96Avenue from Monza in Italy is the alt-rock quintet of Marco Gerosa (Vocals), Marco Fumagalli (Bass), Davide Savarino (Keys), Massimo Barni (Drums) and Gianluca Domine (Guitar).

96Avenue - alt-rock from Italy


Svelte sounds elegantly flight their way around the room as 96Avenue deliver music which has a strong melodic guitar / synth content, which is under-pinned by a solid bass / guitar foundation over which a softening vocal glides effortlessly. I am minded of an Aquarius Remigis as the quintent combine delicacy with purpose.

After nearly two decades performing under the name Arcadia, a change in line-up and a new direction of travel saw the band more recently become 96Avenue and their long careers as performing and recording musicians is evident in their out-put, which is polished. There is a continual desire to explore the depths of their well of creativity and the début release under the name 96Avenue, which came out at the end of last month – the seven track Distance – finds the band with new ideas to reveal.

For those familiar with the old iteration, there is enough of the old to be recognizable without sounding the same and for those new to the out-fit they will find strong compositions which have a freshness to them.


Distance – 96 Avenue is available on iTunes*.

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alansmithee from Livingston in Scotland is the psychedelic collective of Alan Smithee,Ryan Macpherson (bass), Andrew Burns (Guitar / Vocals), Ruaridh Macpherson (Guitar / Vocals) and Joe White (Drums).

alansmithee - psychedelia from Scotland


Imperceptibly progressing, alansmithee cloak the room in a kaleidoscope of swatches as the lo-fi production adds a further layer to the psychotropic nuances of sound.

Enveloping the senses in gauze, the muffled and muted sounds feed into the brain, leaving the listener wreathed in cathodoluminescence which sparks the mind to wander through flights of inward discovery. The audience lays transfixed by the mélange of guitars and vocal which drifts into the ears, whilst the bass and percussion take over the cardiac rhythm.

alansmithee are able to invest much within the pieces of music, whilst also delivering wide spaces for exploration, much like a Dadaist image and it is the duality of the half-defined and fuzzed sounds that provides the out-put with its fascination.

With a few years behind them now alansmithee are gaining ever greater abilities to craft the compositions, which makes them an out-fit I look forward to hearing much more of in the future and pleasingly a new single is set for imminent release.

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Antonia Vai

Originally from Sweden now based in Budapest in Hungary Antonia Vai  is the alt-folk out-fit centred around Antonia with Felix Gröndahl (Guitar), Adam Gilinger (percussion) and Adam Zdosek (Bass) – plus players as makes sense.

Antonia Vai - photo by Brian H Neely

Antonia Vai – photo by Brian H Neely

Since first introducing Antonia Vai with a video back in October I have been meaning to come back to write a full review. Steeped in traditions of story-telling, the music resonates of folk, in to which a mix of various influences have been added The resulting out-put has the appeal of the traditional with some delightful twists and turns along the way.

It is the stripped down sounds which are filled with surprising melodies and tempos that gives Antonia Vai the ability to draw a wide audience who don’t need to have an affinity with folk to gain much from spending time in their company. The songs have a sense of urgency of the story to be told, with the iconic vocal, yet are given the space to develop naturally and the music to follow the eddies of the lyric, without ever becoming lost in itself.

A new LP – Stories After Bedtime is set for release this month.


The Pirate’s Waltz – Single – Antonia Vai Band is available on iTunes*.

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Diablo Furs

Diablo Furs from Nottingham is the new-wave duo of Rob and Sue.

Diablo Furs - new-wave from England

Diablo Furs

Still in formation – Diablo Furs is still auditioning for the full line-up, but like the excitable individual that I am, rather than waiting for the final sound, I just had to let you know about it.

Turn up the volume and let the sounds slap you across the face as subsumed garage rock scowls around the room. The enthusiasm and energy is palpable as Diablo Furs turn their thoughts back to late ’70s early ’80s with a pulsating percussion a fuzz of guitar and vocal which scatter showers of speed across the audience and you just know this is music for an all-nighter – dayer – and next night too, but unlike a drug fuelled binge, the come-down is less painful, though your ears will be thumping and your muscles aching.

Appositely, as I have commented many times this year about the new sound of Indie Rock in the UK, you will ascertain hints of synthetics in some of the renditions.

It is when I happenstance upon acts like Diablo Furs that life as a music reviewer spins into one of euphoria.

My thoughts – if you are a musician based anywhere near Nottingham and looking for a band – detune your guitar – flail your drum-kit – but do try and get aboard a band with dynamism and a sound that will never be heard on the plasticity of BBC Radio 1 – music as it should be.

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A series of Demo tracks have appeared on bandcamp.

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Dead Man’s Eyes

Dead Man’s Eyes from Köln in Germany is the psychedelic rock quintet of Peter Engel (Guitar / Vocals), Simon Reichelt (Guitar), Simon Mead (Bass / Vocals), Robin Hertner (Drums) and Nima Davari (Slide guitar / 12-string).

Dead Man's Eyes - Photo by Andre Kempff

Dead Man’s Eyes – Photo by Andre Kempff

While flecking the room with splashes of tie-dye Dead Man’s Eye do not slope off into a wandering osmosis, rather base the out-put on driving rock tones, which rattle around the room in triumphant procession. The spice to the sound is the intonations of psychedelia, which enables the band to add stretches and dimensions to the tracks, without ever becoming lost inside a maze of confusion.

The spread of stringed instruments, affording the music an Indian sub-continent Tradition inflection, allows Dead Man’s Eyes to take the listener of wide ranging paths of storytelling without ever straying too far off the path as the ever present percussion beats out a steadying course, whilst the vocal, which is imbued with echoes adds a heady toxicity to the mix.

I particularly enjoy how Dead Man’s Eyes is able to create sounds which proffer eddies for the ears to investigate, whilst maintaining a clear direction for the journey.

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Regular readers will recognise the name Nima Davari as a member of Super Hard Boys.

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