Blending a range of roots based genres, from jazz to acoustic, excellent songwriter Tom Townsend is ready to open 2018 with a bang, releasing new album ‘Leave It Up To Me’ throughout the UK. Proficient in a number of instruments, Townsend started with drums and guitar but expanding into piano, bass guitar and even mandolin. It makes you sick how talented he is.
It’s culminated in an album which is stuffed to the gills with excellent songs, amongst which you’d be hard pressed not to find something to fall in love with. ‘Be For Me’ is a balladic highlight, as is album closer ‘Slowly’, with its combination of piano and acoustic guitar. It’s in these slower, more contemplative moments that the album is maybe at its strongest, but that’s not to say the more upbeat toe-tappers don’t have plenty to offer.
Clocking in at a tidy 5 tracks totalling around 20 minutes, the new EP from original song writer Joe Rhinewine is a short, sharp and well judged introduction to perhaps one of the most unusual artists you’re likely to hear this year. With a healthy respect for the skill and musicianship that goes into old school funk and blues, Rhinewine has embraced the style for his ‘Songs from NowHere’ EP, but adapted it to make it his own.
The blues foundations of the record, which are played with real dexterity by Rhinewine himself, take something of a backseat to his unique lyrical writing style and delivery. As a practicing Buddhist, it won’t surprise you to learn that some of his songs take on a real depth of meaning and feeling, while others border on the banal. Take for example the track above – delivering sly humour while not being about anything in particular. This blend of the blues, the deep and the shallow make for a very compelling collection, well worth seeking out on Amazon if you’re in the mood for something different.
A fantastic British rock trio with many musical years of experience, The Kite Collectors are a band of experienced musicians with a host of creative ideas to share with the world. It seems their recent album ‘Clockface’ has been gaining suitably good reviews online thanks to its upbeat rock style, and the band have now decided to share the love even further by making album track ‘Wonder’ available online.
It’s a well titled song, opening with a lovely bluesy feel before spiralling into more straight rock territory. In doing so, it marks The Kite Collectors as a band well worth your time, a view obviously shared by independent label Paisley Records.
The full album has been available since April, and can still be found on the label’s website. And if you’re on the hunt for a well produced, well conceived collection of new rock songs, this could be a good fit for you.
For fans of old school dirty guitar riffs, Strangers Know More will be manna from heaven. Created by three industry veterans who have found cult success since the 1970s in various bands, SKM are something of a throwback to the hey day of punk, but with added blues rock flavours.
Their new track ‘Shoot The Witness’ is now streaming online, and is a great introduction to the band. It also marks the first in a number of releases currently in the pipeline. It’s set to be a busy year for SKM – with new material on the way and gigs set for the UK and beyond, now is the perfect time to discover them.
Having found huge, worldwide acclaim as part of dance music powerhouse Faithless, multi-talented performer Maxi Jazz is back with a new band and a new sound.
The band, The E-Type Boys, explore a different side to Maxi’s musical personality. Inspired by the funk, soul, reggae and jazz genres, this is a darker sound in many ways, utterly compelling throughout. Knowing Maxi Jazz’s background in full on dance only makes it all the more intriguing.
There’s more new music coming in the New Year, but in the meantime Maxi Jazz and the E Type Boys have offered up a little taste of what’s to come with the track above, ‘Bitter Love’.
You can also find the band performing live if you’re quick, with dates in Manchester tonight (Tuesday 8th) at Club Academy and in Birmingham on tomorrow (Wednesday 9th) at Institute The Library before heading off to Europe.
When track number one of your album is the soulful, upbeat ”Skippin’ Stones’ – which can be heard above – then the early indications are you’re on to a winner. The good news for US singer Kelly Moneymaker, is that those early indications are correct.
The 12 tracks that follow are just as joyful, and just as full of energy. They don’t all have this pace, because a bit of light and shade is needed to stop things becoming monotonous.
However, whether the songs are fleet of foot (‘Skippin’ Stones’, ‘Mudslide’), mid-tempo (‘Campin’ Song’) or slow (‘You Know How To Love Me’), this feels like a celebration. A celebration of soul, rock and roll and an epic vocal performance from Moneymaker.
Coming at 58 minutes and comprising 14 songs, the debut album from songwriter Michael Armstrong is something of a rarity in modern times. It’s a throwback to when albums had more substance and volume, when they were packed out to the full with quality tracks, as opposed to today’s equivalent – 45 minutes of music, mostly filler to make up the numbers around the singles.
A romantic notion perhaps, that the musicians of yesteryear all outweigh those of modern times, but that’s the feeling you’re left with by Michael Armstrong’s album. It’s a look back at the styles and ideas of songwriting past, giving credence to the phrase ‘they don’t make them like they used to’. It feels like Armstrong understands this point, and writes songs based on the older ways – and it pays off.
Maybe it’s the lovely production on the double layering of acoustic guitars that runs through it, maybe it’s the use of several saxophone solos throughout the album, but this is a new album not grounded in the modern. Instead inspiration comes from classic songwriters and the album is all the better for it.
It’s fitting then that one of the most moving tracks on the album is a cover of Billy Joel’s ‘Allentown’. That’s not to say that the original songs on show here aren’t great, but this cover sums things up nicely. A tribute to the good old days of songwriting, but with a contemporary sheen: