INTRODUCING. Cameron Avery with debut album review – Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams

Release date: 10 March 2017
Genre: Experimental blues/folk
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Words by: Scott Murray

With such an emphasis on production in the modern era, vocals have seemingly fallen to the back burner. This is not the case for Perth’s Cameron Avery. His debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams is a truly beautiful offering thanks to Avery’s transcendent vocals, with the entire album highlighting vocal qualities reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. This, paired with Avery’s poignant lyrics of longing and loss, create a dramatic vocal landscape.

That is not to say that Avery’s production suffers as a result, to the contrary Avery has created a striking instrumental landscape filled with sounds not of the modern age. His use of strings, horns and even an organ is shockingly refreshing in an industry filled with synths, and generic drum beats.

This old school sound shines in the albums fifth track, ‘Big Town Girl’, a soulful ode to Jane, the girl running circles in Avery’s brain. Avery drives this home in the song’s forth verse.

“You know I’ve never had the time to wait around for a dame, but if I knew that we could make it I’d wait around for Jane”.

The track begins with a swell of an organ before being joined by thoughtful guitar and minimalistic percussion. Avery’s voice then cuts through the instrumentals in what feels like an instant, but lasts in your ear for far longer.

A standout of this track is the pain in Avery’s voice, constantly oozing his longing and eventually his loss. These two themes can be heard throughout the record, no more so than when Avery croons “Could I suit her better, than that dark blue sweater? Probably not.”

There isn’t a tune on the record that manages to escape Avery’s titanic wave of despair, every track dips its toe into the deep pool of Avery’s pining. This coupled with Avery’s seeming opposition to contemporary sound has allowed Avery a unique opportunity to let his lyrics to take the fore.

However, there are tracks that seem entirely independent of this sound. The album’s third track ‘Dance With Me’ highlights this through its neo-western sound, similar to that of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds track ‘Red Right Hand’.

As well as this there are tracks that give glimpses of Avery’s psych rock pedigree. Avery, Tame Impala’s touring bassist and a former member of Pond, briefly lets his roots show in the album’s two busiest tracks ‘The Cry of Captain Hollywood’, an entirely instrumental track that is as rousing as it is peaceful, and ‘Watch Me Take It Away’.

Watch Me Take It Away begins with pulsing, almost sitar-esc guitar before the track takes flight with a swarm of rhythmic clapping and heavy short bursts of guitar and rapid fire percussion. This ensemble becomes a tapestry that allows Avery to highlight his range whilst also allowing his powerful lyrics to shine. The track follows Avery’s growth as he grasps that he need not waste his time on relationships without mutual respect, starting the third verse with the glass shattering realisation that his time is as important as anyone else’s. “I aint got time for your perversions, I spend my time transcribing versions of the truth”.

Overall the album is musically undefinable, and yet astoundingly beautiful. There is something ethereal about Cameron Avery’s voice that creates a sense of hope, despite the distinct sense of loss seen through almost all of his lyrics. This is a fantastic first effort from a talent that has been hidden behind a bass guitar for far too long.

 


Listen to the highly anticipated debut album from Cameron Avery here
Also make sure to check him out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

 

S.M.

 

EP REVIEW. Retrograde – Ariana & The Rose

Release Date: 24 March 2017
Genre: Synth-pop
Rating: ★★★★
Words by: Martina Di Gregorio

 

Ariana Di Lorenzo, or as she is most known as Ariana & The Rose, has finally released her first EP ‘Retrograde’, after teasing fans with the singles ‘Love You Lately’ and ‘Supercool’. Retrograde is coming out as the perfect embodiment of a young woman coming to terms with who she is. Originally from New York, Ariana is based in London and has been working to create a sound that truly represents herself; this album is full of powerful electro-pop anthems that would work to get anyone dancing while fully grasping the depth of both the highs and the lows of love through her vocals and powerful use of synths.

How Does That Make You Feel’ is the first single off this EP. Starting with a falsetto, Ariana’s voice engages the listener even before the percussions and synths jump in. The use of percussions intertwined with harmonies bring a whole new level of depth to the song. The song tells the relatable tale of a passionate love, and it is a good start to the EP, as Ariana’s voice and her ability to use her voice and as a diverse instrument instantly charms the listener.

Love You Lately’ released earlier this year has the power to make you emotional thinking about a lost love. The song played with the duo RKCB is an electro-R&B song that talks about a relationship ending. Ariana’s voice completely embodies the feelings of someone that is in a relationship but doesn’t love her partner anymore. This song shows a more serious side of Ariana, as well as her flexibility to go from a dance song to an R&B songs. The background beat gives a great rhythm to the song while Ariana and RKCB since “I don’t understand why you push away” and “I guess I don’t love you lately”.

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These Ruins’ has a slow beginning, with Ariana’s deeper voice accompanied by a low keyboard that is emphasized through different electronic instrumentation. The song describes a love that cannot be repaired, emphasized by a slow, melancholic, dark, creating a new universe where the melody gets more dramatic with every verse. Her voice has the capacity of perfectly encompasses the emotions of a tragic love, with her voice breaking at the end of the bridge. The roughness of the melody and the darker synths, as well her echoed voice that gets overpowered by the background vocals and drums gives a new dimension to the song, which ends with her tired voice and the keyboard again. This track takes you through all the emotions felt after the end of a love.

Supercool’ is the last song of the EP, and it goes on a different path by describing the partying in New York, with the use of electro beats. The song describes the reality behind the glamour of New York by describing a woman that is so beautiful and charming at a party, but looks like their lives could be falling apart any second.The falsetto voice, backing vocals and electro beats come back once again to show a whole new side of New York.

Ariana & The Rose’s EP embodies the journey of love and loss through the use of synths and a sound that is heavily inspired by Robyn and Goldfrapp, but still keeping a sense of originality. ‘Retrograde’ proves Ariana’s flexibility and ability to use her lyrics and melody to create a journey of emotions that can completely engross the listener and spark past memories and a world of feelings.

Ariana is renowned for her live shows, especially the immersive Light and Space, which was first done in London in 2016 based on 80s disco scene. She has created another world and this EP is the first step to gaining more visibility and showing a new side of the synth-pop world.

 


Listen to Retrograde now here
Give her a follow on Facebook and Twitter

 

LIVE REVIEW. Shura at The Forum

Date: 7 December 2016

Venue: The Forum, Kentish Town

Words: Victoria Ling

Photography: Victoria Ling

Dressed in layers and entering the stage for the penultimate date of the ‘Shura-pean’ tour, The Forum went into darkness as Shura took to the stage with her band (Luke – guitars, Ally – drums and Rory – bass) and kicked off the night with ‘Nothing’s Real’ to roars from the sold-out crowd. Who could have guessed that the main girl of the night was full of Shu-flu as Shura worked her way from behind the keys to the front of the stage and back again. As she gulped from a pint glass, the crowd were told that she is actually downing a hot toddie to kick her flu which also may have helped with her energy; however Shura is not a woman lacking in energy, they seem to be

getting better as the crowds grow bigger. The drive in this band is simply mind-blowing. ‘Kids N’Stuff’ kicks in with goose bumps inducing effect, any long-term fan of Shura knows that something special is going to happen at this point – the transition. Everybody was waiting for that transition and as soon as ‘Indecision’ starts, the crowd simultaneously loose control as The Forum’s atmosphere is stepped up a notch. Indeed, there was passionate crowd interaction a plenty tonight, especially during Shura’s confession that she is admittedly quite shy which she says is ironic to the career she has now. Thankfully Shura remains standing with strength and grace doing what she does best, and in quite a lump-in-throat moment we are given ‘2Shy’ going into ‘Make It Up’. “So I just released an album and every song I performed is from that album but this next one is not from that album,” is what Shura tells us. Excitement brews and I hear someone say ‘Just Once’ but it is not to be, instead a new track is presented, and ’Sacrifice’ is great testament to how Shura’s sound is still progressing. The sound is fresh and distinct, but still contains familiar elements, this is why Shura gains more recognition by the day in this ever changing cut-throat music industry.

