Friday, 17 June 2016

Our first time with Sofar Sounds

I’m not sure how I ended up on their mailing list but this month I decided to try out Sofar Sounds. For those of you who are not familiar with it you basically pick your city – or the nearest city to you – and it shows you available secret gigs in your location and on what date. You can pick your chosen one, pay a small fee, and receive a ticket including a +1 if you want one. Then on the day before your chosen gig you receive the location and on the night, when you arrive at said place, you discover who is performing. It could be a surprisingly big band, it might be someone breaking through, or it might be a local artist.

I broke my Sofar Songs virginity in Leeds on Tuesday heading to The Riverside café in Leeds, a nicely sized bistro on, unsurprisingly, the side of the river that sells a mixture of ales and during the day what look to be nice sandwiches and smoothies. With a quick check of name on the day to ensure exclusivity we were in, ordering drinks and awaiting the acts. The venue was already pretty full with the audience stood by the bar, perched on chairs or sat cross legged on cushions.

At just after eight the organiser came on to reveal the line-up for the night, an impressive three acts on the bill. Without any microphone the compere was a little difficult to hear even when the audience was quiet, but there were no problems with the acts who at our location were going through a small speaker. The Sofar team were also on hand taking photos and recordings of the first song for each act so hopefully these will be online soon.

First up on our night we had Ben Maggs whose friendly personality between songs shone through. Bearded and telling tales of travelling around Scotland, his down to earth style and quickly loveable songs were a welcome introduction, his use of a loop pedal on two songs really adding to the depth of the pieces even if he was wary of the technology’s reliability. Soon to be supporting the Proclaimers he’s definitely an artist to look out for.

His set of around half-an-hour included some really great songs, old and new from his catalogue, which were of course new to the audience. Stand out numbers were ‘The Traveller’s Song’ and ‘Bread of Life’ which thanks to a strong live sound were even more vivid than on the recorded versions. Mixed in with his interesting anecdotes and tales of travelling and this was a great start to the show.

After a short break we got four piece local band Citrus Heights whose unamplified lead singer really captured the mood of the night, the funky basslines of their songs really resonating in the venue, combining indie sensibilities with the sound recently re-championed by artists like Nile Rodgers. Though outside it might have been raining inside it was sunny thanks to their warm, uplifting sounds.

With another short break following the headliners of the night came on in the form of the globe-trotting indie-rock band the Dunwells, who lifted the spirits even further with their set, with standout tracks like ‘Animal’ selling them for me. Combining three guitars and a small drum kit alongside some very impressive harmonies, their sound was big but not overpowering for the space, and they showcased their credentials as a tight band on the evening, newer material like the lighters-out ‘Light Up The Sky’ sitting well with their older material.

As the crowd slowly disappeared after two hours of music, there was time to focus on what had been a great night of music, and goes to show that taking a punt on an event in an unknown location with unknown acts can reap rewards and I’ll be certainly exploring Sofar Sounds again in the future.

Sofar Sounds in Leeds returns on the 11th July and 21st July.

Kaiser Chiefs return with new single, album, live date

Leeds band Kaiser Chiefs have released a new single online which is available to download now for 99 of your British pennies, or nothing if you pre-order the album on certain websites. You can hear their new single here.

The single, the first cut from their upcoming sixth album, is certainly a change in direction for the band. Produced by Brian Higgins, known for his work for Girls Aloud and Xenomania the single is certainly dancier than we've ever heard from the band. Here at KBPS we were initially unsure about it but after a few days of listens it's certainly growing on us. It perhaps lack the indie flavour of their big singles and 2014's 'Education, Education, Education and War' album (our favourite of their LPs) but the catchiness is still there, but it could prove quite divisive in terms of sound, sounding more David Guetta than Kaiser Chiefs.

The band's sixth album 'Stay Together' is due out on Friday 7th October and doesn't feature last year's non-album release 'Falling Awake'.

