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Lawrence County The Frailty of Humans

Lawrence County

“The Frailty of Humans – Lawrence County This is the first album release under the new band name from who once were DH Lawrence & The Vaudeville Skiffle Show.

This album takes a big shift in the musical direction of this bunch of guys and gals from the Bagthorpe Delta. There’s not a washboard in sight! Instead, the band have gone for a earthy, true-grit Americana sound with electric guitar an full tremolo mode and plenty of mountain-style fiddle.

The songs are carried with great care by drum (Bob Carlisle) and bass (Pete Heron) who provide a secure and gripping rhythm in every track.

Although obviously inspired by the Americana and alt-country sound, Lawrence County write songs about England (except for Bye Bye Americae which is definitely about America!).

They use Americana as a vehicle for telling stories about North Nottinghamshire, and the album is rich with local folklore.

12 of the 13 songs are original, with traditional English folk song Lucy Wan receiving a complete Lawrence County make-over – hard core folkies will no doubt be upset with this! The rest of the songs take us on a journey full of highs and lows, mixing rocking country tracks (They’re All There, I Don’t Sing County Anymore), with lonesome, pitiful ballads (Lights Go Out, By The Briar).

The fiddle and accordion are delivered skilfully by talented multi-instrumentalist Martin Gallimore. Lawrence County frontmen and songwriters Al Rate and Bill Kerry III are joined by local lasses Charlotte Pynegar and Marianne ‘Maz’ Clarke, who provide a contrast of backing vocals ranging from sweet and pure to proper gritty country. Lawrence County were lucky enough to have some incredible session players contribute to this album, namely Kristen Horner on cello, and George French on Trumpet.

These really add to the class of the tracks that they play on. Local music has never been so rich with talent, and this album is a ‘must listen’ to give us even more love for what the best of Nottingham has to offer.”

Lawrence County feature often on our radio station pushing Original music

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Warren Ireland…a whole new level!

Demons
Warren Ireland

Warren Ireland is the embodiment of a modern-day troubadour. A young singer/songwriter from Nottinghamshire, you can catch him at festivals and gigs all over the country and busking in towns throughout the north of his home county.

His latest single, Demons, sees him up his game to a whole new level, utilising his signature pedal looping technique and calling on some of North Nottinghamshire’s most versatile and talented session players to augment the arrangement.

Ireland’s vocal dexterity is working at the max for the duration of the whole track, tripping out words with great skill. There’s also a catchy refrain which adds a singalong element to this song.

Demons is performed with considerable passion, building to some beautifully engineered vocal layers and outstanding instrumental breaks from Zosia on sax and Scott Makepeace on electric lead who bring the piece to a massive crescendo before breaking back down to its original raw form in contrast to finish. Add a one-take percussion track from Isaac Walters and some steady bass riffs from Luke Yates, highly production values from Mansfield’s Electric-Bear Productions, Demons is all set to be a winner for Warren Ireland, deserving as much air play as possible.

Download or stream from tomorrow, 27th September, on all quality digital music platforms. This is a track not to be missed and will surely be included on this month’s Rock Shotz Recommends within the next few days.

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At last…it’s The Fine Art Society!

Footprints
The Fine Art Society

There’s a painful beauty in both the lyrics and musical arrangement of The Fine Art Society’s new release: ‘Footprints.’

Rock Shotz’ previous experience of TFAS material is upbeat and ‘laddish’ (considering the debut single, ‘Waiting For The Summer To Arrive’!) ‘Footprints’ is more introspective, emotional and, we suspect, is an indicator of the musical versatility of Messrs. Turner, Marshall and Leedall.

In stark contrast to the ballad-style verses, when Matt Turner almost wails:
‘I’ll take the stars from the night sky
So you can wear them in your eyes…’
a most magnificent, passionate, (almost haunting) chorus, you can almost sense the song’s narrative on a personal level! It’s one of those choruses that brings the hair up on the back of your neck!
Citing influences from artists such as Frank Turner & Mumford & Sons, the boys from The Fine Art Society are aiming high and, in Rock Shotz’ opinion, they’re getting it right!
In less than three weeks’ time, you can decide for yourselves from any of the major quality digital music platforms. ‘Footprints’ will be sure to find a place in your heart (for the song and for The Fine Art Society!)

