San Salvo – ‘Khanta’

San Salvo are a neo soul / psych outfit from Brooklyn; a collaborative project of Jared Schapker (Grandpa Jack), Matt C. White and Sean Smith (Rubblebucket / Kaleta & Super Yamba Band).

Together the trio have carved out a rather special place on the musical landscape with timeless psych-infused soul and funk, anchored and propelled by an enviable love of groove. Their new EP ‘Rarities’ is a colourful and imaginative exploration in sound, with a focus on mood and groove, and single ‘Khanta’, provides a succinct distillation of their sonic adventures in four wonderful minutes. Composed of a grooving rhythm section, soaring hornlines, and fuzzed out guitar and psychedelic brush strokes ‘Khanta’, is a churning, winding groover bathed in a swirling haze of shimmering tones, psychedelic keys, and parps of rich brass. ‘Khanta’ is a thrilling and pulsating powerhouse of rhythmic fervour that is totally irresistible and will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Listen to ‘Khanta’ below – and check out the EP ‘Rarities’ here too.

Beige Banquet – ‘Cold Yoghurt’

Beige Banquet is the solo project of East London-based Tom Brierley who creates drum-machine-driven and self-produced outsider/weirdo/art punk.

Beginning life in early 2020, the project yielded a treasure trove of tracks written and produced in a dank East-London bedroom during the first part of last year in circumstances familiar to many musicians, Brierley switched focus from performing to recording, and the fruit from that labour is debut album BETA.

Brierley offered a taste of what to expect with ‘Wired/Weird’ in December and second single from the album, ‘Cold Yoghurt’ is similarly spikey, agitated and drum-machine-driven post-punk. It is a frenzied jam fueled by metronomic, capping electro beat the underpins the repetitive guitar lines, jerky riffs and sharp rhythm section. This somewhat frenzied sound is perfectly complemented by the stream-of-consciousness lyrics and manic delivery, that seems to have tunnel vision and mirroring the coalescing of the sharp, angular noise that comes together slowly, fusing into a formidable intoxicating jam.

Listen to ‘Cold Yoghurt’ below – and I implore you to check out the new album BETA, 32 minutes of brilliant drum-machine-driven, frenzied guitar wielding mayhem. Stream it here, and it is out now on Just Step Sideways Records

Albums of the Year 2020

Compiling music lists is always a nice way to reflect on a year, so in keeping with tradition, here are my favourite records from 2020.

This year I’ve narrowed it down 10 and there is little between them to be honest. Recommendations from readers will be greatly welcomed.

10.Whyte Horses – ‘Hard Times’

Manchester psych-pop outfit Whyte Horses’ latest endeavor continues on from where 2018’s ‘Empty Words’, as they whisk us off to a land of blissful, dreamy psychedelia, sounding both familiar yet fresh. Ostensibly feeling like a mutating shape-shifting pop art project, ‘Hard Times’ feels like a mixtape with a difference. It isn’t just simply selecting tracks, choosing the running order, but  recording and producing a selection of much-loved songs while rounding up some of your favorite artists into the bargain. Sound like fun? That’s exactly what Whyte Horses have pulled off on their third record.

Listen in full here.

09. Aoife Nessa Frances – ‘Land of No Junction’

Aoife Nessa Frances’ debut album ‘Land of No Junction’ draws from an eclectic array of influences – ’60s psych-pop, offbeat folk, orchestral flourishes and flair for avant-garde – which sounds familiar yet fresh, as it meanders through ever shifting scenery that blurs the lines between dreams and reality. Frances’ smoky vocal is a constant and gripping, and no matter the ever changing environs –  waltzing beats, undulating groove,  rippling guitar lines, hypnotic organ hums or swirling psych or hazy blanket of fuzz – it is a voice that shines like a lighthouse amid a dense bank of fog. Land of No Junction is a serene, hypnotic and stunning debut (and one that could have been called Llandudno Junction). 

Listen in full here.

