Lauren Pritchard :: The Jackson Sessions EP, out 03/5/10

Lauren Pritchard :: The Jackson Sessions EPWith a voice as sensual and as warming as Jack Daniel’s (both from Tennessee incidentally), Lauren Pritchard’s debut EP ‘The Jackson Sessions’ comes out on 3rd May on legendary Island Records.

The video for EP opener ‘When The Night Kills the Day‘ has been up on Moon & Back for a good while now. The unconventional addition of a steincourt piano (owned by co-writer Ed Harcourt) adds a hauntingly eery sound to the track whilst all other  instrumentation is provided by non other than Marcus Mumford and Ted Dwaine of fellow-Islanders Mumford & Sons. Intimate and personal lyrics add a delicacy which Pritchard playfully flits around with, demonstrating a exquisite talent which we just can’t get enough of.

The three other tracks on the EP (‘Stuck’, ‘No Way’, and ‘Bad Time To Fall’) display standard album-quality material with slightly-less production by Eg White, letting a rougher edge come into Lauren’s voice.

As if a recommendation from Moon & Back was not enough, Pritchard has also gone and bagged herself a guest-performance slot with Paul Weller at his In Concert performance on Radio 2 on April 15th and a slot at the will-be-big MFlow Lauch Event on April 14th – no simple feat really.

More info. and purchase links for The Jackson Sessions EP can be found at

Get The Jackson Sessions EP at MFlow here

Advance Album Review :: Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life

Quite possibly the worst title for an album ever

This is 4th studio album from the Minneapolis boys, and I have to say I find the artwork for the album cover quite bizarre, looking more like the E.P of a local pop-punk band than that of a dominant band in the pop-punk/rock scene.

The album starts with the track “Worker Bee” which seems to match the albums title and artwork, it doesn’t make sense to me that a band such as MCS would progress into a mature band throughout their first three studio instalments, then seem to go full circle, with songs, bar the squeaky clean production, sound like a band just finding their sound.
The initial track is not, unfortunately, a one off lapse in this otherwise great bands musical skill. As the album continues the songs don’t seem to get any more engaging, these aren’t bad songs, they’re very nice little pop songs, but there is something missing. It seems the MCS guys have lost the hard edge that, combined with their polished pop groove, made them stand out from the crowd.
Her Words Destroyed My Planet is the first single off this record, and it’s a good choice, definitely one of the stronger songs, with singer Justin Pierre giving the vocal melody just the right amount of angst.
The following track “Disappear see’s the band trying to keep hold of their old edge, and to be fair, it works quite well, it’s a dark, slick, catchy tune reminiscent of their “I am the Movie” days, it doesn’t quite match up to songs like “Mary Without Sound” but it’s on the right lines.
“History Lesson” and “Stand Too Close” are a good duo for the mid-point of this 12 track L.P: they both feature an acoustic guitar track, which might be something the band should incorporate more for their music, as these two tracks are the strongest out of the dozen.
Unfortunately, the saviour of these is short lived, with the song “Pulp Fiction” giving clear clarification to my previous statement of the band acting more like a cheesy local pop-punk band. Though catchy, it isn’t very engaging and would find it hard to believe that any long standing fan would agree with the direction the band has taken. This album may draw in a much younger crowd, a new batch of MCS fans, but this is done at the risk of losing a large percentage of their original following.
The rest of the album follows in a similar vein to that of the previous track: not BAD songs as such, but nothing outstanding or in anyway engaging. It seems Motion City Soundtrack’s move to Columbia Records was a bad idea, and even lyrical references to Veronica Mars and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time can’t save this album from mediocrity. Now I’m off to save Hyrule and beat myself off over pictures of Kirsten Bell.

Promo & Advance Album Review :: ArdentJohn – On The Wire

To label ArdentJohn as another indie-folk band is similar to calling the Bible a book: it kind of misses the point…by a fairly long shot.

I can’t remember the last record that clocked up so many plays within the first week as On the Wire has – charming, delicate, honest and with a subtle melancholic undertone, it’s innocently touching and provocative. ArdentJohn’s debut, then, is more than a record – it’s a slither of life’s experiences documented in an imaginative and skilful way.

It’s no surprise to find out that the band, established on the Isle of Bute and now based in Edinburgh, retreated to a cottage by the shores of Loch Fyne for the album: the pureness and idyllic setting shines through on all the tracks. Generally it sounds rough around the edges with certainly not too much time spent on production; but the record is all the better for this.

Vocalist (Kieron) Mason confidently purrs out the lyrics with a hint of accent, flirting with the instrumentation of the six-piece. Immediate comparisons would be drawn with Belle & Sebastian and Broken Records, but ArdentJohn never achieve the same level of consciousness within the music – each track flows easily and just ‘is’ as opposed to being ‘worked on’.

Album highlights are suitably interspersed: ‘Where Paths Lead’ is an (almost) epic build-up of ‘I want you, I need you; can’t you see?’ over a suitably flitting finger-pick; ‘Home‘ follows with it’s melodious into and verses and heart-wrenching lyrics; ‘Fleeting Moments‘ has an awesomely summer feel to it you’ll be picking it out specifically come July and ‘One Step Behind‘ is a welcoming, faster-paced and slightly heavier song that stands out due more to this than anything.