The expected track listing is:

  • We Stay Together
  • Hole In My Soul
  • Parachute
  • Good Clean Fun
  • Why Do You Do It To Me?
  • Indoor Firework
  • Press Rewind
  • Happen In A Heartbeat
  • High Society
  • Sunday Morning
  • Still Waiting

The band are also performing live in July at the London Palladium and you can pre-order the album now in various flavours from their website.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

KBPS Interview: Ben McKelvey

Ben McKelvey

Ben McKelvey is a singer-songwriter from London who has just released his new single ‘Morning I’m Gone’ taken from his debut album ‘Life & Love in England’. We caught up with him for an interview about his single and album, his plans for the future and how he likes to keep fit between recording sessions. First up was all about his single, which was the first he recorded for the album.

“It went down well on the tour with Wet Wet Wet; it’s a catchy one to get the crowd going. I’m delighted that the way it’s come out!”

Taken from the album, which was produced by Jake Robins, Ben was really positive about the recording experience, a time which is being captured in an album documentary which is due to be released before the end of the month. “We set up a load of cameras, a couple of GoPros, in the studio and recorded as much as we could.”

The album features a mixture of styles, with one song recorded as live, and other techniques to keep it fresh. Ben also plays all the instruments on the record, including drums, going back to a time when he originally played as the drummer in a punk band. We were keen to know how it was like to go solo. “I do not miss carrying the drums to gigs!” he confessed. “That was a good bonus point. Being a drummer you’re quite limited in the song writing process. Writing in the songs is my favourite part of music.

“The transition was quite natural as I enjoyed writing music, I just had to get better at guitar. So when the band disbanded I just taught myself a few chords and it was away from there!

“I like doing everything myself as I know exactly how I want it. It’s more work but there’s a greater reward in the long run."

Ben has also recently been touring with his band The Firebrands and recently supported Wet Wet Wet on their big arena tour. Ben told us about how it came about, receiving the phone call to join them when he was in a guitar shop. “I was buying myself a new guitar and I got a phone call asking if I’d like to play pretty much every arena in the UK supporting Wet Wet Wet and I was like definitely!. It was a career changing moment.

“We’ve done some really cool stuff before [like] playing in the States and great venues but nothing on the scale like that. It was just the professionalism of the crew, and everyone involved with a project that big were just so inspiring and great to work with.

“The boys and their management were so welcoming; they watched our show from the side of the stage. They were just brilliant and we had the time of our lives!”

Ben and his band tweak their live performance depending on the audience. For the Wet Wet Wet tour they did a full band set-up but semi-acoustic in style. “We try and fit it in with who we’re supporting, so if we’re with a heavier rock band then we might go electric guitar and drum kits, then for a poppier band we might strip it down a bit.

“[Most of] my songs are written on an acoustic guitar so normally if the song works on an acoustic then we can do it [many ways]. It gives us a chance to work with different dynamics and makes every tour slightly different for us and the audience, so keeps things fresh.”

Alongside being a musician, Ben also directed the promotional video for song ‘Somewhere Else’, showcasing his involvement in other aspects of the music process. “I’m probably a bit of a control freak I guess! The whole thing is like a big art project for me, whether it’s writing the song, or recording the song, or making a video for the song, if I can do it on my own I will.

“The videos we do now are run through my label and my producer helps me direct and we co-direct things together. I love being part of every bit of the creative process as I just enjoy it so much.”

When Ben is not in the studio he likes to keep fit, and is working on a website to showcase his training videos alongside his music. A typical day for Ben is getting up at 5am to train with a variety of exercises in his plan, plus evening sessions as well. “I find it really helps anchor my day and gives me a lot of energy to do everything I need to be doing.”

I quizzed Ben about his choice of music whilst training. Sometimes it’s his own music but often his playlist consists of upbeat music from Foo Fighters and Kasabian. But what are Ben’s future plans for his music?

“I’m in the process of moving to Brighton. I’m actually in a position now where I can do music full time which is fantastic. It’s a great city for music and full of bars!

“I’m also going for album number two in the summer and hopefully another couple of support tours, so I’ll definitely be out of the road again soon!”

