The Broxton Hundred - Higher Surroundings EP
Who Put The Weight Of The World On Your Shoulder
She Brings The Light
The Broxton Hundred came to my attention along with other London based bands such as The Cornerstones and The Bedroom Hour, but they have a unique pull for me, as 2 out of 3 of them hail from my own neck of the woods in the North West. And I do love a song with a northern accent!
Comprising of Richard Lucas (bass and lead vocals), Gary Yari-Gerrard (guitars and backing vocals), and Richard Ormond (drums and backing vocals), The Broxton Hundred formed in early 2012 and have gained high acclaim through gigs and the EP which was released in 2012 also.
From the strong guitar riff that announces first song ‘Who Put The Weight….’ this EP instantly said to me ‘You are definitely going to like this!’ and I was hooked.
'She Brings The Light' has a catchy catchy beat and guitar riff which I find myself singing at random times of the day. The guitar solo also has the effect of making me want to bring out the air guitar and rock out! Love the drums at the end.
'Run' starts quite mellow and ethereal with a great bassline, and then the guitar riffs come in and it picks up speed through the chorus before going back to mellow again. It's a really nice contrast that makes this song stand out and stick in my mind.
The title track and my favourite on the EP, ‘Higher Surroundings’ is a beat driven piece of epicness with a fantastic guitar riff and the most ‘northern’ sounding vocals which I love. This song always makes me move around, I can’t even fully describe what makes songs really stand out for me, its just the mix of everything that hits some spot within me.
Here it is, another slice of 21st Century Mod Rock that’s as tight as Darron J. Connet’s trousers and as sharp as his hair! Its been over a year since The “Toubs” released the fantastic Sooner The Better EP (also reviewed on this blog) and they’ve certainly been busy since performing the length and breadth of the country and writing this latest offering. A VERY successful launch party at The Birds Nest in Deptford with a supporting cast that included a stripped down version DFH favourites The Broxton Hundred, Stone Thieves, Darling Boy and The Repeat Offenders. Undoubtedly The Last Of The Troubadours stole the show featuring debuts for bassist Daniel Smith (replacing Rob Pyne who has transferred to The Rifles with the best wishes of TLOTT) and guitarist Tony Marshall who brought his own private fan army with him, to say the place was rocking would be an understatement. The mission of the day was to get my grubby mitts on the new ep, which thankfully I remembered to do after 8 hours on the pop!
Kicking off, Tonight comes at you like a train, literally, shades of, arguably, The Jam’s finest moment with some ethereal strings that lull you in gently until POW! The percussion kicks in, the guitars go into overload and DJC’s unmistakable sneer fills your ears. As usual the shared vocal between Darron and Joel Rogers works supremely well, a growl and a sneer in perfect harmony. It thunders along, a proper rock n’ roll record with a killer chorus it feels like you kind of need the break at the end before the message that something’s got to change is battered into your brain.
If the opening of Tonight was The Jam, then the intro to Never Forgive You is pure Style Council, chopped funk guitar with a relentless Northern Soul beat that continues throughout the song. The musicianship is tighter than a gnats chuff, changing pace, stopping and re-starting with timing as inch perfect as the turn up on a pair of Levi’s. With Steve Diggle (of The Buzzcocks) adding a rather bloody good guitar solo (and a few Wow’s) this is a track of great scope and I’m sure was a hot contender for the lead song on the ep.
Title Track Don’t Stand On Shadows is another relentless barrage of clipped chords reverberating from Joel’s guitar, there’s definitely a change to the sound of this group since the last ep, a more crunchy, punchy sound with more than a liberal sprinkling of funk chops. Again the shared vocal works a treat, Darron and Joels voices are completely different but completely complimentary at the same time. I love the piano in this song, the single repeating chord reminds me of The Who’s 5:15, and that’s never a bad thing!
Shame On You starts off sounding like Editors’ Bricks & Mortar, a gentle electro beat before another huge chord blows your eardrums. A slower track that shows a different side to Joels normally gruff vocals. The electro feel winds it’s way in and out of the record throughout adding an almost psychedelic aspect to parts of the song. Not to the chorus though, it’s pure glam and immediately memorable! The stripped down bass and drum break is clean, neat, perfectly placed and perfectly paced.
