Hook & Anchor

Hook & Anchor from Astoria in the USA is the folk-rock quintet of Kati Claborn (Vocals / Guitar / Banjo / Ukulele), Gabrielle Macrae (Vocals / Violin), Ryan Dobrowski (Drums), Erik Clampitt (Vocals / Guitar / Pedal Steel) and Luke Ydstie (Bass / Vocals).

Hook & Anchor - Folk Rock from the USA

Hook & Anchor

Hook & Anchor is only about a year old as a band, but the players have lengthy experience as performing musicians as this is immediately evident on hitting play. Taking US country and folk whilst wrapping it up inside rock tempos gives Hook & Anchor a surprisingly upbeat sound. The contributions of the individuals are weaved into each other, giving the resulting tracks an enticing depth of exploration for the listener.

The vocal harmonies, rather then cloying sugar-sweetness are the highlight of the sounds as the instruments lay down plenty to keep the ear twitching. Whilst never slowing to funeral pace, Hook & Anchor is able to deliver slower ballads as effectively as their up-tempo toe tappers.

Whilst self-evidently producing music with a target audience in mind, there is enough grit about the sounds to entice audiences who would in the normal course of events run for the hills at the very mention of the genre.

In my view Hook & Anchor is well worth spending some time to enjoy, not least because they are talented creators. Although, like me, you may find a continual play of their début eponymous LP, which came out this month, more than enough of a good thing, that doesn’t mean to say that there are not some highlights worth adding to the ‘party-light’ playlist alongside digging into the full release from time to time.

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Hook & Anchor – Hook & Anchor is available on iTunes*

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The Living Statues

The Living Statues from Milwaukee in the USA is the rock ‘n’ roll trio of Tommy Shears (Guitar / Lead Vocals), Chris Morales (Drums / Vocals) and Alex Thornburg (Bass & Vocals).

The Living Statues - rock 'n' roll from the USA

The Living Statues

Crank up the volume and let the flourishes spin unfettered around the room as The Living Statues deliver their unpretentious and straight-up rock for tapping feet. There is a freedom and pure joie de vivre when a band plays this style of music as it should be and these three have hit the nail on the head. I can’t help but smile and dance as I listen – typing is a tad more problematic.

Wrapping up the tracks inside no-time at all The Living Statues provide the listener with finely constructed and played pieces of music sans frippery and what more could anyone ask? – Oh I know – another track please. With a début five track EP – Knockin’ – which came out earlier this year, my only criticism is – more music please.

I could write more, but I would sooner be dancing, as I am sure you would too, so here are two tracks….

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Knockin’ EP – EP – The Living Statues is available on iTunes*

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White Reaper

White Reaper is the new-wave trio of Tony Esposito (Guitar / Vocals), Nick Wilkerson (Drums) and Sam Wilkerson (Bass) from Louisville in the USA.

White Reaper - new wave from the USA

White Reaper

Stripping away all the unessential elements White Reaper deliver up-tempo garage rock with the seasoned ability of a well established out-fit and bearing in mind they only formed less than a year ago and have already released a must have six track eponymously named EP, expect to hear much more of the trio in the future.

The native rawness of the songs draws instant attraction and White Reaper grab hold of the audience and hurl them around the room in a frenzy of activity and like a trained boxer, the punches land with precision to the mid-riff in a flurry. The listener needs do nothing other than turn up the volume as the body will naturally kick in to join the sounds with flailing arms and pogo jumps.

The influences are clear to hear and White Reaper would have perfectly in tune as CBGBS, but that doesn’t make them a pale imitation of what has gone before, as they carve out their own name in the woodblock with well timed and played music of relevance to the second decade of the 21st Century.

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White Reaper – EP – White Reaper is available on iTunes*.

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Callwalker

Callwaker from Saint Paul in the USA is the synthwave trio of Jack Kalyuzhny (Drums), Tom Pliner (Synths / Vocals) and Jeremy Kuecker (Synths / Vocals).

Callwalker - synthwave from the USA

Callwalker


The evolving sounds of Callwalker float mesmerically around  the room in a hive of activity. The trio manage to avoid the cliché of the genre of the ever developing loop and the addition of the drum-kit allows the band to develop the tracks around a solid pivot.

Whilst certainly invoking recollections of Tubeway Army, this is not a copy as Callwalker deploy beats for the current generation.

Although having been around for well under a year and with limited material to hear, which almost inevitably means exploring a range of spaces. What I have heard has had me smiling happily as the band already has been able to establish a signature sound of the wobbling vocal synth combination that is resultant from the influences and I look forward to listening to their development as they solidify their ideas sonically.

There is no reason this sound won’t transfer to the stage too and I wish them well with their musical journey.

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Minus World

Minus World from Bloomington in the USA is the alt-indie trio of Greg Moore (Guitar / Vocals), Jared Coyle (Bass) and Greg Simpson (Drums / Vocals / Keys).

Minus World - alt-indie from the USA

Minus World

With sounds ranging from the psychedelic tipped to acid rock Minus World deliver streams of music which entertain the listener with smartly interspersed layers of sound. The trio play intricately constructed pieces which have a gritty underbelly which affords the audience material which focuses attention.The mix of influences do not confuse as there is a recognizable style of delivery.


Minus World have been around a few years and with line-up changes the music has developed into finer pieces since their first release back in 2012. Their latest EP the five track eat sleep die that I have had the opportunity to hear, which is set for release on the 22nd finds the trio in fine fettle.  The spread of tracks enables the band to explore new avenues, whilst their more melodic approach allows the compositions the space to develop without becoming florid.

For sharper eyed readers who recollect another band from Bloomington reviewed last year – The Brown Bottle Flu – with a bassist also called Jared, you are right it is the same Jared, but a completely different sound.

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