" Stay in the box" is The highly anticipated compilation of spanking new music from one of Europe's largest Independent labels Matchbox Recordings. This fun packed album features a variety of new artists and bands in diffferent genres from Inide, pop, rock and punk to electro, acoustic, new wave, new rave and more. Dave Chislett the famous journalist and P.R guru gives his opinions below.
Their Hearts were full of Spring - A Question of trust
Uplifting, beautiful pop for the disillusioned and faint hearted. Its hard to really say any more than that. THWFOS are a great big, crazy happy band and A Question of trust is a great example of their craft. Renowned for unpredictable live shows, eclectic tastes and an advanced opposition to the mainstream culture of mediocrity, this band demands to be looked out for and listened to. So best you do!
Sexy Marvin – Follow
This is a three-piece band from Leon, Mexico. And their sound is, well its different. Follow is a rollicking, piano driven number with excellent baritone vocals and an awesome sing along harmonic chorus. It will make you think of Nick Cave at times, but also at Times New Model Army while sounding completely nothing like either of the tow. Enigmatic and fun, Sexy Marvin are a very cool band. Might be time to go and find some more of their music somewhere…
The Sound On The Station - Same Old Tart
This noisy three piece wandered in from Wigan with a brash mix-up of modern pop sounds and a breezy kind of energy that was hard to resist. It’s bouncy, fun and vert well done. Hard to believe that the lads have only been together since January of 2007, as this is a pretty polished sound they’ve put together. While of course one hopes they grow up to get better and better, I hope its not at the price of this exuberance which really makes this record stand out from and endless steaming pile of new wannbe indie bands. Nice one lads!
The Brigadier - Some sort of magic
Based in Brighton, England, welsh-born Matt Williams is The Brigadier. And from this seaside town at the tip of the island, he is infecting the world with his pop music. Self-recorded, self financed, self released, Matt has done it all his own way this time round. Some Sort of magic is a gentle, easy pop song, flighted by synths, delicate rhythms and a great, breathy vocal delivery. Its no wonder Alan McGee likes his stuff, its great!
Die Pretty – Summertime
Pure, crazy noise pop from this Camden, London based trio. It’s short, sharp and to the point. Thank you Husker Du, thank you the Jesus and Mary Chain: for these are the things that follow on from you. Despite the wall of noise guitar approach, there is great melody and a lightness that you may not expect. Expect to hear a lot more from these kids as they wade their way through the current indie flood.
Sunwheel Psychedelic - Jump In My Face
Describing Sunwheel Psychedelic is not the easiest thing in the world. This track is driven along with an insistent snare drum rhythm that, if it weren’t for the power of the vocals and the meanness of the driving bass under it, might just get on your nerves. But thanks to strong vocal reminiscent of the Cult, you just bop along with it regardless. I guess what that means is that it is one catchy damn song. Like it, like it a lot!
The Richard Ronk Band - Oppressive Government
American Richard Ronk is a rare animal: a drummer with plenty of song writing ideas, and one who has then taken these ideas and gone and made an album out of them. This song is a driving monster, with an insistent beat and repetitive guitar work that really gets the heartbeat up and your head thinking of partying. Nice stuff. Maybe we should all let more drummers write the songs?
The Orange Strips - Madras (Come Again)
Hailing for that well known font of great rock music, Croatia, The Orange Strips have crafted a unique and powerful sound as showcased on this track, Madras. The Hammond organ backdrop against which the guitar and bass fuelled song unfolds is a magical touch. Intriguing and slightly different vocal delivery also takes this song from being just another rock track to something that makes you stop and listen that bit more carefully.
Moldig - Horizon
From Canavese, Italy, Moldig are basically a rock band, but a two piece, boy and girl one. Enrico and Guiditta play the guitars and bass, with Giuditta providing the vocals. It’s a dark, hypnotic sound, but a simple and straightforward one that is pretty absorbing. More proof, as if we still needed it, that great rock music can come from pretty much anywhere. Don’t you just love the internet?