If the night could not get any more emotional, a dedication goes out to the fans in the form of ‘Touch’, the first song written for the debut album. Whoops come from the crowd as Shura climbs into the pit to grace those who were lucky enough to get to the front barrier with her presence. It is such an exhilarating moment that it even stirs a few happy tears from the crowd as she disappears but thankfully not for too long as the encore comes with ‘White Light’ which is quite possibly Shura’s most electric track performed live. Strobes galore shine down with Shura bashing out the sample pad and sending the crowd crazy in awe that even she falls to the floor before catching a breathe to take us to the end of this ‘tidal wave of feelings’ of the Shura-pean tour to a sea of confetti.


Check out Shura on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik

INTRODUCING. The Seefelds with debut EP Temple

Release date: Out Now!

Genre: Indie Rock

Rating: ★★★★

Words: Scott Murray

 

The Seefelds have slowly immersed themselves in Brisbane’s bustling live music scene, playing gigs all over Brissy throughout 2016, culminating with the release of their debut EP “Temple” at the Empire Hotel in late November.

The public got the first taste of the EP when the lads released their lead single, and title track, ‘Temple’ onto Triple J Unearthed in early October. This slow jam opens with a quiet, cut-back riff by guitarist Alex Lim before building to resounding heights thanks to the crooning vocals of Nick Boxall. The Brissy four piece then gave us the rest of Temple, an absolute cracker that highlights the genre hopping range of the group. The EP kicks off with ‘Tell Me (That You Want It)’, another tune similar in tempo to ‘Temple’.  However, this tune takes the time to concentrate on the instrumentals of the band, with drummer Lachie Atkinson, bassist Josh Bartlett and Lim providing an intriguing and striking contrast to Boxall’s slow croon.

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The EP then moves onto the fast paced ‘Curiosity & Boredom’, a deceiving track that begins with light relaxing guitar before building into a drum driven bustle that lifts the pace of the entire record. Following on from the title track, the lads build on the slow, drawn back vibes of Temple in ‘Cradle’. This track is just full of soul, and again highlights the intertwining voices of Boxall and Lim in a manner reminiscent of the DMA’s ‘Delete’.

The EP ends on its seemingly most zealous track, ‘Fly Away’ kicks off with driving guitar riffs and a bustling drum line showcasing the more upbeat tendencies of The Seefelds . However, as the song draws the EP to a close, Boxall utters “I need to slow down and find myself again” and suddenly the pace shifts. The lads like to keep listeners on their toes through tonal juxtapositions like this, making them refreshingly unpredictable. In fact, this track manages to encompass what The Seefelds are all about: delivering relaxing contemplative tunes for when you need to slow down, whilst also providing energetic party jams.

Overall, the self-described “Brisbane boys making mediocre music” have stepped far beyond that with their debut EP, creating a fantastic introduction that is undoubtedly a sign of bigger things to come.


You can catch The Seefelds on Facebook and Instagram and listen to ‘Templehere.

You can see the lads perform on the 22 December at the Zoo, Brisbane.

S.M.

 

INTERVIEW. Black Foxxes ahead of debut album release.

Following a sold out tour with Milk Teeth and in the mist of the numerous festivals this Summer, we got to know Mark from one of the country’s most exciting bands at the moment, Black Foxxes. The band’s much anticipated debut album, ‘I’m Not Well‘ will be out August 19th via Search and Destroy/Spinefarm Records.

 

So how’re you finding the tour of festivals this summer? Has the experience affected Black Foxxes as a band at all?

Not especially. It was really important for me to get out and prove to myself I could tour and be away from home for long periods of time. Anxiety had always stopped me from doing that before, so if anything it’s just good to prove to myself I can do that.

Do you find yourself being in a community of alternative/hard rock bands that are similar to Black Foxxes? like yourselves? 

We’re not really part of any community. We are just going in our own direction. It’s funny, there are so many bands that do the same tours together, are in the same magazines together all the time, play the same festivals… it’s all about who you know, but at the end of the day we couldn’t give a fuck about all of that. We’re just making honest music, if we don’t fit into a mould I’m okay with that.

How does your song writing process work, is it always the same or do you find it varying every time? 

I will usually come up with the bulk of the song at home, something I’ve written that week or a while beforehand, then I’ll take it to practice and we’ll shape it however seems best. There’s no set formula per say, but we don’t tend to spend too long on the song, else it becomes over-saturated and non-organic.

So you just finished recording your debut album and the anticipation for it is already huge, what would you say this album is based on?

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The debut album I’m Not Well‘ is out 19th August

I think it’s pretty self –explanatory; I wrote most of the songs when I was in a really dark place, mentally and physically, and the album encompasses that. As far as inspirations are concerned we’re all into quite a wide range of music, but at the time we were all listening to a lot of Ryan Adams, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Death Cab For Cutie…

 

 

 

What’s in store for the future, the bigger picture following this album?

We’re off to the states later this year to play Riot Fest and play some other shows around the country, so that’s huge for us. Ultimately, we want people to relate to this band as much as we think people will, we want to make music that is going to stand it’s ground for years and years to come.

Finally, Black Foxxes are known for their inspirational acknowledgement of mental health within their music, how was your recent single ‘I’m Not Well‘ written specifically with Mental Health and personal experiences in mind? 

I think the whole album is written with my mental health in mind, it’s so important for people struggling to speak out and seek help. I know first-hand how vulnerable and weak it can make you feel, and how much just talking about it will help you. I’m sure everyone will take their own things from this album, but if it helps people in any way then I’ve done something right.


Check out ‘I’m Not Well‘ here:

 

You can pre-order the album here and follow them on facebook and twitter

 

 

Baker out.

SINGLE REVIEW. The Fem Doms – ‘Dropped’

Released: Out now
Genre:
Psych-Rock
Rating:★★★

 

The Fem Doms comprise of four dudes and two girls from New York who have been creating trendy psych-rock noise for just over a year. Ahead of their upcoming EP ‘Attic‘, they have ‘dropped’ this lil’ number (get it). It is an instantly gratifying tune with catchy hooks a meaningful backstory.

The track opens with a fiery foundation of guitar riffs, it no wonder their sound consists of many layers of riffs with three guitarists in the band. As the front man, Chris sings of watching from afar as a friend descends into their demons, there is a strong connection made with this impassioned lyrics detailing the all-too-frequent hardship of losing loved ones to drugs and other vices. The chorus then sees head-bang worthy drums and a much larger vocal presence during “But I never tried”, the sort of chorus that would be belted across the room by everyone in the crowd at a gig. This song, along with previously released ‘Flood Town‘ and ‘THUMP‘ have the sort of courageous sound for a less-established band that only the real deal could master, it brings both a feeling of excitement for what’s to come as well as a gratifying familiarity.

13558879_985159751582848_1031543266256001211_oAs the band go on tour around America (sorry UK) this summer they are sure to bring together the early-committers and the lucky people who won’t know what’s hit them. The Fem Doms are definitely a Lock In Music’s ‘Ones To Watch’

 

The Fem Doms are now on tour!

Get tickets and info here and give them a like while you’re at it.

 

 

 


Check out the new single ‘Dropped‘:

 

 

Baker out.

