Tommy Eye – “Lessons In How To Fly”

Having only stumbled upon Tommy Eye at the recent “Quest For The Chest” final and being blown away by his set, I managed to get my grubby mits on a copy of his debut album “Lessons In How To Fly”. 

To say that Tommy Eye is a breath of fresh air is an understatement.  He is a rapper who is going places, with a wide variety of influences musically and a writer of sharp lyrics. 

One listen to “Lessons In How To Fly” makes it clear that his sound near on impossible to pigeonhole.  The musical influences hope around all over the place.  “Repeat” musically is a poppier leaner version of the angst ridden funk rock that made Rage Against The Machine so special whereas “Feel Brand New” namechecks both Jay-Z and The Verve and “Mermaids In Jetpacks” has a very smooth and relaxed late night soul feel to it. 

The lyrics come to the fore again in “Save Me” which is a dark yet razor sharp social commentary about a world we can all relate to.  Tommy’s Christian faith is a relatively common theme too but not in an overpowering way.  It’s subtle enough to provide a consistent underbelly throughout.  He is clearly a humble chap.  “Feel Brand New” sees him actually thanking the genre of hip hop for changing his life.  This is a clearly a man who loves his art.

Having recently supported the likes of Akala and Devlin, Tommy Eye is tugging furiously at the coat-tails of the big boys.  Don’t be surprised if he is rubbing shoulders with them this time next year.

Paul Lane.

(Listen to my review of “Lessons In How To Fly” on Nick Tann’s “Is This Thing On?” podcast here)

Posted in CD Reviews, Quest For The Chest, Reviewed On Nick Tann's "Is This Thing On?" Podcast, Southampton, Tommy Eye | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Gideon’s Demise Album Launch – Soul Cellar – Friday 26th November

It’s been a year in the making but Southampton three piece Gideon’s Demise have finally unleashed their debut album “Kiss My Temper” onto the world.  Tonight’s album launch show at Soul Cellar suitably marked the occasion for the event that it really is.  Gideon’s Demise are a special band, “Kiss My Temper” is a special album and tonight is a very, very special night.

Adam and Lee – formerly of local heroes The Retake – warmed things up nicely under the guise of Lead On.  A neat acoustic set coupled with their likeable personalities gets things off to a laid back start.

Bournemouth based singer/songwriter Sarah Griffin and her band up the ante with a polished set.  Playing tracks from her consistent debut album “Above The Parapet“, she comes across as wonderfully human whilst being assuringly professional in her performance.  The band are very together which means that gems like “Poet” and “News Of The Weird” pleasingly fulfill their potential.  Sure, the KT Tunstall and Damien Rice influences are clear for anyone to see but Sarah Griffin has her own distinctive style which is hugely likeable, instantly familiar and commercially viable.

The Lost Souls Club are tipped by many to be on the verge of great things.  One listen to the likes of the rifftastic darkness of “Romeo” or the glittery pop of “Sometimes” backs this theory up substantially.  Jon Tufnell is never less than exhilarating as a frontman.  He oozes meaning and feeling with every syllable and every note squeezed from his guitar.  It’s thrilling stuff that warms the 200 plus crowd up nicely for tonight’s headliners….

Kicking off with “Grey”, Gideon’s Demise clearly mean business.  Frontman and lyricist Gideon Towers comes across more confident and comfortable than ever whilst retaining the natural intensity that makes him such a believable artist and bassist Jim Sparshott and drummer Matt Stanton are as reliably tight as we’ve come to expect.

Tonight is what the band have been working towards over the past year and anyone who saw their debut gig at Talking Heads in July last year can’t help but be impressed by how far the band have come on.  It’s the power of the performance which raises the already impressive material to epic status.

“Panic”, “Fusion” and “Watch The Sun” are more powerful and harder hitting than they ever have been before whilst “Take Me Down” does what it always does by making the hairs on the back of the neck stand on end for anyone who has a pulse.  It’s colossal stuff.

“By Myself” glows in the live arena, sounding dirtier than ever before the deafening roar from a euphoric crowd demands that the band retake to the stage and leave us with a raucous “Glow”. 