Thursday, 9 June 2016

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KBPS Interview: Dave Hanson

Dave Hanson is a London-based musician and former guitarist of The Dunwells who toured all over the world with that band, supporting artists such as Mumford and Sons and Sheryl Crow. Now Dave has just released his solo album ‘Almost Horizontal’, influenced by his times performing across the world. Currently mid-way through an acoustic tour of coffee shops to promote the album in conjunction with Caffè Nero, I joined Dave in the Bradford branch to speak to him about his album, tour and the state of music in 2016 as we tucked into a fresh coffee and the most elaborate hot chocolate I could possibly have ordered.

As he prepared for the sixth day of the tour in Leeds, Dave was positive about his experiences so far. “We’ve been all over the place. We were in Heathrow Airport for three days which was an interesting experience – being in an airport and going nowhere!

“And we’ve been to Scotland and to Newcastle and then we’ve got a few dates in the North of England and then we head south at the weekend.”

The tour came about through Caffè Nero’s support of live music, Dave Hanson being the current Artist of the Month which sees specially selected musicians performing live in their shops and also having their music played over the PA every day at 3:30pm over the month nationwide. “Caffè Nero are very supportive of live music,” Dave told us. “My relationship with them goes back to the time when I was with Dunwells. We did a Caffè Nero tour quite a long time ago and we really cut our teeth on the road, just getting in front of people who maybe hadn’t heard of us.

“When it came to release this new record it made sense to try and extend that relationship and they’ve been very supportive online.”

Dave Hanson was complimentary of the audiences seeing his show, a mixture of people already in the coffee shop and those specifically coming to see him perform. “[The sessions] are going down well. You’ve got to be careful as you’re encroaching on people’s coffee times so you don’t want to be coming on and playing a full rock show, so we’ve been keeping it a little bit more laid back. I’ve had my drummer come with me and play a little cajón on some of the dates, and my backing vocalist Becca will be out on a couple of the dates as well, mixing it up a little.”

Dave has also been embracing the latest social media on the tour, broadcasting some of the sets like his Tuesday one in Newcastle via Facebook video, bringing his performances to a bigger audience. “We’ve been getting a lot of people tuning in as they’re teatime shows [when] people are coming in from work.”

Fans from across the world including the USA and Poland have been tuning in to the sessions, and listeners have been interacting, selecting songs for Dave to play at particular sessions, which saw him at Newcastle covering Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’, with a song by the Black Keys next on Dave’s wishlist. “I’m trying to mix and match modern songs with a bit of old stuff. It’s about keeping the fans interacting and engaged with what we’re doing. It seems to work!”

“Any musician who doesn’t utilise the tools of social media is a fool. At the end of the day it’s a great way of reaching out to people and letting them know what you do, and speaking directly with people”, Dave told me, chatting about how messaging with fans increases around these sessions and helps him chat with listeners.

The Caffè Nero dates are timed to coincide with the launch of his new album ‘Almost Horizontal’, a record Dave describes as ‘eclectic’.

“When we were producing it we tried to make it like we would a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack. We tried to take different moods. I’m an artist, I paint, so I’m thinking of different colours for painting, a little bit of light and shade.

“There are songs that are a little bit more upbeat, some bits that are more chilled out. There’s a bit of reggae influence in there. It’s got the same vibe running through it, but there are different colours and textures.

“I’d say the mantra when we were recording was cool and groovy. Everything has got to have a groove.”

Dave continued on to talk about the production of the record, and how drummer Dan Woodward helped lay down the grooves without a click-track, and it was all done using an old-school tape machine. “It was produced in an old fashioned sense, the way old records were done. But then we got Tim Palmer involved to mix it, and make it sound more modern.”

‘Almost Horizontal’ the album has a great range of tracks on it, its name taken from a friend’s comment to Dave that he was so relaxed he was almost horizontal, a title that fits the chilled-out, laid-back feel to the album. Here at KBPS our personal favourites including ‘Midday Sun’ and ‘Blind Faith’ but we were interested to know about Dave’s favourites. He picked the blues-tinged ‘Devil’ with Becka Ward adding backing vocals to it as if she “were a mermaid” - “I tried to make it sound cinematic” – and ‘Por Favor Senor’, which took influence from Dave’s time in Texas. “It’s a bit of a joke song in a way. It is a true story in some senses, but not a true story about me.

