MICHAEL KIWANUKA Love And Hate
Since my son and I are “live on Sky” football junkies, my dear lady busies herself with her own TV series and was bowled over by the opening soundtrack to “Big Little Lies” which happens to be the track “Cold Little Heart” from Michael Kiwanuka’s second album, Love and Hate. And what a phenomenal piece of work this is from a fine British singer/songwriter.
Hailing from Muswell Hill and of Ugandan parentage, Kiwanuka supported Adele in 2011 and is a clear favorite on the festival circuit. Quoting his influences as Hendrix, Withers, Otis Redding, Jack Johnson, The Band amongst others, Kiwanuka has been an ear-candy discovery of impressive proportions.
Fabulous songwriting with the ability to build emotion, rip a solo and grab you in all the important places. The melodies will bring tears to your eyes and, as I tend to do, I have run this album past various muso friends, really to make sure this isn’t just me spouting about something that only I like. There wasn’t a single person who didn’t think this album wasn’t outstanding. There is something for all moods – vertical and dancy, horizontal and sexy – and all soul-soaked like honey on baklava.
For a quick fix of this five-star album, check out the slow burn of “Cold Little Heart”, the heart-wrenching melodies on “Falling” and “Black Man in a White World”, the brilliant “Rule The World” and the dramatic coda of “The Final Frame”. If you liked Paulo Nutini’s “Caustic Love”, you’ll love this album as it walks a similar soulful road.
If Easter represents spring-time, new awakenings and fresh starts – this is the soundtrack….pure class, instant catchiness, real genius. If it hadn’t been for all the live football on Sky, my missus might never have told me about Kiwanuka – how random life is, huh ? *****
Review Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
THE DAWN BROTHERS Stayin’ Out Late
Everyone knows that certain countries and cities have given birth to various iconic bands or whole genres of music – from LA and Seattle to Austin, Texas, Ireland south and north and from London U.K. to Australia. Given its music-loving, hippy-to-rock-via-everything-else sensibilities (and yes, weed), I’m always, therefore, surprised that Holland doesn’t produce more artists of international renown. Well, that box can now be firmly checked in the form of The Dawn Brothers from Rotterdam.
Honestly, nothing has impacted me more since The Temperance Movement announced themselves on the scene a few years ago. The Dawn Brothers debut album, Stayin’ Out Late, is quite simply a brilliant record – I mean, crazy good.
Where to begin…..imagine an album which, at various times, touches rock and soul like Vintage Trouble, is vocally resplendent like CSN, rockin’ country like The Eagles (“Get Down The Road”), a bit psychedelic (“Chevy Suburban”), Americana like Petty or the Robinson brothers (“Moon Discovered” or “Milktruck”), even rockabilly in parts….and yet still manages to sound fresh and unique – like, well – The Dawn Brothers. The middle break on “The Hunter” would have sat quite nicely on Houses of the Holy. Each superlative comes across as inadequate. I think I might have three albums (in a collection of over 3,000)
that don’t have any weaknesses, that you would play all the way through, every time…..this is a fourth one, without question.
Melodies abound over pretty simple but highly effective and straightforward song structures – all linked by witty lyrics and an excellent video array on YouTube. In terms of the amount of new music I’ve heard in the last five to ten years, the old adage of “if it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much” has never been truer.
The crisp and clear production allows the music to breath and the lyrics to take flight. I’m floored by how good this album is – musical style variety drawn in many ways from the best of the ’60s and ’70s influences, yet modernized and vitalized perfectly under The Dawn Brothers zany branding and creativity. Did I mentioned that I love this record?
Get Ready to ROCK! doesn’t give scores of ten but if we did…….after just two plays, this album got an instant five both times and that always made ten when I was at school. *****(*****) !!
Review Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
SISTER’S DOLL All Dressed Up
Second release from Aussie based glam rockers Sister’s Doll who between the three of them wear more make-up than the female model on the album’s cover! They even rope in former Kiss and current Grand Funk Railroad guitarist Bruce Kulick to guest on the ultra catchy ‘Young, Wild & Free’. That song also sees the band get a helping a hand from Xavier Mills of White Widdow, a band who know their way around a catchy and melodic chorus.
Billy Squier’s lawyers may be on the phone though over the similarity between ‘Strutt’ and his hit ‘The Stroke’. Damn good tune though, as is the insanely catchy ‘Good Day To Be Alive’. It’s like the 80′s all over again but with better production! Heck they even excel at the close to the knuckle lyrics so beloved of bands like Motley Crue on ‘Old Enough’.
If 80′s hair metal is your thing you Sister’s Sin will be right up your musical alley. Music to put a smile on your face and hairspray in your hair if so inclined… ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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CROBOT Low Life (Mascot)
JAILBIRDS Thrill Of The Chase (Golden Robot Records)
SCARLET REBELS No One Else To Blame(indie)
WICKED STONE Unchained (indie)
JARED JAMES NICHOLS Nails In the Coffin (Listenable Records)
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STEVE HILLAGE Open (1979)
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