[Release date 31.10.15]

First glance at the retro art nouveau sleeve for the debut release from Aussie female fronted rockers Kitchen Witch, with its topless female form, the immediate first thought is – is this another Blues Pills style outfit?  And the answer is pretty much a ‘yes’.  Certainly it’s another revisiting of the late sixties/early seventies.

Pitching in somewhat later than Blues Pills’ Peter Green-Mac era, the five track EP opener -  ‘Trouble’ – is a powerful Budgie like number with front woman Georgie Casson’s vocals sounding not that far from those of Burke Shelley.  It’s a potent statement of intent.

From thereon it’s a fairly standard early 70′s blues rock set borrowing on heavily on Joplin and Zeppelin, Sabbath and their compatriots.  That is, marrying heavy blues rock with gospel/ soul infused vocals.

For those of us who lived through the glory years, there’s nothing ‘new’ here, although like Blues Pills it’s impressively delivered – particularly when elements of light and shade are added , as on the rather fine ‘Out Of Your Head’ and ‘Just For One Day’.  And with the commanding Georgie Cosson fronting the band, Kitchen Witch definitely have the potential to rise to the top of the pile.

What I’m not sure of is what wider appetite there is for this style of music.  But if you’ve hopped onto the Blues Pills bandwagon and are enjoying the ride, then Kitchen Witch is a ‘no brainer’.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

SHIRAZ LANE  Be The Slave Or Be The Clown EP

As the likes of Motley Crue, Poison and the other LA strip bands begin to bow out, so along comes a batch of pretenders to the crown.  And where better to emerge from than Finland?  After all, Scandinavia has long been an outpost for mid-80s to mid-90s glam metal.

In their early 20s, the band – fronted by the androgynous Hannes Kett – rip it up a treat on their debut EP.  Big punchy guitar riffs, soaring lead lines, big drums, and vocals that blend Axl, Justin Hawkins, and Michael Eden.  At times it hard to believe the Shiraz Lane aren’t female fronted, but spandex is a versatile material and worn overly tight it can raise the octaves to a quite remarkable degree.

If you check out YouTube you’ll find official videos for four of the five tracks here – ‘Money Talks’ is pure Eden’s Curse, ‘Mental Slavery’ is Marilyn Manson meets Guns ‘N Roses, ‘Out There’ is all hair and The Darkness, and ‘Money Talks’ simply flaunts it.

There’s nothing original here, but there’s no denying the vitality and ‘fun’.  So if you’re seeking nothing more than ‘big hair’ escapism, look no further.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

NAT2RAL BORN KILLERS Unhandled Exception EP

Formed in 2009 between the two northern Italian cites of Varese and Milan, Nat2ral Born Killers (not to be confused with Natural Born Killers) are a five piece female fronted heavy metal band.  Powerful live shows have made them one the most successful bands in the Lombardy region.

Nomadic in terms of sound  progressive and heavy, fuelled by the adrenalized vocals of Helena Voltan it’s fairly standard Kerrang! or Metal Hammer fare.  Subtlety isn’t on the agenda, and the band’s sound is angsty, raw and ‘in your face’.

If you like your metal unbridled, Nat2ral Born Killers might be worth a listen.  In Helana Voltan they’ve got a frontwoman with a decent set of pipes, but musically they’re just too bludgeoning for my taste.  **

Review by Pete Whalley

TALK-SHOW  All Messed Up (And Nowhere To Go) [Release date 30.11.15]

Talk-Show consists of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lawrence O’Shea, who is joined by Boo Hewerdine, who fronted cult 80′s indie band the Bible.

The music is steeped in the classic 70′s pop rock and early 80′s synth pop sound, not a million miles removed from the excellent new album from Cats In Space. Perhaps the 70′s pop rock revival is in full swing now! The title track is a classy piece of pop rock, recalling Squeeze in their prime and the pick of this three song EP for me is ‘Mercy Thrill’. This one with its Moog/synth sounds and big chorus is crying out for radio airplay. The synth led ‘The Idea Of You’ closes the EP in style.

A pleasant musical discovery and the only downside to this EP is it is only three songs long!  ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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Power Plays w/c 16 May 2022 (Mon-Fri)
FLOYA The Hymn (Arising Empire)
VEXES The Dream Disease (indie)
NEAR DUSK The Way It Goes (Iron Head Records)
IN SEARCH OF SUN Make Me Crazy (indie)
WALLNER VAIN Deceive Her (indie)
MARATON Non-Euclidean Heart (Indie Recordings)

Featured Albums w/c 16 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TERRA NOVA Ring That Bell (Lion Music)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Boombox (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT St.Paul’s Boulevard (Pauper Sky Records)

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