually builds adding layers of sound, layers of voices, a sparse but incredibly effective beat. There is a Celtic feel to the song as it builds. And for those of you who are reaching for ‘then this must sound like Enya’ you’d be wrong, so wrong. Personally I get hints of Kate Bush, things that remind me of later years Fleetwood Mac. But the thing that I am left with is that this song is all about evoking an atmosphere, an atmosphere over which a story unfolds.

The song is inspired by the witch hunts and trials of East Scotland, imagining a persecuted ancestor speaking through the mists of time. And this makes for a song where the words compel repeated listening.

Jo Beth says ‘This song has asked me to dig into my own ancestry which includes my Dad’s family line on the East Coast and Borders of Scotland. Some years ago I found out that a few young women from Selkirk had been charged with witchcraft. I have always had a great interest in that era, and the song is an acceptance that even if we kill someone that has an idea we don’t agree with, the idea will continue in another person and carry on. We don’t end the idea by ending the person. When I later discovered the story of Issobel Young who is very likely an ancestor, I was amazed to see in her trial notes she owned some objects that I own today and had practices in her life similar to mine. I didn’t know about Issobel’s story when I wrote the song so it seemed eery to have written the line “I’ll keep coming back, I’ll keep coming back”’,

There is perhaps a risk that with such a weighty subject it could have become overly complex lyrically but the approach used, that of a person telling their story, makes it direct and emotionally effective.

Musically there is the risk of making it ‘too witchy’ – and there is a hint of ‘witchy’ – but the music supports the vocals by being simple. I admit that this may be simple complexity because it’s all about layers of voices and sounds laid on top of each other, weaving around each other. But the end result doesn’t sound complex or over-produced, it’s all about mood and feel, it has just enough to do what it needs to do and no more. A kind of sparse complexity if you will.

There are songs where music, voices and words combine into something special, and ‘The Spell’ is one of those. It’s beautiful, atmospheric and – appropriately – casts a spell over you.

The info

The trio have been recording from a distance during lockdown in both the studio in the UK and the corners of Irish cottages.

The atmospheric music video was filmed by Jo Beth in the West of Ireland and includes imagery of Athenry Dominican Abbey and the surrounding nature.

The tale behind the song

Scotland carried out five times more executions for witchcraft than the European average. Estimates vary but it is thought that between 3,000 and 5,000 people (mainly women) lost their lives following accusations of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries. The population of Scotland at that time was about 800,000. If the same fate befell half of one per cent of the current Scottish population today, it would mean around 26,000 executions across the land. The scale was horrendous.

One of Jo Beth’s ancestors, Issobel Young, suffered death by strangulation and burning after her husband accused her of “attempting to kill him with magic after quarrelling about an unsavoury house guest.” Interestingly, this nugget of information was discovered only after Jo Beth had written this song. Sometimes past spirits seem to beckon their descendants to reveal their stories. Is this a song that rights a wrong?

The upcoming album – ‘The Peasants’ Revolt’ – blends urban, folk, and progressive folk music, lifting the lid on the ordinary lives of English (and sometimes Scottish) medieval peasantry and highlights curious parallels with life in 2020. A release date will be announced soon with an approximate date of December this year.

Nightsong on Bandcamp: https://nightsong.bandcamp.com

SINGLE REVIEW: Materialeyes – ‘Adrenaline High’

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I’m just going to say this, Materialeyes are a prog rock band. I’m also going to say this, this isn’t a problem for me as I’ve loved music described as prog for a long time, a time I can measure in decades. But some people seem to have a block when it comes to prog, their immediate response to it is to describe it as self-indulgent and overblown. I prefer to describe it as just music; it’s music played in the main by people who really know how to play their instruments, as are most, if not all, types of music. So maybe approach it that way.

Before I go on I should warn you that this review may contain references to bands that were around in two periods of prog – the first the late 60s and early 70s and the second in the late 70s/early 80s, the so-called New Wave of British Prog that kind of started just after the NWoBHM movement started. This isn’t to say that these were the only two periods that prog was popular, there have always been bands that identify as being prog – like Muse more recently.

