Thursday, 29 October 2015

Review - Ian Prowse – Compañeros

Ian Prowse – Compañeros (Learpholl Recordings)


23 October 2015

8 / 10

Merseyside hero Ian Prowse releases his second solo album.  

There’s four songs from Ireland, three from Liverpool, two English, one Scottish and one Cornish.  It’s an album of cover versions that isn’t.  It is, because they’re tracks written by other artists.  It isn’t because they’re tracks which you probably haven’t heard before.  Ian Prowse gives the tracks his own unique touch and Compañeros is born.

Often sounding like a cross between Dick Gaughan and close friend Ian McNabb the album is a great listen with tracks which come from the heart and soul.  Following his striking debut Who Loves Ya Baby from 2014 which spurned the brilliant I Did It For Love, Prowse has re-interpreted eleven tracks including Name And Number which appeared on the Sport Of Kings album by his former band Pele.

Kicking off the album with Town And Country Blues it’s pretty clear that the album is going to be a mixed bag.  The song is given slightly more disciplined than the madcap version from Jim Jiminee and is probably the catchiest thing on the album as horn and accordion give the song a tremendous lift.

There are gentle moments too in the shape of single Mississippi Beat (Cousin Jac) performed with Pauline Scanlon of Lumiere, You Can’t Win The All Mum (The Lost Soul Band) and Eion Glackins What Am I To You, which are soon smashed away by Derry Goal (Alan Burke) with its ironic humour and prison life tale.

 Johnny And Marie originally performed by Liverpool’s Up And Running is another lively track which will have you singing the song long after its ended and the wonderful My Name Is Dessie Warren takes pride of place.  Written and originally recorded by Alun Parry is tells the story of the 1970s construction worker, who along with a certain comedian and actor Ricky Tomlinson was imprisoned for allegedly conspiring to intimidate the then trade union movement. 

Closing with over nine minutes of the revamped Name And Number is an uplifting end to an album which transcends many styles along the way and celebrates some great songs which have been forgotten over the last twenty five years.

Ian Prowse/Amsterdam website
Ian Prowse on Twitter
Amsterdam on Facebook
I Did It For Love review
Eoin Glackin album review

Published on Louder Than War 25/10/15 - here

If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.

Review - The Breadwinners - By The Sweat Of Your Brow

The Breadwinners – By The Sweat Of Your Brow 


Out Now

8.5 / 10

Rochdale dub mastermind releases his new album.  

On 12 December 2012, one of the finest albums of the year was released.  Dubs Unlimited by The Breadwinners sneaked under everybody’s ‘best of’ radars, but Louder Than War soon spotted the superb album giving it the recognition it deserved.  Now, the force behind the act, Al Redfern (Al Breadwinner) returns with another delightful taste of his own vintage sounding dub effects.

With accompanying vocals from the likes of Big Youth and City Culture twelve superb tracks are lined up each one as impressive as the previous.   In terms of modern dub, the results are fantastic with Redfern not afraid to throw in reverbs at any given moment making for a quite fearless and brave album with impressive outcomes.

Often sounding like classic reggae tracks, Al has the knack of creating some genuine sounding music.  Maybe it’s the affection for using quarter inch 6-track tape recorded live on analogue equipment that gives it its authentic sound, or maybe it’s his love of roots reggae by the great Jamaican stars.  Whatever, it’s near perfect.

From the opening bass throb of Eat Bread, Big Youth sings the praises of Manchester and his album host via the Bakery Studios.  It’s a brilliant start to proceedings by the legend who has worked with the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Bunny Wailer and the Abyssinians and the overall feel is that of the great 70s recordings.

What Redfern achieves is often nothing short of staggering, not only does he play the majority of the instruments himself but he also produces and mixes too.  Diana Bada makes an appearance on Peace Of Mind and fights the fight for female reggae artists superbly, and City Culture contributes to Jah Works and Thanks And Praise. 

Perhaps the highlight of the album is Babylon Block The Way with Rayon Walker whose track sounds like it was lifted from some Kingston sessions forty years ago and given a modern day remix.  It reeks of class and has a lovely bass that guides the track from start to end with Walker’s voice giving everything he’s got.

Burn Fire with Stevie SOtunes has so many dubs that it’s almost unbelievable, as its lazy relaxed pace holds together a gorgeous track with some great effects, and Babylon Try To Hold I Down (Christiano Jahvoice) contains dubs which can only be described as enthralling.