“I had a friend who was telling me about this experience he had with a number of ladies. He told me What could I do Dave, there was five of them. I couldn’t just leave them to themselves! which I thought was hilarious and that was the start of the story!”

This story makes up the second verse of the song with the first verse pulled entirely from the world of fiction. “I love the groove on [Por Favor Senor]. It’s got an early ZZ Top feel to it, and that was what I was going for.”

For an album recorded in the winter there is an undeniably warm and sunny vibe to the album. “Maybe the summer [feel] was a bit of wishful thinking!” Dave joked, talking about ‘Por Favor Senor’ and ‘Midday Sun’ being tracked in the same session, one of six four-hour sessions that saw the album being recorded.

Looking back on Dave’s career we asked him how things had changed since being part of a band and now going solo. “I feel most comfortable in a band situation so I really enjoy playing the gigs when I’ve got the band with me. I’ve got a great line-up of musicians and the music really comes across.

“I love playing my own songs,” Dave told us, expressing his love for song-writing and also production. “Making the music is what I’m passionate about. I love creating new music as that’s what fires me up.”

So where is it now for Dave? Coming up he’s got performances at the Cornbury and Saltaire festivals and other gigs lined-up, with lots more under his hat that he hopes to reveal soon. “When I made this record it was always my intention to get out to the States,” he teased, wrapping up our interview as we polished off our drinks.

Dave Hanson’s album ‘Almost Horizontal’ is available to buy now and you can still catch him at Caffè Nero’s across the country including Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and London ahead of further more traditional dates over the summer. Find out more about Dave Hanson on his Facebook page

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

KBPS Interview: Careless Sons

Careless Sons are a three-piece indie rock-pop band from London and we spoke to Dickon Collinson of the band about their new single ‘Don’t Make Me Do This Again’, a song he describes as being about perseverance. “It’s about being in a relationship that neither want to leave nor be in and being in it out of convenience.

“And I guess beyond that you can apply that to work, being in a band, that sort of thing.” 

In terms of the song, the inspiration came to the band from a more personal level.
“As a band we always had grand aspirations that we’d write protest songs that would change the world but we soon came to realise that we’re limited to our own personal experience. We also come from relatively privileged backgrounds, we all live in London so it would be disingenuous to write about physical or political hardship so I guess we defer to romantic or emotional hardship so that’s where it comes from.”

Alongside the song there’s a great promotional video taken from a first person perspective, a format not often done in videos since Franz Ferdinand tackled it with their ‘Darts of Pleasure’ song.

“It was really good fun. We made that around where we live in Finsbury’s Park in Crouch End, North London. We shot it all like Peep Show. Basically we’re mimicking being Rob, our guitarist who is the main protagonist, and just went around London making decisions for him!

“Rob basically has an absolute nightmare!”

The video is inspired by the concept of terrible life decisions, but were any of those based on actual events?

“I don’t think Rob has ever been sick on a bunch of flowers! It’s more about portraying inevitability. You’ll see at the beginning it implies that Ben has gone through the same thing, hasn’t quite had as much of a nightmare but has still got run over by a car, even though his day has been perfectly normal! It’s all about fate!”

The group formed having been involved with music in education. Since then Dickon has said it’s been a rollercoaster of a ride. “Anyone who is in a band will know it’s all very fraught and very tense and any creativity is filled with self-doubt and people along the way telling you you’re not good enough.

“There’s been a lot of that but there have been some high points as well.”

Dickon was taught to play guitar by record company owner Richard Rose when he was at primary school aged seven and it’s now come full circle with Careless Sons’ new record released on Rose’s label. 

“He taught me to play the Clash, The Who, the Pistols, the Manics, and I got the bug from there. I’ve been in bands since then, then went to University and met Rob and Ben, and we realised we all liked the same thing and got into the band.”

Influences such as the Clash have fed into the band’s guitar-driven sound. “There’s more of a Springsteen vibe to it, the Clash are a bit more aggressive, but there are influences.”

