Born out of unimaginable tragedy GregVK’s latest single ‘Never Again’ packs an acoustic-guitar driven punch straight to the heart.
You can hear the pain and the struggle to keep going in every lyric, in every strum of the guitar. There are no pretenses or embellishments, nothing to try and hide the emotion. Everything’s on the table for the world to see and that’s where the magic lies. It’s that openness that draws you in and makes the song relatable to anybody who’s been through an immensely traumatic experience.
From the opening lines, “look at all that I’ve become/ a wreckage in the shallows,” there’s an edge to GregVK’s voice, a grief that’s almost tangible. The sometimes mournful, sometimes anguished guitar seems to take on a life of its own, helping guide the mood as he comes to terms with what happened and resolves to turn it into strength rather than give in.
This isn’t just a song. It’s a raw, honest confession from a man who has gone to some dark places but refuses to let himself be defeated, even though that sometimes seems like the only way out.
Have a listen for yourself:
With their fusion of old-school RnB, soul, funk, hip-hop, and jazz Androgenius have woven a tapestry of sounds and emotions on their self-titled EP.
What makes this EP so interesting is the combination of Androgenius’ get up and dance sound and poignant lyrics. ‘Deviant Days’ is a groovy number about living in the moment and giving in to your impulses and desires while ‘Scene 1, Take 2’ explores the curiosity and fantasising that comes with unrequited love.
‘Waves,’ the fourth track, shows us that there’s a tender side to Androgenius. With only a piano for accompaniment, front-man Al Clapper takes us on an emotional journey through a badly timed yet unavoidable love. The band’s usual sound gets put on hold for a moment as we’re treated to pure, intimate honesty, the kind of honesty that makes you stop whatever you’re doing and just listen.
Whether it’s making you dance or making you feel, this EP will have you in its grasp from start to finish.
Give it a listen below:
Fifty-two years ago today, after nine months of recording in three different studios The Jimi Hendrix Experience dropped its debut album ‘Are You Experienced’ and changed the music world forever.
Peaking at number 2 on the UK charts and hitting fifth position on the US Billboard Top LPs it broke new ground in ways that few, if any debut albums had before. Not only did it change the direction of rock ‘n’ roll, but it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for guitarists.
After struggling as a back-up guitarist on the R&B scene Hendrix got picked up by former The Animals bassist Chas Chandler who started setting up a band that would showcase the guitarist’s immense talent. Cue the introduction of bassist Noel Redding (who was actually a guitarist by trade) and Mitch Mitchell on drums.
A mixture of determined management on Chandler’s part and an undeniable chemistry and understanding between the musicians led them to record the album on and off over the period of a mere nine months. The chemistry between the band members was such that rehearsals were largely unnecessary and songs like ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ were recorded in one session, even though Redding and Mitchell hadn’t heard it before.
‘Are You Experienced’ sent shockwaves through the rock world with people citing it as a turning point in everything from psychedelic-rock all the way through to hard-rock and even heavy metal, with British music journalist David Stubbs describing ‘Foxy Lady’ as a prototype for heavy metal pioneers like Black Sabbath and the album was even ranked at number 35 in Hit-Parader’s list of the top 100 heavy metal albums in 1989.
Hendrix’s unique ability as a guitar player also had a major impact, not just on the way people play the instrument, but on the equipment that guitarists use to this day. For instance, on the song ‘I Don’t Live Today’ Hendrix created a “wah-wah” effect by hand which influenced the creation of the now famous “wah-wah” effects pedal which has become standard in any guitarists arsenal.
‘Are You Experienced’ was one of those albums that comes along every now and then and completely changes the complexion of the music world and that’s one of the reasons that, to this day, Hendrix is considered by many to be the greatest guitarist this world has ever seen.
Have a listen to the album below:
Elle E‘s latest three-track EP, “Stereo Child” is a fuzz-heavy, cymbal-driven, foot-stomping celebration of music, happiness, and love.
The opening title track explores what it is that makes music so damn addictive. “It modifies the inside of you / never mind what the outside will do” croons Elle E in the chorus as the instruments around her drive the song forward at breakneck speed. There are moments of relative calm here and there, a chance to catch one’s breath, but on the whole this song is a balls-to-the-walls salutation to good times.
“Happy Days” is a fuzzy, feel-good ode to those days where the sun is at just the right temperature and everything feels right in the world. Unlike “Stereo Child” this song has more of an ebb and flow to it, with softer sections that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Velvet Underground record, balancing out her trademark garage rock choruses.
Things get real heavy in “With You” as the instruments swap out rhythms like people swap out outfits when getting ready for a night out. Proving that she’s a romantic at heart, Elle E sings about that perfect kind of love where you never want to be separated as the music moves between steady, focused verses and head-bang worthy choruses.
“Stereo Child” is one of those EPs that will have you tapping your feet long after the last notes have been played and feeling like you can take on anything that life throws your way.
