Tag Archives: Indie

SLEAVE: ‘Homebound.’

That album, ‘Don’t Expect Anything’ is now completed and primed for release in autumn, this year.

By this time, I was thinking more along the lines of Blink 182 type pop punk bands. And then the mood changed yet again with the chorus which had me convinced their was a wee bit Foo Fighters inspiration creeping in.

So, there’s definitely a lot going on here for just one track! And, I’m pleased to say my UK related were somewhat confirmed when I read that the band have recently signed a deal with UK label Engineer Records.

(It’s tenuous and most probably a simple coincidence, I know, but I’m claiming it anyway!)

THE DARLING FIRE: ‘Dark Celebration.’

A band that boasts members who have played with, amongst others, Poison The Well, Dashboard Confidential and The Rocking Horse Winner are surely going to pique your interest , right?

To class The Darling Fire an Indie Supergroup would be all too easy, and cheezy, but they are most definitely a super group.
(That’s just so stereotypically ‘British,’ sounding isn’t it? And, when I think about, even more cheezy than Supergroup. But it’s done now.)

Dark Celebration‘ is just that. It’s “ …really a celebration of dark themes and experiences that have occurred in our lives both personally and distantly,” says guitar player Matthew Short.

“While we’ve each had some struggles in our lives, we wouldn’t be where we are at this moment if not for those dark times,” vocalist Jolie Lindholm adds.

Album opener ‘For The Loveless,’ is a solid, mid-tempo, driving rock song, as heavy on the drums as the fuzzy guitars.

‘Nevertwin‘ is possibly my favourite track of the eight. It’s of slower pace than the first song and while it has a sort of dreamy, ethereal feel to it, it’s still powerful and totally rocks!

Omaha,’ definitely starts out in a dark place. Mean and moody, the pace picks up for the choruses where it takes on a more expansive sound with some great guitar work. ‘Catatonia,’ raises the tempo somewhat and is classic indie rock, with pounding drums and a catchy chorus.

Silver Spider,’ is the song that convinced me of my (possibly wayward) initial thinking that Jolie’s vocal style is reminiscent of Liz Fraser from The Cocteau Twins. I know that probably sounds odd, and her voice is certainly deeper than Liz’s, but there’s definitely something there. Trust me.

The Constant,’ has a dreamy, relaxed feel to it that builds towards a more full-on climax. ‘Saints in Masquerade,’ is a total indie rocker, definitely vying with ‘Nevertwin‘ as my favourite. I must say too – what a brilliant video! Big props to director Ian Fursa.

The album closes with ‘In Twilight‘ – almost five and a half minutes of slow burning musings from Jolie that build in intensity and confirm my earlier vocal comparison. At least in my head.

Altogether this is one classy rock album. Thoughtful lyrics and concept delivered in a clean and uncluttered fashion. It’s melodic, but not sugar sweet , and best of all, it KICKS ASS!.

PLUVIAM: ‘Searching.’

What began as a musical experiment some eighteen months ago has resulted in the blossoming of Pluviam – an exciting young band now making their mark in the underground music scene of Birmingham.

Eighteen months ago, singer James Riley and drummer Mike Tabone joined forces and dabbled with mixing their various personal musical influences which ranged from Indie-Pop to Metal to 20th Century Expressionism – whatever the hell that is.

James and Mike have subsequently been joined by Tom Boddison on guitar and Calvert Stephens on bass and only last week played to a sell-out crowd at Birmingham’s Sunflower Lounge.

Their debut single, ‘Searching‘ was released in mid-June. It’s a dramatic, three and a half minute opus combining the vocal style of Tom Yorke with a heavy, raucous Linkin Park inspired backing that kicks in for the final half.

Vocalist James explains the band’s sound: “I believe our style to be an amalgamation of all our influences. Where I am into composers such as John Cage, deriving his sound from experimenting with timbral qualities of the piano, and artists such as James Blake and Jordan Rakei, deriving their sound from Jazzy and RnB based roots, Mike is highly influenced by the likes of Metal acts such as Slipknot and also by pop acts such as Amy Winehouse. Therefore, we try to mix it all together in a magnificent blend of experimentation!”