Careless Sons also have an EP called ‘Heartbreak Major’ on Repeat Records which came out at the end of May, and it’s available on 12’’ vinyl alongside the digital format. We asked Dickon about the release on vinyl.

“We love vinyl and think most music fans love [it too]. There’s a real appetite for it [today] and it’s a real antidote to modern living. It’s mobile, it’s physical, and you can listen to it and have a nice time, whereas when you’re downloading music and listening to it on the go you kind of feel a natural disconnect in my opinion.

“It’s something we wanted to do and something the label does – they’re big on vinyl!”

When we spoke to Dickon the band were preparing for a couple of live dates and rehearsals were going well, with further dates coming up in Cambridge in June and Manchester in August. But where is it now for the band?

“We just want to play in front of big crowds. This last year the number of people who’ve come to see us has dramatically increased and it’s been a great pleasure to play in front of people you don’t know, and we hope people enjoy our music.

“Our ambition is do more, and do it more often!”

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Euro 2016: The Music

As we all know from big hits such as the Lightning Seed’s Three Lions, football competitions like the World Cup and the Euros are not just about the football, it’s about the music that goes with it, and Euro 2016 is no different, so here is KBPS’ look at the new football songs appearing in 2016 and some of our favourites from previous competitions.

David Guetta feat. Zara Larsson - This One’s For You

France’s most famous musical export since Daft Punk teams up with Sweden’s Zara Larsson for the officlal Euro 2016 anthem. “We stand strong together / we’re in this forever” Larsson sings over a stirring mid-tempo club beat before a range of DJ effects take over for the chorus. It’s a decent enough song in the verses but a chorus consisting of dubstep is hardly going to be chanted by the football crowds. Though it does at least bridge the language barrier.
Verdict: Could try harder.

Manic Street Preachers - Together Stronger (C’mon Wales)

Here is Wales’ official anthem, naturally using one of the country’s biggest bands. Shamelessly and quite obviously riffing off Andy Williams’ ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ it at least ticks the boxes of the familiar football song: extracts from commentary? Check. Name-checking footballers? Check. Sing-able chorus? Check. It’s actually a pretty good track and the clap-heavy breakdown is fun but it does rely heavily on the sample and is it just me that feels it’s a little bit weird for Manic Street Preachers to sell-out like this?
Verdict: Not Bale-rilliant, but good enough!

Super Furry Animals - Bing Bong

Likely to bring fans of Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ into a cold sweat of psychological proportions, this simple, repetitive, vocodor-heavy number if quite likely the surrealist thing you’ll hear this year that’s football related. Except outside of the video it’s not really football-related. Catchy in its craziness, it’s not bad but you’d end up getting sectioned if you standing chanting this from the stands.
Verdict: Not so super, furry animals.

Andreas Klemmstein - EM Song

So unusual I’m not even sure of the actual title, this German song is naturally heavy on the electronic style with rap-like lyrics and mentions of the X Factor. It’s weird, wacky but surprisingly catchy, but again not exactly shouting out football.
Verdict: Nein.

Chris Phillips: Let The Good Times Roll

There must be something in the Welsh water as here is another song from the land of the dragons. A surprisingly well produced indie song with a video that doesn’t look like it was filmed in someone’s bedroom on a cheap camcorder for once, it again ticks the lyrical boxes of a football song but it doesn’t really ever get into a feeling anywhere near stirring. For a song called ‘Let The Good Times Roll’ it doesn’t feel that happy but it’s nice enough.
Verdict: Going to penalties.

Skip The Use - I Was Made For Lovin’ You (My Team)

Somewhere members of KISS are contacting their lawyers to see if it’s worth a lawsuit over this, er, interesting parody. Featuring a particularly unusual pronounciation of the words ‘My Team’ this is actually not too bad and they’ve certainly picked a catchy song to cover, it’s Chic-sounding backing feeling quite contemporary.
Verdict: I Was Made For Lovin’ You Martin? Who’s Martin?

Northern Ireland Team - Will Grigg’s On Fire

Sampling ‘Freed From Desire’ by Gala this is actually surprisingly good, taking the appeal of the original song and twisting the lyrics. Nice.