Yet another stunning album from Al Breadwinner who richly deserves wider acclaim.

If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

News - The Album Leaf Stream New Video

The Album Leaf never went away, but Jimmy LaValle's ambient, electronically laced project is certainly back. 

Having recently completed the follow up to 2010’s A Chorus of Storytellers on Sub Pop Records, the new album set for release in 2016 marks another shift in the evolution of the project's sound. Marked by warm, electronically laced full band instrumentation and notable vocal work, the new single "New Soul" is an early glimpse into the world of the new album.
“I wanted to experiment with my vocals,” LaVelle says about the song. “I’ve never been fully comfortable with the inconsistencies of my voice. I’m not a singer, I just choose to sing sometimes. I wanted to keep the honesty and not think about it too much. Lyrically, the song is about moving forward, getting out of your comfort zone.”

The video for “New Soul” was directed by Michael Raines, who has previously worked with the band on the 2014 tour documentary “Beyond There”, and the award winning cinematographer is Mike Simpson (who has made videos for Alt-J, Lil' Wayne, Solange and David Byrne). “We had little resources,” LaValle explains, “So we spent a weekend in Joshua Tree desert with friends and family contributing to the making of this video and I’m amazed with the result.” 


If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.

News - Sweet White Announce Debut EP

Sweet White are set to release their exhilarating debut EP "Monet" on the 23d of October.

Sweet White are a 5-piece indie band from Aberdeen, formed just a year ago. In a short space of time the band, through demo tracks they've released online and extensive gigging across the country, have received great reviews and support from local and national music press, radio and music fans alike.

The band describe their sound as "Funky grooves lined with darker tones.", comparable to the likes of Foals and Peace. Sweet White's sound has also been described in a live review as "Catchy as funk indie numbers guided by pop sensibilities."

The Monet EP consists of four tracks. Opening track "Tides", the first to be unleashed online in August, is a lush shoegaze affair with an abundance of jangly guitars and echoed vocals. Further 3 tracks, the haunting yet upbeat "Good Time", title track "Monet" and the blissfully epic closer "Dazin'" all combine fizzing guitar riffs with silky synths. If happy house wore skinny jeans and a leather jacket, this is probably how it would sound.


If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.

News - Snowpoet Release New Single

Following the success of their debut EP last year, return with their new single ‘Mermaid’.

The London-based group met whilst training at The Royal Academy of Music, with award-winning lyricist and vocalist Lauren Kinsella, and multi-talented Chris Hyson on electric bass, keyboards, synths, piano, acoustic guitar and Wurlitzer, supplying the foundations for their unique poetry-based alternative folk sound.

Taken from their forthcoming album, mixed by Alex Killpartrick and due for release in January 2016 on new label Two Rivers Records, ‘Mermaid’is described by the group as an exploration of the concepts of "curiosity and progression". Composed from the point of view of a small fish, it aims to illustrate our individualism whilst also demonstrating how we all contribute to a picture bigger than ourselves.

Featuring the group’s trademark combination of music and poetry, the track opens with echoing synths followed by soothing light percussion and a playful piano riff, aptly creating an image of the trickling water of the fish’s surroundings. The melody is soon joined by Lauren’s beautiful verse, textured by her soft mixture of speech, song, whispers and breath. As well as being inspired by the natural world, the composition reflects a wide range of influences from across the artistic spectrum, including Bon IverElizabeth BishopJoelle Leandre, Sylvia PlathChopin and Joni Mitchell.


If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.

News - King Korea Share New B-side

London-based garage rock trio King Korea unleash their debut single ‘Zoo Generation’ on 23rd October. A taut, three-minute explosion of blistering guitars, fuzzed-out bass and psychotic vocals, it’s an angry, pounding beast of a single.

King Korea formed in October 2014 after Spanish-Canadian frontman Bruno G. Roth moved to the UK. Drummer Roger Piazza left his home in Italy to do the same thing, and together with bassist Jim Hosking, set about creating furious, thoroughly modern rock and roll which calls to mind the best of The Cramps, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and The Black Keys.

The band have built up a dedicated fanbase through their riotous shows across London, and ‘Zoo Generation’ was recorded at breakneck speed in a single day in an attempt to capture the full-throttle experience of King Korea in full force.


