Nat Johnson and the Figureheads - Roman Radio (Damaged Goods)
By Dick Spring
For 21 years now, the Damaged Goods label has brought the world a riot of punk rock and guitar pop bands, even 'discovering' the Manic Street Preachers along the way.
Alongside this indulgence and guiding the career of medway marauders like Billy Childish,
Thee Headcoats, Pete Molinari etc, it seems to have a penchant for an interesting
female vocal as well.
There seems to be a similarly diverse strategy to this also, with the likes of Helen Love
alongside Fabienne Delsol, and label stalwart Holly Golightly.
Joining this eclectic squad is new signing Nat Johnson and The Figureheads.
Nat Johnson is the former front woman of Sheffield stalwarts Monkey Swallows the Universe -
quite a gobful of a name that, who spent 5 years toiling the Sheffield circuit.
Now she's back with her own band The Figureheads, which does include her former band mate,
guitarist Kevin Gori.
Compared with her former outfit, this one is definitely a progression, with a much more cohesive and
measured effort for her debut album on DG.
I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to it, especially as I hear a number of my favourite female
vocalists in her music, most notably on All This, January and Careful - a strong Mazzy Star sound,
but with a softer style than the sometimes harsh style of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval.
First single, Wonderful Emergency has a smooth indie groove that could sit next to ex Sheffield-ites
The Long Blondes, or even Kate Nash. Definitely one you can 'swing your pants' to.
Wasted has a brooding sound, akin to early Cranberries and mid 90's off kilter indie
darlings Salad. Also represented from the 90's britpop days are Lush and even Sleeper.
Dirty Rotten Soul moves along at pace, with it's rhythm and country styling
that is reminiscent of Lily Allen's It's Not Fair; no bad thing at all as I really like that song.
I would probably be expected to eulogise on subject matter of the songs but I prefer to comment on what I hear and my gut reaction to the music, though some lyrics for reference certainly don't go amiss, but that said this album comes in very lush packaging on CD and Vinyl, as is a hallmark of Damaged Goods (some of their coloured vinyl 7" singles are simply magnificent).
They might be called The Sugars, but not everything about this band is sweet, for their confrontational
rock n roll sound is dark and deadly in equal measure, as exhilarating elements of Blues and Soul creep
into their arrangements to make their music all the more interesting and engaging.
Released through Bad Sneakers Record, Gossip is a sensational tune, anchored by Alex Lewis's irresistible
beat, a funk-tastic bass-line, and genuinely cool
Single Reviews - Hey Negrita - You Can Kick Reviewed by Steve Rudd
London-based boys Hey Negrita have been rightfully turning heads with their succulent blend of Blues, Rock and Americana since 2002, and this, their third studio album, helps to further cement their reputation as a highly original band par excellence.
Right from the opening strains of Room Service through to the final chord progression of The Last Thing That I Do, the listener can't fail to be entranced by each and every track on this 12-song-strong wonder.
Single Reviews - Plough and Orion by Skinny Lister Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Scheduled for release on August 24, this single from London-based outfit Skinny Lister is a simply divine song which deserves as much radio-play as it can muster. Anchored by an irresistible melody and a soothing vocal performance, it coolly tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers, detailing the intolerable cruelty of being away from somebody that you truly adore.
A mid-paced gem of a tune, this is Alternative Indie-Pop as it's meant to be, with
CD Reviews - Winds Of Time - Glenn Williams and The Ullbillies (Lazy Swede Productions) By Jim Soars - Courtesy Of Maverick Country Music Magazine
Hull's very own Glenn Williams is one of the hardest working composers and musicians in the UK country roots crossover genre. His latest release Winds of Time highlights his song writing credentials with ten new tracks making their first appearance.
Again ably assisted by his regular band The Ullbillies that comprise guitarist / percussionist / keys
Album Reviews - Horse Guards Parade 'EP' (Download from iTunes) By Nick Quantrill
Formed by former Salako front-man, James Waudby, Horse Guards Parade are one of Hull's hidden treasures.
Describing themselves as 'psychedelic anti-folk', this debut EP is, as you might expect, a mixed
bag of sounds and ideas. Lead track, As The Plane Lifted Its Wheels is a galloping number which
sounds like the soundtrack to a fight in an old country and western movie.
CD Reviews - London! Paris! New York! Rome! - Andy Mackay and The Metaphors By Michelle Dee
When you get sent a random CD from an unknown act doing covers, you may not hold out much hope.