Paul Linn - Nothing can end
If you are a totally serious synth pop fan from the 80’s you might recognise Paul as the guy who write the music to Howard Jones’ huge hit “What Is Love?” as well as a few smaller solo hits over the years. With Nothing Can End, Paul shows that his touch for poignant synth pop has not faded with the years. This is more sombrely paced ditty than much of his early material, but it still has that emotional kick that had you slow dancing way back in the eighties.
Darren Claxton – Friends
Darren describes himself as a folk artist who writes and plays all of his own material. But the truth is that the sound he create crosses over out into more than just the folk music scene. Friends is a great example of this, with its old-world folky feel that is welded fast to an excellently accessible pop music sound. Darren’s been around a while, but it soudsn like he’s gotten a sound together now that’ll work for him.
Michael Christou - Black Dots
A piano-led ballade, Black dots showcases Michael’s voice well, and, as is the case with any really good ballade, allows the listener complete access o the lyrics. Michael started playing piano when he was four, and you can hear this instrumental excellence clearly in this track: its not over stated or showy, its just clearly really good. Black Dot sis just one of the songs that Michael has recorded for his first album, which you can find on his website:
Billy Skinner - Tomorrow's Sun
Billy was an army brat, who grew up on the move. None the less, you can hear where he spent most of his time: in the South of the States. Tomorrow’s Sun is the title track of his debut album. It is a lyrical rock track prominently featuring Billy’s clear vocals over a jangling southern guitar sound and solid rhythm section. For a late starter, Billy seems to be catching up just fine.
Felix Jones – Afterworld
A three piece rock band from Chicago Illinois, Felix Jones specialise in a happy go lucky rock sound that is underpinned by a poppy punk feel and some nice eclectic guitar overtures. Afterworld is as such a great showcase of their sound: catchy, light hearted and fun. It also demonstrates their best asset: finely crafted and well executed close vocal harmonies.
Ten Percenter - Blister Finger
This is an English based trio that is looking for that big moment so they can break out. With some very credible critical acclaim behind them already, it shouldn’t be too long before you hear more from Jay, Thom and G. Blister Finger is a slow, driving rock anthem finished off by some excellent vocals from Jay and consistently powerful backing from the rest fo the band. It’s pretty dark in there, but the moments of break out are crystal clean and clear. Would love to hear more from these guys.
Birdfishmen - All I Got
This alternative rock band comes from Finland. Formed in Helsinki in 2000, the four members have been working and hanging together for the last fifteen years. Their trademark smooth, powerful sound was developed out of a shared love of music and all things Finnish. All I got is almost a ballade, almost an anthem, and as a result is a highly emotive, powerful rack, that uplifts and saddens all at once. An interesting mix.
The Safehouse – Lists
From Bournemouth on the south coast of the UK, Safehouse are a three piece indie band. And although loosely speaking the indie tag fits, they have a unique sound that goes a bit further than the normal wham bam indie feel. Waves of cymbals and insistent rhythm guitar merge to form a wash of guitar that underpins the vocal lead. Lists is a slow paced, well orchestrated number that gives the listener a good feel for the range of the band and their intentions.
Janice Doll - London Please
Don’t be fooled by the name, Janice Doll are four Brazillian lads, who have come together to create some riotous noise. A wall of guitars meet soaring anthemic vocals in London Please to bring the ear a pretty damn fine song. The key lies in the cunning breakdowns following the rousing choruses. Nice work indeed. They are also not afraid to head off into some Rage Against The Machine territory with some great rapping over the middle eight. Very interesting… Watch out for their visit to the UK soon.
Tower Hill - Jobless (Remix)
Tower Hill is a recording duo from London, England, although the two concerned, Joe Public and Dr. Sloane seem to have met there by accident, drifting in from somewhere else. The sound of Tower Hill is equally eclectic, fusing an MC style vocal over a drum beat that oscillates from conventional rock 4/4 into drum and bass and beyond. It’s pretty dark and menacing, with a hint of humour: very interesting stuff that no doubt will mutate further and come back even better.
Nathan Hiltner - How does it feel ?
Nathan comes from Ohio in the USA and plays stripped down acoustic pop. How Does It Feel is a clean and clever song that sticks in the head with its whimsical feel and plain construction. Nathan himself is reluctant to describe his style as any one thing in particular, but its great acoustic singer-songwriter stuff and its main strength is the quality of the song writing itself, rather than the simple delivery.