Do yourself a favour and listen to the EP below:
“Beware the Ides of March” wrote Shakespeare in a play about the ill-fated Julius Caesar. Fast-forward to this past Friday and the only thing we had to beware of was the inevitable hang-over we’d all be feeling the next day. With Androgenius, Apollo, and Julia Robert lighting up the stage, Mercury Live played host to a night of diversity and debauchery.
Opening act Androgenius had a quiet confidence about them as they treated the gathering crowd to their unique mix of old school RnB, funk, jazz, hip hop, and soul. A concoction they call Soul Hop. Front-man Al Clapper was on top form as he moved around the stage with the certainty of a man living completely in the moment. His presence was mirrored by his band-mates and together they had the kind of on-stage chemistry that musicians dream about and that should make their single release on the 22nd of March an absolute treat.
For Apollo, the gig held a special significance. It marked the end of one era, as it was their drummer Daniel Nambassi’s final gig behind the kit with them, and the beginning of a new era as they became Son of Leto, and no that’s not a reference to Jared or Shannon Leto, but rather to the Greek Goddess Leto, mother of Apollo. Their set on Friday can only be described as four individuals finding each other’s groove and setting the stage on fire. The combination of flamboyant guitarist, live-wire front-man, chilled-out keyboardist, and so-stoked-with-life drummer created a performance fitting of that moment in their history.
And then it was Julia Robert’s turn to do their thing and they did it the only way they know how: with jokes, laughter, and a kick-ass performance. Their musicianship was impeccable and their rapport with the crowd was wonderful throughout as they made everyone feel as comfortable as old friends at a braai by the pool. The foursome’s disco-funk was nothing short of infectious and guaranteed that all eyes were on them, and that Mercury became the only place anybody wanted to be as we partied our way into Saturday morning.
While times may have changed the best parts of the Ides of March have lived on and they were embraced with abandon on Friday night. It was a night of drinking and dancing and living in the revelry of the moment, a middle-finger to anything and everything that doesn’t bring us happiness.
The thing about David Gray is that we’ve probably seen the best of him already. His fourth album, ‘White Ladder,’ is the benchmark to which the rest of his catalogue will always be compared. So how does ‘Gold in a Brass Age’ stack up? If anything, the album is a microcosm for Gray’s career as a whole. ‘White Ladder’ aside, everything else he’s done has been hit or miss and ‘Gold in a Brass Age’ is no different.
The first few songs find Gray experimenting and playing with different arrangements as he tries to find originality in today’s ever-changing musical landscape. As with any musical experimentation there’s always the chance that it could go horribly wrong but there are a few songs that charm their way to success such as the title track, ‘Gold in a Brass Age.’ With a fantasy-filled, light-hearted accompaniment Gray tries to figure out what’s going on in his mind, his husky voice contrasting beautifully with the light, happy-go-lucky melody lines.
Then there’s ‘Furthering,’ perhaps the most experimental track on the album which goes more in the direction of dream-pop, but takes all conventional song-writing wisdom and throws it out the window. Rhythmically it’s all over the place as new verses start in the most unexpected places, but that’s by no means a bad thing. The abnormal rhythms create a very unique kind of tension that holds the listener’s attention throughout.
Apart from one or two other songs, there’s not much else to write home about. The second half of the album gives way to less imaginative, more repetitive tracks like the monotonous ‘It’s Late,’ and ‘If 8 Were 9’ which, in an attempt to be experimental, ends up sounding as forced as an introvert trying to have a good time at a night-club.
David Gray has to be applauded for being brave enough to try new things in his songs, a few of which pay off and lead to some lovely moments. But on the whole, ‘Gold in a Brass Age’ finds itself missing as many times as it hits.
You can stream the album here.
Friday night was a night of debauchery, head-banging, and mosh-pits as the die-hard rock ‘n’ roll community united to celebrate the launch of The Medicine Dolls’ latest offering in their ever-growing catalogue of EPs, ‘A Compulsion to Ruin.’ Naturally they weren’t the only the only band lighting up the stage as The Dodgy Odds, Elle E, and Julia Robert were on hand to turn the night into a party while DJ Swamp Girl kept the good times going between sets.
The sex-funk rock ‘n’ roll of The Dodgy Odds got the ever-growing crowd in the mood with the opening set of the night. As their epic bass-lines and impossible-to-ignore rhythms spread through the air so the energy levels lifted until everyone was dancing, no matter how many left feet they had. By the time Elle E took to the stage with her sultry garage-rock wizardry the fuse had been lit and her electric performance made it burn harder and faster, bringing it close to detonation before Julia Robert got to have their bit of fun.
Resplendent in white and perfect in synchronicity Julia Robert calmly and confidently navigated their way through their set without compromising on intensity as they held the crowd’s undivided attention from beginning to end and set the perfect platform for The Medicine Dolls to blow the roof off the place.
And that’s exactly what they did. As they blitzed their way through songs old and new, each as brilliantly executed as the next, the dance-floor became a sea of indiscernible bodies as people head-banged and moshed as though their lives depended on it. By the time they left the stage there wasn’t a single body free of sweat and smiles as everyone tried to catch their breath enough to order yet another drink from the bar.
Stream ‘A Compulsion To Ruin’ here.