The track titles read like pretty standard stuff but there's nothing ordinary in the hands
of Andy Mackay and the Metaphors.
Five musicians, including current members of Roxy Music, Andy Mackay and
Paul Thompson, who almost manage to disguise the original tunes completely.
Album Reviews - David Ward Maclean - Acts of Faith By Tim Roux
David Ward Maclean's album Acts of Faith is a dark, pure act of profound courage, more a statement of loss of faith, or of an abandoned search for it, than anything as life-affirming as the title might suggest.
'cause these acts of faith are killing me
and I still haven't seen a sign
of anything that brings reason to this life.'
In fact, the theme of the songs is
Album Reviews - The Alps ... Something I Might Regret By Steve Rudd
The debut album from one of the most exciting bands in the UK right now, The Alps are not your average band, primarily because they extract the most appealing elements of the Pop, Indie and Rock genres and mix them up to stunning effect. As a result, this eleven-track LP is a veritable whirlwind of irresistible melodies and swooning vocal performances.
Single Reviews - Henry Priestman - The Chronicles of Modern Life (Island Records) By Nick Quantrill
Quietly released on Stiff Records last year, the buzz around Henry Priestman's debut album has been
steadily building over the last few months and rightly so. It's been a long time out of the
limelight for the former member of The Christians, but the wait has been worthwhile.
Dismissed by some press as a grumpy old man, nothing could be further from the
Single Reviews - Glen Strachan ... 8 Love Rivals By Steve Rudd
It's hard to believe that British singer-songwriter Glen Strachan used to front
Uxbridge-based Alt.-rockers The Bed, but it's true.
The music that he's producing these days is a far cry from when bands such as
The Smashing Pumpkins were influencing him to pump up the volume,
because the eight bewitching songs that grace his latest album,
Single Reviews - Robert Prekop ... Dirt of Time By Steve Rudd
Robert Prekop is a young singer-songwriter who is currently residing in Berlin. Anchoring the majority of his soul-stirring songs with compelling acoustic-based melodies, he is building a reputation for himself in the capital of Germany by playing at Open Mic nights where he airs his material.
The demos of a batch of songs he has recently posted on
Music Band Biog - One Way Out
One Way Out is a four piece electric blues band formed in 2005.
Our music is influenced by the likes of Howling Wolf, BB King, Sonny Boy Williamson,
The Rolling Stones and many traditional blues artists from the 1920s to the 1980s.
One Way Out is:
Pete Sanderson,Thurstan Binns and Rob GoldbergRead more...
Album Reviews - KIERONONONON Three Man Party (Roxxor Records) By Michelle Dee and Bella Wykes (Age 11)
Three Man Party by Kieronononon is the fourth release by
three-piece outfit Orta, goatboy and floatstarpx.
It delivers fuzz punk, electro junk, digitized DIY horror phunk; despite the
typo on the CD.
Spectral to Medieval metal influences abound on the six track EP containing
intriguing titles that suggest snippets of odd conversation real or imagined.
CD Reviews - Mount Demo By Michelle Dee
You never know when you get sent something out of the blue whether you are going to uncover a gem.
Hassle opens with a funereal bass line that threatens to vibrate and shake the speakers to pieces.
This auspicious intro is eventually followed by a splintered vocal coming from the wrong end of a whisky bottle (or the right end depending on your point of view) that then leans lazily sideways and suggests
Single Reviews - The Alps - Obstacle Race By Steve Rudd
Taken from the Greenwich-based band's stunning album Something I Might Regret, this gloriously shimmering single is their sixth, and it's a heartfelt ode to a relationship that's going through bit of a rough patch.
Such a thing is immediately obvious as frontman Daniel Heptinstall coolly croons, 'Lost in the shadows with no way out,' before going on to proffer a glimmer of salvation for the
Album Reviews - Circadian By Farino Reviewed By Michelle Dee
Yet another act from the Purple Worm Records stable, Farino ask you to join
them on an evocative instrumental journey with a lively Latino sound.
With seven well crafted tunes overflowing with passion and technical prowess,
Circadian speaks directly to lovers of the Spanish guitar.
Circadian is filled with bright, florid multi layered refrains incorporating deft
fingering, sunny harmonics and top end thrills.
