Just under 12 months ago, as the curtains were being drawn on 2012 and we were preparing to switch off the light, four guys from Manchester knocked on the door and asked to come in for a moment. Seven minutes was all they asked for and seven minutes was granted. Before those seven minutes were even over, 2012 had thrown open the curtains, discarded it’s dressing gown and was hastily pulling up its jeans, yelling to everyone who could hear, ‘wait, wait, I’m not done yet, there’s more and its really special’.
The four guys were Embers and the seven minutes belonged to the grandiose noise of “Hollow Cage”, a track which came just in time to storm our end of year list but too late to influence our (and many other bloggers) 2013 previews. A month earlier, we said at the time, and the Blog Sound of 2013 longlist could have looked quite different.
After that explosion into the blogoshpere’s collective consciousness, 2013 progressed quite steadily for Embers. Building gradually like the cinematic narrative of the aforementioned “Hollow Cage” as they first supported then headlined numerous shows and released a new single, the storming “Part Of The Echoes”. They played two sets at The Great Escape, one in a grand high-ceilinged venue that allowed their music to spread and soar, the other in the cramped space of the Mesmerist pub where their sound exploded out at the audience, pummelling them with intensity and energy as veins bulged and sinews strained. It was one of the most intense, in your face performances we saw all year and we loved it.
The build has been steady but ultimately there will come a crescendo, an explosion of sound and success that their promise surely demands and deserves.
2014 is just about to wake up, and Embers are waiting outside ready to knock on the door.
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It’s Halloween, which means that across this fair isle and beyond people will be dressing up as slutty pumpkins and preparing for the walk of shame tomorrow morning, having no doubt got down and dirty to some day-appropriate tracks like this one and this one (other novelty songs are available).
While Straw Bear’s latest track is not Halloween specific, nor a novelty song, it does have ‘witch’ in the title and they are named after a pagan festival, so it feels appropriate to post it today. In fact, rather than make us think of trick or treating or getting drunk while wearing a sheet over our heads (wooo-ooooh), “The Land Witch” randomly made us think of Steeleye Span and the ‘ugliest witch in the north country’ (we blame Alphabet Bands Sr for introducing us to that one when we were too young to know any better) despite not sounding that much like it at all (it’s less overtly folky for a start)
It’s not based on an old ballad either, rather a misheard remark from lyricist Ian Ray’s nan when he was a kid. God knows what she actually said but Ray was convinced she heard her tell his Dad there was a Land Witch living in the woods. It didn’t take long for this child’s fertile imagination to create a horrific nightmare about a ‘cannibalistic old hag’ waiting patiently to steal any poor child who dared venture into the woods. Now, as an adult, and no longer afraid of the mythical land Witch (though we bet he is a little – we’re still scarred by Alphabet Bands Sr scaring the bejeezus out of us as a little’un with a tale of abducting witches, a bamboo stick and a bedroom window) he has taken those imaginings and turned them into a delightfully evocative folk-rock song.
Like a collection of wandering minstrels, the Straw Bear gents set about telling the tale of the terrible witch and her evil doings in a track that is alive and crackling like fire. It spits out embers of beats and strings and calls to you to pause and take in its wild natural beauty. Hypnotic flames twist and lick the night sky, no doubt as the Land Witch herself stalks ever nearer to your distracted body, waiting to make her move…
Happy Halloween everyone!
Straw Bear’s debut album, ‘Black Bank’ is out now and available to buy here.
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You know all those preconceptions you have about sleepy Norwich? All the stereotypes you have heard about and all the objects and persons that reside within our Fine City that the rest of the world likes to rib with affectionate banter and ridicule?
Forget them. They are done. The amazing new three-piece Mega Emotion has put them away in a glass jar and smashed the ever loving piss out of it with a sledgehammer. This is the new Norwich and it’s about to blow your freaking mind.
Named after an ice-cream (that’s right, a flipping ice-cream) Mega Emotion has just the one demo online right now but if these girls and a guy can continue to create the crazy exciting and intense sounds of “Brains”, we are all in for a treat.
Seventies pop guitars and neo-disco basslines soon give way to brash, angular riffage and dark electro flashes while legwarmer wearing Zombies lumber about, hunting down their prey. Dayglo socks, global hyper-colour t-shirts and fuck-off massive shoulder pads to support the weight of their boomboxes are de-rigueur for this neon-Zombie chic as bedlam ensues all around.
“Brains” is big, bold, raw and powerful. Like the concentrated force of 100 drunken Delia Smith’s calling out the world for a rumble on the Prince of Wales Road at 3am on a Saturday, it doesn’t give a crap who comes calling. It is going to destroy you with its massive hooks and chaotically brilliant sound.
Mega Emotion, we salute you; take our brains, we won’t be needing them anymore.
”Brains” is out now and available to buy from the Mega Emotion Bandcamp page.
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It’s only been a couple of months since we last heard from the prodigious talent of Misty Miller and the release of her Next To You EP. Yet here she is, rocking on once more with a new demo, “Taxicab”. She’s been working on a few actually, all of which sound great even channelling Chrissie Hynde on a couple but this is the first one she has chosen to share with us, and it’s a belter.
In fact we’d go so far as to say that, for our money, “Taxicab” is the high point of Misty’s short career thus far. The guitar creeps along, slinking stealthily and keeping low to the ground ready to pounce with deadly precision. The vocals skulk along to begin with as well. But then the two join forces to ambush and devour their prey to a classic bluesy track with added True Blood-style swampiness.
Misty sings with rawness and a power that stretches beyond her previous efforts and the whole thing feels like it should be listened to in some old ramshackle hut, hidden amongst the trees in the Deep South while the patrons smash each other with chairs and have a whale of a time.
It’s fantastic, and it’s just a rough demo. Hopefully a final version won’t have smoothed off those edges as it is the gritty, muddy feel that helps make it sound so good.
Misty Miller’s ‘Next To You’ EP is out now on Relentless Records and can be bought here.
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Is that summer over and done with then? We had a couple of weeks of blistering heat so that sounds about right. Oh well, it was good while it lasted.
It’s a shame really as there are more and more summer friendly tracks out and about for us all to enjoy, one which we had planned to feature a while ago but are only just getting round to now (sorry guys) is “Mudpunch” by the young Norwich based indie-pop-rockers, The R.P Murphys (named after the Jack Nicholson character, R.P McMurphy, in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest incidentally).
Ironically, with such an evocative title, listening to “Mudpunch” conjures up neither images of mud or punches. Rather the opening riff calls back to The Who, talking about another generation altogether, before playful guitar twangles that should be soundtracking a montage of the band messing about on a boat on the Broads kick in. It’s all smiles and larks showcased via fuzzy edges and light sheen on the screen. The slightly more depressing, yet optimistic, video they made to accompany the song works really well too mind you.
The vocals on this three minute long slice of summery indie-pop are suitably cool, especially when juxtaposed with the more frenetic and bouncy guitar lines and rhythms, and feel a little out of reach, like they are being sung through a screen door. Though it is worth noting that live renditions are anything but cool or soft, with a very vocal and enthusiastic (some might say rowdy) fanbase already established in our fine city, gigs can get quite sweaty and rawkus, which is exactly how they should be for indie up and comers such as The R.P Murphys.
“Mudpunch” is available now on a ‘pay what you want’ deal via The R.P Murphys’ Bandcamp page or free download from the player below.
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