Here’s a ‘teaser’ video, incorporating a snippet from the single, ‘

Could be worth keeping an eye (and ear) out for these guys.

ELSON: ‘Closer to.’

(James) Elson, is a Leeds based, Merseyside born, singer / songwriter, who first came to prominence as one half of ENGINE, a band that started out as a psychedelic rock outfit but eventually morphed into an electronic production duo.

It was the release of a well received EP, ‘Cucumber Water,’ that brought ENGINE to the attention of Leeds’ promoters Odd Job and they were so impressed they moved quickly to get the band onto the line-up of one their gigs. The relationship was maintained, plans to work together were knocked about and it was Odd Job who subsequently gave Elson his first solo gig in November, a support slot in a sellout event featuring another act hailing from Merseyside, The Tea Street Band. The next step was to collaborate on the release of some of the songs James has been working on as a side project over the last few years.

Closer To,’ is the result. This is Elson’s third release, one that began life with Engine. The psychedelic elements are still there and from a gentle, electro opening, the song quickly develops into a classy psyche-pop wig-out. The keyboards and syth dance away in the background, while the buzzing , frantic guitar sounds contrast with James’s more laid back vocal style.

Radio 6 Music’s Gideon Coe recently gave Elson a spin, and in early May, James also played a set at his home city’s prestigious Liverpool Sound City Festival.

As Harry Nilsson, (one of the artists James draws inspiration from) once said: ‘Let The Good times Roll.”

ABEL RAISE THE CAIN: ‘History Scenes.’

Abel Raise The Cain are a five-piece band from Teeside in the North East of England.

Since forming around seven years ago, they have built a fiercely loyal fanbase in their own neck of the woods and I see from their Soundcloud page, they have been given airplay by Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamaq.

I don’t know if they have any plans for world domination, but if they have designs on breaking out of their locale, then their latest single, ‘History Scenes,’ may just be the track to help them on their way.

The band themselves describe their music as being ‘epic / indie / orchestral / experimental / rock’ and they have piled all of these influences into this song. Well, maybe not so much of the ‘experimental,’ but everything else.

In recent years we have seen / listened to bands such as Elbow and Coldplay amongst others, have success with slow-burning tracks that build and build into a grandiose crescendo. ‘History Scenes,’ is of that ilk.

But rather than sounding anything like the two afore-mentioned bands, I hear this epic, swaying soundscape as more in the mould of very early James (‘Stripmine‘ album era) with the huge, anthemic choruses of Snow Patrol.

Yeah – that’ll just about do it. Nice job, lads – now spread those wings and fly!


Helpful Hint #1 for any budding music scribe: “where does your name come from?” is not a particularly good opening gambit when interviewing a band. In fact, it’s probably best avoid the question altogether. So I’m just going to dive straight in.

The name of this five -piece band from Burnley is actually a bit of a dichotomy, because nothing goes fast in Goa. OK – the scooters and cars do, but definitely not the trains.

Of course, ‘Express’ could refer to a newspaper, but that would put a real kybosh on my planned introduction to ‘The Day,’ the latest single release from The Goa Express.

Now based in Manchester where the lads are studying at Uni, Goa Express have honed their music and style over a number of years. And since moving to the ‘big city’ their development has benefited with support slots for the likes of Cabbage, Yak and The Orielles. They have also played with one of my favourite psyche bands, Moon Duo.

I absolutely love this track. It’s one of those instant songs. No build up, no faffing about – it’s in your face immediately. The vocals sound real snotty, with a ‘couldn’t give a tu’penny f***’ attitude to them; like a sleep deprived and caffeine overdosed Bob Dylan. Whirling Inspiral Carpets type organ, shrieking guitar and crashing cymbals prop up the song, which jumps out the speakers, shouts at you, then runs away. Just like that. Two minutes and fourteen seconds.

It’s a glorious hark back to the early days of punk. We need more of this.

(These lads have just taken over the mantle of my ‘new favourite band,’ from The Naked Party.)

Here’s a wee bonus to this post – a track from the 2018 EP ‘Use Your Brain.’

(‘The Day’ is released on Friday July 5th.)