Let’s start 2018 in the traditional way by dusting off the Riot Squad crystal ball and having a peek into the next few months to see what we have to look forward to. As always, in no particular order.

After an absence of a couple of years to deal with serious health issues, Phil Burdett’s back in business again and firing out creative sparks in all directions. The action starts on Saturday January 27th at The Dickens in Southend with the launch gig for Phil’s latest album, “Psychopastoral”. He’ll be backed by the sublime Phil Burdett Group and the support band will be Winter. But that’s just the start; Phil has big plans for the rest of the year, including recording a double album of the songs written while he was in hospital, working on an art/film project and completing a book of poetry and a novel. We’ve got an interview with him coming up in the near future, so just watch this space. (Breaking news on this, Phil’s currently looking for a new venue for the gig on the 27th after The Dickens closed down over Christmas).


While we’re on the subject of grand ambitions, let me tell you about Martin Harley. He’s doing a three week tour of the UK with upright bass player extraordinaire Daniel Kimbro. They work together perfectly as a duo, both live and in the studio. The songwriting’s first class, the playing’s perfect and the harmonies are superb; even the chat between songs is interesting and often hilarious. Anyway, one of Martin’s ambitions is to play the Union Chapel in Islington, so he’s booked it for the last night of the tour on Saturday March 10th and he’s promoting the gig himself. It’s the perfect venue for Martin’s music and the Riot Squad will be out in force to support such a brave venture.


Another musical partnership we’ve been following for some time is Dean Owens and Will Kimbrough. Will’s guitar playing is in high demand; I lost count of the albums I reviewed in 2017 that featured Will’s playing, but he’s built a special relationship with Dean that’s led to a full-scale collaboration on their latest album “Southern Wind”. We’ve had some sneak previews here and we’ll be reviewing it in the next couple of weeks ahead of the official release date of Friday February 16 on At The Helm Records. You’ll love it.


2017 saw the release of the ‘lost’ PP Arnold album and the announcement she’s going to be making an album this year at Paul Weller’s Black Barn studio. It’s fantastic that “The Turning Tide” has finally been found, but even better that Pat is actually making original music again. And there’s plenty of speculation round the water cooler here at Riot towers about possible guest appearances and collaborations on the new album.


Finally, and this is specifically a London thing for the moment, late January will see the launch of Talentbanq, the latest venture for Ray Jones. Ray, former Development Director at Time Out has a passion for music that would shame most journalists and he’s always been willing to put a lot of time and effort into promoting new talent. Now that he’s no longer at Time Out he’s focussing his energies on promoting up-and-coming artists with Talentbanq. We’re still waiting for more details, but we do know that it’s going to be an interesting ride.


Sonic Boom TitleOK, so it’s about time we started another one of our occasional features. How about digging out those albums that had an instant impact on us and maybe even changed our musical tastes and lives. It could be something which went on to sell millions or it could be selling for 50p in the Oxfam shop (or both), but it was an album that made a difference. It was an album that made you see things in a different light and an album that you can drop the stylus on today, or stick in the CD player and it still makes you feel good. Oh, and you can listen to it from start to finish without skipping any tracks.

We’ll give you a starter for ten in the next couple of days and the Riot Squad will throw in the occasional contribution after that, but from that point on, it’s up to you. We want to hear about your personal album epiphanies; the impact they had when you first heard them and the effect they still have on you. We’re going to be asking for contributions from artists we’ve featured on Music Riot in the past and artists we’re hoping to feature in the future and anyone else who feels like having a go at enthusing about an album which influenced them.

Sound good to you? Watch this space and, if you feel like it, tell us about your Sonic Boom.


Bauble 2013 coverIs it really that time of year again?  We all know that December is the Twilight Zone for music; gigs are either nostalgic reunions or tribute bands and recorded music is dad-rock compilations and totally redundant rehashes and remasters and you don’t want to be reading any of that on MusicRiot, do you?  Well, obviously not, so we decided that we would round off the year by giving you something that would be thought-provoking while giving a flavour of what we’ve all been listening to during 2013.  Then we decided to do exactly the same as the newspapers and repeat what we did last year (but, in this case, bigger and better).

The MusicRiot team have compiled their High Fives for 2013 (they might be albums, singles, gigs, books, who knows) and we’ll be publishing them throughout December.  We’ve also asked some of the artists we’ve featured during the year to contribute as well and let’s just say that we’ve had some interesting contributions.  We don’t want to be accused of elitism, so if you want to share a 2013 Top Five of anything even vaguely music-related, get in touch and we’ll publish it.  It’s been an interesting year for all of the Riot Squad and it’s always a privilege to share it with you.