So as the track starts it sounds like a Yes song, it’s those harmonies with a high pitched lead.But strangely it also has the sound of Crosby, Stills and Nash in there. But this is progressive music it soon changes and boy does it change – at points it sounds bluesy, at points funky, and at points jazzy. There are long periods where I am reminded of Nektar (a German band who made one of my all time favourite albums ‘A Tab In The Ocean’), and to a certain extent Camel. There’s what we might call a variety of tempos. So far so prog, I hear you say. But it’s also surprisingly poppy – there’s a tune, a nice beat. And it’s chilled out, maaaannn.

What it doesn’t have is that many lyrics, instead there’s a kind of chorus separated by long periods of playing. So the playing better be good, and it is. The shifts in feel are seamless. It’s obvious that this is a band who know their stuff musically.

It may help to tell you who it doesn’t sound like, or possibly not – there is no hint of Genesis, not a sign of Pink Floyd. Whether this a good thing I leave it for you to decide.

I really like this track but I’m at a loss as to how to encourage you to at least give it a try if you’re not already a fan of prog. Beyond saying that’s it great well played and arranged music that isn’t in the slightest self-indulgent or overblown.

The info

‘Adrenaline High’ developed from an idea Martyn had way back in 1978 when he played in, and wrote music for, Wakefield band Brigante. The song was all but lost until the original lyrics were discovered. Martyn then went to work developing it into a prog piece for Materialeye.

Martyn was also in Roadster – a NWoBHM band from Wakefield and Pontefract who released one single in 1981.

Dave Westmoreland – vocals, keyboards, guitar
Will Lawrey – vocals, guitars
Martyn Howes – vocals, guitars, keyboards

Bandcamp – https://materialeyes.bandcamp.com/track/adrenaline-high
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MaterialEyesBand/
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWfXI7VtAss
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MaterialEyes00
Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/track/7Dbe5BJyFaY90p5RbtTeEy

FUNDING NEWS: PRS Foundation announces three Yorkshire based artists to receive its PPL Momentum Accelerator support in partnership with Music:Leeds’ Launchpad

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PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development, announces today that the three Yorkshire based artists to receive PPL Momentum Accelerator talent development grants, in partnership with Music:Leeds’ Launchpad and supported by Arts Council England are:

  • English Teacher – support will go towards recording and marketing
  • Harkin – support will go towards recording and marketing
  • Simeon Walker – support will go towards PR, marketing and video production

Selected by a network of industry experts, the three artists each receive grants of up to £5,000 to develop their careers and continue building momentum to the get to the next vital tipping points in their careers.

PPL Momentum Accelerator funding supports exciting artists with a growing fanbase, currently working to establish a music industry team, while the full PPL Momentum Music Fund support is for those artists with a team already in place and at a tipping point, ready to take the next step in their careers.

The next deadline to apply for PPL Momentum Accelerator Yorkshire will be announced soon and the next deadline for the PPL Momentum Music Fund support is 16th November 2020 at 6pm. Applications can be made via the PRS Foundation website.

This targeted Yorkshire edition of PPL Momentum Accelerator is in partnership with Music;Leeds’ Launchpad who offer opportunities and support for emerging artists, musicians, producers, bands, composers and industry professionals in the Yorkshire region. Throughout 2020, Launchpad is directly supporting 46 artists with a combination of live opportunities, recording support and one-to-one industry advice & mentoring.

Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation said: “Congratulations to all three talented Yorkshire based artists receiving our PPL Momentum Accelerator support. It is important now more than ever to ensure that exciting UK music creators building their careers and fanbases have access to this type of targeted support. We’re delighted to be partnering with Music:Leeds and again with Arts Council England so that we could bring our PPL Momentum Accelerator to the talented music creators in Yorkshire.  We’re excited to be building on the programme and our relationship with PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partner organisations across the UK to continue to invest in talented music creators outside of London with varied and targeted support.”

Samuel (Whiskas) Nicholls, Founder & Director of Music:Leeds said, “It’s brilliant to be able to provide this boost to these artists based across Yorkshire, enabling them to make the most of the opportunities available to them, and make their next release have the impact they deserve. In combination with our Launchpad support and top level PPL Momentum funding, this will help generate a huge impact for the profile of artists in the region going forward.”

