Tag Archives: Blues

John J. Presley – “Honeybee”

21 Oct

John J Presley

We did warn you earlier today that we were in the mood for music that grinds and shudders. We’re in the mood for music that straddles the line between unwashed and hobo-chic while totally pulling off the looking and sounding cool thing. We’re in the mood for the kind of music that John J. Presley is giving us with his new single, “Honeybee”.

As any two year old child will tell you, the sound a honeybee makes is ‘buzz’. Yet Presley’s honeybee not only buzzes as the guitars warp and reverberate around the darkened underground room he is no doubt playing in; it bends and distorts, it stomps and smashes and it pretty much rocks our little world.

Honestly, it’s the kind of music that if we could, we’d be playing. We love that twisted, fuzzy guitar sound and the bluesy rhythms and his laconic drawl. Holy cow we love his intonation, the way he draws out ‘delusion’ into a woozy sentence in its own right is just fantastic. There’s a wonderfully hidden poshness buried in those vocals, like Frank’n’Furter rocking some moonshine soaked blues on the karaoke.

We bloody love it.

”Honeybee is out now via Killing Moon records and is available to buy from iTunes.

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Saint Agnes – “Where the Lightning Strikes” (video)

21 Oct

Saint Agnes

For all our love of music that tends to go pop, or whirr with electro hums, gasp with breath like atmospherics or bounce with a thumping bassline, there is a large part of us that cannot live without the angular grind of guitar and the sweaty, dirty howl of blues-driven rock. Which is why, as soon as we heard “Old Bone Rattle” a few months ago, we knew that Saint Agnes was going to be one of those bands that we would be falling in love with. That they have hitched their sail to a fantastically dark and deviant ship helmed by the Energy Snake crew only served to seal the deal.

Following on from the re-release of “Old Bone Rattle” this year, the duo have released the suitably foreboding and twisted “A Beautiful Day For Murder” and have now shared the wonderfully scratched and retro filtered video for the b-side, “Where the Lightning Strikes”.

‘But Mr Alphabet Sir’, we (like to think we) hear you say (and do keep calling us Sir) ‘why are you sharing the b-side? Surely you should focus on the a-side as by definition it is ranked ‘a’ which is clearly better than ‘b’. No?’

Well, small pedantic person who we just conjured up in our mind, no.

Sure we could, but if everyone did exactly what you expected, life would be pretty dull. Also, as good as “A Beautiful Day For Murder” is, and it is very very good (so good we’re streaming that below too), we’re in the mood for something a bit rockier and a bit dirtier. Something covered in the dust of the desert and full of coyote howl harmonicas. We’re in the mood for a track that sidles up next to you in a bar in the old west, drains a whiskey, smiles at you and then starts an almighty bar room brawl just for shits and giggles. We’re in the mood for a track whose rhythm stomps and struts, whose melody embraces the chaotic nature of the universe and that has a grand organ wail that matches its stupendously arrogant and confident attitude.

Yeah, pop is great and all, but today it’s all about the sleazy grind of the blues.

”A Beautiful Day for Murder”, backed with “Where the Lightning Strikes”, is out now and available to buy on iTunes.

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Courtly Love – “For Your Love, I Get High”

29 Apr

Courtly Love For Your Love I Get High

Love can do funny things to a person; when reciprocated and indulged it can make you as high as the proverbial kite. It can make you feel light as air and as if you can do and achieve anything you want and everything that each of your five senses encounters feels blissful and smile inducing. When you’re in love and are loved back, the world is a marvellous place. When your love is not shared by your object of affection though, or worse still, is rejected in favour of another, you can feel like the world is the worst place imaginable. Your mind is in turmoil, you feel nausea and unsteady, doubt and fear wracks your soul and nothing compares to the pain you are experiencing.

We adore Courtly Love, we think they are ”effortlessly cool” and would go so far as to say we love them. We don’t know how they feel about us but that’s ok at the moment, this is still a burgeoning affair and we are happy to see where it goes. Certainly the music they have shared with us so far makes us believe we could be in this for the long haul, but we’re not ready to pick out curtains just yet. Mind you, if they keep making tracks as deliriously woozy as “For Your Love, I Get High”, it won’t be long before we have to introduce them to our parents.

A mere B side to their forthcoming debut single (“Mirage”, due 2 June), “For Your Love, I Get High” is a glorious two-minute representation of loved up giddiness. Trippy, psychedelic bluesy guitars melt and befuddle like deep kisses with the person of your dreams. You are left light headed and dizzy, but so deliriously happy like you are floating.