ALBUM REVIEW. Carina Round – ‘Deranged to Divine’

Release Date: 29th July 2016

Label: Do Yourself In

Genre: Alternative Rock and a little bit of everything else

Rating: ★★★★

Carina Round is a unique one, that much is for sure. With four critically acclaimed albums and a heavily committed fan base under her belt, many started to believe that her LP ‘Tigermixes‘ would be it for the Wolverhampton artist, but she is back with the invigorating ‘Deranged to Divine‘ a retrospective collection of over a decade of work, which for this artist, means a diverse roundhouse trip through her work, spinning off in all possible directions.

The opening track, ‘You Will Be Loved‘ is a crescendo warning call to all new comers, and a welcoming message to all friendly faces. Carina’s vocal range is the first of many talents being showcased here, as a delicate folk track lifted up by soft high pitched melodies turns into a heavy electro-alternative arrangement, with the sinister lyrics “has your world been shattered, confounded by fear?” biting through. Meanwhile, ‘Into My Blood’ is an angsty dark horse, with pounding bass lines setting the perfect foundation for Carina’s emotive rantings. ‘Slow Motion Addict’ later follows on from this, will a blaring guitar riff that simmers through her almost gothic threatening words.

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Image: Instagram

There are many a surprise in this album, with gentle acoustic/folk songs such as ‘Backseat‘, telling sad tales in the form of haunting vocals. The highlights of this collection are hard to pick out due to the hige variety of choice, but ‘Elegy’ is one that shines through, as the solo instrumental at the end of the track just about teeters on the edge of madness, before the calm settles and it is done.
Mother’s Pride’ is another hit, with seemingly jaded but romanticised lyrics and purposely slow pacing that flows wonderfully before exploding into a frenzy of passionate vocal reprises and heavy drums – one for any Lana Del Rey fans out there. On the other side of the spectrum you have the brilliant ‘Want More‘, a catchy chorus bursting with hooks contrasted by carefully thought-out verses built to cut deep.

With retrospective collections of an artist’s work, it is often difficult to hold a consistent tone that flows throughout, and this is evident at certain points of this huge 18-track LP. Jazzy numbers such as ‘How I See It‘ are contrasted and arguably jolted out of the way by the more aggressive vibes of ‘Gunshot‘. However, all of the tracks on ‘Deranged to Devine’ – enjoyable or not – are not what they seem in the first few bars. Her voice is tremendously difficult to categorise: is that a country twang? A grungy bellow? Tantalising low-tone vocals reeling you in? It is all of the above and more. Carina Round is clearly the result of a melting-pot of talent, with a deep pocket of carefully crafted tunes to pick from. Overall, this album is an all-encompassing roundhouse of sounds, influences and emotions, and you won’t know where the turns are coming from.

 


Pre-Order ‘Deranged to Devine‘ here

You can also connect with Carina Round on facebooktwitter and instagram

 

 

Baker out.

 

 

INTRODUCING. ArchiveX with single ‘Hard Times’

Regardless of tastes and preferences, ArchiveX will prove to be one of the most intriguing and alluring artists on your radar right now. You will understand why when you listen to the anonymous artist’s most recent single (released last week), ‘Hard Times‘ (link below).
This California-based artist is a tough cookie to crack: is he a gospel angel? Is he hip-hop? Is that a bit of mowtown thrown in there? No one knows. But we want more. The most recent single, ‘Hard Times‘ is making its rounds and being picked up by people all over the place, it is the perfect introduction to the powerhouse of soul that is ArchiveX. We begin with a very old-school piano melody being set down as the foundations of this track, it’s then continuously build upon with bass bringing the depth needed to suck us in. Then all of a sudden, just when you start to fall into a daze due to the artist’s irresistibly soulful vocals, telling us heartbreaking tales we get thrown into a reverb-heavy bass drop out of nowhere as the vocals go to the next level of crazy.

On the other side of the spectrum, upcoming single ‘Drink The Water‘ is a whole different story. With classic blues vocals reminiscent of the likes of Percy Mayfield and Ray Charles, and a sharply contrasting bassy undertone to the whole affair, you begin to wonder how one artist is capable of plucking themes and sounds from a melting pot of influences to create such a varied repertoire. If these completely distinct singles are anything to go by, ArchiveX’s debut album ‘Some Ungodly Hour‘ set to be released later this summer should be something very interesting and distinct from anything else.