Izzy Bizu & the BBC Concert Orchestra - La Foule

The official song for the BBC’s coverage, apparantely Izzy Bizu, lacking in particular French skills, sang it phonetically. It’s an intriguing song musically, mixing in your expected French accordion sounds with a Carribean style and a touch of James Bond. I can certainly see it accompanying television coverage but not entirely sure a stand-full of slightly tipsy football fans would be able to navigate the Francais.

Verdict: Bon.

Four Lions - We Are England

Made up of members of Black Grape, this is certainly no Three Lions plus. It’s got a nice tongue-in-cheek feel to it but let’s face it, anything associated with Shaun Ryder is hardly going to be strong musically.

Verdict: Lion down on the job.

The Barry Horns: This is Wales

Yes, it’s Wales again. This song is a cross between some electrofunk record and a tourist’s map of Wales read out by Siri. That said it’s surprisingly toe-tapping if hardly stadium fodder.

Verdict: This is OK.

Seo Linn - The Irish Roar

It’s back to Ireland a more Enigma-style opening gives way to a more indie-Irish style mixing French references with commentary samples. After the Manic Street Preachers this is probably actually the best song of the year.

Verdict: Roar!

Click here for our YouTube playlist of these songs and our favourites from past years.

Monday, 6 June 2016

The Lancashire Hotpots - Nowt Like The 80s

Any long time fans of the Hotpots, Lancashire’s top comedy-folk band, will know what to expect from this, their ninth studio album in a decade, and won’t be disappointed. From a spot-on and well-observed cover parody of an early Now! compilation to songs with a great selection of influences, ‘Nowt Like The Eighties’ is another tour de farce from the comedy band though as expected it doesn’t really do anything fresh from their successful formula, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Benefitting from drip-feeding several of the tracks over the last year to get them familiar to fans, some of the album feels already recognisable through tracks like ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Lancashire’s For Me’, helping the album settle in, and if you do have chance to see the video for the latter online it will certainly get the laughs.

‘Last Can Blues’ is a fun opener but is a little like the Hotpots on autopilot, but it’s rock-and-roll vibe proves the strong production values behind the band. ‘Do The Dad Dance’ is a much better start to the album, its Black Lace style and electro-funk music style much more interesting and sounds like it could be fun live.

Continuing the electronic feel, ‘Eggs, Sausages, Chips and Beans’ offers a sound-a-like parody of ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’, giving it a proper Northern make-over and proves to be a pretty catchy number. 

Track four ‘Don’t Put Granny on the Internet’ is a classic, a sort of throw-back to their internet-referencing earlier material, with some great lyrics, rhymes and a bouncy rhythm. The album continues with its most absurd number, ‘6784’, a way of remembering your card PIN which is hilarious in its ridiculousness. 

‘Black Friday’, one of the previously previewed tracks, is a fun number about the day of crazy shopping, once more showcasing the great balance between musical production and observational lyrics.  ‘My Pianist’ follows ‘Has Anyone Seen My Dongle’ and ‘My Wife Is An Ann Summer’s Rep’ as the album’s innuendo-laden number, and though a little bit more forced (steady) than those previous ones, is a fun doo-wop number that ticks the ‘Carry On’ box.

Reprising the food theme from earlier on ‘Fussy Eater’ and ‘It’s A Barmcake’ are two more fun tracks, the latter offering a new take on ‘Agadoo’ with the age old Facebook debate. 

The Stock-Aitken and Waterman styled ‘Lancashire’s For Me’ is the best song on the LP, its mix of funny lyrics and production style at its peak here.

The album nears its end with ‘Stop in the Name of Fudge’, a Supremes sound-a-like about the shrinking sizes of chocolate bars which isn’t one of the best songs on the album but ties things over nicely, before things end on ‘Dibnah’, a true lighters-out ending that you may have seen on the BBC. A tribute to the famous steeplejack Fred Dibnah, Dramatic, well produced and atmospheric, this is the perfect way to wrap up the album.

