Natalie McCool

Natalie McCool from Liverpool in England is a singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

Natalie McCool - Photo © Gaz Jones 2014

Natalie McCool – Photo © Gaz Jones 2014

A sparkling apodictic voice greats the listener on hitting play and in many ways that would be enough, but Natalie McCool is able to deliver songs which are steeped in thematics and emotive context. Performing songs with like-minded musicians enables the full sound to communicate with the audience.

The voice seems to hover in the air before the vibrato descends in a triumphant swirl and the mind becomes transfixed in the distinguished underlying power. Natalie McCool is able to emote the sentiments of the songs in an evocative, but not schmaltzy manner, thereby retaining the credence of the material. Having learned her craft within a band she has developed the ability to ensure all parts of the track, sum more than the individual constituents.

The natural flow of the tracks and cohesion in delivery enables Natalie to provide music that transcends usual genre preferences by those who come in contact with her work.

A new single Wind Blows Harder is scheduled for release on the 16th June.


Wind Blows Harder – Single – Natalie McCool is available on iTunes*

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Art Block

Art Block is an alt-folk singer song writer from London in England.

Art Block - alt-folk from England

Art Block

One man and one acoustic guitar, with the occasional dash of additional instruments and percussion creates prophetic tracks in the guise of Art Block. It is the synergy between vocal, lyric and composition which marks out the sounds that consider the intangible. There is an emotionally charged evisceration within the music, that scores deep into the mind of the listener. As evidence that in the right hands a flow of notes and voice can connect those who are intrinsically disconnected Art Block is a fine example.

Demanding of the audiences’ attention, the music doesn’t just lay quietly in the bye-way, rather grabbing hold of fleeting passing ears and forcing focus. Given the sparse garb, that is a testament to the emotive context and no matter where the brain may have been headed, it becomes transfixed by the sounds.

A top-notch singer-songwriter who is able to emote vocally the context of the lyric, whilst creating a frame-work in which the overall delivery becomes one and the same, I wish Art Block every success.

Inevitably, we all have  contexts that work particularly well on an individual level and my choice is one that reminds me of the vocals of Siouxsie Sioux and is replete with additional backing, whilst this is atypical of the context of the music. Therefore a couple of tracks, rather than the usual one, follow…

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Cajsa Siik

Cajsa Siik based in Stockholm in Sweden is an alt-folk singer song-writer.

Cajsa Siik - alt-folk from Sweden

Cajsa Siik

Originating from the north of Sweden just outside Umeå, this early fishing village isolation affords the internal constructs of songs to hark of open seas and endless nights and days, giving the overall out-put of Cajsa Siik the sense that on hitting play the doors and windows should be open to allow the music to run it’s free course, untrammelled by confines.

This is material that needs the mind to be as free as the thoughts behind the music to be enjoyed to its fullest extent. Cajsa Siik is able to take the audience from dreamy landscapes, to the discernible ridges, seen only by this with an intimacy of white-outs, like a guide leading a trepidatious explorer. The longer you spend in company the more the music forms into an enrapturing gentle embrace from which you don’t ever want to escape.

Most certainly not something to take out on the morning commute, else you will find yourself alighting at a random stop to explore, but something to which even the most committed urban dweller can take with them to investigate the hidden alleyways and gardens of the local brickwork.

A new single is being released today Relentless Delight, which finds Cajsa Siik in a more driven mood than previous releases have flowed.


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Bobby Jo Valentine

Bobby Jo Valentine is a folk rock singer from Petaluma in the USA.

Bobby Jo Valentine - folk rock from the USA

Bobby Jo Valentine

There is something infectious to the music created by Bobby Jo Valentine, which despite containing every cliché that finds me normally running for the hills, I can’t help but listening track after track. It is the somewhat sardonic humour that flows through the sounds that gives the material credibility.

Pieces are well paced, neither dwelling in remorse, nor flitting along aimlessly. The compositions are straight and the delivery pretty well faultless, yet somehow you can’t help but believe there is a heart and soul to the songs. It is full credit to Bobby Jo Valentine that he is able to deliver music that whilst very easy on the ears simultaneously captivates them and it is no surprise that his fan-base extends across those with a vast swathe of style preferences.

It has taken me since May 2011 to get round to writing a review. Since the initial introduction an LP has been released, the thirteen track, Home, which takes the listener on an entertaining and engrossing forty five minute journey.

Regardless of your musical genre preference, in my view, you will find something that strikes if you allow the music to flow for a few minutes.


Home – Bobby Jo Valentine is available on iTunes*.

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Steffan Rundquist

Steffan Rundquist originally from Helsingborg in Sweden, now residing in Rotterdam (Holland) is an alternative indie singer songwriter.

Steffan Rundquist - alternative indie from Sweden

Steffan Rundquist

Taking references of new wave and reggae and transferring it to an acoustic setting enables Steffan to deliver an entertaining and refreshing style of music. Bringing experience as a band musician going back to the late ’70s he has brought that knowledge to a new setting and is able to deliver material of the streets with the knowledge of making the most of the material. An itinerant traveller, he is also able to transfer this into the songs which have a global appeal to them with the earthy realism which immediately captures the attention.

This has the sparseness of construct which requires absolute confidence in ability as there is no-one else to blame if it sounds askew and Steffan Rundquist rises to the challenge with a waving flag. It is when I listen to solo musicians that I often find the most expressive and honest material particularly when played acoustically, as it only works if the audience can find a connection with the performer.

What I particularly enjoy of songs I have heard, is the uplifting sounds, whilst the lyric expresses insecurities and injustices. I am led to believe the eponymous EP which came out earlier this year is not a one off concept as a follow-up EP is under way for release in April 2014.


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