The tough looking girl on the cover, the open shirt and upturned collar defy me to press play. By time the opening instrumental track is done I'm hooked. Hurray for the Riff Raff scratch dollars and dimes while leaving a mark on your soul and are the latest signing of London based label Loose Music.
I read the sleeve notes by Gabe Soria, savouring the narrative arc. Train-hopping? Crescent City? Whiskey and blood? This isn't your usual run of the mill sleeve notes but then this is not your usual run of the mill artist.
Hurray for the Riff Raff offer the perfect antidote to the plastic banal offerings from a seemingly bottomless well of singer songwriters. Alynda Lee Segarra, just 23, exquisitely crafts a deep-seated yearning for freedom.
Scattering songs from Maine to Minnesota, all the while preserving the lives of those lost spirits, still jumping trains on the railroad. Each song an emotion, a memory, a person or place and just one more stop in a love-hate bond with the travelers' lot.
Is That You? A familiar face glimpsed on the street stirs a recollection of a loved one's passing... Sali's Song warns of the tragic results of leaving a lover on a cross word; almost heartbreakingly it begs you to sing along.
Living a hobo's life, invisible to society, I imagine you become all too familiar with loss, but as the days stretch out, there is the time for deep reflection.
Amongst the desperate need for remembrance you find the unbounded celebration of life lived. There is the expectant opening and rewarding hook on Little Things , the joyful trumpet that closes, Too Much of a Good Thing and Junebug Waltz with its darkly frivolous final refrain and slide guitar.
The first single Take Me digital release out 28th February 2011 will introduce audiences to a new/old folk sound with exotic slides, lyrically succinct and a purity of tone refreshingly not over-thought or overworked.
It has been four years since Dutch/American singer/songwriter Signe Tollefsen played live at the Lamp in Hull. That night she wowed the audience with a set overflowing with songs of sheer beauty and extraordinary vocal prowess.
Since then Signe has been awarded Best Musician at Grote Prijs van Nederland, Holland's most
Album Reviews - The James Warner Prophecies - Fell Reviewed by Steve Rudd
I vehemently stand by my claim. The James Warner Prophecies are one of the finest bands in the UK. And that's why I remain so confused, because if you ask the average person on the street, they have never heard of the band, let alone their life enhancing music. If I can help change that, I shall ... beginning now.
I've said it before and I'll definitely say it again: this quartet is something
Album Reviews - Twilight of the Thunder God - Amon Amarth By James Green
There is a fundamental reason why Amon Amarth were voted international band of the year 2008 by metal hammer magazine, even though I don't read metal hammer magazine due to the fact that I am into much heavier stuff, I could not agree more with metal hammer about the decision they made.
Amon Amarth are most likely to
be one of the greatest melodic death metal bands of the decade, and in 2008
Album Reviews - 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.
EP Reviews - The Sugars - Gossip By Steve Rudd
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