BANDCAMP DISCOVERY | THE NEW ROCK N ROLL : EXCELLENT SKELETON – S/T EP

Adrian Jones (Basement in My Loft) is back with Cardiff trio Excellent Skeleton and a new eponymous EP featuring re-workings of previously released Basement songs.

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POWER OF POP INTERVIEW: RALEGH LONG

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English singer-songwriter Ralegh Long’s new EP – We Are in the Fields – is a lovely pastoral rumination and very much a continuation of his well received Hoverance LP.  Ralegh was kind enough to answer a couple of our queries regarding the new EP, via email.

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ALBUM REVIEW: RALEGH LONG – WE ARE IN THE FIELDS E.P.

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Background
Ralegh Long is an English Singer-Songwriter. His critically acclaimed debut album, Hoverance — a beautiful pastoral record — was released on Gare du Nord Records in April 2015.

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ALBUM REVIEW: METRONOMY – SUMMER 08

Metronomy, from left, Joseph Mount, Anna Prior, Gbenga Adelekan and Oscar Cash

Background
Metronomy are an indie-electronic music group formed by Joseph Mount in 1999. The current band consists of Mount (vocals, keyboards and guitar), Oscar Cash (saxophone, backing vocals, guitars and keyboards), Anna Prior (drums and vocals) and Gbenga Adelekan (bass guitar and vocals). Mount recorded Summer 08 over two weeks largely by himself. He said he named the album is named in honor of the last summer he had free.

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ALBUM REVIEW: RED BAZAR – TALES FROM THE BOOKCASE

Red Bazar

Background
Red Bazar formed in 2007 with Andy Wilson on guitar, Paul Comerie on Drums and Mick Wilson on bass and keyboards.  The trio released their debut album in 2008, Connections which was an instrumental album.  It was very well received by the prog world and excellent reviews from around the world.  The use of more keyboards in subsequent recordings made it difficult for the band to play live as Mick was juggling between keyboards and bass, so the band took the decision to find a keyboard player.  After a long search and many auditions, along came Gary Marsh. Since then, the band have continued to write material, but wanted to try something different.  This resulted in a collaboration with vocalist Peter Jones, for the new album Tales from the Bookcase.

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BOOK REVIEW: GRAFT BY MATT HILL (ANGRY ROBOT BOOKS)

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Synopsis
Manchester, 2025. Local mechanic Sol steals old vehicles to meet the demand for spares. But when Sol’s partner impulsively jacks a luxury model, Sol finds himself caught up in a nightmarish trans-dimensional human trafficking conspiracy.

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LIVE REVIEW: SINGTEL AND SAMSUNG PRESENTS UP CLOSE WITH JESSIE J

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As much as we would confess to an aversion to what passes for pop music in 2016, the UK singer-songwriter Jessie J has always intrigued with her songwriting and unconventional style. There is a genuine earthy quality about Jessie J amidst the obligatory glitz and glamour of modern pop that endears, somewhat.

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ALBUM REVIEW: B-LEAGUERS – DEATH OF A WESTERN HEART

Photo credit: Gary D Chapman
Photo credit: Gary D Chapman

Background
Hailing from Lincoln in the UK, B-Leaguers describe their energetic, crunchy guitar rock as ‘powerpoppunkrock’. Consisting of James Popdog – vocals, Ched Howard – guitars, Mikey Barraclough – bass & Mark Barrett – drums/percussion, the band have released its debut album, Death of a Western Heart.

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ALBUM REVIEW: PJ HARVEY – THE HOPE SIX DEMOLITION PROJECT

PJ Harvey

Background
PJ Harvey is an English musician, singer-songwriter, writer, poet, and composer. With new album The Hope VI Demolition Project, Harvey has now released nine LPs. Harvey wrote the songs during her travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington D.C. with photographer/filmmaker Seamus Murphy between 2011 and 2014.

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ALBUM REVIEW: TELEGRAM – OPERATOR

Telegram

Background
Four-piece London-based, Anglo-Welsh indie rock band. They released their first single, the buzzed-about “Follow,” in 2013, produced by Dan Carey from the band Toy. Operator is the group’s hotly anticipated debut studio long player, via the band’s own Gramgram label.