Managed by PRS Foundation, the PPL Momentum Music Fund initiative awards grants of £5,000-£15,000 using funds from PRS Foundation, PPL, Creative Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland. Spotify, the official digital partner on the fund, contributes additional funding and a reward package containing exciting promotional opportunities and a close working relationship between Momentum artists and the Spotify team.

This new partnership with Music:Leeds’ Launchpad and PRS Foundation’s PPL Accelerator targeted support for Yorkshire has been made possible thanks to support from Youth Music and using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Leeds 2023, arts@leeds, and PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partner network. You can find out more about Launchpad here.

From April 2013-March 2020 (Years 1-7), Momentum supported 390 artists and invested over £3.74m into new music. Based on the 5 Years of Momentum Report (2013-18), this means Momentum has:

  • Supported 225 albums
  • Over 260 UK Tours and over 1,400 live dates
  • Generated over £18m for the UK music industry and UK economy.

PRS Foundation and Arts Council England initiated The Momentum Music Fund in 2013. Arts Council England originally established the need for this specific fund and supported the programme from 2013-18.

For a full rundown of all the artists supported so far see: http://prsfoundation.com/funding/momentum-music-fund/momentum-artists.

Listen to the latest Momentum supported artists on the Spotify Momentum playlist here.

About PRS Foundation

PRS Foundation is the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development. Since 2000 PRS Foundation has given more than £35 million to over 7,300 new music initiatives by awarding grants and leading partnership programmes that support music sector development. Widely respected as an adventurous and proactive funding body, PRS Foundation supports an exceptional range of new music activity – from composer residencies and commissions to a network of talent development partners and showcases in the UK and overseas. www.prsfoundation.com | @PRSFoundation

About PPL

Founded in 1934, PPL is the UK music industry’s collective management organisation (CMO) for over 110,000 performers and record companies. They license recorded music in the UK when it is played in public (shops, bars, nightclubs, offices etc.) or broadcast (BBC, commercial radio, commercial TV etc.) and ensure that revenue flows back to their members. These include both independent and major record companies, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots artists through to established session musicians and influential festival headliners. PPL’s public performance licensing is carried out on PPL’s behalf by PPL PRS, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.

They also collect performance rights internationally when music is played in public and used on TV, radio and some online streaming services, as well as for private copying. This is achieved through their network of over 95 agreements with CMOs around the world. International revenues are an increasingly important revenue stream for performers and recording rightsholders – since 2006 they have collected £429.1 million.

In 2018 they collected £246.8 million while also distributing money to 105,192 performers and recording rightsholders.

About Music:Leeds:

Music:Leeds is is a not-for-profit organisation established to act as a single, centralised point of contact that will coordinate activity to support, promote, develop and grow music-based activity within the city and wider region, across any level, medium, genre or pathway. They established Launchpad in 2019, an emerging talent development program that offers opportunities and support for emerging artists, musicians, producers, bands, composers and music professionals throughout the Yorkshire region. In 2020, as they began to work across a wider area, they launched Music Local to support and develop place-based music support systems and infrastructures, tailored to the needs of individual music communities beyond it’s hometown.

About Arts Council England:

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. By 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences.  Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council has developed a £160 million emergency response package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support.  Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19

 

SINGLE REVIEW: Kimber – ‘Like Shadows On The Wall’

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If, like me, Kimber are new to you, here’s the basics – Kimber are two people, based in Yorkshire, who’ve been friends for 15 years. They make music that you could describe as electronica alt-pop; at least that’s how I’m going to describe, I accept that you may describe it in some other way.

You may be aware that here at LSF we only review music that grabs us, that we like or love; life is way too short to be reviewing music that we don’t like. So what grabbed me about ‘Like Shadows On The Wall’.

What I really liked about this track was that, while it goes beyond ‘pop’, it has pop sensibility. The sophisticated production and arrangement, the progressive sound, doesn’t overwhelm the fact that this has one hell of a tune, a tune that you just can’t help singing along to. And a beat – although it’s no dancefloor banger, you can certainly throw some gentle shapes to it, it’s slow groove people – that just doesn’t stop.