‘Nowt Like The 80s’ isn’t a revolutionary album from the comedy-folk band, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from the group in terms of style and sound, but there’s plenty of great new songs to love here and the band still have a great ear for a comedy record whilst also able to create a very distinctive production style. 

Fans of bonus material will also get a CD of intrumentals and another live disc which includes 14 live hits including some of the biggest hits. It’s not a comprehensive set and some are cut from it I think, but it’s well recorded and captures their live spirit.

Ladyhawke - Wild Things

Singer Pip Brown is back with her latest and third album. Having absolutely loved her self-titled debut but not been a huge fan of her follow-up ‘Anxiety’, I’m excited to report that her latest LP is, to roll out a cliche, a return to form, a thoroughly enjoyable eleven track pop classic with more hooks than a fishmongers and so catchy it should come with a health warning.

‘A Love Song’ is a typical example of what makes the LP a great listen, a bouncy, pop hit that screams for radio play, sounding like some of the best songs on her debut. With some throbbing electronic moments and vocal trickery, its the central chorus that kicks off the album.

Continuing with ‘The River’ which begins with a great mix of drums and piano before switching up into another clutch of catchiness in the form of the bridge and chorus, with enough nonsense vocal calls to keep the most ardent Kaiser Chiefs fan happy.

The album’s title track comes next. ‘Wild Things’, the only song on the album to break past both the four- and five-minute barriers, begins gently with a surprisingly sombre sounding piano riff before morphing into a mid-tempo electionic ballad that, off-set against the buzzing introductions to the album, works really well, though Ladyhawke is always her best when things remain upbeat.

Track four ‘Let It Roll’ is my favourite song on the album, a foot-tapping fast-paced catchy pop song with a speedy verse and bridge that makes way for a huge and bouncy chorus, as Brown declares ‘too many lovers in a hotel room; they’re making plans to run away to the moon’ and launches a massive banger of a tune with plenty of tricks to keep things interesting.

The album continues to deliver after this. ‘Chills’ mixes up plenty of hooks together for another fun electro-pop number whilst ‘Sweet Fascination’ offers a fun swagger to its mid-tempo styling. ‘Golden Girl’ continues to offer sunny pop enthusiasm, whilst ‘Hillside Avenue’ becomes one of the next big highlights of the album, the mid-tempo feel of the track combined with a simplev but surprisingly memorable chorus make for a very listenable number, it’s reggae-tinged production style very good.

‘Money To Burn’ is an equally great follow-up, another one of my highlights of the album. Lyrically well put together it combines well Brown’s distinctive vocals and her electropop style.

Wrapping up the album is ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Dangerous’, both strong songs as the album reaches its conclusion. ‘Wonderland’ has quite possibly the best chorus on the album, making it one of the most perfectly composed pieces on the record. The throbbing ‘Dangerous’ ties things up well, its darker undertones offering a counterpoint to the perkier early numbers.

Stuffed to the rafters with catchy vocal and musical hooks this is Pip Brown’s best album to date and is the perfect pop-summer record to throw on in the car or at a barbeque. Loved it!

Rude Audio - Rudest (EP)

Out now, ‘Rudest’ is a four-track EP from electronic DJ Collective ‘Rude Audio’ who are made up of a group of DJs from 19 to 53.

Opener ‘Crystal Pylon’ is a throbbing electronic start, its mix of dark, industrial sounds and ethereal vocal calls merging together into a delightfully varied and captivating soundscape. 

‘Knockemdub’ fuses a subtle Caribbean rhythm into the track, its elements once more gently being introduced and weaved in into the magical sounding flow that includes snippets of speeches and other vocal effects into a calming, hypnotic exploration of what music can make you feel.

‘Half Moon Lane Glitter’, which flows seamlessly from the previous track to the last, is less distinctive in its style through a lack of more intriguing vocal hooks but is nevertheless a strong and involving composition with some Eurosian hints in its delivery.

The EP wraps up with ‘User’, a spookier, more ghostly affair, mixing up haunting musical lines with a more sombre styling, tying up a strong, electronic-focussed EP with plenty of ideas that weave well together to create a pleasing aural experience.