Hooton Tennis Club – ‘Monsoonal Runoff’

Liverpool indie outfit Hooton Tennis Club have been on hiatus since 2016’s Big Box Of Chocolates with primary songwriters Ryan Murphy and James Madden concentrating on their side-project Seatbelts (great in their own right, do check them out).

Hooton Tennis Club were in the midst of planning a full return to business when COVID-19 wreaked havoc across the globe but the band have released a double a-side ‘Monsoonal Runoff’ / ‘People Want People Who Want People’ – and the good news is they have lost none of their charm in the intervening years. In fact, it feels very much like a natural evolution from where they left off as ‘Monsoonal Runoff’ whisks us off on a Jacques Cousteau inspired exploration of hazy guitar jangles, irresistible melodies and breezy vibes with bittersweet, beautiful vocals sailing above. It’s companion, ‘People Want People Who Want People’, opens with a mournful air as gentle strum, rich violin and heartfelt vocals smouldering with emotion before exploding, ripped open by a scintillating riff and powerful rhythm, into a rousing indie-rock jam. It is hard to discern which is the best of the bunch so it’s pretty lucky they released the pair together – and in case it is obvious, it is great to have Hooton Tennis Club back.

Listen to ‘Monsoonal Runoff’ / ‘People Want People Who Want People’ below, along with fun video for the former.

Introducing: Seatbelts


Formed over a drunken phone call between friends James Madden and Ryan Murphy – known for their work as Hooton Tennis Club – seeking an alternate name for The Beatles, and while jumbling the letters around Seatbelts poured forth.

With a name sorted, the pair set about recruiting Abigail Woods and Alex Quinn to complete the foursome and together the craft supremely addictive, smart contagious guitar pop that sounds simultaneously familiar and excitingly fresh. Back in May, Seatbelts released sublime debut EP Songs For Vonnegut, lead by single ‘Hey, Hey Tiger!’. A sharp, surreal, smart debut filled by an irresistible combination of off kilter riffs bubbling electronics and squelching guitar effects.

The Liverpool outfit have returned with a new single ‘Content Crush’ to sign off on 2018 on a high. A charming, warm and contagious guitar pop song, dreamy, swaying melodies mingle with lush instrumentation, rich with brass, woodwind, keys, bubbling bass and hazy guitar. ‘Content Crush’ is a mellow, warm and feel-good rush that culminates with a swelling and memorable chorus. Not only is the tune a doozy but it offers a gentle but valuable reminder that at a time when cynicism is as rife as zero-hour contracts, and it seems our only solution is to dive back into our screens: it’s OK to switch off for a while.

‘Content Crush’ will appear on a forthcoming new EP called Please Slow Down, which Seatbelts are working on at the moment – although there is not release date yet.

Listen to ‘Hey, Hey Tiger!’ & ‘Content Crush’ below – and why don’t you check out their debut EP here?

Hooton Tennis Club Share ‘Katy-Anne Bellis’, Taken from forthcoming LP ‘Big Box of Chocolates’


Hooton Tennis Club recently announced details of second album Big Box of Chocolates, due to be released on October 21st, through Heavenly.

With the new record looming large on the horizon, the Liverpool band have kindly seen fit to share new track ‘Katy-Anne Bellis’. The new one feels like a natural evolution of the group’s endearingly ramshackle indie-pop sound, carved out on their wonderful and much-loved debut. ‘Katy-Anne Bellis’ – a bittersweet ode to a former flat mate – casts their swirl of carefree, hazy guitar jangle and irresistible melodies amid a aura of profound sentimental mushiness.Oh, and those guitars, they are still scintillating when needs be. Yet another decidedly brilliant track from Hooton Tennis Club, which sets things up nicely for the new record.

Check ‘Katy-Anne Bellis’ out below. The new record – recorded by Edwyn Collins at his studio in the Scottish Highlands – is out on October 21st.

Hooton Tennis Club will be in Dublin’s The Grand Social on October 24 and the rest of their tour dates meanwhile, are here.

‘Big Box Of Chocolates’ Tracklisting:

1. Growing Concerns
2. Bootcut Jimmy The G
3. Bad Dream (Breakdown on St. George’s Mount)
4. Sit Like Ravi
5. Katy-Anne Bellis
6. O Man, Won’t You Melt Me
7. Statue Of The Greatest Woman I Know
8. Meet Me At Molly Bench
9. Lauren, I’m In Love!
10. Frostbitten In Fen Ditton
11. Lazers Linda
12. Big Box Of Chocolates

BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2015)

BGs Albums of the year 2015So it is that time of year again, lists, lists and more lists. Well, not be out done, here are my 41 (yes 41, and yes it’s a weird number) albums of 2015.

It has been such a good year for new albums, probably the best since I started the blog back in 2010. So much so that there is very little difference between the top 5, top 10, top 15 and so on. So without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2015:

There is also a Spotify playlist of the Top 20 albums, to save you time and hassle (it’s here).