Clearly the band have had the time of their lives tonight and so have the crowd.  It’s beaming smiles all round and there’s an overwhelming sense of a job well done.  Gideon’s Demise have not just done themselves proud tonight but the whole of the Southampton music scene should be proud of what’s happened tonight.  The foundations have been laid for 2011 to be a landmark year for one of the South’s finest bands.

Paul Lane.

Posted in Gideon's Demise, Gig Reviews, Lead On, Played on Nick Tann's "Is This Thing On?" Podcast, Reviewed On Nick Tann's "Is This Thing On?" Podcast, Sarah Griffin, Soul Cellar, Southampton, The Lost Souls Club | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Andrew Foster – “The Stone Tape Theory”

Ok, so it’s quite late in the day to be reviewing a Halloween single.  However when it’s the latest single by Andrew Foster, it doesn’t really matter when you review it or when it was meant to be reviewed, you take it for granted that the quality is going to be of an exceptionally high level and Portsmouth’s finest does not disappoint with “The Stone Tape Theory.”  Far from it….

Clocking in at just over six minutes, this is epic stuff.  Building up in a suitably stark and atmospheric way, the intimacy of the arrangement adds to the overall unsettling and creepy effect that Foster is clearly trying to ascertain here.   His distinctive vocals are subtle and restrained enough to keep the listener on edge throughout yet retain the melodic expertise that we’ve come to expect. 

All the classic traits of horror movie music are thrown in for good measure too with church organs gradually introduced and bubbling away in the background before the climatic rock out which recalls the darkness of a poppier sounding “Lullabies To Paralyze”-era Queens Of The Stone Age complete with backwards vocals before the whole thing grinds to an unceremonious halt. 

“The Stone Tape Theory” is an enthralling listen from one of the finest songwriters on the South Coast.  Following such a strong album as “The Garden” would be difficult for anyone but with this first new release since then, Andrew Foster makes it seem like a stroll in the park.

(Andrew’s next live show will be at the “Sound Of The C” at The Brook on 12th December).

Paul Lane.

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30 Pounds Of Bone – “Method”

Armellodie does what record labels like Stiff Records used to do.  If a release has its name against it, you immediately know that it’ll be at the very least an interesting listen, something quirky, clever and unique.  Having been the name behind releases by The Scottish Enlightenment, Super Adventure Club and Cuddly Shark, the latest release from the tiny Scottish independent label is the second album by one man band Johnny Lamb AKA 30 Pounds Of Bone.

“Method” was apparently recorded in less than a week in Lamb’s bedroom and sounds impressively professional considering.    The ten tracks here boast a healthy mix of influences with Lamb appearing equally at home using traditional instruments with traditional arrangements  as he is when drenching his songs with distortion and angst ridden feedback.  It is never less than a fascinating and scintillating listen.

Lyrically it is a suitably dark.  Songs about heartbreak, loneliness, drunkenness and ghosts are all covered here making “Method” a perfect soundtrack to an oppressive and bleak winter.

The solemn vocals, melancholic accordion and desolate drums of “All For Me Grogg” sum up the wonderfully wintry feel of the album perfectly.  “A Lesson In Talking” is the folkiest moment here, lovingly combining banjo and accordion.  “The Fishery” and “Darling” are the two key tracks here, demonstrating Lamb’s versatility and comfort in different arrangements.  In both cases, the traditional – slightly twee – arrangements and instruments give way for raw distortion and jagged feedback recalling Blur’s Graham Coxon at his most destructive.

“Method” is an intelligent, stimulating listen.  Whilst being morbid and dreamy in some places, it is equally uplifting and oddly comforting in others.  Another success from the Armellodie stable.

(Listen to my review of “Method” on Nick Tann’s “Is This Thing On?” podcast here)

Paul Lane.

Posted in 30 Pounds Of Bone, Armellodie, CD Reviews, Out Of Towners, Reviewed On Nick Tann's "Is This Thing On?" Podcast, Singer/songwriter | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is This Thing On? – An Unplug The Jukebox Special

This week’s edition of Nick Tann’s “Is This Thing On?” podcast is an Unplug The Jukebox Special.  Nick and myself played tracks by the bands I have reviewed on my slot on his show.  We were also joined by Dan Ash of The Lost Boys and Anja McCloskey who had a chat and treated us to live tracks too! 