08. Khruangbin – ‘Mordechai’ 

Texan trio Khruangbin – Laura Lee Ochoa (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) – are peerless sonic sorcerers and funky force of nature. Borrowing from a world of influences, theirs, and indeed third album  ‘Mordechai’,  is a colourful coming together of different sound, genres, cultures and era; there is funk, soul and hip hop, some Latin, Middle Eastern and Asian influences and a whole lot of beautiful psychedelia. It is an intoxicating brew, built on seductive grooves and mostly cool, calm and chilled vibes, offering either a zen-like sense of peace or funky, hypnotic groovy seduction – or a coming together of both. This is super chill, beautifully addictive and mellow, ‘Moredechai’ is a record to watch the sun go down.

Listen in full here.

07. Silverbacks – ‘Fad’

Irish post-punk outfit Silverbacks long-awaited debut album was worth the wait. Having patiently building a rep with superb single after superb single, there wasn’t too much doubt that ‘Fad’ would live up to its billing. Unspooling the ingredients of their sound is tough; there are touches of post-punk, art-rock, new wave and 90s indie to name but a few as tracks, built around a motorik rhythm and taut groove, rush past with a whirlwind of shifting multi-sensory sound as triple guitars attack. Lyrics are multi-layered and uniquely Silverbacks. There’s is a sound comparable to a place where parts Talking Heads, Television, LCD Soundsystem and Gang of Four can all coexist and flourish. A debut to remember.

Continue reading

Swine Tax – ‘Johnny’

Having shared ‘Relax’ in November, Newcastle-upon-Tyne outfit Swine Tax return with the other half of double-a-side, ‘Johnny’.

Swine Tax have proven their credentials for fiery, jagged and infectious post-punk with a slew of singles that are best described as a bit indie, a bit alternative rock, a bit rough-around-the-edges and a whole lot melodic – and the single doesn’t break with tradition. Once again recorded with Barry Hyde of The Futureheads, ‘Johnny’ does however, offer a less frantic and hyperactive side to their sound. Anchored by a sunken, slowly slinking groove, guitars buzz and riffs fuzz while it swaggers atop a motorik beat with vocals soaring passionately above. It is groovy as, and punctuated by bursts of sporadic explosive riffs, burning emotion and epic crescendos. Yet another brilliant blast of post-punk from Swine Tax.

Listen to  ‘Johnny’ below:


Beige Banquet – ‘Wired/Weird’

Formed earlier in 2020, East London-based Beige Banquet (aka Tom Brierley) play drum-machine-driven and self-produced outsider/weirdo/art punk.

‘Wired/Weird’ is the first in a collection of tracks written and produced in a dank East-London bedroom during the first part of 2020 in circumstances familiar to many musicians, Brierley switched focus from performing to recording, and this is the first fruit from that labour. The aptly titled ‘Wired/Weird’ is spikey, agitated and drum-machine-driven post-punk. Fuelled by metronomic beat, repetitive guitar lines, jerky riffs and sharp rhythm section, making for an angular, intoxicating and off-kilter jam. This somewhat frenzied sounds perfectly complement the stream-of-consciousness lyrics and manic delivery – it is unique and brilliant with more promised in 2021.

Listen to ‘Wired/Weird’ below – it is out now on Just Step Sideways Records 

NANCY – ‘7 Foot Tall Post-Suicidal Feel Good Blues’

Based in the North East of England, NANCY have demonstrated an enigmatic talent with a propensity for audacious sonic adventures that are anything but conventional, and hot on the heels of the ‘Happy Oddities EP’ comes news of a brand new mini album ‘7 Foot Tall Post-Suicidal Feel Good Blues’, and we’ve been afforded the title track as a taste of things to come.

Inspired by all the bullshit he had to deal with getting picked on growing up, ‘7 Foot Tall Post-Suicidal Feel Good Blues’ is as wonderfully warped as anything NANCY has done to date. It’s dark, it’s stark and super catchy as it swaggers through a haze of fuzz with a super seductive glam rock era groove and stomping riff, and vocals unfurl with a drawn out warped drawl. Sounding like a warped record played on a dodgy turntable, this is a sleazy, stomping and groove ridden reminder of NANCY’s enigmatic talent and flair for the unconventional – perfect imperfection if you will.