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The Small Town Boys: EP review

EP REVIEW…
This.Is.Not.It
The Small Town Boys

Indie band, The Small Town Boys have their own unique sound which is loud, punky and very energetic!. This.Is.Not.It is a live EP and it’s has been so well engineered you would barely know it wasn’t studio recorded!

Musically, these guys are great! Rhys Davies plays frenetic, powerful lead, with a thumping good bass line from Ash Simpson on bass guitar and Joe Hodges on drums. Scott Baxter’s vocals are raw and exciting.

Standout track is the eponymous, This.Is.Not.It. which fuses Britpop, Rock and Punk in glorious chaotic sound! BBC Introducing gave them an airing this week and if this is how The Small Town Boys roll, they are, as the local scene tells me, a band worth following!

Stream or download on most good digital music platforms.

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Alex Cavan…A Man on a Mission

All For You
Alex Cavan 
https://www.facebook.com/cavanmusic/

Life can be so tough and music is such a great method for people to express the way they cope with the challenges that come along.

All For You is a heart-on-the-sleeve love song from talented musician , Alex Cavan. The East Midlands-based singer/songwriter has a beautiful wife and tiny daughter far away in South Africa and his song is an open dedication to them as he tries to make a life for them over here.

The production on this track is excellent. It enhances Cavan’s rich, sonorous voice and increases our empathy with his wishes to be reunited with his family as soon as possible. Lyrically, the words are crystal clear and the listener is left in no doubt as to the sentiment expressed here. Musically, All Of You is a charmingly melodic, gentle rock style.

This is a song you can listen to over and over again. There is also a beautifully shot video on YouTube which is worth catching. Alex Cavan’s delivery is so impassioned and genuine, you can’t help but want his wishes to come true quickly. In order to do that you can help towards realising that dream by streaming/downloading All Of You on all major digital platforms now.

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Scott Makepeace – No War Double Album Review

Scott Makepeace is making up for lost time. He is having a creative explosion!

This self-produced opus contains a hefty 24 tracks of original material, so if you choose to buy to download, you can be sure you are getting a lot for your money!

Amidst a plethora of new material you will find a small number of familiar tracks already available as singles: This Is What I’m Made For, Robin Hood and my personal favourite, I Was A Slave, which I heard recently as a full band piece with The Peacemakers. This track has now been sampled and extended from the original acoustic single and so still makes it the standout track of this collection, in my opinion.

Makepeace is a terrific songwriter. His observations on everyday life are interesting and astute. He is an accomplished guitarist and successfully combines this skill with looping and technical experimentation. His voice is distinctive, with that comforting Jack Daniels’-soaked timbre. For that reason, I would rather enjoy the moment selecting single tracks to play rather than listening to the album in its entirety at one sitting. Scott Makepeace deserves to be listened to, not to be background music, which I found it became whilst trying to listen to the album all in one go.

Not War is certainly an album worth investing in, but enjoy it at its best by listening at more than one sitting; that way you’ll get the best of Scott Makepeace!

Available to pre-order from tomorrow: June 28th and to download/stream from all good music platforms from July 12th.

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Waiting For A Miracle…BlitZ

I came across BlitZ a few months ago when I was asked to review their latest album, Welcome To The Rock Show. I was so impressed; I made the effort to catch them live & now our paths cross on a regular basis.

As soon as Kev Simpson’s guitar riff begins, I am immediately transported back to my early days, the days of KISS, Boston and Journey. This is Blitz’s signature sound, signalling more than a passing nod to the days of poodle perms and glam.

Simpson, Stuart Corden (bass and lead vocals) and Mat Davies (drums and vocals) make the perfect classic rock trio, creating an incredible full, polished sound for a band with so few in number. Their songs are all originals and, like Waiting For A Miracle, you feel as though you should be singing along with the chorus as soon as you hear it, even though it’s only your first time through! BlitZ have a musical formula which works for them!

Waiting For A Miracle has a great hook, wicked guitar breaks and Bon Jovi-style harmonies. What’s not to love if you’re a classic rocker!

The single drops this weekend, 7th June, premiering the video from their FB page at 7pm. Most definitely worth scheduling for wherever you may be.

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Post Remedy…new sounds

New release: Enemy

4-piece Alt/Rock band from Nottingham. I don’t know what else they do, but I’ve been listening to this track on repeat for around 20 minutes now and it’s so chilled!