Other things to love, yep you’ve got them. Let’s start with the sweetest vocals singing great words. And then let’s go to the fact that while it ‘references’ 80s’ electronica it’s not retro, it just adds class. And finally, while it’s undoubtedly sonically layered, those never overwhelm it, there’s space to die for.

But at the end of the day what these add up to is one hell of fantastic (alt-)pop song. And fabulous pop is something we all need in our lives, get this in yours.

The info

Kimber are a Yorkshire based duo, who have each spent the last decade working through different projects and guises before finding home with Kimber.

Kimber draw inspiration from the alternative and experimental to post punk and new-wave, writing with production at the heart of their music.

This autumn will see the start of their newest musical odyssey, where 15 years of friendship has allowed them space to explore and experiment in order to find the truest reflection of the band.

This release will be followed up by another single ‘Think I Know The Answer’, plus a 2-track cassette featuring both singles, set for release through Safe Suburban Home Records on 6th November.

ALBUM REVIEW: Gad Whip – ‘Fanimal Arms’

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Gad Whip ‘are mainly from Lincolnshire, England’s second largest county with the big skies’. So why am I reviewing this, given that we focus on music from Yorkshire? Well my friends it’s basically because from the moment I pressed play on the preview stream I was hooked.

I was hooked because on the one hand this is a band who just do their own damn thing without giving a fuck for musical fashion, and I like a band that do this a lot. And on the other it’s this marvellous mix of music that I’ve loved, and love, put together in a fantastic way, with great, and sometimes weird or mysterious, words; sometimes semi-spoken words that in a strange way add to intensity of the music.

I am not going to be doing any sort of track-by-track review, it’s not that sort of album. It’s the sort of album you need to discover for yourself. Let it unfurl, wash over you, let it take you where it takes you.

Gad Whip might be loosely defined as a post-punk band. I say loosely because they add in elements of out-there dub-influenced space-rock in the style of one of my favourite bands ever – Here & Now, splashes of electronica, hints of acid, hip-hop, garage-y hard punk and sounds woven into a maelstrom of tumbling mesmerising sound.

In addition to reminding me of Here & Now, their sound kinda reminds me of present day King of the Slums. Although sometimes, and I have to be honest here, not at all. Look I’m trying my best to do some sort of FFO here.

It sounds like a band exploring their imaginations both musically and lyrically; but with, and this is key, a full bag of excellent musical tools at their disposal.

The other reason I love this album is that it’s so obviously a labour of love, each song is crafted, put together so well. And the playing is just ‘out of this world’ good.

And I adore that ‘just when you think you’ve got what the band do, they just go and do something that throws you completely’ feeling that I get listening to this album. This makes it into a journey, a surprising and wonderful journey. A journey where you sometimes feel bewildered, sometimes full of the joys of life, sometimes giggling at quite how good it is – it does that to me.

This isn’t an album for fans of bands that make music that has a consistent sound. Although there is a Gad Whip sound and feel, an approach if you will, that you’ll get. It is for those of you that are willing to listen with an open mind. I’m not saying this is hard music to listen to, on one level it’s easy to listen to; but there is a level beyond that, as you’ll discover, that demands closer listening and concentration. Once you do that you’ll find yourself down a rabbit-hole, in a maze that you don’t want to find a way out of.

I urge you to give this a go, once you’re in it’s a great place to be.

The album is available in a limited edition of 100 copies 12” black vinyl / full ‘kraft’ sleeve, 3mm spine, ‘tipped on’ front cover, individual collage & printed track listing on the back, with lyric insert from the band’s Bandcamp. As well as digitally

The info

The band say:

Gad Whip are mainly from Lincolnshire, England’s second largest county with the big skies. Since 2014 they self-released their first four cassette albums, with subsequent releases coming out on Ever/Never, Arachnidiscs, X-Mist and Fourth Dimension Records.

‘Fanimal Arms’ is the follow up to 2018’s ‘Post Internet Blues’ (on X-Mist), reviews of that album accused us of shitting on conventions, having an atmosphere akin to a night drive through zombie ravaged Lincolnshire, with the added bonus of getting a ‘God bless these weirdos” from yellowgreenred, that’s Matt’s from Pissed Jeans review blog.

It contains more bittersweet tales of going the wrong way down the one-way of life, looking at the world from a rest home for retired horses, ancient river crossings and abandoned museums. Blending avant-garde sensibilities with a contemporary take on the place where DIY culture meets post-punk, hints of deconstructed garage rock and interstellar voyaging through sweat-drenched waking dreams. Immediate, powerful, confounding and kept in place by wry, sometimes observational, semi-spoken vocals that recall Jason Williamson and the late Mark E. Smith, this is music primed perfect for any 21st century meltdown in a suburban sprawl.

Pete Davies – Vox / Words
Lee Drinkall – Instruments / Additional Vox
Bil Amos – Bass on tracks 1,4,6,9
Geoff Bolam – Synth on tr 9
Chris Dale – Guitar on tr 6
Tina P – Additional Vox on tr2
QM Nami – Additional Vox on tr 8

Recorded and mixed at Yuba Studio

SINGLE REVIEW: SVTIL – ‘Raised By The Moon’

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This is the debut single from Spanish band SVTIL (and also the lead release from their upcoming debut EP). So why are LSF, a site focussed on music from Yorkshire, reviewing this?

Well, it’s partially because SVTIL are an all-female band, and this is released on a female run label – Incantation – the ‘focus of which ‘will always be to elevate the female voice’ – and this something that is important (more information about the label below). And also that the label was co-founded by Martha Phillips of The Elephant Trees. And partially, and much much more importantly, because it’s a damn fine record by a damn fine band.

.If, and I have nothing else to go on, this song is an indication of what SVTIL does; then they play alternative rock with intricate ringing guitar lines that weave their magic over a bassline that really hits the spot, and solid and inventive drums. And really great vocals.

‘Hmm’ I hear you mutter under your breath, ‘Is there anything else?’. Well, yes, and this is the thing that makes this track great, it has an edge of grunge, and a dose of pop. The pop comes from a tune that bores it’s way into your head, and a beat makes you want to dance like crazy, singing along. You get the picture? This is one catchy song.

Actually there is something else, and it’s one of my rather strange thoughts, but if you took out the intricate weaving guitar and replaced it with something more ‘straight forward’ it would almost sound like one of those ‘poppy rock’ tracks from the 80s’. It is a strange thought, and one you may not agree with, but then again I get these from time to time as you may know. This isn’t a criticism because it’s a reflection of the fact that this has a tune to die for. And, like me, you may also hear at times something of a hint of U2 in there; it’s that tumbling waterfall of guitar and throbbing bass.

And the more I listen to the song the more I find myself listening to the words. I find them captivating, and compelling – the words tumble out in short phrases that make sense when you take them as a whole but don’t tell a straightforward story taken individually phrase by phrase. The band explain that the song ‘is about dreams, the ones you keep to yourself and only voice out loud alone at night. It plays with the fear that people will dismiss them and the rage you feel when something that important to you gets treated like a joke.

The moon is a huge inspiration for us, so we used it as a way to represent our dreams, believing even if we don’t see it, they have a huge impact on our lives and deep down know our dreams will come true.

Also night time is where a huge part of our lyrics are written if not all of them, so is a safe
space where only the writer, the moon and their feelings are present with no one there
to judge’.
.
But enough of me picking this apart because we can all do that to a song, can’t we? And ultimately the individual elements of sound aren’t important. It’s what it sounds like as a whole that’s important. And, in a song where the words are clearly important, they are good.

‘Raised By The Moon’ is a fantastic song that is compelling musically and lyrically, It is at once both a song to dance to, and has a complexity musically and lyrically that means you can sit down and listen to it. Actually in my case I can sit and listen to it on repeat without the slightest sign of boredom setting in; there’s always something new to hear. And that tune is horribly addictive.

This is an incredibly impressive debut single, frankly I’m holding my breath until the EP comes out.

The info

SVTIL

Spanish three-piece SVTIL have been gathering momentum after playing shows across Europe and beyond. Paula (Vocals, Guitar), Nerea (Bass) and Cris (Drums) have toured their distinctive sound through Barcelona, Valencia, Tarragona and London.

