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Posts Tagged ‘Alternative

Top Tip of the Week: Cat Dowling

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Cat Dowling is a folk/alternative singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland, whose music has been described as inspirational, vulnerable and disarmingly sexy.

Dowling was the lead vocalist and main songwriter with Irish electro band Alphastates, before striking out on her own when the group disbanded in 2010. Dowling has an air of the Aimee Mann about her; her debut single ‘Come On’ (released April 19th, 2013) putting me in mind of the first time that I heard Mann’s equally dark and unapologetically provocative, ‘Pavlov’s Bell’ . Their vocals share a raw, scratchy quality which more than delivers the goods for an empassioned alt-rock performance. The video is also excellent, courtesy of Marc Corrigan (

I look forward to seeing some UK tour dates in 2013.



Dowling’s debut album ‘The Believer’ is set for release on May 3rd, 2013 (UK/Europe), with a date yet to be confirmed for the U.S. /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

March 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm

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The refreshing and soul-quenching sounds of Charlene Soraia, @CharleneSoraia

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Charlene Soraia has brought me many unexpected and pleasant moments of inner peace, over the past few weeks. Her refreshing and soul-quenching rendition of The Calling‘s ‘Wherever You Will Go’ is the accompanying track to the new Twinings Tea advertisement in the UK and anyone who knows me, knows that I love two things: tea and listening to music whilst drinking tea; combine the two and my inner cylinder head gasket is quite likely to explode.


Soraia is a 22-year old singer-songwriter and BRIT School graduate, hailing from South East London. She is signed to Indie label, Peacefrog Records and cites her influences as ’60s Psychedelia, Jazz and Prog-Rock, influences which can clearly be heard on her debut album ‘Moonchild.’ Such has been the furore caused by Soraia’s rising star, the release of  ‘Moonchild’ has been brought forward to November 21st, 2011. She will also be embarking on her first headline tour of the UK next February, 2012.


I find two tracks particularly striking on the album: ‘Lightyears’ and ‘When We Were Five.’ Both highlight Soraia’s exceptional vocal range and pitch, whilst also drawing the listener in to her lyrical dreams of what could be and what should have been. The introductory and closing segments to ‘When We Were Five’ are nothing short of breathtaking and it is here that we can see that little something extra that Soraia has to offer, which, to date, has elluded most of her commercially successful BRIT School peers; they’re just not as vocally diverse as she.


I predict big, bright and beautiful things for Charlene Soraia in 2012 and beyond and I state that, as I drink a cup of Twining’s finest.

‘Moonchild’ includes: When We Were Five /  Daffodils / Lightyears / Rowing / Meadow Child / ‘Twas Lovely / Bipolar / Postcards from iO / Bike / Midsummer Moon in June /Wishing (You) Well / Almost Stole A Book / Wherever You Will Go.

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

November 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Lisa Hannigan’s brand of hypnotic and fascinating Folk sets off on an intimate tour of the UK, ahead of second album ‘Passenger.’

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Lisa Hannigan releases tickets for an intimate UK tour, ahead of second album ‘Passenger.’

Lisa Hannigan brings her own brand of hypnotic and fascinating Folk, to selected venues across the UK this November. Backed by her ever brilliant and beaming band (Gavin Glass, Shane Fitzsimons etc), Hannigan will visit intimate and atmospheric spaces, including St Philip’s Church, Salford and St Paul’s, Birmingham. I do enjoy the gothic grandeur of a church or cathedral gig venue, especially if the reverberating sounds are of an acoustically soothing inclination.

Hannigan has just released the official video to ‘Knots’, another track from her much anticipated second album, ‘Passenger.’ The cute, Crayola-coloured quirky offering, features Hannigan; ukulele in hand, performing against a white backdrop, in a white dress…not for long. The video was directed by Myles O’Reilly , who has also produced several diary clips for Hannigan’s official website; documenting performances and rehearsals during the Irish folk-favourite’s album songwriting process. The video is sure to put a lighthearted and whimsical slant on the day of even the most grey of faces.

The tour takes in the following dates:

November 19th, 2011 – Birmingham, St Paul’s

November 20th, 2011 – Norwich, Arts Centre

November 21st, 2011 – York, The Duchess

November 23rd, 2011 – Glasgow, Oran Mor

November 25th, 2011 – Salford, St Philip’s Church

November 27th, 2011 – Bristol, St George’s

November 28th, 2011 – Brighton, Komedia

November 30th, 2011 – London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire

For tickets, please visit either or

‘Passenger’ is released on October 10th, 2011 in the UK and is out now in the US/Canada.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

September 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Friends of Mine Festival 2011 – review now up on eFestivals

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The first ever Friends of Mine Festival took place last weekend, at Capesthorne Hall in Macclesfield, Cheshire.

With a line-up of artists ranging from Badly Drawn Boy, The Cribs, The Charlatans, The Fall, Buzzcocks and Black Lips; the weekend promised to deliver a good mix of new music, fresh talent and a few vintage indie favourites.

I was on reviewing duties for eFestivals and you can read my full review here:

For photos, taken by my friend Zoe Lawson, please visit here:

Thank you,

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Alan Pownall, ‘True Love Stories’ – album review

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Having heard his name being reviewed and revered a great deal of late; I decided to check out the folk-pop/alternative offerings of Alan Pownall this week.

Pownall is a London-based singer-songwriter, currently signed to Mercury Records. His debut single ‘Chasing Time’ was first played by Fearne Cotton on Radio 1 in February of this year, and his debut album ‘True Love Stories’ was later released on 25th June 2010. Cotton claimed that the debut single made her cry on first listen; luckily for Pownall these were tears of joy rather than the alternative. I have included a link below to the BBC Introducing session with Alan, where he performs ‘Chasing Time’ and chats to the brilliant blubber herself in the studio.

Although I think it only fair to give an album a good few listens in full before drawing your conclusions; I do often tend to skip a couple of tracks along the way as my mind sifts my favourite tracks from the also-rans. With this album however, I found that no sifting was required as I found diverse yet complementary hooks in each track which kept my attention throughout. Stand out tracks for me would be: ‘Too Many Holes’, More or Less’, ‘Don’t You Know Me’, and ‘Clara’; but my favourite of the record would have to be ‘Colourful Day.’

The 24-year old’s soothing and swooning vocals are at their best on this track, which is accompanied by an equally sublime and summery music video. Pownall has been likened to Jack Johnson which is a comparison that I can see on a couple of tracks; however, I think he fits much better in to the burgeoning and rather exciting London indie-folk scene, with the likes of Noah and the Whale and Mumford and Sons. I would agree that Pownall’s sound is slightly more melancholy than Mumford’s, but this for me would never be a criticism; I’m a Cancer and we just love to drift away, riding the waves of emotion or basking on the shores of sentimentality.

Pownall has supported the likes of Adele and Marina and the Diamonds on recent tours and has a couple of gigs coming up over summer for our southern-dwelling friends; I look forward to catching him up north very soon. I predict big things for him in the coming years.

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

July 19, 2010 at 2:48 pm

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