Now, bear with me here, One To Blame has shades of The Foo Fighters in its intro, just Joel’s voice, a slightly distorted guitar playing jangly chords and some winsome lyrics, but when the rest of the band join, it turns into a wholesome sounding summer sunshine of a song. It’s bright and airy, and completely at odds with the heavy lyric subject! A great closer that certainly left me wanting more!
What next for The Last Of The Troubadours, well tonight (Friday 17th May) they play the Cool Britannia club night at The Fiddlers Elbow in Camden, their last London date for a while, after that it’s on to play with The Stone Roses, Miles Kane and Paul Weller at the Isle Of Wight Festival, where I’m sure they’ll win over a whole new group of fans. With plans for a tour of the North and the South coast and a few songs “in the cannon” for their debut full length album, these are exciting times for The Last Of The Troubadours, and if you’re not going to be part of it, then shame on you!
Don’t Stand On Shadows is available from iTunes and via The Last Of The Troubadours Facebook page.
Summer Folk Riot is the second single to be released from Louth’s own Robots Found Errors’ second album Soundtrack To A Fight. It’s less of a riot and more of a 1968 San Francisco love in, 3 minutes of gently lilting, multi layered sound that brings the sun into your soul. Conjuring images of deserts, cacti and for some reason a sad, thirsty horse, maybe it’s reminding me of America’s Horse With No Name, who knows, there’s so much going on. There’s a Beatlesey (is that even a word?) riff, there’s parts that reek of mystic spice, there’s an almost hidden lyric that is almost whispering to your sub-concious, it’s that subtle. It’s the sound of wide open spaces, lazy afternoons just watching the world go by, the thoughts of nothing that fill your head. Maybe I was wrong, maybe it IS a riot of summer. Well played chaps, well played indeed.
Find out more here:-
Hailing from “The Golden Triangle” of Aylesbury, Dunstable and Northampton The Repeat Offenders were formed in 2011 and have been continuously writing and performing ever since. They’s toured up and down the country playing some of the most illustrious venues around including the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool and The Factory in Manchester, they have also supported The Rifles at a sold out show.
Their first release was an EP called Frame Of Mind in May last year, which has unfortunately passed your reviewer by, but rest assured I shall be attempting to get my grubby little mitts on a copy, which was followed by an acoustic version to tie in with supporting The Rifles at one of their acoustic gigs.
This year has seen the release of their first two singles proper and they are what I’m here to tell you all about my little lammikins.
Beg, Steal or Borrow was released on the 18th March 2013 and kicks off with a riff very reminiscent of The Rifles’ Peace And Quiet (I guess the clue is in the name) and carries on in the same vein, Riflesesque would be an understatement but bloody hell it sounds good! Fresh! New! Sharp! Andrew Ruddick’s vocals are real, the lyrics are real with an instant crowd pleasing sing along chorus. The riff incessantly pounds into your psyche, the sparse keys are perfectly placed but more deft than you realise on first listen. Graham Holmes and Steve Knock’s rhythm section work their way into the mix and the wail of Newt Putt’s lead guitar sits like a cherry on top of a big mod cake. A rough diamond of a track, lyrically and musically on the money, this is one of my favourite releases of the year so far. If you like The Rifles, The Strokes, Oasis, Weller, T’Arctics et al you’ll love this track as much as I do!
This was followed on 6th of may by second single What Happens?
Am I too old for angsty songs reeking of self doubt and pity? Nah, I don’t think anyone is, ever, pain is at the very heart of music, that’s what gives it soul, that’s what makes your heart beat that little bit faster - knowing what it feels like. This distorted, shambolic, echo filled song is the sound of a desperate heart giving itself a little talking to, a bit like Vincent Vega at Mrs Mia Wallace’s house, but not quite as smooth. The crackling voclas work as do the 3 million layers of guitar and the steady, unbreaking hearts-pace drumbeat. It reminds my of a hundred, late 80’s indie bands and there’s definitley a Smiths/Wedding present “feel” to it. It proves that The Repeat Offenders are more than a Rifles tribute band, they’ve got their own sound, they’ve got there own tunes and man, they’ve got a future!