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EP REVIEW: THE MAGIC ES – WE ARE MAGIC

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Background
Formed in 2014, Norwich’s The Magic Es consist of Pete Thompson (vocals/guitars), Jasper Stainthorpe (bass), Stuart Catchpole (drums) and Phil Woods (guitar). We Are Magic is their debut release.

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ALBUM REVIEW: SOME KIND OF ILLNESS – S/T

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It has taken a while for Some Kind of Illness to release their debut full length album but it’s definitely worth the wait! Consisting of brothers Mark and Paul Hinks, SKOI encapsulates a myriad of genres that have captured the lovers of indie-alternative rock for decades.

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POWER OF POP INTERVIEW: TUFF LOVE

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One of the most refreshing discoveries of this year for Power of Pop has to be Glasgow-based indie band, Tuff Love.

Their new album Resort – a compilation of three previously released EPs is the perfect jumping on point for anybody who has not heard of this amazing band yet.

Best part of all this is that based on the answers from Julie and Suse, Tuff Love is as charming, witty and down to earth as their heartfelt music suggests. Enjoy!

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ALBUM REVIEW: TUFF LOVE – RESORT

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Scottish indie pop has a rich history going way back to Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Altered Images, The Bluebells and Lloyd Cole & The Commotions back in the heady days of the 80s. Say hello to Glasgow’s Tuff Love, who carry on this tradition with sunny, tuneful guitar pop that recalls a special time.

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ALBUM REVIEW: RIGHT HAND LEFT HAND – S/T

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Right Hand Left Hand is a two-piece band: Andrew Plain (drums/guitars) and Rhodri Viney (guitars/ vocals/ drums) from Cardiff, Wales. “2 members playing 2 guitars, 2 drum kits, centred around a loop station”, as their official bio informs us.

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POWER OF POP INTERVIEW: CIRCA WAVES

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Liverpool-based indie rockers Circa Waves have emerged as the next big thing on the UK music scene with a Top 10 debut album (Young Chasers) and a sold-out UK tour to boot. Taking the early Noughties indie boom (think: The Strokes, The Libertines & Arctic Monkeys) & re-packaging its shiny bright sound for today’s teenagers, Circa Waves have caught on like wildfire.

Truth be told, when I read the email about Dr Martens bringing the band on a South East Asian tour for #StandForSomething, I had not even heard of them! But a quick listen to Young Chasers, led me to conclude that it’s at least comforting that a real pop band playing real pop music is making waves (sorry!) out there in the pop wasteland.

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Before their gig at Theatreworks last night, I was privileged to speak to Kieran Shudall (vocals, guitar) and Joe Falconer (guitarist) – the band is completed by Sam Rourke (bass), Colin Jones (drums). I must say that it was probably one of my most enjoyable face-to-face interviews since… the one with Travis last year (?) Well, you know, I’m an anglophile so chatting with British musicians is always a bonus for me. Check out the highlights of our conversation below.

Where do the songs come from? Your head, your heart or your groin?

Kieran – Somewhere in between the head and the heart, maybe the neck? In that area, collarbone. They’re a mixture of all things – contemplation, frustration – not many from the groin. Although there are some sex songs on the next record.

What is your musical philosophy?

Kieran – Be genuine, I think. (PoP – What does that mean to you?) It means, not compromising too much, always making music for yourself. If people like it, it’s because they like what you’re thinking about or talking about. You’re trying to write something cuz you love it.

Are you happy people?

Joe – Yeah. I mean, I’m not unhappy. It does sound like an upbeat record except for the lyrics…

Kieran – Well, I’m pretty upset with myself, most of the time.

Joe – I think that’s good. Who listens to songs with happy lyrics? Really.

Kieran – Like the Cure or The Smiths – some of the songs are major-y but they’re all about heartbreak.

(PoP – “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” is a good example)

Kieran – Yeah, that’s spot on with our music. “Lost It” is major chords and quite happy but it’s about being fucking miserable.

