Quick plays: CALLING ALL ASTRONAUTS, JOANA SERRAT, JAMES McARTNEY, DIRTY ACTION

CALLING ALL ASTRONAUTS Anti-Social Network

CALLING ALL ASTRONAUTS Anti-Social Network

This is Calling All Astronauts’ second album and they have been around since 2012, consisting of David B (vocals/programming), J Browning (guitars) and Paul McCrudden (bass). Musically they cover goth, rock, electro and certainly have a strong and vocal political side to their lyrics.

It starts off well with ‘Living The Dream’, where David B sounds like Billy Idol and on ‘Empire’ you would swear you were listening The Sisters Of Mercy. The guitars snarl and snap in the music, with some nice electro/synth sounds. It does drop off in quality as the album progresses and perhaps an artist to download their better tunes like ‘Empire’ as opposed to a whole album. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

JOANA SERRAT Cross the Verge [Release date 06.05.16]

‘Cross The Verge’ is Joana Serrat’s third album following on from 2014′s ‘Dear Great Canyon’. The production is very lush with pedal steel, gentle rhythm section and the wistful vocals of Joana wafting over the music.

It has a definite air of country/Americana in the music, with some extended workouts on ‘Lover’. ‘Tug Of War’ steps up the tempo a little, as does ‘I Follow You Child’, again the pedal steel makes itself known along with a 50′s style rock ‘n’ roll riff.

Perfect for a late night listen and winding down, although not background music by any stretch of the imagination as Joana Serrat’s vocals won’t allow that demanding the listener’s attention. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

DIRTY ACTION Best Of Volume 1: The Singles Collection

Yes you maybe scratching your head thinking what singles and how long has the band been going? They are a cheeky bunch as this is their debut album, having formed a few years ago and featuring former members of French band Pink Rose. To further the Spinal Tap like idea that they have been going for years they feature mocked up US Billboard and ‘Melody Maker’ charts.

The band peddle a pretty decent standard of glam/sleaze rock. Nothing ‘wow’ but still an album worth a listen and yes the lyrics can err on the cheesy side sometimes like on ‘Bad Boys #1′ and ‘Sexy Lady’ (try not to listen to hard to the panting on this one…). Fear not they do an obligatory ballad, replete with strings, in ‘It’s Over Now (Song For Ale)’, and fair play to the band as they have good sense of humour in this one.

Overall they remind me a little of the Sweet in the vocal harmonies. Fun album and the band don’t take themselves too seriously, worth a listen as decent vocals and good melodies. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

JAMES McARTNEY The Blackberry Train [Release date 06.05.16]

Yes he is the son of Paul and Linda, having released one solo album to date, 2013′s ‘Me’. It must be hard living in the shadow of famous parents, however more power to him as he has said in an interview, “the main thing for me as an artist, (is) not to compromise lyrically, musically or artistically.”

So what of the music? It covers a wide range of alt rock, from the trippy, Stones Roses vibe on ‘Unicorn’ through to ‘Ballerina’, where the guitar riff and vocals tip a nod to Soul Asylum. A real stand out song on the album, loving the way his voice soars away at the chorus.

The jangly rock of ‘Too Hard’ features Dhani Harrison trading guitar licks with him and a single/radio song if ever there was one. Touch of IRS-era REM of ‘Peyote Coyote’, and loving the guitar and production on this.

I would be hard pushed to call this essential, however give it a listen and if nothing else listen to ‘Ballerina’. A definite ‘grower’ of an album and one that shows a musician with many musical ideas and talent to follow his own trail. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)



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