Click here to listen to all the fun!

Posted in Anja McCloskey, Daylight Fireworks, Freezing In Fressin, Haunted Stereo, Mutant Vinyl, Nick Tann, The Chase, The Lost Boys, The Manic Shine, These Fine Galleons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Stealers – “Soap Box Speakers”

It is always interesting to get sent CDs from local bands that I have thus far never discovered, despite being together since 2007 I had not come across Southampton based The Stealers….. until now.

Whilst their list of influences may read with a standard nod towards Counting Crows, The Beatles et al, I am pleased to say there is a distinct 60’s/70’s rock feel to the proceedings, Free mixed with The Band.

Opener ‘Plastic’ kicks off like a rock version of Cast’s ‘Finetime’, with Shannon Hoon on vocal duties, a solid start.

‘Charlie’ is the blues rock brother to Guns ‘n’ Roses ‘Mr Brownstone’, in theme at least, a neatly phrased parable that sees the rise ‘Charlie is a clever fellow, always in demand, so popular, got money in his hand’ and indeed fall ‘I guess Charlie ain’t so clever now’ of its titular hero. I love a good lyric and there are plenty to be had here.

The final tack on the CD is the one that really does it for me; ‘Monday Morning’ is an epic tune. Coming in at around six and a half minutes it feels like it should be the euphoric end to a fantastic night out. Once more songwriter/ rhythm guitarist Bob Richmond displays his knack for the poetic ‘You think I’m saving for a pension, they can stick it up their ass, I am living for today, not the future or the past’ and whilst I could not condone such incongruous financial planning, he makes a compelling argument.

The audience friendly ‘I’m here for a good time, not a long time, just a good time’ chorus means this is sure to become a live favourite and is a fitting close to a promising EP.

On the strength of this EP I imagine I will be hearing a lot more from The Stealers in the near future. Recommended.

Angry Badger Jules.

Posted in CD Reviews, Southampton, The Stealers | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Chase – “Ever, Never Or Now?”

Readily influenced by the likes of The Small Faces, The Kinks, Stereophonics and The White Stripes, Portsmouth four piece The Chase deliver a debut album that does what all great rock n roll should do.  “Ever, Never Or Now?” is life affirming stuff.

Opener “One More Time” recalls the urgency of the Arctic Monkeys and gives the listener the spring in the step that remains throughout the album.   “Losing Control” is turns things up a notch and documents the kind of night out that we’ve all had at some point whilst being backed up by colossal riffage.  “Walking With You” on the other hand taps into the band’s poppier side, indeed this is probably the poppiest moment on offer here.  Recalling the feel of “I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio” by Stereophonics, to realise that this was written by singer Mike Turvey when he was at the tender age of 16 is impressive stuff. 

“One Day” is a hugely uplifting arms-in-the-air anthem and “The Decline Of Mr. Top” is a clever character piece lyrically while grabbing you unceremoniously by the balls musically.

The highlight here though is “Staged Reality.”  Introducing itself with a meaty blues influenced acoustic riff, it strides purposefully forward and builds menacingly.  The backing vocals give the song a lift before the electric guitar kicks in and the song realises its full potential.  It swaggers like Baloo The Bear.  “Staged Reality” arguably recalls an edgier version of The Seahorses without the needless noodling.  This is rock n roll as it was meant to be played.

The Chase have a lot going for them.  Their image is definite, they will appeal to people who like the bands they are influenced by and when playing live, they are bound to be a terrific proposition.  “Ever, Never Or Now?” is a hugely exciting listen and will restore a lot of people’s faith in rock n roll.  Do your ears a favour and check them out.  Now. 

(Listen to tracks from and my review on “Ever, Never Or Now?” on Nick Tann’s “Is This Thing On?” podcast here)

Paul Lane

Posted in CD Reviews, Portsmouth, Reviewed On Nick Tann's "Is This Thing On?" Podcast, The Chase | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment