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After a little time away Billy Lockett has announced he is soon to release a new EP with this song - a tribute to his father who sadly recently passed away. It’s a lovely piano tune sung very soufully. In it he poignantly asks his father for advice because 'he's a little lost inside' (The chorus goes 'Old man teach me a thing or two / I could learn alot from an old man telling me what to do / can we reverse the clock and go back to when you were my age’).

'I've got no regrets, only memories', Billy sings in a way that celebrates his father’s life rather than mourns his passing. It’s another heartfelt and well-produced song from Mr Lockett who’s commendable attitude and heart-on-sleeve songwriting is bound to keep winning him followers. I’m looking forward to hearing the new EP and love the cover design with the polaroid photo and variations in colour. It was a pleasure to interview Billy for York Vision and hope he gets the reward he deserves for all his hard work. 

This is the stunning final song from Charlie Simpson’s latest solo album Long Road Home. I only fully appreciated this song once I’d read the lyrics. Charlie’s vocal style throughout the album sticks to type so you have to look into the detail to find the treasure amongst what is a strong, consistent collection of songs. This is a wonderfully layered and instrumentally diverse song. It has violin accompaniments, mellow guitar riffs throughout and a languorous, melodic piano solo in its final stages. It’s subtlety masks some beautiful and thoughtful lyrics:

'A calm hand on a fabric that's already sewn / I'm still not ready to face these demons alone / The ivy crawls across my throne / Seems like everyone around here is slowly changing / And this is falling to my knees' 

There’s a sense of resignation within the perimeters of time, which never stops for human events. (‘But all that comes from this / is another year’). Time is passing regardless of tumultuous emotions and feeling trapped on your knees while everything’s changing. 

This is a brilliant lyric: 

'You told me that nothing was impossible / but there's nothing left'

Charlie’s shown in his acoustic solo career that he has a great power with words and that means, for me, his work is always worth paying attention to.

A new Ben Howard song featured on Radio 1 today called ‘End of the Affair’. It’s a similar sound and feeling to 2012’s Burgh Island EP - dark, moody and atmospheric but wait - there’s a sudden and unexpected switch to electronica about 5 minutes in. Is this signalling a new direction for Ben (a very popular one at the moment)? It’s interesting and I’ll reserve judgement (I’m assuming there’s going to be a forthcoming album). Ben’s stunning guitar-work will hopefully live on nevertheless. 

Album Review: George Ezra – Wanted On Voyage

Here is my Vision review of George Ezra’s debut album. The quality and tone of his voice as well as his more bluesy songs really make him stand out among current artists. ‘Listen to the Man’ is the sound of the sixties - sometimes I swear Ezra could be a young relation of Johnny Cash. I also love ‘It’s Just My Skin’, it has a lot of imagery related to depression and is very powerful and surprising on the deluxe edition:

'Well I was never lonely 'till the day that I was born, / Since that day I masquerade in a skin that I have worn, / With at least three separate individual minds'

'Black dog, black dog, that I'll never know / Oh black dog haunts your mind, your world, your soul'

 

Slightly weirdly I came across this band through the current Trivago advert. It sounded promising so I investigated their album and it’s been the perfect soundtrack to post-university recuperation and the beginning of Summer. This song now has over a million views on YouTube. 

It’s called ‘Never’ and is by Irish trio All the Luck in the World. With an interesting tuning and a raw plucky guitar sound it’s immensely compelling. 

'But these ships, these ships / Don't sail away / They wait, they wait / For another day /  And they will float again/ Oh no we lost the words again / Oh no we lost the words again

The other songs on the album are similar melodically and pleasant listening. The guys have great harmonies, beautiful string accompaniments, riveting lyrics and deep, rich vocals. It’s a slow-burner in the best way. ‘Haven’, about finding a haven and clarity in another person, and ‘Settle’, which has a powerful ending section, are two others that have stood out thus far. It’s refreshing to hear something that doesn’t feel produced but natural and homemade, yet still clear and resonant. 

