Sincere Deceivers – Hot Handed (Live) Review

Lord love these boys. If any of you moved from my old music blog ‘Guy Talk’ to Meander with me, then you’ll know the buckets of love I have for Sincere Deceivers. For those of you who aren’t so familiar with the Yorkshire bred trio compromising of Matt Glover (vocals, acoustic guitar), Tim Davies (electric guitar, vocals), and Dom Main (cello, vocals) , Sincere Deceivers are a wonderfully unique band that carry a folk-driven sound with tinges of wholesome rock that warms the heart.

Following the release of their truly gorgeous EP, Autumnal Dreams, the boys return with a new release ‘Hot Handed’, and its just sublime, such a treat for the ears! What I love most about Sincere Deceivers and their live performances is that what you see is absolutely what you get. They lay the heart and soul of their music out there for all to hear, see and experience. You can feel their love for what they do, the energy they bring, and fierce musicianship between the three. What’s really staggering is the depth of sound they create with just three. Their music is so rich with layers and texture, and just goes to show that sometimes you don’t need a whacking great band to produce a big sound with an impact. I still believe adding Dom to the band was a stroke of genius. Best move they’ve made!

The trio’s music creates a listening experience that makes you stop, forget everything for just a moment and breathe. Their lyrics are serious and meaningful, their sound organic and melodious. And actually, its so nice to see musicians just having a great time creating and playing music together that they love – you’ll see in the video above that their joy for their art shines through their playing, and it makes such a difference.

Of course, Oak Sessions ability to film gorgeous videos adds to the beauty of it all – the soft tones, the bright filament light-bulbs, the fish mobiles. What’s not to love? Visual delights.

‘Hot Handed’ isn’t even 3 minutes long and its wow’d me. Pure listening joy. Watch it!

 

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LewRey – ‘Never’ Single Review

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Man, am I happy to be introduced to these two. I am so excited for LewRey I could scream about them from the rooftops (though I won’t…health and safety, ya know?). Boasting a pretty impressive supporting act portfolio for the likes of names we all know and love from Example and Professor Green, to Pendulum, MistaJam, The Japanese House, Rosie Lowe & Aquilo and more, this genre-mashing alt pop duo,  comprising of Lewis Reynold and Ian Walker, have a seriously bright future ahead of them, watch this space!

Never‘, their latest release, is a corker! Perfect to get those summer vibes going, with a club-ready belter of a chorus that you will definitely find yourself singing for the rest of the day (cue ‘be someone.. be someone…loaded gun… loaded gun..’. ♫). The single is backed with deep soul-pop melodies, moreish vocals, catchy hooks, and a sprinkling of Indie. What’s not to love? There really is something for everyone. Listening to their previous tunes, ‘Never’ definitely offers listeners an idea as to where these chaps are heading with their sound. LewRey’s debut 2014 EP ‘What’s Up?’ is a really enjoyable listen, a 5-track cracker traced with tints of urban and electronic-pop elements that demonstrated what the duo could bring to the table with their music in the early days, high quality variety with tracks drifting from slow and ambient to dancefloor-filling.  ‘Never’ takes their concept even further.

The single is beautifully interlaced with layer upon layer of different genres, technique, vocal lines and instruments, and has been released at the perfect time showcasing what these guys are capable of – stellar musicianship, mega pop anthems and damn good fun.  They are so relevant to the current music scene as we know it. And you know what? I think LewRey are just getting started.

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5 Dollar Shakes – Review

5 Dollar Shakes Promo 3

Ladies and Gents, meet Indie rockers 5 Dollar Shakes! These strapping Irish lads have recently released brilliantly catchy single ‘Auxiliary Love’, lifted from their promising second EP Come & See Enough To Stay. The EP itself is a little 4-tracker gem, that features an obvious indie influence, with shimmers that hark back to anthemic hits in the alternative rock scene. Without doubt, a large, polished step-up from their debut ‘Back To The Start Again’ – though also great listening.

Formed back in 2012, 5 Dollar Shakes (note Pulp Fiction reference!) take inspiration from Tarantino’s style – combining familiar influences with their own special twist to create something original – but relatable. Nice! It’s clear to hear where these boys are heading – their aim is to create powerful stadium-worthy songs that thousands can chant to,  backed with a strong merge of big, theatrical indie-pop and rock. ‘Auxiliary Love’ does just that, a cracker to end the EP.

The beauty of what these chaps do, is that they have cleverly created music that has a wide appeal across a range of genres that the mass are drawn to. Their tracks are catchy, fun, easy listening and full of energy and power – the perfect ingredients to make a success! Watch this space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panda Panda – ‘Millions’ EP Review

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I LOVE Panda Panda. Comprising of Håkon Brunborg Kjenstad (vocals, guitar) Ragnhild Fangel Jamtveit (vocals, keys), Herman Wildhagen (guitar), Jonathan Fimland Kleven (bass) and Oddbjørn Sponås (drums), the Trondheim-based Indie based are so fresh in every sense of the word and are really making a name for themselves within Norway’s music scene. The band have created a huge buzz in Norway, having played at a number of prestigious festivals from Trondheim Calling to Pstereo and UKA. They are growing to be a pretty big deal.

Their long-awaited EP ‘Millions’ is finally out and its seriously exciting. Released by the super cool Indie Label Riot Factory, Millions offers the most delicious trio of tracks that can only be described as gloriously dreamy. Though its easy to identify the Panda Panda as an Indie-rock band, their clever use of atonal melodies separate them from the crowd, making way for music that sounds almost other-worldly, space-like and progressive…it’s really cool! From observation of human relationships to 9/11 conspiracies, a tribute to the fast life and describing a turbulent relationship, the songs running throughout the EP send you through a whirlwind of themes and emotion – it’s beautifully exhausting; intense but moreish, with just about enough space to breathe – particularly with the slow paced track ‘Fuels’! I’m so excited to see these guys grow and where their music takes them. A Meander favourite!

 

 

Sincere Deceivers – Autumnal Dreams EP (Review & Interview)

Sincere Deceivers Twitter | Sincere Deceivers Facebook | Sincere Deceivers Website

I recently had a lovely blast from the past pop into my inbox. Sincere Deceivers‘ Matt and I go way back to the days of my old music blog, and he reached out to share not only the exciting news that the boys have released a new EP, but also that they have undergone a bit of an expansion! I was super excited to hear from an old pal, and to review their absolutely stunning EP.

Now I have always been a Sincere Deceivers fan, their debut EP ‘Once More Unto’, was a beautifully put together set of tracks with soft guitar undertones that complimented Matt’s raw, folky vocals. It was the perfect starter for Matt and Tim; a solid representation of the sound they sought to create, but with a sense of vulnerability through deep, honest lyrics. ‘Miss the Days’ is still one of my favourite tracks to this day, I still listen to it often.

Autumnal Dreams though…this EP is absolute dream to listen to. It’s a beautiful 3-tracker that more than anything, demonstrates the evolution of Sincere Deceivers. Its mature, its wise, its mellow and it’s  full bodied across the board,  from Matt’s organically strong vocals and the soft harmonies, to the production and quality of the EP. It’s a sign of growth and development. ‘For Himself’ hits a nerve, undoubtedly the most powerful and intense track of the EP, with three-part layered vocals towards the end of the song. But each track brings a different story to the mini-record, making it an all-rounded stunner. I think the permanent arrival of cellist and vocalist Dom was such a clever move. If there ever was a missing element, Dom was it. Autumnal Dreams feels like it’s the product of Sincere Deceivers really finding their feet in terms of the sound they want to produce, and the band they want to be. I’m so incredibly proud and excited, and just can’t wait to hear more. It’s an EP for all seasons, and for anyone who appreciates great sounds and musicianship.

I had a chat with Matt, here’s what he had to say! Why not have a listen to the gorgeous EP while you read?

 

Well hello, this is somewhat of a reunion! How are we doing chaps? I believe the last time we had the pleasure of chatting was on my old music blog. How have you been?

Hello! We’ve been well thanks. Everything and nothing has changed. Yes, we missed your initial migration to Meander, but we’re happy to be reunited. We hope you liked our new musical offering.

As am I, super happy. You seem to have been quite busy over the last year…when we last spoke, Sincere Deceivers were a duo, and now, you have a new band member! How did the come about? Did you both feel as though you were ready to evolve your sound by adding an extra set of vocals and a cello?

