Ben Parcell - Humble Beginnings
Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Coolly constituting the stunning debut solo LP from former Trailers front man, Ben Parcell, this lush ten-track offering hears Ben's voice at its best. Opening with the subtly anthemic beauty of Close Your Eyes, right from the utterly entrancing off, the production values assert their presence, the textured mix of guitar, drums and vocals luring the listener in from the very first verse.
It's difficult to accept that Ben used to be a purveyor of punk music in his teens.
These days, his lilting ballads still the heart and lift the soul with their elegant sincerity, with the melancholic yet uplifting strains of The Only One and Things Will Never Change
helping Bridlington songwriter Ben to further establish his reputation as a singer-songwriter par excellence.
A loyal devotee of Yorkshire-based open mic nights, Ben can regularly be seen plying his craft all over the county, not least at the monthly open mic events staged at Georgie's Bar in Driffield. There, he's no stranger to playing a selection of tunes from Humble Beginnings.
Some of the songs featured on the album have been a long while in surfacing on record. Indeed, shards of material date from as far back as 2002.
To say that this record has been self-funded, self-produced and self-recorded, it is a remarkable achievement, and Ben genuinely does deserve every success with it when songs such as Owe It All To You, Second Chance and Expiry Date leap out of the stereo speakers with such heartbreaking abandon.
As gifted a lyricist as he is a multi-instrumentalist, it seems that it will be only a matter of time before Ben enjoys the mainstream recognition that he so deserves for his poetic sentiments and his acoustic-anchored melodies.
Album Reviews - Hurray for the Riff Raff Reviewed by Michelle Dee
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?
Album Reviews - Signe Tollefsen By Michelle Dee
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,