Sleaford Mods have been, in my opinion, probably the most refreshing act to come out of the U.K. in recent years. Full of working class rage, swagger, minimalist punk arrangements, rapid fire lyrics, and pure political passion; this duo from Nottingham has always been able to cut through bullshit in this dismal world.
The band has a very recognizable sound, with Jason Williamson shouting into his mic while Andrew Fearn creates looping beats and grooves with a stripped-down approach. As the group has gone through various albums, it became clear that they have been looking for a new direction in some ways with regards to their sound.
Enter their newest release English Tapas. The album has trademark Mods style, but you can quickly sense there are new influences at work. You hear not just punk, but glitch, trip-hop, hip-hop, and numerous other elements in their instrumentals. Andrew Fearn has really pushed himself on this record to create sounds that open up new avenues for Williamson to explore his vocals over.
Jason is at his most melodic on this record without a doubt. There is plenty of ranting at the system, and with Westminster fucking everyone over this is justified completely, but there are so many more melodic layers than on previous records.
There is enough for the longtime Sleaford Mods fans like me to love on English Tapas, but there is plenty for the newbies too. This is the record that the working class and poor living in a post-Brexit world need.
If you have followed my website for a long time, the name Simon Kent may sound familiar to you. Ever since I was introduced to his music a couple years back, Simon’s music has held my attention. You can imagine my excitement when I was given early access to his forthcoming record In Another Life for a review.
As I already expected, the album is full of well-structured songs that give gentle nods to the electro-pop of the 1980’s. Simon’s voice is as amazing as ever, quite frankly he is in possession of one of the most attractive and unique sounding voices I’ve heard in a while.
Fans of Simon Kent will not be let down, as he only builds upon the strong sound he has developed over the years. The melodies have strong hooks and the instruments are heavily electronic with ambient tones washing over the tracks.
Though In Another Life is not due for release for some time, one of the tracks(which has had airplay on BBC Radio 2) is available on Youtube for a listen (link below)
If you have not had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Simon Kent’s music, now is the time to start. This record is perfect for anyone longing for the sounds of Duran Duran, Tears for Fears and David Bowie being reimagined for the modern era. When the record releases on the 6th of March 2017, I highly recommend you experience In Another Life for yourself.
Simon Kent can be found at:
I’ve featured Suffolk-based rapper and R&B artist Jake Aldridge before on this site. He’s got a new track out that is a solid bet for the radio or the clubs. The verses are crisp and the hook has a memorable melody. I highly recommend you check it out.
When you look at current music that fuses electronica and rock sounds, you typically get a bunch of indie hipster nonsense. The music doesn’t have any bite to it, and more importantly, it is derivative of everything in its genre.
But wait, there’s actually good stuff out there.
Enter KLOQ. These guys have gotten a ton of press from my site because they deserve to be huge. With their newest LP Behind the Screams, the band has pushed their sound even further. This is not to say that the aggressive “punktronica” is no longer present. The LP just simply features a greater expansion on KLOQ’s core style. Most noticeable are the incredible melodic hooks in the choruses. The songs are infectious in a way that I have not seen from this band.
Present in Behind the Screams is also a shift in lyrical focus. There is a more obvious sociopolitical viewpoint. It is clear that the band have something to say about the state of our world, and it comes across as passionate rather than preachy. Just look at the album’s cover and you will notice that Behind the Screams is clearly a progression in the overall message of the band.
Between the infectious grooves and hooks, it really is a pleasure for me as a music journalist to recommend this record to you. There is so much nonsense on the radio nowadays that the talented artists sometimes get lost in the static.
KLOQ is a band that should never be lost in that static.
Behind the Screams releases on Friday 6/10/16. Follow KLOQ at:
It’s always interesting to see how a music artist evolves in terms of their sound. In the case of Manchester native Naomi we’ve seen her go from what I’d call a “pure” pop sound (when she performed as Caleidra) to a more progressive pop sound (with her debut single under the Naomi name “Rivers Run”). This is most evidenced in her new EP Take Back The Power which is a departure from her more organic record Another Day.
Here we see a full embracing of an electro-pop sound with lyrics that reflect her new sound. The lead single from the EP “Take Back the Power” almost seems to be a declaration that states “welcome to the new era.” The song exists in three forms on the album; the single version, a Tiesto-esque dance club remix by DJ George Bowie, and (my personal favorite) a crunching rock remix by Simple Minds’ producer/collaborator Gordy Goudie. The song has a strong melody and each mix gives a different experience of the track. The other tracks on Take Back the Power are the songs “My Mistake” and “Didn’t Make the Grade.”
“My Mistake” is honestly the strongest song on the entire album. The harmonies, the atmospheric tones, the groove, the instrumentation, and Naomi’s voice all come together in a truly perfect way. From the pre-chorus you know something great is going to happen and then the heavily harmonized chorus kicks the song into the stratosphere.
“Didn’t Make the Grade” is the most relaxed and arguably darkest song on the record. The heavy use of Naomi’s falsetto along with the pocket groove and strong piano/synth lines really gives the song unique character.
All in all Take Back The Power is a strong EP that easily can be placed among today’s pop stars. Naomi’s sound is mainstream and unique at the same time. Her voice is uniquely hers; not a clone of people currently occupying the Billboard top 40.
Naomi’s worth your time, I promise.
Take Back The Power can be found at:
Naomi can be found at:
(Hey guys! Here is an interview with an awesome singer who is making waves in the UK music scene. Enjoy!)
Derek: So tell me how you got into music?
Zoey: Music always played a massive part in my life from a very young age. My
dad was forever blasting out Whitney and Mariah. As I got older I found
that singing was my get away, I begun working with friends and recording
music we had written together on webcam microphones in my first years of
high school and continued from there.
Derek: Your new single “Siren” is brilliant, can you tell me what went into
Zoey: Siren was written with an amazingly talented writer I’m working with
called Claudia Kennaugh based in London and produced by Savvy. Savvy
brought the track to me as we had been performing together in the band
(The Savoir-Faire.) He said he wanted me to have a go at it as he liked
my vocal range. I demo it and he loved it so we hit the studio to record
the full studio version.
Derek: I’m always curious to know how artists see their own work, so how would
you describe your music?
Zoey: I’d say definitely emotional, with a vein of hard truths & blunt honesty
running through it I guess…. hmm this is hard as I always ask other
people what they think to be honest. But definitely honesty even when
the song is a bit, you know out there & fantasy based I’ll still thread
a bit of truth & vulnerability through the song.
Derek: Musically and lyrically where do you draw your inspiration from?
Zoey: My inspiration comes from day to day life, the emotions I feel and the
experiences I encounter. I believe the best lyrics come from the more
challenging days, the days that really make you feel raw emotion.
Putting these emotions onto paper which are then constructed into songs
that can really relate to others is what does it for me.
Derek: You have been touring the UK and supporting producer/rapper SAVVY and
his group Savoir~Faire at live gigs, what has that whole experience been like?
Zoey: Touring with Savvy and the band is quite a new experience for me. I’d
always been very shy and lacked confidence when it came to performing
live and would avoid the stage like the plague. I really had to face my
biggest fear head on but that first gig, the first time I got up on that
stage with such amazing people and musicians, it felt electric. The
whole experience of being surrounded by such a solid team really felt
uplifting. A massive confidence boost.
It’s been pretty damn good….very exciting and a huge learning curve for
me. There’s so much more to do than just walking on a stage somewhere and
singing from rehearsals, learning your lyrics as well as Savvy’s
learning how the live version of a track switches and changes up, How to
improvise as a live performer even how to let the public know where
you’ll be performing, you have to be so persistent. Social media sites
seems to play a big part in building up an audience over in the UK.
Derek: I’m from Los Angeles where every new artist is trying to make it big
musically and it is difficult. How about in the UK, is there a good
reception to new artists like yourself?
Zoey: Yeah the UK is the same but I bet nowhere near as crazy as LA. Its good
to always get the audience involved, Were in a good time in the UK at
the moment people are getting a bit bored again with the same old sound
and artists from a range of different genres are making moves, quite a
few with little to no backing as well. We’ve have some really good
feedback from DJ’s and listeners and the song has had its first BBC play
a week or so ago, that was very exciting and surreal at the same time.
We’re still counting down for the release of SIREN, it’s due to be
released on 27th September! As a new artist I have no idea how the
single will be received its quite a different track in ways a bit of a
mash-up of genres but I have to say so far so good
Derek: What can we expect next from you?