Yeah. Matt and Tim had been playing together in London for a couple of years already. Dom and Matt are friends from Uni and Dom was roped in to add some cello to a couple of tracks on our last EP, Once More Unto. We’d also got him involved on vocals when we gathered everybody in the room round one mic to put some harmonies on Arches.   He’s good musician and it also was great fun having him play with us, and so we managed to put in a few shows together, initially with him on vocals. We’d hired a cello for him to use during the recording, so once he’d dug his out of his parent’s loft, we got him involved on both. Over time we worked on arrangements for all of the existing tracks and then finally we started working together on new material, at which point his addition felt permanent. There’s no turning back now for Dom….  We’ve always been open to the idea of expanding, but it just ended up happening very naturally on this occasion.

Huge congrats on the launch of your lovely new EP ‘Autmnal Dreams’. How was it to launch it at such a beautiful, intimate venue (St Pancras Old Church)? Was it well received?

Awesome. It’s such a stunning space, both visually and the acoustics. We were a little nervous, because we’d been working on the tracks and artwork since the end of 2014 and it all came together quite quickly in May/June, with us deciding to launch in July. We looked at a few venues and when we found out St Pancras was available, we just went for it. It worked out really well though and to pretty much fill it out was amazing. We had awesome support from Izzie Yardley and Richard Maule – two great singer-songwriters that we’ve bumped into on our travels.  It was a special evening, probably our favourite show so far.

Where did the title of the EP come from? It sounds like it’s an ‘all-season’ friendly mini record to me!

Of course! Great all year round. It’s taken from the opening track on the EP, Autumnal Dreams, which is actually a kind of part 2. The original revolved around only two chords, which feature again in the chorus. The original Autumnal Dreams was one of the first songs Matt and Tim wrote together; a song about potential and the possibilities that lay ahead. This part 2 is a bit of revisit. Older, wiser, more accomplished? We’re not sure.

How do you feel ‘Autumnal Dreams’ really differs to your earlier music? 

The sound has kept changing, but not always consciously. Tim swapped his acoustic guitar for an electric during the writing for the previous EP, which added a bit more space and texture. The addition of Dom on cello and vocals has allowed us to add another layer and write with it in mind.

What were the creative processes behind the making of the EP? Was it fun to make?

It was fun in the main! At the outset we weren’t exactly sure how many tracks would be on the EP and we had thought about adding a live version of one or two older ones. We recorded at Butcher Row Studios with Leaf Troup, initially with some sessions in late 2014 to work on Autumnal Dreams and Don’t Mistake Me. In the New Year, we spoke with an artist, Anna Connor, who created the EP artwork, which we love. We were trying to decide what else to put on the EP, when we wrote ‘For Himself’ in January. It just felt right for it to sit with the other two, so we headed back into the studio in March. We’d done a first mix of Autumnal Dreams and Don’t Mistake Me in January with Bruce McLaren, who has done all the mixing on both our EPs, but when we came to mix For Himself it seemed to change the whole feel and we ended up remixing both the others!

Who writes the lyrics? And where does inspiration stem from?

Matt writes the lyrics mostly, but sometimes arrives with half-finished lyrics, or we’ll discuss the stories and themes that we’re trying to roll into a song. Tim and Dom are mainly on quality control! Inspiration comes in many forms, but we usually take snippets of the world around us and blow them up, magnify or dramatise them. If we run out of external influence, we can always turn to our own flawed attempts at being humans…

Would you say that your folk driven sound is a reflection of where you’re from, the rolling hills of Yorkshire?

It might be an accident! We’ve moved a little further away from that over time, though the melodies still incorporate a lot of the kind of inflections you might find in folk music. Nature and places obviously have a strong home in traditional folk music, which have always snuck into our writing.  Tim and Matt have listened to a lot of music with folk influence and it does have a local tradition with contemporary folk singers like Kate Rusby, so maybe.

One thing I’ve always loved about Sincere Deceivers is your ability to tell stories through your music – do you fit the music around the stories you tell and use it more as a soundtrack to that story, or do you work the other way around?

Tricky to pinpoint, but it happens both ways!  We’re always listing potential new subjects for writing, or unattached couplets might spring to mind and get scribbled down. Occasionally a specific event happens, which naturally lends itself to writing. Those songs are normally the fastest to get finished.  Sometimes we’ll just be working around some new chord progression that Matt or Tim has arrived at, which brings a certain mood with it, and then lyrics and melodies get added later. The cello parts are now on our minds early on in the process too.  There’s often a lot of toing and froing in there before songs get finished.