Album Review: Passenger – Whispers

This is a grower - particularly tracks like ‘27’ and ‘Scare Away the Dark’ - the line ‘we’re scared of drowning, flying and shooters / but we’re all slowly dying in front of fucking computers’ is stuck in my head. It’s weird because Passenger has such a sweet, warming voice even when what he’s singing about is bitter and serious so it takes a few listens before it hits you.

EP Review: From the Black and Blue - MisterNothing

This is a revised version of my review of MisterNothing’s new EP, ‘From the Black and Blue’ which is published on YorkVision (I got mixed up with the track order and one lyric, but it’s otherwise the same as http://www.yorkvision.co.uk/scene/album-review-misternothing-from-the-black-and-blue-ep/16/06/2014)

EP Review: From the Black and Blue – MisterNothing

Having written, recorded and produced one of the most promising and energising alternative-rock debuts largely from his own bedroom, former Voice contestant Mitchel Emms and his band MisterNothing are back with staggered EP releases throughout the rest of 2014. With the band now signed to LMC records, the first of these, entitled ‘From the Black and Blue’, lands digitally on the 28th of June. 

 

The title reflects a chaotic and sometimes turbulent year for the band, which has seen fluctuating line-ups. ‘It represents everything that’s been going on with us this year, with the band and also personally’, Emms admits, ‘I don’t think many people realise how difficult it is to be a band in 2014 trying to achieve something different than most other bands who follow what everybody else is doing currently. It’s exactly what songs like Destinations on the EP is about’.

Opening with a motivational quote about overcoming fear and doubts and embracing risk, Final track Destinations embodies this theme with scintillating but well-paced guitar riffs and progressions. An anthem-in-the-making this is one of the most exhilarating and hopeful tracks the band have made thus far, not sitting still for a minute. On a lyrical note Emms reflects on the ‘sacrifices we’ve all made to be where we are’, clearly a core theme of the band’s progress which is marked in this release. The chorus is memorable with its risk-embracing call to ‘jump into the abyss / jump into the unknown’ and ‘fall away from the places you call home’.

These three tracks, Emms admits, are a ‘little heavier musically and lyrically than before but still maintain big choruses and melodies. Hopefully this will be a good introduction to people who have never heard of us before’. Energy, sweat and blood exude from every guitar-infused chorus and Emms’ voice is of extraordinary power and calibre for someone so young, reaching every note with fervour and magnetism. It could plausibly grow to be one of the defining rock voices of a generation if the band’s raw talent is anything to go by.

Opener ‘Goodbye Hello’ is in a similar vein to ‘Destinations’ in terms of melody with the penchant solo riff to open before the layers come crashing in. The lyrics of ‘can’t think, can’t hide, can’t sleep no more’ make for another pounding chorus but ‘Improvements’ contains the most fire and grit. A little more despondent lyrically, it cascades furiously towards its climax as Emms screams develop from ‘only you know me better than I do’ to the repeated ‘you don’t know me’. It burns and rages, leaving you wanting more. The live performances of these songs would be something to behold. While the band are mainly booking gigs in Birmingham, they are likely to venture further afield later in the year with the second EP likely to arrive in September and a third to follow. For an introduction to one of the most exciting new and raw voices in alt-rock (coupled with their incredible instrumental skill, and more than enough passion) look no further. They will only keep improving.

Katrina Northern

'Walk Me to the Bridge' is the first single from Futurology, the Manic Street Preachers’ new album. Excellent ‘post-punk-disco-rock’ as Nicky Wire likes to call it. The synth in the verse takes a bit of getting used to but the chorus is fantastic and epic, energised and uplifting guitar solo and more thought-provoking lyrics. Another intensely atmospheric and European video.

It’s easy to read Richey into the lyrics in this song (the connotations of bridges and suicide and saying goodbye to a friend of great intellect) - that’s how powerful and enduring a figure he is but Nicky Wire has explained in an interview with Gigwise that the song is about the ‘Oresund Bridge that joins Sweden and Denmark… a long time ago when we were crossing that bridge I was flagging and thinking about leaving the band (the “fatal friend”). It’s about the idea of bridges allowing you an out of body experience as you leave and arrive in different places.’ (http://www.gigwise.com/news/90527/Manic-Street-Preachers-unveil-new-video-announce-Futurology-details)

 

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