So jog on down to your local iTunes store and get yourself involved, and remember, you don’t have to beg, steal or borrow you can just buy for the bargain price of 79 English pence.
Find out more here:-
An intro that reminds me of The Jam’s Dreams Of Children/All Mod Cons/Dream Time before jumping forward 10 years into a Stone Roses Waterfall homage and the next 3 minutes are looking bright!
Conjuring up a time before that horrible “Britpop” tag was dreamed up by some guy with a surplus of Fred Perry’s and Adidas Gazelles, when your new music was found on the free cassettes that came with the (still credible then, honest) NME, Melody Maker and the often forgotten, short lived, Rage!
A time when tops with hoods were worn without an ankle tag, and even if ankle tags were around you’d never have seen them under the acres of Naf Naf denim floating around your ankles, nearly covering your navy Kickers.
That marvellous moment when the guitar and dance worlds collided and suddenly indie records were danceable, fun, uplifting, the shackles of The Smiths had finally been broken by the new Manchester (NO! Never Mad!) bands, you can hear them all in this single, especially The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets and a big nod to The Charlatans (the only ones still consistently and regularly releasing new material of a high standard).
I seem to have got a little distracted there, what I’m trying to say is this record sounds like you know it, like you’ve always known it. It rocks. It rolls. It soars. It dives. The vocals sit on top intricate guitars, harmonising with the delicate fretwork. Mani-ish bass has that dipping and peaking sound so familiar and married inextricably to the drums. A whopping guitar solo raises the song to higher levels towards the end leaving you breathless and gasping before ending with more sound effects (affects) and a gentle lullaby of a riff.
For a band as far away from Manchester as its possible to get in England, Southampton, John Waghorn (Lead Guitar & Vox), Josh Butcher (Rhythm Guitar & B-Vox), Daniel Martin (Bass) and John Martin (Skins) have certainly captured the feeling of that city at that time.
A top quality release that improves with every listen, get on it!
Find out more here:-
Snake Charmer opens this début ep with disorientating guitars and swirling drums before kicking in with a dirty, sleazy, fuzz filled riff, it’s like listening to The Doors rutting with Nirvana! It’s a song that demands to be listened to, a filth laden opener that get’s the juices flowing!
Up next is Rosalene which, like Snake Charmer, has a mid 90’s feel to it, the vocal is very definitely reminiscent of Gary Stringer of Reef. I like it, it’s catchy and a good foil for the brutality of the opening track. It feels like the West Coast. The West Coast of Hoxton. Although the vocal does struggle on occasions it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the track.
Itchy Fingers is a Stones-a-like Rn’B workout that will get your heart a-pumpin’ and your feet a-jumpin’. Doused in the great tradition of the quintessentially English take on the electrified sound of American Blues it drips with a vicious vigour and raw energy.
Title track New Mexico is an altogether different beast, gentle and alluring, sucking you in with a lilting guitar and easy vocal harking back to a different time, to summer and sun and a canyon filled American wilderness. A song that shows just what these boys are capable of, well crafted and layered with imagery, the addition of a keyboard adds a different depth from the rest of the release.
Aaron Gardners’ vocals are gritty and earthy and entirely believable, but sometimes maybe a little less soul would work as well, a whisper can be louder than a scream! His guitar work is both effortlessly beguiling and as subtle as a kick in the teeth, clanging and crashing where it needs to. Tom Reynolds’ bass fills your gut with goodness, warm, round and filling in all the gaps nicely. All this is held together by the relentless pounding (ooh matron!) of Paul Archbold who keeps everything moving along nicely, not over elaborate or showy, just keeping the beat!
I saw Stone Thieves live late last year in Islington at Mis-Shapes club, and these guys have style in spades! They walk it like they talk it. They play with an unforgiving energy, they play loudly, they enthral you. It’s nearly impossible to keep your feet still or your eyes off Aaron as he pours the very core of himself into the microphone whilst seemingly wrestling his guitar into submission.
Stone Thieves are an exciting band with an exciting future ahead if they carry on in this vein. Get your grubby mitts on the ep which will be available soon and let your feet take you to one of their upcoming gigs to be part of if!
Believe In The Thieves!
Twitter : @StoneThieves
Soundcloud : www.soundcloud.com/stonethieves