‘The music scene for our band is pretty challenging, the majority of indie music consumed here is in Spanish not English. Our sound doesn’t fit with the wave of indie that is made here and with the big indie bands in Spain that float towards a different type of indie music.

Since the beginning we always thought our music would fit better in the British music scene. Our influences and the larger part of music we listen to are from there and we’ve always been drawn to the UK music scene.

We had the pleasure of playing a gig in London last year with The Elephant Trees and people were welcoming our sound. We have this opportunity thanks to other indie Spanish bands that have opened the door in the UK for bands like us. We are so excited to be working with Natasha and Martha (of Incantation), it means so much that they can see the potential in our music and want to support us’.

http://www.facebook.com/svtilband/
http://www.instagram.com/svtilband

Incantation

Through times of uncertainty, inspiration is needed to guide and support the music industry and the challenges it now faces. Sounds, movements and downright talent is being lost in the current landslide of chaos, however, through the grit, is an outstretched arm ready to pull artists out of the rubble.

Founded and fronted by Martha Phillips and Natasha Arciniega, a pair that encapsulate all things independence, DIY, and womanhood. The Elephant Trees frontwoman and manager are heading a new platform that encompasses diversity and freedom of creativity.

Introducing Incantation, a grassroots label for grassroots artists looking to develop themselves in the ever-competitive world of music. A brand-new female-ran imprint that nurtures emerging artists and guides them through the wilderness of artist development, copyright and music ownership, content strategy, performance and releasing, the latter of which will be supported by Horus and Anara Publishing.

Starting the label in the middle of a pandemic truly represents Incantation’s ethics; standing up in adversity to showcase their beliefs and undeniably good music.

“In truth, we are very privileged to still be releasing music right now, a lot of our friends’ bands have not been so fortunate, or the opportunities are no longer there, or financially it isn’t possible. It’s been a struggle, but we have learnt a lot and that essentially is what we want this label to become, a home for the grassroots music in Manchester and beyond that is fighting to be heard. We have a lot of skills in music production, songwriting, design and content production – Natasha brings with her all this management knowledge, and really knows how to pull together a campaign, but really we just love music and want to support our friends to keep releasing and build a community here, that women and the LGBTQ+ community can feel part of. The focus of the label will always be to elevate the female voice.” – Martha

Releases so far have come from ‘Ashleigh’, who amassed over 10,000 streams on her debut single in a month, re:tract feat. Martha, who’s track together got radio play on Huw Stephens BBC Intro show and the SVTL release.

Incantation offers support from all corners, from Artist Development (image, songwriting, production, mixing, mastering) to campaign & social media strategies and content production. They want to support any artist or client who works with them in achieving their goals – and they offer everything they need to make that happen in one place.

They have huge plans for Incantation including a recording studio space where their artists can record, creative and be inspired. They are currently enquiring for financial investment for 2021/22

For further information contact: incantation.hola@gmail.com
Keep up to date with Incantation here: https://www.instagram.com/incantationrecords/

 

 

SINGLE REVIEW: Oh Papa – ‘Change That Tune’

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What I like, I really like, about Oh Papa’s music is that it has a timeless feel. It does that by combining things from all over the place and time. And ‘Change That Tune’ is no exemption to this. Honestly you could have played this from any time from the mid 60s to now and it just won’t sound out of place.

It has hints of 60s’ pop – harmonies to die for, a lovely highlighted acoustic. Things that sound 70s – that bluesy guitar stab. And of now – something of a slight indie-pop feel.

I’m going to describe this as perfectly written, played and sung classic pop with, and this is important, not a single ounce of ‘damning with faint praise’. It’s classic pop because it’s made with extreme care, attention to detail and with fantastic playing.

Similarly the band have taken real care with the words, this song has words that are meaningful and worth listening to. The band say “‘Change That Tune’ is about coming to terms with the loss of someone you have built a home with, where the remnants of the relationship still remain, and even the most mundane objects provoke painful reminiscence. ‘Change that tune’ is the mantra to move past these feelings and carry on’.

The other thing about the band’s music is that it always has me in mind of something from a film soundtrack. It evokes pictures in my mind. This song does that. It makes me think of an art-house film about the ending of one relationship and the beginning of a new better relationship, perhaps set in one of the arty areas of New York City. But that’s just me, make your own movie.