Overall, there are some gems of songs presented on On The Wire which show a group of strong talents. With a sharp ear for cute melodies and honest lyrics, ArdentJohn have released a debut album that promises much more to come in the future from a band who are certainly one to check out.

MySpace | LastFM

Check out ArdentJohn @ a live show below

8th Jan – London – Wilmington Arms (Single Launch)
23rd Jan – Edinburgh – The Electric Circus (Album Launch)
27th Jan – Glasgow – Pivo Pivo
29th Jan – Manchester – Dry Bar
30th Jan – London – Bull & Gate (Album Launch)
16th Feb – Edinburgh – Bongo Club
18th Feb – London – The Lexington

Advance Album Review :: Lostprophets, The Betrayed

Big riffs, pounding beats and sing-along shout-outs are what we’ve come to expect from Welsh-rockers Lostprophets. Their new album, The Betrayed, boasts all these but with an added extra zest of seriousness.

Check out our exclusive interview with Mike Lewis

The progression from previous albums is similar to switching from, say, a Roger Moore-era James Bond to a Bourne film – they’re both of the same genre and built on the same framework, but they’re pretty fuckin different. So, what to expect from The Betrayal? Raw, gritty riffs, mosh-pit hardcore hooks, epic pop-rock sing-alongs and a vault of potential singles.

Heavier-orientated fans will appreciate [Lee] Gaze’s ridiculous riffs and  on tracks like Dstryr / Dstryr and first single It’s Not The End Of The World But I Can See It From Here, whilst those of you with fonder memories of Goodbye Tonight will appreciate the standard and expected softer moments of the album: Where We Belong and A Better Nothing perhaps.

Lyrically, The Betrayed is standard and none-the-worse for it. The only niggle with this is the contrast in the musical and lyrical progressions. Saying that though, they are simple and accessible and because of that the album will be more attractive to more listeners than some wanky pretentious cryptic clues.

Closing the The Betrayed is the highlight: The Light That Burns Twice As Bright. This epic and anthemic track will leave you needing a new set of speakers as the band completely take things to another level with an atmosphere of dark and epic sincerity pounded via a build-up to heavy distortion and the standard sing-along.

The Betrayed is released on 18/01/2010. Pre-order below

Lostprophets | HMV | Play

Promo, Advance Album Review :: Fyfe Dangerfield – Fly Yellow Moon

Front-man of avant-garde rock outfit The Guillemots, Fyfe Dangerfield, has embarked on a solo adventure. His debut album, Fly Yellow Moon, is a mixture of the epic, anthem sing-alongs you’d expect whilst interspersed with more delicate songs.

Fly Yellow Moon is a strong solo album cementing Dangerfield’s reputation as an all-round experimentalist and fabulous musician, drawing on sounds from the Manic’s to Beirut and Nick Drake all mixed in with the quirkiness and uniqueness of Fyfe Dangerfield.

Opening the record is the first single, When You Walk in the Room: three minutes of summer sounding, festival-friendly pop. Not everybody’s taste though will be the outro but this is easily overlooked as So Brand New, the opening line giving the album it’s title, starts and Dangerfield exhibits a pitch-perfect, quintessentially English singer-songwriter sound reminiscent of the aforementioned Drake and John Martyn.

Barricades slows the tone down with delicate piano chords similar to very early Coldplay and conjures images of festivals and easy times. Mid-way through Dangerfield is accompanied by a selection of strings, demonstrating further his classical background, eventually tailing off to the sounds of children playing and thus the start of High on the Tide, after which the record (admittedly a little thankfully) picks up pace with Faster Than The Setting Sun.

Next is the record’s acoustic highlight: Livewire. A simple finger-pick of four chords and easy lyrics create a lovely late-summer’s evening tone; sadly, this pleasant feeling is changed by the heavier Firebird. Still, the musicianship and poetry is exceptional and despite previous lighter tones, the album still doesn’t drag or feel padded.

She Needs Me, Don’t Be Shy (listen and just try not to hear Three Hours) and Any Direction finish the album off neatly, if a little impersonally.

Overall Fly Yellow Moon is a strong, independent album that exhibits the adaptability of Dangerfield yet, despite vocals of a more delicate nature, still preserves his Guillemots edge. Older fans will appreciate the more fuller-sounding tracks (When You Walk In The Room, Faster Than The Setting Sun) whilst new fans will be treated to a variable-sounding record. Certainly a strong debut album that will certainly be kept playing through the year.

When You Walk in the Room is the first single to be taken from Fly Yellow Moon

Fly Yellow Moon is out soon and can be purchased from Fyfe Dangerfield’s site.