Zoey: Already hitting the studio finishing some more songs with Savvy, I can’t
tell you much about them at the moment but I’m thinking they will
probably be part of a collection of songs like an EP or something…I’ve
got one I’ve done called cabaret which I’m really happy with, really
looking forward to making the video for it too, some amazing ideas have
been flying around.
Derek: Is there anything you would like to add before we close the interview?
Zoey: Thanks for taking your time out to talk to me. Salute to Saving Grace
Music!! as the first lady I shall rep you well lol…..Erm a big thank you
to anyone that’s supported me in my career so far, fingers crossed I’ll
do you proud. Come check me out on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ZoeBrookJackson) & keep up to date with my movements, I should be coming to a town near you soon…
(I’m pleased to present an interview with the founder of Two&Two Records, a UK label specifically for ambient and experimental artists. You guys know that I love this genre as I write this music also, so I hope you read and give the label some love.-Derek)
Derek: Tell me about Two&Two Records, how did it get started?
Neil: I started Two&Two back in November last year and basically I was at a point where I felt comfortable enough from everything I learned co-managing Dred Collective that I figured why not do it myself. I’ve loved that kind of music for a long time now and wanted to play a part in bringing it more attention.
Also recently a good friend of mine Rhamy has come in to co-manage the label which I think will work well. Rhamy and I are pretty much on the same wavelength and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, which is quite key I think, just because some of the music we release is dark and moody it doesn’t mean ourselves or the label should be.
Derek: What inspired the label to be a representative of ambient and experimental artists? What is your mission as a record label?
Neil: Just for the love of it basically, that’s all there is to it. We’re passionate about the music and want to help it along, we just want to keep growing and see how far we can take this.
I’ve got a long list of people that I would like to be involved with the label at some point. That’ll just continue to grow as we’re always looking for something new in experimental and ambient music. So yeah that and hosting events, something a bit different though, we’re going to take our time with it and make sure it’s spot on. Apart from that we’re just taking it as it goes.
Derek: The music industry has a lot of distribution methods, why should an artist choose Two&Two over another label or doing a DIY approach? What makes you guys better than the competition?
Neil: I don’t believe we’re better than the competition; In fact I have a lot of respect for the labels that are already established in this genre. I’m proud of what we’re doing and how it’s gone so far but we’re still very young as labels go, saying that we do have plans and definitely want to delve into all different areas of experimental music, so I think in that sense our palette of releases will be broader in comparison to other labels.
I think this compilation will show the variety of sounds we’re into and want to be more involved in, so if we were talking to a producer or someone came across us and felt they would be right for the label then we’re happy to have them involved obviously.
Derek: Say an artist is in the ambient/experimental genre and they are interested in joining your label, what do they need to do? Or do you handpick artists?
Neil: It’s a bit of both, we’re set for a number of releases after the comp and I’ve got people in mind I would like to work with in the future like I said. But all someone would need to do is either send us a demo or drop us a message.
Derek: How many artists do you currently represent and what regions of the world are they from?
Neil: Well we’ve had 4 artists release EPS on our label so far located in Belgium, Colombia, France and Australia
Derek: Being a London-based record label, would you say that your city is a hub for this type of music?
Neil: I would love to say it is but it isn’t in my opinion, nowhere near. There are things going on around the city don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to this type of music it’s not a hub. I think Italy or France has that down; a lot of decent producers are rising from there in this genre.
We’re soon to be Bristol based anyway, Rhamy already lives there and I’m planning to move over there soon. It’s such a good city in terms of openness and diversity with music so hopefully we can build a hub there, who knows.
Derek: You have finished a compilation album that showcases artists with Two&Two, when will it be available to the public?
Neil: All the tracks will be up on the 15th for preview and then released on our bandcamp on the 25th for free.
Derek: Is there anything else you would like to add before we finish this interview?
Neil: Erm just a thank you to yourself and everyone who has supported/ been involved with the label so far, we’re having a lot of fun doing it and it’s been a pleasure to work with everyone. Oh, also we’re planning a collaborative night with another label, one that I’ve been a fan of for a while, so look out for that!
Two&Two Records can be found at: