June 2016
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“Hexagon Head” by This Heel

Small Bear Records ended 2015 with the third release from This Heel, logically titled This Heel III. This Heel is the solo work of Martin Månsson Sjöstrand, prolific frontman of Sweden’s Dog, Paper, Submarine (who themselves released a new EP in 2015, with another due in early this year).

This Heel deals in catchy and melodic lo-fi indie-rock. Where EP II was largely acoustic, III sees more electric textures whilst retaining the laid-back feel of the previous record. For those new to This Heel, reference points include the likes of Guided By Voices and Neutral Milk Hotel.

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“Hexagon Head” by This Heel

This Heel III Album Cover

Image and mp3 courtesy of Phil Reynolds of Small Bear Records

“Lama” by Ummagma

The recently released EP from Ummagma, Frequency, has been included in 30+ “Best of 2015” charts. Ummagma’s sound is reminiscent of 4AD early output with hues of Cocteau Twins, David Sylvian, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis and Stereolab.

Ummagma is a duo comprised of Shauna McLarnon and Alexander Kretov, hailing from Whitehorse, Canada and Kremenets, Ukraine respectively. Having first met in the centre of Moscow, they moved to Ukraine during the Orange Revolution but now call Peterborough, Canada home.

Frequency is the keenly anticipated follow up to their two debut LPs Ummagma and Antigravity released simultaneously in 2012. The album takes the listener through a cosmic yet introspective dreampop and ambient journey, tinged with shoegaze and synthpop flair. The album features five original tracks, as well as three remixes of “Lama” by several legendary artists, including Cocteau Twins, kingpin, Robin Guthrie and Malcolm Holmes. You may watch the official music video for “Lama” via YouTube.

Frequency is out now via Moon Sounds Records. You may also stream Ummagma tracks and full albums via bandcamp and soundcloud.

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“Lama” by Ummagma

Ummagma Frequency

Image and mp3 courtesy of Shauna McLarnon of Shameless Promotion PR

“In Our Parent’s Eyes” by Nish Goyal

Nish Goyal is an indie-folk singer-songwriter from Chester. He graduated in Law and worked briefly as a legal advisor before moving to Frankfurt to take up a stockbroking job. However, music has always been a huge part of his life. His first instrument was the piano though these days he is drawn more to the guitar and bass. Early 2011 saw him walk away from his day job and immerse himself in his music. He released a studio album called A Little Validation and a project called The Hedonist EP.

Nish recorded and released an eight track EP called The Rage EP in January 2015. He has recently signed a one album deal with a small indie label in Portsmouth called Coffee Jingle Records and a new album is scheduled for release early this year. He will be releasing the first single titled “In Our Parent’s Eyes” on March 11. Have a listen to some other tracks via soundcloud.

Nish is a regular on Liverpool’s lively music scene, gigging regularly at places like The Jacaranda, The Cavern and Bier as well as open mic nights in Manchester and London.

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“In Our Parent’s Eyes” by Nish Goyal

Nish Goyal In Our Parent's Eyes

Image and mp3 courtesy of Andrea Lynch of Blue Soap Music PR & Plugging

"Away From Here" by Ideomotor

Erkka Wennonen and Kimmo Myllyviita originally hail from Helsinki, Finland and have been close friends since their early teens. Mixing classic acoustic instruments with contemporary production techniques, the duo began to synthesize their interests, bridging brit-pop and 80’s synth-pop with 90’s era heavy metal and post punk.

The resulting sound was something they felt was tragic and triumphant, muscular yet dreamy. They decided on the moniker Ideomotor which describes a psychological phenomenon whereby a thought or mental image brings about a seemingly automatic muscular reaction.

Their new single “Away From Here” recently premiered on PureVolume who noted their “blend of post-punk meets synth pop recalls some of the greats in the genre.”

Have a listen to “Away From Here” via Soundcloud, or the player below.

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“Away From Here” by Ideomotor

Ideomotor

Image and mp3 courtesy of Jennifer Thorington & Samuel Markus of Working Brilliantly

"Dirty Love" by Dirty Revival

Portland, Oregon’s Dirty Revival, a five-piece soul-hip-hop group, are celebrating the release of their debut, self-titled full-length. Featuring the resounding, and resonating, front woman Sarah Clarke, Evan “evv’n’flo” Simko (M.C., guitar), Terry Drysdale (drums), Karl Ludwigsen (keyboards), and Jon Shaw (bass), the quintet delivers a record described by one concertgoer as “Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, and Rose Royce all blended up as one.”

Dirty Revival is a melting pot of influences and personalities, with all five members getting their voice, literally and metaphorically, contained within the sounds of the album. While navigating different musical waters, the album also vacillates between fiercely political uprisings to down and gritty party jams that are meant to make you smile and dance.

The record is as natural as the band’s beginnings, with no long discussions or debates, just things gelling and making sense. Have a listen to the single “Dirty Love” via SoundCloud or the player below.

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“Dirty Love” by Dirty Revival

Dirty Revival Press Photo 2

Image and mp3 courtesy of Alex Steininger of In Music We Trust PR

“Poppy Piss” by Idiot Grins

In 2012, Idiot Grins made Quarry. East Bay Express inexplicably referred to the band as, “zydeco-rockish” and said the album was “charming but torpid.”

