Novakane

Novakane from Coventry in England is the alt-rock quartet of Adam Collins, Jordan Nevin, Ryan Leaper and Will Malpass.

Novakane - alt-rock from England

Novakane

Novakane is able to slip 90% cocoa chocolate with whisky to produce material which furiously stomps across the floor as the ploughing bass furrows the soil to which a triumphalism of guitar skips across discard, whist a harrying percussion ferrules the tracks ever forward as the vocal provides the conquering flag.

There is an after dinner warmth to an argumentative discourse over the preambles that Novakane induces with their layering wafts of sound that float across the room, as they make coherence of polarity, in compositions which finds the audience in concordant tempo.

Collins, Nevin, Coventry, you may ponder – have I heard this combination previously? You are right back in 2012 Urban Spirit were introduced. Novakane takes a darker template with more imagery as the quartet reflect on possibility as much as inevitability, in sounds which comment on the cut and thrust of 2015.

As I write, on the 12th, these are comments on five fresh tracks, merely hours old and given the starting point Novakane have far the potential to travel far, I merely caveat I also thought that of Urban Spirit. If this is the right combination of creators, expect to hear more. If not – expect me to be introducing Adam Collins and Jordan Nevine in another three years.

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Junior Bill & The Scallies

Junior Bill & The Scallies from Cardiff in Wales in the ska-hop quintet of Junior Bill (Vocals / Guitar), L-Hyo (Vocals), Joel Beswick (Keyboards), Rory Saunders (Bass) and John Whittles (Drums).

Junior Bill & The Scallies - Ska-Hop from Wales

Junior Bill & The Scallies

Junior Bill & The Scallies deliver bounding music which skips happily around the room. The keys are given wide run-out which lightens the tone of the sound, as the bass is given more of a background effect than may be usually anticipated. The joy of the off-beat is not lost however as the quintet add their own stamp on the style and where appropriate they can pulse the bass as well as anyone.

With a catalogue dating back to 2013 Junior Bill & The Scallies have become more confident over the years in their reflections, which has enabled them to take the music to even broader reference points. The resulting out-put ensuring the audience remains invested in each composition, to find out where they are stepping next, with tracks one moment heavily influenced by hip-hop, the next dub reggae along with other flecks of taste such as rap or samba-funk. Whichever way the material is cut, the ears remain enthralled.

Playing live performance predominately in Wales and the West of England, I hope they gain further traction across more of the UK as well as finding space to play to international audiences as this is music that works without borders. Until such time as they pass your doorstep, the releases, most recently Som Do Brasil, are well worth adding to the ‘reggae mood’ collection.

Inevitably, having mentioned how bass can be softened, I have chosen a track with an enhanced four string as the showcase track.

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Som Do Brasil – Junior Bill & the Scallies is available on iTunes.*

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Phobos

From Linz in Austria – Tom (Guitar / Vocal), Kevin (Bass) and Michi (Drums) got together to form the rock band Phobos.

Phobos - Foto Christian L. © 2014

Phobos – Foto Christian L. © 2014

Like an ill-tempered Rottweiler, Phobos send growls of sound around the room in a continual snarl. Rumbunctious bass lines gouge through the walls, whilst guitar holds a melodic grumpiness that tethers the trio together as the vocal swelters in its own gravely discourse. To me the highlight is the drum kit that lays to waste all before it in superbly delivered story-telling flowing from out-right forment, to flicking snake-tongue, giving the tracks their finesse, which raises the whole out-put of band from – here is another rock band, to here is Phobos and well worth spending time to get to know.

Formed back in 2011, from a concept conceived in 2009, for reasons I have been unable to fathom development has been slow, with the first EP Bad Seed (which is available on bandcamp) not arriving until 2014. One can only hope it doesn’t take until 2017 for a follow-up as they have much to add to the world of music. Currently seeking to raise frequency of live performance, this on its own should raise awareness locally, though the music equally has the potential to travel around the globe.

I look forward to Phobos becoming a fixture, rather than an occasionally occurring filament.

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The Franklys

The Franklys, a new-wave quartet based in London, England originating from Sweden, England and The USA is Zoë Biggs (Bass), Nicole Pinto (Drums), Fanny Broburg (Guitar) and Jen Ahlkvist (Vocals / Rhythm Guitar).

The Franklys - new-wave based in England

The Franklys – new-wave based in England

Turn up the speakers, stand up and move the furniture, then hit play – The Franklys will find you happily destroying everything in your pathway with an exuberant flailing body as percussion incessantly piles into the ears, with skipping beats whilst a mesmeric bass finds your head wildly bouncing in opposite directions to which a screaming multiplex of guitars sets the context as you reach for the vocal accompaniment.

The Franklys is able to harness the energy that sweats its way out of the speakers in manageable slices, where the raw dynamism is encapsulated in nuggets of shiny desire, without loosing the burning frustrations laying underneath, but not sprawling into a morass of incoherent noise.

As a regular reader, you will know, the moment you see ‘new-wave’ as a genre descriptor this is a recommendation as an immediate add to playlist and guess what? Do.

Having had the opportunity to take a listen to their back catalogue along with their forthcoming release, which comes out on the 27th – Bad News, I once again find myself positing, if you don’t want to pop The Franklys into your ‘must have’ on release, you are reading the wrong website.

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Birthmark

Birthmark, from Athens in Greece is the electro-rock quintet of Adamantine Arvanitis, Argyris Tsoukalas, Elias Goulas, Kontantinos Peyos and Jacob Siaparinas.

Birthmark - photo by astygraph

Birthmark – photo by astygraph

Plumes of slowly unfolding synthetics drift around the room, giving Birthmark an atmospheric flow of sound, which is given support and foundation by submerged instrumentation whilst the percussion is given stage to beat like a lighthouse beacon peering through smoke. To which a finely delivered vocal adds both tenderness and fragility providing the connections to the elements and the listener finds themselves drawn into the mystical sound the emerges from the speakers.

Whilst the music contains intricate layers, there is a sense of the essential core of the sound being readily available.

Having originally formed as Cuore Nero in 2001, two quick name changes followed in 2004 initially to Anima then Birthmark. In 2012 the band became a five piece with a shift in sound to electro-rock with the use of samples and synths. Over the past three years the sound has developed further to their now more ethereal textures which culminated in the release of the LP Subtract earlier this year.

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Subtract – Birthmark is available on iTunes.*

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