If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

News - Niagara Announce Remix Album

Turin-Based experimental-pop duo Niagara are set to release ‘Don’t Take It Personally – Remixes’ via Monotreme Records on December 18th. The pair, comprised ofmusicians/producers David Tomat and Gabriele Ottino, released their second conceptual album last September, injecting elements of electronic, psychedelic, Eastern and EDM into more standard structures of Western pop music. It has now been given the deluxe remix treatment it deserves, with trademark reworks from the likes of Gonjasufi, Fennesz, Liars andAcid Pauli. It’s an interesting blend of booming electronics, blissed out psychedelia and pastoral textures, a genre-bending collection of remixes that never fails to surprise and excite.

While Liars stick to their tried and tested hard and chaotic style, avant-garde master Christian Fennesz utilizes some of the furthest extremities of the remix genre, expanding on the aesthetic of the original and delivering a mesmerising work-out built on originality and authenticity. Warp darling Gonjasufi provides the perfect soundtrack for a journey through desolate landscapes and Acid Pauli a moody yet thoughtful approach, perhaps typical from a member of The Notwist.

Niagara will be back with their third full length album next year, pushing the boundaries of studio production once again.


If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.

News - Poolhall Richard Releases New Single

"This is the world of Poolhall Richard: songwriting that exposes feelings (aka truths) that are rarely specifically planned. Maybe not the most conventional recipe for writing pop. Or maybe actually what goes on even in the minds (knowingly or unknowingly) of Sweden's most successful practitioners of the so called 'dark arts' of blockbuster songwriting(which have produced more Top10 hits than the Beatles). Poolhall Richard is a myth. An ideal. A place that exists presently in the head and hands of an artist formally barely know as Richard Reagh. He washed up on the shores of Arlanda more than 10 years ago now. He charmed, confused maybe even baffled (definitely annoyed), many card carrying members of the Swedish pop mafia. He may have even been a card carrying member himself for a matter of minutes. 

Poolhall Richard is the deconstruction of all of Richard Reagh's influences reconstructed as a new artist; one who still hasn't sung through microphone but rather, even when rocking or stomping his wah pedal, sings acoustically (though he will soon start singing through a 10 watt Hagström due to the increasing size of his audience). His songs can be both as stark and dry as the creosote railway ties of an abandoned crossing(under which his character grew up) at the height of summer or as moist and pungent as the oily spring runoff finding its way into a ditch which no one has ever actually set foot in or maybe even seen. (the possible exceptions being a lost homesteader or two trying to fulfill their nation's dream of Manifest Destiny) The truth has a way of exposing that destiny, manifest or otherwise. Now's your chance to tempt that fate."

Poolhall Richard on Soundcloud
Poolhall Richard on Twitter
Poolhall Richard on Facebook

If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.

News - The Landseers Release New EP

The Landseers are a  lo-fi, pastoral-post-punk Welsh/Connecticut Supergroup formed by friends of hiapop Blog Nat Lyon and Pulco together with Sweet Benfica.  Their debut EP is out now and you can listen to the tunes and purchase the CD over at their Bandcamp site. 

The Landseers on Soundcloud
The Landseers on Twitter

If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.

News - Racing Glaciers Announce New Single

Having already made a huge impact with their releases to date, Racing Glaciers return this October with an extensive UK tour and their brand new single, ‘Seems Like A Good Time’, released through Killing Moon on November 13th.

With tracks as infectious as new single ‘Seems Like A Good Time’, it’s no wonder the 5-piece have picked up over 2 million Soundcloud plays since they first emerged, winning huge support from BBC Radio 1 DJ’s including Annie Mac, Greg James and Fearne Cotton, performing at the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend, and touring with the likes of Dan Croll, Sons & Lovers and Coasts.

Festival slots have quickly followed, with Racing Glaciers appearing across Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape Festival, Secret Garden Party, London Calling in Amsterdam, Berlin Music Week, Y Not Festival, Wakestock and Beacons, and even reaching Hollywood with their track ‘First Light’ picked up for the ‘Transformers 4: Age of Extinction’ movie.

The new single ‘Seems Like A Good Time’ is a track that pulls together all that is great about the 5-piece from Macclesfield, as gloriously cinematic, inventive and essential as we need right now, and the first exciting glimmer of what is to come from their debut album release next year.

If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.