Jan 18th 2010 Birmingham, Glee Club  £11/12 0871 472 0400 Click Here
Jan 19th 2010 Manchester Deaf Institute £12 0161 832 1111 Click Here
Jan 20th 2010 Glasgow ABC £13 0141 353 8000  Click Here
Jan 21st 2010 London Scala £12.50 08444 771 000 Click Here

Advance Album Review :: Timothy J Simpson

‘Our Glorious Hero Battles The Man’, Nottingham-based Timothy J Simpson’s debut record, exudes summer melodies and autumnal charm, all covered over with a melancholic view of the past: Britain’s answer to Damien Jurado?

T J Simpson

T J Simpson

It was with initial trepidation that I first gave this record a spin; I’m so rooted in my acoustic music that anything new sent me has to be of an incredible caliber to get through into the regular play-list. That said, Timothy J Simpson’s method of breaking me down was a slow one; but he managed, where many, many others have failed.

On first listen, this record doesn’t bowl you over, but given time it most certainly will. The opening track ‘Wolves‘ makes you agog for the rest, but it’s sound is apart from the rest of the album and suitably the opener. Simpson got to the finals of the 2008 songwriting competition for second track ‘Keytones‘, a great achievement and well deserved.

You’re a Part of Me starts as a forgotten Idlewild track and mellows into Simpson’s simple, home-spun style. For me, this is a stand-out track of the album: an easy-listenable, sorrowful track of warm lyrics, suitable for those at the beach, perhaps.

Carrying on in the same fashion as mentioned, the record wraps up with notably different, rock-n-roll-esque Hooray with Simpson sounding like Two Gallants with Bob Seger . It’s an apt and ideal place for it, waking you up from the comfortable, duvet-wrapped snooze the preceding tracks placed you in. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing it’s a favorite of Simpson’s to play live.

As I said at the start, this record isn’t one you’ll be hugely impressed with initially. That’s actually a compliment though, as the pleasure to be found in ‘Our Glorious Hero Battles the Man’ is deeper and it’s charm is in it’s catchy lyrics, accessible melodies and simple, rustic sound.

You’re A Part of Me

Our Glorious Hero Battles The Man can be purchased from Amazon from 02/11/09

Timothy J Simpson

Advance CD Album Review :: Sukilove – Static Moves

sukiloveAfter learning that frontman Pascal Deweze of Belgian band Sukilove had described this record as “homo erotic rock without the glitter”, it was obvious that this album wasn’t going to be run of the mill to say the least. With a reputation as one of Belgium’s most interesting and daring bands, ‘Static Moves’ really does show that they are forever trying to push boundaries and defy genre labelling with every effort.

Opening track ‘New Beginning’ eases you in relatively well, although an odd choice to begin the album with, and only subtly foreshadows the outright weirdness that the rest of the songs are about to throw at you. What it does share is the raw atmosphere that this entire record gives off. Being the fourth album for the band, it is however only the first to be recorded at Deweze’s home studio – and yet with no strict schedule, Sukilove still recorded the entire album live. This is definitely reflected in ‘4am’, brilliantly atmospheric with tinkering electronica, ‘Greenwood’-esque guitar and Deweze’s vocal delivery adopting a Thom Yorke slur, it’s difficult to believe this isn’t a Radiohead track.

‘Rebel’ is literally what is done in this track, starting with gentle chords, it then bursts into a fast paced, heavy riff that franticly works round the delivery of an equally unsteady vocal melody. Clocking in at just shy of three minutes, this song knows it’s place, and is a highlight of the album as a short chunk of satisfying, aural angst. After enduring the oddly titled ‘Teeth Fitness’, which tops two minutes of eerie water noise, comes the single ‘Choose Your Gods’. . This is arguably the most contemporary effort on ‘Static Moves’, given the choice to release it in some hope of commercial recognition. The almost tribal main riff and jagged guitar solo still spark that unsettling feeling in the listeners stomach, however it compliments the accessible backing well and works on a level that you won’t find elsewhere.

As far as bizarre goes, ‘Memory As A Skull’ pulls out all the stops. Beginning with whispering of the lyrics panned to the far left and right of the mix, this is something you wouldn’t want to listen to through earphones in the dark. The dissonance of the chords as well as a slightly psychotic sounding refrain of the word “memory” render this song as far away from easy listening as possible, and is just outright odd. This said, it is so interesting that it does hold attention, particularly the er… “throat clearing” vocal solo.

‘Fear’ is definitely a highlight of the album.  The drum pattern and grinding bass line sound fantastic, as well as haunting guitar riffs that are strangely likened to a gothic Arctic Monkeys sound.  As the track builds up, Deweze’s confidence in his vocals follows suit, and he leaves behind the monotonous slurs for a ferocious rasp that culminates in the screaming of “we’re all just meat; waiting to die”. This is the kind of thing that Sukilove need to make more of, a whole album of this would really be something to look forward to.

Sometimes ‘Static Moves’ does sound like it’s obscure just for the sake of being obscure, and it takes a lot of patience to eventually ‘get’ – easy listening this is not. Rest assured, there are some great moments here, the fury of ‘Fear’ and the infectious ‘Choose Your Gods’ are definitely worth more than just a listen. Let’s hope that the future of this band holds such similarities. – Matt Fearon

Sukilove – Static Moves
Released on CD, download & limited edition clear vinyl on 2nd November 2009.
Sukilove Website