(PoP – That’s the vibe I get from “Fossils”)

Joe – Guess it’s kinda like the equivalent of shouting into a pillow. A release. Y’know positive energy comes out of it.

Kieran – There’s a happiness and euphoria about telling people how miserable you are.

What do you hope to get out of life?

Joe – I don’t want to do anything I don’t want to do. Being in this band is the most fun ever. And if this all ends, then I hope that the next thing I do is like that — I want to do that everyday. I never want to turn into those people who literally dread waking up 5 days a week. Well, y’know, I feel like that has to happen but will try to avoid it as much as possible.

Kieran – I’d like to get to the point where I don’t give a shit about what people think of me. Just being content with my lot. Growing old and just being happy with the paper and a cup of tea. And that would be nice.

(PoP “When I’m 64” Kieren starts singing…)

Kieran – Yes, I would like to be content. 3 kids. House in Spain, house in Canada. Maybe an apartment in New York.

What is it like to be a band from Liverpool, which has such a rich heritage of producing some of the greatest bands ever?

Joe – It’s the sort of place where people encourage you when you’re doing well. ‘Well done. Go ahead lad’. Everyone wishes you well. Lots of people are still around – Zutons, Bunnymen, for example. It doesn’t feel like we’re that separate (from the bands that came before).

Kieran – It’s a very real place and people don’t tend to forget who they are and where they are from. It feels like you’re from somewhere with a real identity.

When you are playing on stage – what do you feel? What goes on in the head?

Joe – The perfect show is when everything is happening automatically but at the same time you’re taking everything in. So you’re aware of the experience but you’re not distracted and you know something good is happening. The worst gigs are the ones when you can’t get out of your head. Your mind goes blank and you go off stage and it’s like it never happened. Those are the best gigs.

Kieran – Hard to explain when it’s really going well. Euphoric feeling – like having a constant orgasm really, on stage.

Ginny

It did seem, from my perspective, when Circa Waves finally took the stage at 10pm – Riot !n Magenta opened with an invigorating set with Ginny Bloop bringing it! – that it was the young lasses in the audience that were the ones getting off – know what ah mean? Really enthusiastic crowd that did justice to the band’s energetic performance. Especially the kids that were cordoned off – underaged at an event with free booze – there was something for everyone, definitely.

Kudos to Dr Martens for another great #StandForSomething show (remembering the memorable night with Deap Vally last year). How about Nada Surf in 2016??? Pretty please???

Thanks to Andy Chua (Dr Martens) and Pardon My French PR (Sandra Cameron & Sharon Wong) for kind hospitality etc. All photographs by Jazreel-Anne.

SINGLE REVIEW: JET NOIR – A COLD DAY IN HELL WILL BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY

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Labelling herself as “electronic progressive goth”, Jet Noir is not too far from the truth. Her sound and vision is true to her artistic intent. Nothing is out of place on this darkly invigorating single. Her sensual spoken word verses segue seamlessly into slinky refrains as images of flickering horror flash before your eyes. Yet there’s an inclination to slow dance your way through this electro piece mesmerised by its insistent beats and arrangements – “The grayness is coming/It’s walking the streets”.

The perfect single for your Halloween predilections, if so inclined.

There are three remixes to consider as well, each one delivers a different perspective but at its core, “A Cold Day in Hell” remains arresting.

Her E.P. The Hall of Ghosts is coming soon.  One to keep an eye out for.


DISCOVERED @ SPOTIFY – THE NEW BRIT

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Regular visitors to Power of Pop will be aware of my obsession with British pop-rock, from The Beatles to the Who to the Kinks to the Stones and on and on and on…  Since the end of the 90s (and the demise of Britpop), I have always been hoping for a revival of British pop-rock (and I do not mean the post-punk revival like The xx! Ugh!!)

Well it’s now 20 years since the heyday of Britpop and surveying the British pop-rock scene in 2015, there appears to be a couple of promising acts that hopefully will make the grade to generate enough buzz for this particular brand of pop-rock to dominate once again. In fact, I have found 20 bands that fit the bill completely – check out my playlist below and do let me know if you have other recommendations?

… still there’s more …