This is just lovely. It’s a gentle warm brilliantly put together, played and sung pop song that deserves to be a classic.

SINGLE REVIEW: Window Seat – ‘Out of Touch’

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Window Seat is a new project from Sam (the drummer from DENSE and Mondo Bizarre) and Jacob (Ex-Muffin and now in Pop Vulture). The two of them are friends and have been writing and playing music together since they met in 2016.

I’m going to say, right at the top, that ‘Out of Touch’ is absolutely fantastic. I’ve had it for a while now and as time has gone by I’ve grown to love it more and more, and I’ve found new things in it every time I listen to it. And that’s something, as you may know, I really love in a song.

The thing is that, I now feel my original thoughts about it are to some degree wrong (see below). One of the benefits of having something around for a while I guess. The duo describe their sound as ‘melancholic indietronica’. Melancholic is obvious, and the track is. But ‘indietronica’ is open to interpretation. So what does it sound like? My take on it – which differs from how I first heard it = is that somewhere in there, there are sounds and feels that perhaps you might get in DENSE, Mondo Bizarre and Muffin. Not in a hit you in the face kind of way but subtly and quietly.

In order for you to understand what I’m about to say you need to know that this song is one of those songs that has builds, it builds and changes. And I can’t take any credit – or that matter blame – for this as it comes mainly from one of my helpful friends (not the usual helpful friend). They said that at points it sounds like ‘Radiohead playing Crosby, Stills and Nash’ and then at others ‘Radiohead playing a King Crimson song, partly an older King Crimson song and then a much later one’, with – and this is me – hints of psychedelic jazz-rock and dream pop.

So what this means is that in the quieter bits it has beautiful vocal harmonies over slightly warped guitar, and then as it builds – gradually and quietly – it becomes more dreamy, then kind of jazzy psychedelic rock.

I realise that this may be or, more likely may not be, helpful to you. But one thing you need to know and understand is that their sound is atmospheric, layers of atmospheric sounds. The song is about the lockdown and how it makes people feel. The sound reflects that – it’s hazy, and the builds reflect that sense of ‘not knowing what day it is or where we’re going’ that I think we’ve all experienced as days blend into each other. But somehow the lighter sections offer a sense of calm, a feeling that there’s refuge from the shit, at least musically, as the words don’t do that. The words speak of ‘being on my island’ and ‘get dressed, stop crying’.So although about a particular time and thing, the words for me could be applied to any situation where you’re in a situation that is not of your making, when you just can’t do anything but be on your own, feeling desperate.

But it does this with such a musical beauty that you feel uplifted by the song, you just can’t help but to be taken by the music. It is intimate yet at the same time huge, it sounds quiet even when it’s loud, it’s layered and dense yet at the same time it has space and simplicity. It’s put together so well, technically you can’t fault it, but at the same time this is all about feel and atmosphere, the production never overwhelms that, it helps it.

This is an incredibly impressive first release from the duo. It’s beautiful – musically, in feel and atmosphere, and in the way it’s put together. They hint that they have more on the way and I, for one, am looking forward to hearing more.

What I originally thought when Sam asked me for my thoughts – ‘what I’d label this as is hard – weirdly, or perhaps not so weirdly, it kinda has some elements of DENSE and Mondo Bizarre plus something of an alt-folk thing at points as well as something I might call indie, specifically indie-pop, plus something which kinda falls into the progressive jazz-rock sound. This had me running to my vinyl collection as it reminded me of some progressive jazz-rock I have, I failed to identify exactly what at the time but as I’m writing this listening to it I now know what it kind of reminded me of – and that is King Crimson (a mix of early and later King Crimson). That guitar is very Fripp – both the picked section and the big swell. The opening section is very prog – it’s the vocals and the guitar feel. That perhaps is not that surprising as I always found Muffin to be quite prog’.

So yes, there are some things I’m still sticking with, but not others. Strange how what you think about a song changes over time isn’t it?

The info

Window Seat is a project born through a number of factors; two best friends, an unusual abundance of time from the usual daily lives as a result of the pandemic, and a shared love of producing meaningful music from their own home in Hyde Park, Leeds.