Different Reasons - Crazy Fool
From the banks of the Thames in Oxfordshire, England, this three piece bring you an acoustic blend of sounds and styles in a dreamy, laid back style. Crazy Fool is not a typical love song, in that its disconnected, meandering feel hints at more that a craze of love. The brushes on the drums proposal the song forward to its conclusion, while an almost sardonic vocal line drifts across a bread of noodling acoustic guitar. Different, with hints of much more to come.
Hotel De Ville – Millenia
Hotel De Ville is the vehicle for singer and composer Rhett Brewer. This track, Millenia, is lifted from his latest album of the same name on which every track is recorded at 60bpm, the same speed as the human heart. Brewer has an enormous pedigree and several albums and soundtracks to his credit. This new materials is as ever, seductive, mysterious and haunting. With strong reference to Film Noir and 60’s Frech pop, its not he kind of thing you put on while going out, but rather what you’d listen to on the way home.
Toxic - Live On
Metal from Norway. You know what’s coming next. Yes, it’s the thundering rhythms, squealing guitars, dramatic vocals and image rich lyrics, all done very tidily and well. Classic style metal with all the frills. The guys are off to the States to have a look see, and I have no doubt they’ll go down a treat. Metal really is making quite a comeback, especially this glam kind of version, look out for it!
Tommy Frenzy - I love my car
With all this old school reflection going on, its cool to have someone who IS old school on the album. Tommy’s band Tuff Darts was around New York in the early CBGB days, and he has played with all the old voices of that era. I love My Car, from his other band is one of those classic sounding new tunes that sounds like it came from a different planet. Hard, yet whimsical. This is almost synth pop in parts, but its harder and stranger than that. Give it a listen, see if you can wrap your head around it.
Soldier - Live for today
Seriously old school rock this, which I hardly surprising when this five-piece from Coventry in the UK claims Led Zeppelin, Free and The Who as their major influences. It’s a pretty true rendition of the style as well, with the distinctive guitar work and BIG drum sound of the era. So if classic rock is your bag, you will have just found yourself some nice new stuff to listen to.
EB11 – She
This track kicks off with a hugely catchy guitar riff that echoes its way through the entire song. EB 11 backs this up with a powerful vocals and emotive lyrics. Of Venezuelan and American descent, EB 11 bends genres together to come up with his sound which is neither metal nor straight rock, but a smooth amalgam of both. His is an epic rock voice in the tradition of power rock over the last twenty years.
Blag’ard - Friends like you
The bio of Blag’ard is right (which is rare) these guys are very hard to pigeonhole. Ye sits a drums and guitar and vocals only set up (but not it doesn’t sound like the White Stripes) and yes they are Americans, but no, they don’t sound like much of the American Indie coming out right now. It’s simple, powerful, honest and clear. Friends Like You is a rollicking number with some cunning rhythm changes and an interesting structure. For such limited instrumentation to hold the wear for long enough to let the song end, you know they’ve got something. Nice, listen for more!
Wired Desire - No One Sleeps
If you though Heavy metal was dead and had a problem with that, well, you’re in luck! This Scottish 5-piece is just that: pure unadulterated metal!. They have been carving a name for themselves across the UK, playing live shows, biker rallies and raising mayhem wherever they go. This is old school metal, none of that Nu Metal angst here thank you! Kieran, Jam Eddy, Danny and Jeeves range in age from 19 to 21, so we can expect plenty more fireworks from them. Their myspace page is already receiving ludicrous amounts of traffic, so go and check it out:
Guitars don't Fly - The End
Scots lads Guitars Don’t Fly describe themselves as flying the flag fro old school rock. Thankfully this doesn’t mean that they sound like every other band that is heading into the musical past for inspiration. Instead, GDF present a refreshingly clear new voice with yes, some nods to the old greats. But its their own stuff that you can hear on The End. Gruff vocals, but belted not whispered, guitar bass and drums: good honest stuff. Won’t be long before these boys head South from their Loch and make an impression on the scene.