41. Only Real – Jerk At The End of the Line’

40. Rozi Plain – ‘Friend’

39. Wildling – ‘Molecules To Moon’

38. The School – ‘Wasting Away And Wondering’

37. Sweet Baboo – ‘Boombox Ballads’

36. The Stammer – ‘Days In Between’

35. SexWitch – Sex Witch’

34. Faith Healer – ‘Cosmic Troubles’

33. Girl Band – ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’

32. Joanna Gruesome – ‘Peanut Butter’

31. Fort Romeau – ‘Insides

30. Soft Serve – ‘S/t’

29. Applescal – ‘For’

28. Zefur Wolves – ‘Zefur Wolves’

27. Hot Chip – ‘Why Make Sense?’

26. Drenge – ‘Undertow’

25. The Charlatans – ‘Modern Nature’

24. Gaz Coombes – ‘Matador’

23. Bill Ryder-Jones – ‘West Kirby County Primary’

22. Drinks – ‘Hermits on Holiday’

21. The Expert – Dynamic Drift

20. Boxed In – ‘Boxed In’

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BarryGruff’s July 2015 playlist


A now regular monthly feature, whereby we round up all the blog action with a nice, neat and handy playlist of tracks featured during the month.

July was pretty ace! We had new tunes from The School, The Stammer and DRINKS ahead of their respective, forthcoming new albums, and the return of WE//ARE//ANIMAL. There were excellent new singles from Neon Wolf, Galants, Lethal Dialect, Manor, Kelly Lee Owens, The Expert, Glass Sines and Koloto.

Also featured on this month’s playlist are great tracks from Bedbugs, Effin, Gwenno, Trails and Ways, Open Window and Joan. So, July was pretty good. And that’s all before mentioning that Justin Beats gave Jamie xx’s new record In Colour, the once over, Johnny Feeney reported from Knockanstockan and we had a chat with Trails and Ways. And the small matter of my albums of the year so far list.

Listen to BarryGruff’s July 2015 playlist below.

Hooton Tennis Club – ‘P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L P.I.E.R.R.E’


Things are shaping up nicely for Hooton Tennis Club‘s highly anticipated debut LP, Highest Point In Cliff Town, which shall be with us on August 28.

Easily one of the year’s most joyous and treasured findings, the Wirral foursome are back with a super new single, ‘P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L P.I.E.R.R.E’. Typically languid, lo-fi scrappy guitar pop brilliance, it’s jam-packed with ramshackle, endearing alt-rock riffs, cryptic lyrics and a supremely sing-a-long, spell-a-long chorus. While Pavement comparisons abound, there’s an unquestionable and quintessentially British indie pop flavour to their sound. ‘P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L P.I.E.R.R.E’ is a marvellous reminder of (or introduction, if you’re new) Hooton Tennis Club’s sun-soaked, carefree and odd-ball pop antics.

The Bill Ryder Jones produced album Highest Point In Cliff Town is out via Heavenly Recordings on August 28. Check out the new single ‘P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L P.I.E.R.R.E’ below, with more over here, too.

BarryGruff’s June 2015 Playlist


A regular monthly feature to the blog; a nice, neat and handy playlist of tracks featured during the month.

June was another pretty fine month for new music. We had new tunes from Girls Names, Sextile, Hibou, Velvet Morning & Hooton Tennis Club ahead of their respective, forthcoming new albums. There were excellent new singles from Hyde & Beast, Freedom Fry, Dan Amor, Slow Riot, Tomorrows, Alaska Wilson & PANKHABILLI.

Also featured on this month’s playlist are great tracks from Seazoo, The Statics, CZARFACE, Peaness, Energy Slime & Pale Honey. Yeah, so, June was good. And that’s all before mentioning the interview with Ric Rawlins about his new book, ‘Rise of the Super Furry Animals’ – read it here.

Listen to BarryGruff’s June 2015 playlist below.


Introducing: Hooton Tennis Club


Wirral foursome Hooton Tennis Club appear to be  carving out a niche of their own, as purveyors of lo-fi scrappy guitar pop brilliance.

The band’s debut album is out later this year via Heavenly and was produced by The Coral’s Bill Ryder Jones. Their latest single is ‘Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair’, and serves as a perfect introduction to their delectable touch. Charming, breezy and endearingly ramshackle, this is a perfect pop song. From the first snap of the snare, you’re hooked as big hooks combine and the guitar wind and twist around the casually cool vocals. Effortlessly off kilter, it is sun-soaked and imbibed by a care free laissez faire attitude. Written after Murphy’s grandfather passed away, bitterly-sweet poetic song ‘Jasper’, casts their swirl of carefree jangle guitars in a more sullen and emotion-wrung light. A mesh of hazy guitars, irresistible melodies and sighed half-dead pan vocals makes for another decidedly brilliant track. A fresh take on a classic sound, done with style and endearingly ramshackle.

‘Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair’ is out on July 7, check the choice cuts below. If these sweet ditties are to your liking, remember to keep an eye out for their debut album, released on August 28th via Heavenly Recordings.