Southside Johnny & Billy WaltonWhen someone has had serious praise (and a sackload of songs) from Bruce Springsteen and he’s described by Jon Bon Jovi as the reason he got into music, you know there has to be a story there. The man in question is John Lyon, or Southside Johnny, and he’s aided and abetted by the Asbury Jukes. The band, with many personnel changes, have been around for 35 years with a current line-up which has been fairly stable for the last 10 years (stick with me, it’s all relevant).

Despite the long lifespan, this isn’t a nostalgia gig; Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes (shortened to The Jukes from now on) have released 4 albums of new material in the last decade and his audience expect to hear the new songs as well as the 70s classics. The audience at the Buxton Opera House were mainly the expected glad to be grey generation with some notable exceptions, including the teenager behind the mixing desk applauding the solos and singing along to songs recorded around 2 decades before he was born. Read more

floodofred-homerunFlood of Red are an emerging band from Glasgow who released their debut album ‘Leaving Everything Behind’ last month. Back in 1997 they had released ‘Home Run’ and have now subsequently decided to re-release it in a form of media including digital downloads and CDs with exclusive tracks.

If any track was ideally suited to battling it out in the singles chart, then this is surely a strong contender. ‘Home Run’ starts out with resonant electronic guitar riffs chords before driving drum beat launches the song into full flow. Read more

Brand New have unleashed their fourth studio album, Daisy. 01.25 minutes into the opening track ‘Vices’, the 1960s style choral recordings come to an end and you will, undoubtedly, jump out of your skin a little. Brand New’s music is becoming more powerful and intense than ever before.

Daisy’s songs stagger as the band’s heaviest to date. With a variety of styles, embarking from the explosive, ‘Nirvana-like’ mastery of ‘Vices’ and ‘Be Gone‘ through to tracks such as ‘Daisy’ and ‘Bed’ which agonise over self-contemplation, to melancholy pieces like ‘You Stole’ and ‘Noro’, which is the final track and brings the album to full circle. Lyrically, the songs here are more dingy, emotional and reflective of band member Jesse Lacey’s life happenings and thoughts.

The atmosphere of this album is eruptive, yet dense. It captures flourishing melody, which leads to Daisy being victorious. However, Brand New’s latest sound and power they roar can be overwhelming at times and almost endorses the poetry in the lyrics that is the band’s original forte. Daisy, nevertheless, manages to be masterpiece of angst-rock.

After taking a break from the music scene to write their latest album, The All-American Rejects are back. “The Wind Blows” is their latest track from the band’s third album “When The World Comes Down”. The song is much more mellow approach than previous hits, such as “Move Along” and memorable “Dirty Little Secret”, which were both released in the band’s ‘hay-days’ during 2005.

The ‘rejects’ most recent single suggests a mature and melodious path in the band’s career. “The Wind Blows”is a song about a broken love. It’s repetitive and less upbeat than the likes of chart-topping “Gives You Hell”, which was the first single to be released from the American foursome’s new album.

Admittedly, the mainstream boys have done it again. Despite “The Wind Blows” not being as popular, people seem to like it, which keeps the momentum going for now.

livAmy Winehouse’s dad has managed to get his own TV series – or website series anyway!

Mitch Winehouse’s new series on Liv continues to challenge the celebrity world as Cabbie Mitch sounds off about  X-Factor Favourites, Alex Reid’s cross-dressing, Robert Pattinson and others. The whole rant can be viewed in its entirety in Mitch Winehouse’s Showbiz Rant, on LIVING’s new online channel Liv on Thursday 5th November.

Liv can be retrieved through LIVING’s own website at and also through an array of other websites and social networking areas (including YouTube and Facebook).

When it comes to film and music video projects I have a saying: “In Spike Jonze I trust” so upon viewing the trailer for his upcoming Where The Wild Things Are adaptation I was suitably excited. I enjoyed the warm, fuzzy visuals and felt the use of Arcade Fire as the trailer’s soundtrack was fitting and worked well. So when I received a copy of the film’s soundtrack I was more than a little disappointed to find the French-Canadians entirely absent, replaced a little more dubiously with Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame.

Let me qualify the following review by saying that I’d never call myself a YYY fan – I tend to find Karen’s banshee/kicked dog yelps an acquired taste, one I have yet to properly acquire. I’ve given both Fever To Tell and It’s Blitz a couple of spins each and found the best moments to easily be much quieter, reflective tracks like the ubiquitous ‘Maps’. Read more

This is the first single from the Brooklyn duo Black Gold’s debut album “Rush” (to be reviewed later) and, as you would expect, is a pretty good example of what the band are all about. The single is edited much more tightly than the album version for radio play although this doesn’t really work in this case. The atmospheric piano intro which builds up as the bass comes in on the album version is lost as the 4 bars of piano and bass lead straight in to the vocal.

Singer Eric Ronick is working at the top end of his vocal range on this song, which emphasises the breathy. ethereal quality of his voice and the subject matter of the song which, you guessed it, is someone having a breakdown. The verse is driven along by the rhythm section, particularly the drums and builds up to a chorus where all of the instruments kick in to reinforce the breakdown message.

As a sampler for the band and the album, which the first single usually is, this is pretty good; it gives you a good idea of what the band’s about while still holding back the best for later. This isn’t the strongest song on the album by a long way; there are at least 2 songs which are much better, catchier and more commercial and will probably do better as singles. It’s not a bad song, but there is so much more to come.

Hot Chip-TreeThe indefatigable 5 headed pop colossus that is Hot Chip have announced a return to the live arena with a UK tour in February that will span the length and breadth of the UK culminating in two back to back shows at Brixton Academy on February 26th & 27th (live dates listing below).
Furthermore, in a message posted on their website the quintet of Alexis Taylor, Joe Goddard, Al Doyle, Felix Martin and Owen Clarke also revealed that they were putting the ‘finishing touches’ to their fourth studio album. The new, as yet untitled album is the follow up to 2007s gold-selling ‘Made In The Dark’ and although very few details of the album’s sound / direction are clear, being a Hot Chip album it’s inevitably going to be full of devious musical experimentation, killer pop hooks, heartfelt & soulful introspection and naturally, more than a few surprises. Read more

You wouldn’t exactly say that he’s prolific. Since the Stone Roses days, the new material has arrived at lengthy intervals. It’s usually described as “eagerly anticipated” and it may not always have been great, but it’s always been interesting. The news with “Stellify” is that it’s very good indeed, it’s a noughties love song.and it’s a great big glorious noise which sounds great on the radio.

“Stellify” (become a star?) starts with a simple and effective two keyboard riff (piano and keyboards on alternating half beats) then in come Ian Brown’s unmistakable vocals and the tune builds as first drums and then bass come in to complete an uncomplicated but incredibly effective arrangement. At around two minutes in there’s a bit of a Mark Ronson moment when the song breaks down to a two-trumpet riff (actually it sounds more like synthesised brass to me, rather than the polite interjections that we usually find on Ronson productions). The raw brass sound works perfectly as a contrast to the smooth arrangement of the rest of the song and then we’re off again building towards a slap ending at three and a half minutes.

In this edit, everything is in that needs to be there and nothing that shouldn’t be there and it’s the right length for radio play. It’s a song which should keep the fans happy, works on the radio and doesn’t make compromises to do that. Great single.