As we know you’ve had a hugely busy year – what do you guys do when you’re not gigging, writing or recording?

Day jobs! Dom’s a medicine student. Tim got married this summer! Matt quite likes playing cricket.

Oh congrats Tim!! For those who aren’t so familiar with your music, describe what people can expect from ‘Autumnal Dream’s in three words. 

“A decent effort”.

Way too modest, come on now. What’s coming up next for you? An album? A UK tour?

All of these things would be great. Getting the EP out and about. We’d like to head further afield than London and we’re discussing a potential new video. Dom gets back from two months away in late September, so we’re busy plotting ahead of his return.

Matt Steady – ‘Blood Is Thicker Than Gold’ Album Preview

 

Matt Steady Twitter | Matt Steady Facebook | Matt Steady Website

Discovering artists like the brilliant Matt Steady is why I blog. He represents a huge amount of independent artists that I long to support as much as I can; artists that craft their music with care, detail and hard work.

Blood Is Thicker Than Gold‘ is a great, folk inspired debut album – with a slightly heavy twist. One thing I noticed while previewing this album was that the lyrics run deeper than you’d think, telling delicate stories that lie behind the music and his raspy, rugged vocals. Although it’s easy to hear that the album lies in the rusty, folk-rock genre, Matt’s broad palette of musical genres – jazz, celtic and blues, are hugely apparent throughout the record. His classical training also plays a major role in this album, it’s cleverly constructed with layers of texture, especially in the instrumental-heavy tracks.

The album is a wholesome composition,  recorded, produced and performed by Matt, and aided by Swedish, freelance  drummer Niklas J. Blixt,  and a select number of other hugely talented musicians. He has poured himself entirely into this record, and it’s personal – his Matt’s daughter even features on one of the tracks with delicate, silky vocals!  I like that in a way it doesn’t sound too polished, that there’s this rustic edge to it – you can hear him laughing with someone at the end of a track, you can envisage him just chilling in the studio, with his guitar (or drums….or fiddle…or bass…or banjo…or keyboard…get where I’m going with this?!) just singing his heart out and just truly enjoying the process that comes with making an original album –  taking himself seriously enough to get the job done, but not overplaying that seriousness  – and the product of this attitude is a damn good record that you could easily, and happily listen to the whole way through. ‘Blood Is Thicker Than Gold‘ is  an organic, earthy and honest listen; it’s been an absolute privilege to preview it.  Give it a go – it’s a corker.

Stone Roots – Paint the Town EP Review

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Stone Roots twitter | Stone Roots facebook | Stone Roots youtube

There seems to be a certain stereotype of genre and style when associating music with Cornwall.. Beachy melodies, hazy vocals, acoustic guitars galore…  Well I’ve found a band that blow that silly notion out the water!!

Introducing ‘Stone Roots’, a fabulous four-piece funk-pop band who go by the names of Holly Turton  (vocals), Chez Jeffery (Guitar) Harry Bosworth (Bass) and Will Harris (Drums).

Hailing from the coast, their debut EP ‘Paint the Town’ screams influences of jazz, funk, pop and sunshiny days by the sea. Considering these guys have been together for not much more than a year, they are making big sounds which promise big potential. Taking artist influences like Sia, Paloma Faith and the late Amy Winehouse, Stone Roots have created what I think is a really refreshing, organic sound – distinctive and memorable melodies with clever lyrics.

It is so great to see and hear young bands creating and merging their own interpretation of genres, and ‘Paint the Town’ absolutely delivers in quality and musicianship.

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My personal favourite track of the mini-record is  ‘Tease’ –  from the very start I loved it! Like all their tracks, this song has a catchy chorus, fun riffs, and suits lead singer Holly to a huge, capital ‘t’, who has a gorgeous, pop-style vocal and delivers impressive little, sneaky runs throughout (which seem to come incredibly naturally) – but what made me love it even more was watching the band perform this track on youtube (see above) – as you’ll see, forming together in such a short space of time is completely irrelevant for Stone Roots, the chemistry these guys have is so infectious, and so natural, you’d think they’ve been around for years – at the end of it all – they’re just a fab bunch of pals, having a laugh and creating some damn good tracks along the way! Stone Roots have a very big and bright future ahead, I just can’t wait to hear more!

If you’re looking for the perfect summer EP for 2015, look no further!