Sam and Jacob have been writing music together from the first day they met in 2016 in various bands and groups, and Window Seat sees the duo exercising a musical and emotional muscle that they have been wanting to create for some time.

‘Being as close as we are and the circumstances in which we met, we make music together as much as we talk about our everyday lives. This project sort of combines those two elements and allows us to express ourselves in a medium we both understand. The lyrics have a poignant specificity to ourselves and our own issues and struggles, yet we want them to have the poignant simplicity to speak for anyone and their own battles that they face in life. We want our music to resonate with people and offer a sense of comforting familiarity that we ourselves so often find in our favourite songs.’

Although the duo’s tracks are heavily laden with interlocking melodies and various atmospheric textures, the duo write, create, record and mix all of these sounds themselves in their own home and are constantly working on new material to release in what is an unsettling time for the music industry.

‘We always want to make sure we have full control over the sounds and songs that we create; being your own producers adds a new element of consideration over the music which although can be challenging at times, we hope adds a further dimension of detail to our tracks which we hope people can hear’.

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SINGLE REVIEW: We Are One – ‘We Are Rock n Roll’

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We Are One ‘were born and bred in Yorkshire – Doncaster if I’m reading their bio right – but formed in London ‘We Are Rock n Roll’ is their second single. Their first – We Are From Doncaster’ is certainly nailing their colours to the mast but why the hell not be proud of where you’re from.

They describe themselves as a hip-hop/punk band, that hard rocking punk with hints of post-hardcore and metal – more than hints to be totally honest. And if you’re expecting something played at breakneck speed, you’d be wrong. Look, this is no ballad obviously, OK? And it comes with loads of punk attitude. Actually this is a band who come with attitude in spades, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you’ve got the musical chops to back it up, and they have that.

It also comes with loads of obvious musical skill – there is guitar to die for, pounding drums, throbbing bass. And it’s put together really well. The whole – the punky vocals, the post-hardcore guitars, the hints of hip-hop, the surprise of the harmony backing vocals – is thrilling, exciting, a blast, a riot. It’s surprisingly addictive; this kind of crept up on me, after listening to it three or four t\imes I suddenly found myself reaching for it, singing along, at the oddest times.

This is an anthem, a declaration of intent, a statement of who this band are. And they are fucking rock ‘n’ roll. This is fucking rock ‘n’ roll. Play loud – very loud, the louder the better – and proud.

SINGLE REVIEW: Klammer – ‘I Don’t Know What It Is’

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First some information. This single is released as part of the Yesterday’s Not Here Project – a project to celebrate the work of Pete Shelley, and a fundraiser to raise money for the Memorial Fund that is being set up. In December an album of covers of Pete’s music (where he either wrote the words or music) will be released digitally.

So what have Klammer done with this song (from the ‘Homospaien’ album)? Well they’ve taken what was a kind of rave-y electronica and Klammerirised it. I can think of no other way of putting it. It’s kind of punky post-punk – in a way it reminds me of Sisters of Mercy. It’s doomy and dark guitars, with soaring vocals and a pounding beat.

But it doesn’t entirely lose the feel of the original. The original has something of a post-punk feel – think New Order – it’s just that it’s electronica. I can hear the original in Klammers’ version, even though it may sound completely different. They’ve taken something that’s there in the original, but only a hint of it, and magnified it, They’ve taken that as a starting point. And it’s clever musically to do that. This may raise the thought with you that it’s an exercise in musical cleverness. It isn’t because there’s a feel in the track that says they ‘mean this’, there’s heart and soul. It’s a tribute to the song done in their way, their own frankly fantastic way.

This, like the original, is a song to dance to, to lose yourself in the beat. To get hot and sweaty to, and that’s an order.

This Klammer track was released alongside The White Ribbons cover of ‘You Say You Don’t Love Me’

There was a limited edition 7” in clear vinyl of the two tracks, and this has now sold out. A black vinyl 7” will be available soon via Not Murdered Records’ Bandcamp Page – https://notmurderedrecords.bandcamp.com/music – where you can also pre-order the ‘Yesterday’s Not Here’ album.

Yesterday’s Not Here Project: https://www.yesterdaysnothere.co.uk

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