 


 

Give ArchiveX a listen and make up your own mind here:

Music Video of latest single ‘Hard Times‘ here

 

Some more ArchiveX magic:

ArchiveX is also on facebook and twitter

 

Baker out.

INTRODUCING SAM WINSTON – The ultimate DIY artist with self produced album ‘The Fire & The Icicle’

Genre: Indie-folk pop

Rating:★★★★

Sam Winston encompasses all meanings of the word ‘independent’ regarding his music. This South East London artist is building up his career one DIY milestone at a time. Not only has he written, arranged, recorded and produced ‘The Fire & The Icicle‘ all in his home-built studio, but he has done it well – an achievemt that is becoming quite hard to find these days. With self-taught expertise in many an instrument, this debut album is not just the typical solo acoustic guitar act that is becoming tireless now, we get to hear Sam play ukelele, kalimba (African thumb piano), mandolin and bass.  The album also features folk-pop melodies strummed from his own hand-crafted electro-acoustic guitar (what is this guy like?!).

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The album starts off with the firey, energetic track ‘No November Like It‘, the type of song that could make for the perfect track to sing along to on a roadtrip  in the summer. Tracks such as ‘Reach You‘ and ‘Defenceless‘ showcase Sam’s ability to create a huge vocal sound and range, with self-matching harmonies and layers. Meanwhile, songs such as ‘Stand and Fight‘ and ‘The Bad Wolf‘ take a softer, more delicate style, with influences of Ben Howard shining through while bringing an original ‘Sam Winston’ jazzy undertone. ‘Who Decides?’ is a moment of self-realisation for Sam, where he questions everything and everyone around him, hopefully by the end of this album, he comes to realise how much hope and potential there is in him – Some hopeful light within the dark, just as the album artwork indicates.


Let the wonderful Sam Winston serenade you here:

(Also out now on iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify)

You can also check him out on facebook and twitter

 

See him do his thing live at the following dates:

25 July – Charente Festival, Brossac France

27 August – Folk On The Dock Festival, Liverpool

23 October – Park Langley, Beckenham, Kent


All images: Courtesy of Sam Winston 

Baker out.

CAMDEN ROCKS FEST REVIEW. Fizzy Blood

Date: 4th june 2016 (Camden Rocks Festival)

Venue: Hawley Arms, Camden. 

Genre: Heavy Rock

Rating:★★★★1/2

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This five piece from Leeds, consisting of mates Paul, Benji, Jake, Ciaran and Tim are a powerhouse of hardcore rock’n’ roll – and that is something that becomes apparent from the first chord struck.

The boys came out with ringing heavy riffs, instantly blaring through the the room while front man, Benji screamed through the mic. All of the niche defining talent irrupting from the musicians resulted in manic screams and a scramble for space to move on the small Hawley Arms stage. You could hear the bass player’s crazed scream into the crowd despite not having a mic in front of him. Meanwhile, front man Benji kept his cool and strong stance throughout. It’s a wonder how this cool image is maintained whilst blaring out seemingly effortless hardcore vocals.

Patience’ and ‘Up and Down’ were clearly the highlights of the set, and we even got to experience ‘ADHD’ a track never before played live. The emotive lyrics, upbeat bass lines and playful drums lured the crowd in before they exploded into a frenzy of hardcore guitar solos and head banging.

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The reason this band are going to do so well in their career is their live performances. Fizzy Blood were undoubtedly the highlight of Camden Rocks -a relentless explosion of fuzzy rock ‘n’ roll that shook up London.

 

What the crowd thought…

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“That was fucking intense”

 

Give Fizzy Blood‘s ear shattering tunes below:

You can also connect with Fizzy Blood on facebook and twitter

 

(All images: Steph Baker)

 

Baker out.