Useless Cities

Tom (Vocals / Guitar), Conny (Vocals / Keys), Clare (Bass) and Sebs (Drums) from London in England form the alt-rock band Useless Cities.

Useless Cities - alt-rock from England

Useless Cities

The ranging use of electric-piano gives the music an immediate space of difference and also allows Useless Cities to add depths of sounds to the output, which when combined with the two voices – which sometimes sing alone, sometimes in harmony and at others displacing from each other, equally enables them to deliver music with wide dynamic range.




It is the grounding of the drums and bass which pulls it all back to earth and gives Useless Cities their impetus, from which the guitar is able to explore the reaches between the two and the audience is left with music, that while compositionally complex, floats easily into the brain entrapping the audience on the journeys that lay within their songs.

While it must always be tempting for Useless Cities to extend the pieces into lengthy dreamy landscapes, they have, in the three songs thus far released kept them all within the three to four minute mark. It will be interesting to see if they do permit themselves to release one or two pieces that do extend far longer, as there is enough in the song-writing to be able to make for an intriguing run-out. Nothing at all is lost in the shorter pieces and with a world of minuscule attention span it makes perfect sense not to try it too often.

Formed last year Useless Cities are beginning to generate a live performance schedule along with having put out the three track single Stay. They are a quartet worth spending time to get to know and I look forward to hearing more of their music in the not too distant future.

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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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Gold Wolf

Gold Wolf from London in England is the indie-rock trio of Tom (Guitar / Vocals), Dan ( Bass / Vocals) and Ross (Drums).

Gold Wolf- rock from England

Gold Wolf

The refreshing up-beat mood of Gold Wolf is infectious and as the sounds filter across the room, so things appear brighter. Pulling together a disparity of influences, it will depend on when you were first listening to music as to which decade you will feel this reminds you of, but whatever your own answer there is something infectious about it that just wants you to listen to a little bit more.


While nestling with one foot in easy listening rock the trio also have a foot in the gravel and it is the scuffing stones that mark out the music for extended consideration. Gold Wolf have undergone a transition in their short life – The start of this year began with a name change from Tom Turbine – and a shift to a more rock focussed style, the make-over in emphasis has worked well for the trio.

The new direction has equally seen them with enhanced confidence, hence listener engagement and with a European tour starting in October along with a second single – Joanne Joanne. Gold Wolf is a band who you can expect to hear much more of in short order.

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Fire Island Pines

Fires Island Pines an alt-indie collective from Wadebridge in England is Anton, Andy, Ben, Seamus, Simon and Tom.

Fire Island Pines alt-indie from England

Fire Island Pines

Fire Island Pines bring together jangly pop with trumpets and sympathy to deliver melodic twists and turns of tempered sounds that mercurially flow into the ears. The sextet build their music into generous layers which have a presence that is demanding of attention as the polarities of  the instruments and influences ease across each other in immersive combinations.


The bitter-sweet final product is finely balanced, with the out-put having a hazed delivery, which adds to the sensibilities of the music that Fire Island Pines creates. Despite the numbers of players, there is nothing over reached in the sounds, which find the players ably folding one into the other creating a cohesive sound that has a generous layers for the listener to consider.

As I comment, from time to time, I do always promise to get back to every introduction, though not always in a timely manner and it was back in June 2011 that I received the introduction. Somehow things do marry up as it was only towards the end of last month that Fire Island Pines released their début ten track LP – True Grit (which is available on bandcamp).

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East River

East River is the trio of Drewbaby, Patch and Tom who make up the Sydney, Australia garage rock band.

East River - Garage Rock from Australia

East River

Like a refreshing beer East River, make the whole day seem better with their sci-fi psychedelia take on music which bustles around the room like sparklers. Brief songs, many lasting less than two minutes are stacked with poppers of delight and the listener is left slightly exhausted, but incredibly happy. The mind is left with recollections of the ’60s / 70’s Thunderbird puppets with their skittering movements and impassive expressions.


Whilst tracks are packed with exploding colours it isn’t a complicated formula and for its very basic construction of organ, vocal drums  and guitars jostled into a bag and seemingly drawn at random, the effect is one of kaleidoscopic bursts of energy which are of intense activity.

Were the band any more retro in feel you would expect them to be a black and white television re-run. However East River have been able to use the telescope of time to encapsulate the best of the influences and repackage them in a sharp and relevant manner. Providing the ears with a feast of intoxicating sounds that contain enough material within them to easily have been slowed down and run for five minutes, but it is the very brevity of the tracks which makes them such a treat to the brain.

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