The band are fronted by Jess, who’s vocals are a major feature of this song. To give you an idea, her voice is an amalgam of some of the most best rock/blues females I can think of: hints of Amy Winehouse; Cerys Matthews of Katatonia and the incredible Anastasia Walker, (Stars) of Bang Bang Romeo! It smoky, sultry and beautifully emotional.

Add to that a tight, rocky backing from the band and this sets the bar high for people like me for whom Enemy is an introduction to their work.

Enemy is the perfect late night chillax sound!

Give them a listen: https://youtu.be/R2xJu75qd_Y

Find out more: https://www.facebook.com/postremedy/

Catch them live on 25th June, (before The Maze closes its doors forever).

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#upthebabs

Pretty Babs haven’t been slouching since they released their debut album, Graffiti Lights, back in 2017 (I had to check then, in my head it was only last year!) – with an ever-growing gig schedule they’ve released a new EP, #upthebabs – building on their debut by adding Craig to the ranks to beef up their guitar sound. 

For a bunch of fellas so young they have a mature gritty rock sound – the kind of thing Sam’s powerful voice has been literally crying out for since I first used to go see his acoustic evenings up at the Brown Cow in Mansfield. Coupled with the clear bond of friendship the four of them have, it makes for a really engaging live show.

Most recently I caught them at the always awesome Ey Up Mi Duck festival last month, and have subsequently been procrastinating about writing this review having acquired their EP there (thanks Andrew!). Oftentimes I find that my favourite live bands don’t always translate to recording – not that I don’t enjoy them, but it can lose the buzz you get from a live performance.

Not so here – clearly the band are careful to work with producers who aren’t going to smooth the edges too much when they hit the studio. Guitars snarl, bass thumps and drums crash across these five tracks, paces change and they give the perfect backing to counterpoint Sam’s voice.

The Fall opens gently before the main guitar riff kicks in joined by bass and drums, as the vocals join the guitar slows right up. There’s pace-changes in the pre-chorus leading into the chorus too before a treat of a guitar solo – the lyrics talk of lighting beacons and I suspect echoes of the horrendous political turmoil we find ourselves in at the moment. It’s a strong start! 

Tumbleweed comes with an accompanying video (well, okay, it’s more of an image!) – after initial guitar it’s very percussion led with some overlaid guitar intracies. Almost hypnotic verses are pretty much driven by Brad’s drumming with building guitar and bass input before a rousing chorus kicks in. There’s a nice instrumental bridge here too showcasing pretty much everyone before the backing almost drops out but for subtle guitar and vocals – then everything’s back for a final rousing chorus. More referencing to lighting of fires too!

Blue kicks right in with vocals and guitar strums and occasional stabs, then some drum fills kick in to the full track. If there’s an underpinning of political influences in the previous tracks then here it becomes much more overt “It’s such a pity she’s a Tory girl”is the lament throughout but this is a real barnstormer of a track – you could get a good sweat on having a dance to it.

Roadrunner kicks straight in after a cymbal count in – I do think they missed a trick to have a “meep meep” in there, but maybe it’s not about a cartoon bird trying to constantly foil a not-so-wily coyote! But on listening, perhaps not the right mood to set – we have heavy chugging guitar here and empassioned vocals – definitely much heavier, with an unfeasibly catchy riff following through most of the song.

Then finishing up with with the quieter lament of Death of the Free Man, starting with deliciously intricate finger picking and heartfelt vocals, which you can sample a live rendering of below. I’d half expected it to kick in with the full band – but even as Sam’s vocals lift for the chorus the guitar picking is all that accompanies him, and I think that’s the right call for this song – and rounds off nicely the multi-facets that Pretty Babs bring to the party.

Of all the unsigned bands on the circuit I’ve grown to know and love over the last few years, I’ve said before and I’ll say again that in Pretty Babs they’re the one that I could imagine crossing over to become more mainstream – and I certainly don’t mean that as an insult, but they have such an accomplished style that you could see landing well with a more mainstream audience.

You can catch Pretty Babs at The Bodega in Nottingham on 15th June with a glittering array of amazing support acts too for the sum of just ten English pounds. It promises to be a really awesome night – I for one am looking forward to it very much. You can avail yourself of a copy of #upthebabs from the band at a gig – and presumably digital releases will follow. 