One Room Down - Totally Wasted
Another English crew wearing their influences proudly on their sleeves, One Room Down share a passion for metal in one form or another. Throw in a bit opf punk and you’ve got their recipe… Much like Therapy? a decade or so earlier, One room Down find some space in the unholy alliance of metal and punk to wreak their mayhem. Its really more metal than punk though, except for the punk vocal delivery. Not bad, but with a few tweaks here and there could really be excellent.
Ocean Bend - All I need
A four piece from Preston in the UK, Ocean Bend are a straight up and down rock band, no frills. And that is exactly what they pride themselves on. All I need is a driving rock number, complete with gratuitous guitar solo. Perfect pub rock stuff for those Friday nights out.
The Naysayers - Gone as I can get
Gentle country rock from the North west of the USA is what The Naysayers peddle. Not to be confused with the San Francisco hard rock group of the same name, these guys are melodic song writers of the kind of John Cayle, Tom petty school of thought. It’s Americana, through and through, and extraordinarily well done at that. Gone as I can get is a gentle song of regret, co-written by guitarist/vocalists Dennis Winslow and Rod Langdahl. Watch out, it will grow on you!
Norine Braun - Be Brave Do It Right
You will think of Sade the moment this track kicks off, but there is so much more to Norine Braun than that. From Vancouver, Canada, this singer-songwriter goes from the jazzy, to the funky and even out to the rocky. But Be Brave Do It Right shows of her soul roots, within the framework of a jazzy ambience that snags the ear from the first note, and holds it until the last has faded. Despite this disparity of styles in one song, it works well for a smooth and creamy result!
Aquavenus - Dance with me
The brain child of singer/bassist Sonia Venus, this is a Latin infused project with rhythm, soul and warmth. Dance With Me is one of those songs that kinda get you wanting to swing your tail even when you don’t really like the music… it just works. Which is not to say that its rubbish, Far from it. An interesting melange of styles and textures, it is a complex number. But the wining factor is Sonia’s voice, which will win you over.
Velvet Landscape - Catch the moon
Velvet Landscape showcases the combined Talents of Paul Birtwell (previously featured on Matchbox compilations) and Annette Reis Dunne. The result is a kind of dreamy jazzy meander that is very relaxing but oddly refreshing at the same time. Annette clean clear voice soar and wanders of a musical bed of crisp guitar and shuffling, brushed drums. Its that uop beat, happy sound that Mat Bianco overdid, but here with way more classic tones. Smooth, crisp, yummy!
Arising – Cold
This track is a slow driving traditional hard rock number… plenty of mammoth guitars and driving bass n drums. The snarly vocals complete the picture, and if you’re a hard rocker, then this one is totally right for you. Might be a tad on the slow side otherwise, but its break out moments make up for that!
Wormwood - How I feel
Rick Partridge IS Wormwood. A native of the New Orleans swamps, he now lives somewhere further from so much water. How I feel is an intense and introspective song, as you might expect from the title. With a voice that at times harks back to Mud Honey, this is an eclectic amalgam of grunge sensibilities and acoustic delivery that results in a unique flavour. Song writing for Rick is a vehicle to vent his frustrations and views of the world, so don’t expect too much sunshine and light, but certainly some interesting listening.
The Reverse - Song for Pauline
Born out of idle jamming among mates Nathan and Jason in Crouch End, London during 2002, the Reverse gradually grew into the established four piece that they currently are. Song For Pauline is a more raucous number for them, but showcases the versatility of their sound. It’s not indie, and its not retro, its just who they are, and its definitely worth a good listen.
Wellsville - When She Wakes Up
From New jersey, NYC, USA, Wellsville are different from many bands in respect that their lead instrument is the piano. This and the fact that they weld that instrument to some metal riffs, driving rhythms and the kind of very high male vocal that you just don’t get to hear every day. The result on this track is a kind of dreamy disassociated sound that teases and twists the ear through the complex construction. There are enough nods to eh past here without them being in too much danger of just being retro. Interesting stuff.
Imbiss - Shadows
Quietly dreamy and maybe a lit bit psychotic, the acoustic pop of Imbiss certainly is arresting. It’s the vision of Barnaby griffin, a 34-year-old Brit living in Spain and recording and writing all of his own material. Shadows is a dark and quiet song that pleads to be heard, and once engaged with, is hard to ignore. Great stuff for all, or because of its simplicity.