The Idiot Grins’ newest album is entitled Big Man, and it represents a bit of a departure from their first album. “I’ve always loved R&B and soul, especially the music of the great Stax Records from Memphis – artists like Sam and Dave, Booker T and the MG’s, and of course Otis Redding,” Randy explains (guitarist). Of course, you can’t recreate the Memphis sound of the ’60’s without horns. The band was fortunate to enlist the services of Johnny Bamont, sax player for the 80’s super-group Huey Lewis and the News, and Mic Gillette, trumpet player for the legendary East Bay R&B band Tower of Power. Their horns add just the right touch of authenticity to the band’s original compositions.

Randy and the band have also spent a lifetime admiring the work of the legendary Gram Parsons, considered the father of country rock. Big Man also explores this genre, employing the incomparable pedal steel playing of Bay Area legend Joe Goldmark on several tracks.

You may stream the album via SoundCloud and follow the band on Facebook.

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“Poppy Piss” by Idiot Grins

Idiot Grins Big Man Cover

Image and mp3 courtesy of Matt Bacon, Artist Liaison at Independent Music Promotions

“Mirrors” by Mos Isley

In late-2015, Sweden-based indie pop outfit Mos Isley made their American debut on Whatship? who noted their music video’s “emotionally-liberating, intimate road trip visuals are the perfect compliment to the bands jangly brand of indie pop.”

The band’s music has an alternative and profound arena-pop feel with heartfelt lyrics and catchy melodies. They were voted for Sweden’s Best Unsigned Band in 2015 with their debut single “Mirrors.” You may purchase the single via bandcamp.

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“Mirrors” by Mos Isley

Mos Isley Mirrors

Image and .mp3 courtesy of Jennifer Thorington & Samuel Markus of Working Brilliantly

“Over Your Shoulder” by Evan Taylor Jones

Eclectic soul-rock artist and singer-songwriter, Evan Taylor Jones (ETJ) hails from Orlando, Florida. At just 13, ETJ began slowly dissecting the classic music he remembered his mother enjoying.

Jenny Kloote, a Lead Entertainment Advisor at Walt Disney World theme park in Orlando may have said it best: “His voice is like bread and butter; so smooth and tasty, I can almost eat it.” ETJ represents the soul of the late-greats and classics from the Motown and Mussel Shoals era, with songs centered around love, peace, happiness and triumphant over-comings.

ETJ’s first studio release was titled Songs From An Old Soul. Currently, he is promoting his new music, The Sunray Sessions Live EP. The six-song compilation (4 originals and 2 covers) was recorded live in a 14 hour session day at Sunray Recording Studios of Orlando, Florida with a total of nine musicians in one room.

You can catch ETJ on his North American tour coming 2016, dates and locations soon to be released.

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“Over Your Shoulder” by Evan Taylor Jones

EJT

Image and mp3 courtesy of Sera Roadnight of M T Press

“Lo-Fi” by The Minerals

Based in the South Wales Valleys, The Minerals are Colenso Jones and Jodie Gibson, a couple who began writing and performing together in the Summer of 2014. Merging elements of Country, Electro and Psychedelia, the duo’s influences range from The Vaselines and Leadbelly to Mogwai and Nick Drake.

The Minerals’ writing process involves the merging of individual ideas which are then worked on throughout the night and recorded by morning, by which point they normally have something in place they are both happy with. ‘Ball of String’ and B-side ‘Lo-Fi’ were among several tracks written in a barn in the South of France last winter, where the band were unexpectedly snowed in for a week. A plentiful supply of wine and cheese kept them going until the thaw. They returned home having written a complete album.

Ball Of String will be released on February 26, 2016 via Staylittle Music.

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“Lo-Fi” by The Minerals

The Minerals resized photo

Image and mp3 courtesy of Andrea Lynch of Blue Soap Music PR & Plugging

“Moonlight” by Jack the Radio

North Carolina indie-roots-rock outfit Jack the Radio meld their native blues and pop influences with electronic flourishes, spaghetti western vibes and hard edged rock n’ roll.

Their newest release, Badlands, was recorded over a three year period starting in 2012 and is now being released in a limited vinyl pressing. The bands work ethic and aesthetic is indicative of the now blossoming Raleigh scene which is exploding with new and colorful culinary and micro-brewery startups. In fact you can grab a pint of Jack the Radio Badland Black Rye IPA at the local Mystery Brewing.

Jack the Radio is A.C. Hill (acoustic guitar, lead vocals), George Hage (lead guitar, lead vocals), Danny Johnson (lap Steel, baritone guitar, keys, vocals), Chris Sayles (bass, vocals), and Brent Francese (drums).

Jack the Radio premiered their video for “Moonlight” on BLURT who tweeted “it might be one of the best NC songs of 2015.”

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“Moonlight” by Jack the Radio

Jack the Radio BW

Image and .mp3 courtesy of Jennifer Thorington & Samuel Markus of Working Brilliantly