Originally posted on FerociousBlog

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Faust…Infernal Symphony

‘Dissonance!’ In musical terms it means a general lack of harmony which, in Western music, our ears are unused to. In layman’s terms: think of the sound created when a cat walks up and down a piano keyboard! Got it? You need to know this in order to understand the context of this review and to appreciate that this is a serious piece of work.

Infernal Symphony is the moniker of Derby musician, Dom Bishop. Within this sphere, he is a one-man band, producer, artist, engineer, songwriter, instrumentalist working on a solo project as a challenge away from his previous work. Looking at the Facebook page, this is definitely a cross-genre sound, with influences as broad and Gothic as: Megadeath, Sepultura, Rob Zombie, Opeth, Slayer, Mastadon, Dream Theater and Iron Maiden. The narrative is taken from classical German literature; the tale of Faust selling his soul to the devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures.

I guess by now that you are getting the idea of where this is leading…

Infernal Symphony wants to bring his music into ‘The deepest, darkest depths of your soul’ and in my opinion, he is successful. However, it certainly isn’t for me,then neither is the work of composers such as Philip Glass, Alexander Scriabin, Arnold Schoenberg, Thelonius Monk, John Cage, Jimi Hendrix and Pierre Boulez! I have always been challenged by dissonant music and this album does not change my mind.

This is an opus of truly epic proportions, taking an epic theme and drawing up an epic electronic orchestral chronical to accompany it. The work consists of a whopping 20 tracks with titles such as: Yearning for Burning, Seductive Decay and ending with, inevitably, Irrevocable Damnation, leaving the listener in no doubt as to the fate of the character.

This is not an album to listen to if you want sweet, memorable tunes, it is dark and disturbing; but there are people out there who are really into this kind of Gothic doom. Infernal Symphony has a clear demographic in mind. If you are even slightly put off by the artwork, track titles, general Satanic vibe, go no further; but if you like a challenge, give it a go!

Good luck, travellers!

Check out Infernal Symphony on FB: https://www.facebook.com/InfernalSymphonyUK/

You can purchase a digital copy from: https://infernalsymphonyuk.bandcamp.com/

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Review: Ferocious Dog – Fake News and Propaganda

Taking you from the hearth of a fireplace to the heart of a rebellion, Nottingham’s own Celtic-punk Ferocious Dog have produced an album that has managed to infuse a healthy dosage of punk-style commentary into its diverse soundscape…

Ken Bonsall and co may not quite be as consistently ferocious here as they have in the past, but it leaves room for more harmonious anthems that will leave a smile on your face and beer on your breath.

Fake News and Propaganda stays true to the sound of Ferocious Dog; Bonsall’s attitude along with the intricate dynamic fiddle work of Dan Booth and the ravaging tones of an electric guitar complete the recipe of this folk-meet-punk genre. Instilled within this hybrid soundscape are ever-changing lyrical themes, whether it be unity in the face of adversity (a concept that strongly resonates throughout the track Cover Me), to the hearty “life’s for the living” message in Yellow Feather. Neither of which can shout louder than Ferocious Dog’s shoulder-worn political commentary.

With the chaos of Brexit and fake news still afoot it’s an exciting time in politics, making a perfect climate for songs like Fake News to have Bonsall striking up a chorus over the conglomeration of mass media chanting. As the latter half of Up All Night brings some ferocity and cynicism to the subject of the infamous EU referendum, it’s a great way to blow off some steam.

Great though it is, there is arguably potential for FNAP to edge even closer to perfection. While I would never want the band to compromise their signature motif, the electric guitar does seem to be limited in providing the underlying growl to tracks in which it appears. Perhaps giving it a little more space to stretch its strings — even for a moment — would add lightning to what is an already exhilarating package.

Nevertheless, looking back to 2017’s Red, this record is evidence that the Celtic Punk rockers from Warsop are evolving, or perhaps maturing their style as their track list construction gives equal amount of limelight to each of their emerging styles. You will see just as much devotion to the balls-to-the-wall tracks in Traitor’s Gate and Bedlam Boys as you will with the heart-string pullers like Justice for 96 and Lacey-Lee giving the record a more well-rounded aftertaste; something that Red simply missed.

It’s definitely an exciting time to be a Celtic-punk fan, and Ferocious Dog have once again shown us why.

By Alex Mace

Article originally posted on Platform magazine: http://www.platformmagazine.co.uk/music/review-ferocious-dog-fake-news-and-propaganda/