Friday, 23 August 2019

Introducing: Arxx



If there’s one word to describe Brighton based 2-piece Arxx it’s powerful. Powerful riffs, powerful lyrics, powerful vocals, powerful performances. Taking the drums and guitar route used successfully by the likes of fellow Brightonians Royal Blood as well as The White Stripes, Arxx are a force. A garage rock band with a strong DIY / punk ethos. Hannah Pidduck (Vocals, Guitar) and Clara Townsend (Drums) have been making music together since 2017 and have been slowly building their profile through word of mouth to the point where today their new single Y.G.W.Y.W (You Got What You Want) has made it onto the Spotify New Music Friday Playlist. 

I’ve seen arguments recently that focusing on playlist placement is the wrong strategy and that artists need to have a longer-term vision of building real fans. But I think that’s not necessarily correct - it's less black and white and is possible to focus on both and that seems exactly what Arxx are doing. There’s a slow build going on here, with people gradually discovering their music, which leads to a few good slots on playlists which will help them find worldwide listeners  as they continue to grow.

I first became aware of the band when I saw their name listed as support for another act I like last year. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the show but having checked the band out online I was impressed. There was a rawness, a big punch of sound and despite their rock base they possessed a pop sensibility in so far as they had hooks, lyrics that you could holler along to and tunes that would stick in your head. It’s why a few months later I approached and booked them for Portsmouth’s Dials Festival (Oct 5th, 5 venues, Albert Road, Southsea, in support of Solent Mind – Full details and tickets can be found by clicking here) and was delighted when they agreed to play.

The new single is a great example of what the band do: Explosive riffs! Song structures designed to make you want to punch the air! Chant ready lyrics! Get ready to yell along at the top of your voice: “You’re messing with the wrong girl honey.” Arxx rock.

Arxx - Y.G.W.Y.W (You Got What You Want)

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

New Music - Pumarosa - Fall Apart


Isabel Munoz-Newsome’s experience of cervical cancer is well documented (you can read about it and her advice about the importance of a smear test in an interview she did with the Guardian by clicking here) but now thankfully she’s back making music. 

Fall Apart, the new song from her band Pumarosa, was released back in July, but it’s only today that the track has received the video treatment. It’s a big departure from the group's earlier material – sounding in places like a weird and frantic mix of David Bowie’s Little Wonder and something you might find lurking in the dark corners of an Aphex Twin album. There’s a hint of the Shirley Manson’s in the vocal delivery as well. It’s chaotic, experimental and certainly isn’t the track to push them towards the mainstream – which is a compliment not a criticism.

The video is equally odd and somewhat creepy. Set in London it features the delivery of a basket and an egg by some pagan looking women to Isabel. The egg is inscribed with the words ‘Chaos is Coming’ – perhaps a reference to Brexit, the rebellion of these women into a different way of life or maybe just reflecting the sound of this song. Whatever its meaning it’s good to have the band back, taking some creative risks and not following the same formula as before.

Pumarosa - Fall Apart




Monday, 19 August 2019

New Music: Maude Latour - Ride My Bike


Tour de France by Kraftwerk, Bicycle Race by Queen, Bike by Frank Ocean (with the line “life goes round in cycles”) and Nine Million Bicycles by Katie Melua; just a handful of the songs in pop music about or related to the pushbike, a form of transport that somehow just doesn’t seem anywhere near as rock and roll as a car, but that’s fine with me. After all musicians can’t escape from the pressing need to be environmentally conscious (just like we all need to), so maybe singing about bikes is much better than things like: “Just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims, and strap your hands 'cross my engines.” Sorry Bruce.

Now here’s a new one. It’s Maude Latour’s second time on Breaking More Waves; on the first she arrived with the pop star vs the bath promo shot and joined the club I spend too much time bringing to your attention. This time she’s grabbed the handlebars and has gone for a ride; it’s an undeniable bop. Imagine an exercise craving Lorde after 4 vodka Red Bulls and a couple of Fruit Shoots. It starts, like all good journeys should, in first gear, but then works harder, aiming for both your hips and feet. It’s song that celebrates getting out there and clearing the anxiety and stress from your head with the full force of pedal power (something that good pop can also help with). Watch out for the spoken word segment as well – a classic pop moment.

Feel the euphoria, the adrenaline, the blood-rush of excitement and as Maude sings, get that runners high, with Ride My Bike.

Maude Latour - Ride My BIke

Sunday, 18 August 2019

New Music: Lily Moore - Nothing on You


The last time I came across Lily Moore was at Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival where she was performing an early evening set on the Acoustic Stage and dealing with some very drunk punters in the front rows: 

“What’s yer name darlin?”

“Lily Moore.”

“Lily who? Well ooeva yer are Lily yer great. We love yer Lily.”

In fact, our drunken revellers loved her so much that after a little dance they spent the next couple of songs chatting to themselves and completely ignoring her. 

Reality check. Festivals aren't always brilliant. Particularly for lesser known acts. This is what it’s sometimes like, particularly at city-based ones that offer day tickets, where for a certain % of the audience the music is just a background soundtrack to getting hammered and having it large with your mates.

For those who were a little more invested in the music however, Lily Moore was a revelation. “Why isn’t Lily Moore a star yet? Touches of Amy Winehouse, Adele and Paloma Faith. Bucket loads of talent,” I tweeted after watching her. 

Now here she is displaying that talent once again on new song Nothing on You which was written with the band Honne and finds Lily singing about what sounds like the perfect partner: “Every time I’m lost, you’re the place that I go. And when nothing makes sense, you’re the one thing that I know.” Yet for some (unexplained) reason Lily confesses that “It really kills me to tell you the truth, but I can’t let myself fall in love with you.” 

However, there’s nothing stopping you falling in love with this song, which is another fine addition to Lily’s collection, more of which you’ll be able to hear on her forthcoming mixtape due September 13th and features collaborations with Maverick Sabre and Dan Caplan.

Lily plays the 100 Club in London this September but that show is already sold out. 

Lily Moore - Nothing On You (Video)