With the 10 track mini album set for release on January 15, check out the title track below.

Sprints – ‘Manifesto’

Sprints are Dublin-based post-punk foursome – of Karla Chubb (vocals/guitar), Colm O’Reilly (guitar), Sam McCann (bass) and Jack Callan (drums) – who together, create a raw, raucous and potent post-punk sound – one bursting with a ferocious blend snarling vocals, driving rhythms, meaty riffs, swagger and noise.

These aforementioned attributes are offered in spades on their aptly titled latest single ‘Manifesto’, a tenacious statement of intent. An early taste of their forthcoming debut EP of the same name, due in the new year, it comes exploding out of the blocks. A powerful stomping beat underpinning an assertive and meaty bassline rumble as raspy, fierce and fiery vocals come to the for before soaring high above the explosion of buzzing guitar, scintillating riffs and crashing drums. It is a huge, explosive and supremely confident anthem. Previous single ‘The Cheek’ was great but ‘Manifesto’ sees them kick it up to another level entirely – a simply stunning tune.

Don’t just take my word for it, listen to ‘Manifesto’ below:

Low Hummer – ‘Take Arms’

Low Hummer are a Hull quintet who do a fine line in wonderfully crafted post-punk meets indie-pop, sprinkled with synths, it is danceable and ridiculously infectious.

Having formed in 2019, Low Hummer have been indulging us with a steady stream of superb singles of the aforementioned ilk – and follow their excellent previous single, ‘Sometimes I Wish (I Was a Different Person’), with another agitated jam which takes the band’s sound to the noisiest level yet. Driven by a pulsing synthline and relentless bass, ‘Take Arms’ is a fiery rallying cry bursting with rebellious spirit as powerful raspy vocals duke it out anxious guitar riffs amid a sea of frazzled electronics. Where previously guitars have taken centre-stage, on ‘Take Arms’, they take a backseat to the synth/electronics for a relentless, pulsating Krautrock indebted end of days address. It is searing, passionate and raw – while a little dancey too – ‘Take Arms’ is their finest work yet.

‘Take Arms’ is out now through Dance to the Radio.

Swine Tax – ‘Relax’

Newcastle-upon-Tyne outfit Swine Tax have proven their credentials for fiery, jagged and infectious post-punk with a slew of singles that are best described as a bit indie, a bit alternative rock, a bit rough-around-the-edges and a whole lot melodic.

The Newcastle quartet return with a thrilling new single ‘Relax’. Quite possibly their best work to date, it is produced by Barry Hyde of The Futureheads, who approached the band about producing their music following an intense live show in Sunderland last year, and ‘Relax’ is the first fruit to emerge from these sessions. The single itself is a spikey, agitated and hook-driven jam propelled by a throbbing bass groove and a heavy punk stomp as jerky riffs and power-pop chorus duke it out for an intoxicating, off-kilter dance. Yet another rousing, boisterous and brilliant blast of guitar hijinks from Swine Tax.

Listen to ‘Relax’ below:

Fax Machine – ‘Motorbike’


Fax Machine is the musical moniker of Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK) based songwriter David Turnbull who has a propensity for unconventional, off-kilter and colourful confections of sound as evidenced by 2019 debut Soup.

Turnbull is back with plans for a new album Ouch!, expected on Dec 11, it is preceded by the magical lead single ‘Motorbike’ – a giddy and playful slice of jerky post-punk, art-rock and indie-pop. It buzzes with excitement and exuberance as razor sharp riffs and hyper-active bursts of guitar jerky to-and-fro as a series of earworm hooks and playful melodies swirl around the colourful sound-palette akin to Futureheads meets The Beta Band. ‘Motorbike’ is a wonderfully manic, spikey and infectious jam coated in a fine veneer of power-pop – word of warning, this is a tune that will be stuck in your head for days and days but will leave you all the better for it. 

Listen to ‘Motorbike’ below – and keep an eye out for the new album next month.