Album Reviews - Chris Helme ... Ashes By Steve Rudd
The inspirational debut solo album from former Seahorses frontman Chris Helme, Ashes is a
lovingly conceived and produced album of the highest order, having been recorded in
Castleford by Ben Hammond. What's more, a hidden bonus track is sure to delight any
Seahorses fans who pick up a copy...
Kicking off with the emotionally intense strains of Morning Sun, it's hard to believe
Album Reviews - Filth Wizard - Spread The Filth (8-track album) By Steve Rudd
With this barnstorming, trailblazing release, Adam Towse isn't so much dishing dirt as flinging it.
Indeed, Spread The Filth, as the title suggests, isn't for the fainthearted; it's
down and dirty by default, and all the better for it.
A bolder debut release couldn't have been conceived by the Bridlington-based band, a
Metal band fronted by Torso Horse ringleader
Album Reviews - Warriors EP by The Good Natured Reviewed By James McGuire
When you open the parcel and you see the personalised touch taken in the making of the EP's, it makes you feel special to be one of the lucky people to own a copy.
And if you thought the look was just the sweetest thing, it just gets better when you play the
CD, as the Warriors EP is a beautiful blend of music and lyrics.
If it was a smoothie,
Album Reviews - Satellite State Debut EP Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Producing soaring anthems for the masses, southerners Satellite State should
be able to sun themselves silly on the strength of this four-track wonder: their debut EP.
Anchored by undeniable commercial zeal and appeal, all four tracks are beautiful,
not least opening tune Plans in which Gary Nicks on vocals allows his voice to take flight.
Ciaran Stephens on
Album Reviews - Heartbroken by Abbie Lammas Reviewed by Steve Rudd
A prodigiously talented singer-songwriter, Hornsea's Abbie Lammas might only
be fifteen, but she's cranking out songs that are mightily mature for her age.
Heartbroken is her debut album, and it's an eight-song-strong affair that perfectly shows off
Abbie's talents. For the most part, the songs feature just her and her trusted acoustic guitar,
though there are a couple of notable exceptions.
Album Reviews - Black and White Tango 3 Track Demo By Danielle McLoughlin
Black and White Tango...a young, fresh out of the packet, extremely talented
band, with bags...no, make it bin liners, full of potential.
They're most definitely not your stereotypical Indie, Punk, Metal or Emo band.
Genres that seem to be all too common and bursting at the seams here in Hull.
Black and White Tango have resisted being pigeon holed and have broken the mould
by creating their very own unique style,
Album Reviews - Hayley Hutchinson - Love Songs For The Enemy Reviewed by Steve Rudd
When she's not playing in The Sorry Kisses, York's Hayley is making sweet music of her
own, and this - her second album - will bring fans up to speed with the fruits of her
latest spell of songwriting.
A glorious ten-track affair, Love Songs For The Enemy is a sublime record in every
respect, opening tune All I Have incorporating banjo and harmonica
Album Reviews - Single Reviews - One Small Step by Satellite State Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Zipping out of Guildford with their hearts on their sleeves and a bounce in their
step, this quintet deserves to hit the big-time on the strength of this three-track single.
One Small Step is moodily melodic from the off, an epic indie-pop-rock anthem
for the masses. The good news is that Satellite State already have fans in the
form of Steve LamacqRead more...
Album Reviews - Edwina Hayes - Pour Me a Drink By Steve Rudd
A marked departure from her debut album, Edwina's follow-up to Out On My Own sees
her presenting a far more intimate collection of songs.
For the most part it's just her and her acoustic guitar.
Save for appearances from Carissa Broadwater and guitarist Jake McKeague, guest
musicians this time around are few and far between, yet Pour Me A DrinkRead more...
Album Reviews - Buck 69 - When She Whispers Your Name By Peter Blewzzman Lauro
The biography of Buck 69 states that the band is influenced by more than three generations of music. This father and son blues rock band claim to be made up of three members over the age of 45 and five members under the age of 30. And when I looked at the picture, with absolutely no further help, I was able to figure out who the three were and who the five
Album Reviews - JoKeRz - 3 of a Kind By Rebecca Hilton
I went to the Sesh at Linnet and Lark just before Xmas to check out a local band that has been creating a lot of buzz lately around Hull and Myspace, the band being JoKeRz. I hadn't seen them before, only heard snippets of their pop/rock on myspace - being impressed with the songs, I decided to check them out - I don't think I was ready