This is love, there’s no doubt about it.

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Listen: Kendra Morris – “Concrete Wave”

23 Jan

Kendra Morris

We love that feeling you get when you hear the opening bars of a song and you get a tingle of excitement because you just know it’s going to be utterly fantastic. That instantaneous moment that exists when you fling a new track on and are immediately taken out of everything else and have to focus entirely and intently on the sounds filling your ears. That’s how we felt when the opening crash of drums, piano and the creeping guitar sounds of Kendra Morris’s newly re-released for the UK market “Concrete Wave” hit; we were instantly hooked.

We’d missed the track when it was originally released last year and had not heard the expression concrete wave before either. We presumed it was something architectural, a concrete wave sweeping out from the ground across the skyline for example, though it does sound a tad violent, a variation on a Glasgow Kiss perhaps?

It turns out our initial thought was mostly correct as it is apparently a skateboarding term. Flinging yourself about on an oversized roller skate never sounded so enticing as Kendra’s magnificently soulful and powerful voice rings out across the cityscape of seventies blaxploitation vibed funk (the bassline is amazing) and blues.

The skateboarding metaphor, Kendra says, is about that moment where you are doing something that “feels so good but could easily turn on you” and by God it is. It is dark and sensual, dangerous, sexy and ridiculously seductive all at once. It’s the aural equivalent of a secret sexual fantasy, one you’re not quite confident enough to suggest to your partner because it might involve kidnapping or being tied up by a stranger you met in a bar. You know it’s a bit edgy, dark and dangerous but you can’t help but be excited and turned on by it.

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Effortlessly cool: Introducing: Courtly Love

3 Jan

Courtly Love

Don’t judge a book by its cover they say, take your time and look within, don’t base any opinions on an initial glimpse at nothing more than the surface. Absolutely, we totally agree, but sometimes, sometimes, one look is all it takes. That’s kind of what happened with us and Courtly Love. One look at their press shot (small version above) and we had that tingle, we just knew these guys were going to be great. We could feel it in our bones, our water, our gut or whatever you want to call it, we were certain they would sound amazing. We weren’t wrong.

We first heard them at the back end of October thanks to Mr Von Pip, but with posts already planned and the great end of year list-o-mania in the works, we held back on posting until we had more time to write and more time to spend with their fantastic bluesy, guitar driven psychedelic sounds. We’re glad we did, the three tracks of this East London based quintet of Johnny, Layla, Ben, Jules and Jake have been our yuletide listens; Christmas never sounded so chic.

They are named after the medieval concept of chivalry, the secret expressions of love between members of the nobility and there is something almost voyeuristic and illicit about their sound which is laced with excitement and danger. Glamorous but a little bit dark with it, pulse quickening as if anyone could discover you and your secret at any second. All while looking effortlessly cool of course, probably nonchalantly smoking Gauloises or something.

Courtly Love feel fully formed, no assembly required, they are up and ready to go and ready to blow your mind. They were probably born in black and white, wearing perfectly fitting vintage outfits and smouldering at the midwife as they were delivered. Man, we love this band. Is it wrong that we kind of want to be them?

The opening chords of “Mirage” will take you where you need to go, down the back stairs, through a nondescript door and into the kind of bar you only ever see in films. Part speakeasy, part dangerously hip establishment, and part the best bar you’ve ever been in. The band will be up on stage, looking cooler than anyone else in the room. All eyes on them as drinks are poured, drunk and refilled. Johnny and Layla swapping vocals as the jangle of guitar fill the room.

We should stop for a moment to mention the vocals actually, particularly Layla’s (though Johnny’s are really good too). There is a subtle power to her voice, a far reaching and disarmingly captivating power. And, as you’d expect, she sounds so fucking cool. Not Lana trying too hard sort of cool, it’s naturally cool and stylish, the more potent kind.

“Voodoo Girl” has an arid quality to it with strings that give off a heat haze from the dusty desert rocks of the crashing snare and cymbals. Vultures circle overhead as our heroes search for shelter from the blazing sun above.

It, like all of their songs thus far, just sounds so damn exciting. You can get lost in the whole thing, transported to another world, a world you won’t want to leave. The original meaning of Courtly Love has been described as “a love at once illicit and morally elevating” and that is just how they sound, illicit, thrilling, inspiring and enriching. Oh yes, of course, and really fucking cool.

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