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Posts Tagged ‘Rock

The beautiful and beguiling Benjamin Button of pop rock

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The beautiful and beguiling Benjamin Button of pop rock is back.

Natalie Imbruglia returns with a new album ‘Male’ (released August 21st, 2015 via Sony) and a cover of the Daft Punk (featuring Julian Casablancas) classic, ‘Instant Crush’.

This will be Imbruglia’s fifth studio album, following the likes of ‘Left of the Middle’ (1997), ‘White Lilies Island’ (2001) and ‘Counting Down the Days’ (2005), which feature some of my favourite tracks of the late ’90s/early noughties including ‘Torn’, ‘Shiver’ and ‘That Day’.

‘Male’ is a 12 track album featuring covers of songs that were originally performed by men including, ‘Cannonball’ and ‘Friday I’m in Love’. After its release, Imbruglia is said to then be working on an album of original material.

It would be fair to say that I am in awe of the endeavours of this singer-songwriter/actress/businesswoman/model/human and animal rights activist. If I could be her for a day, I would simply walk down the street singing my songs and looking at myself in shop windows. It would probably look strange, but I would be pretty happy about it.

@natimbruglia /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


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April 21, 2015 at 12:38 pm

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James Bay releases debut album ‘Chaos and the Calm’

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The long awaited debut album from 2015 Brit Awards Critics’ Choice winner, James Bay, was released today on Republic Records (March 23rd, 2015).

‘Chaos and the Calm’ features 15 tracks which showcase Bay’s classic rock and blues predilections, but also pay a welcome homage to his surroundings whilst he was recording in the pilgrimage capital of country, Nashville.

‘Hold Back The River’, ‘Scars’, ‘Collide’ and ‘Move Together’ are my current favourites.  I am definitely firmly rooted at the soft rock/blues end of the musical taste spectrum, but I think this record has a bit of something for everyone in this ball park.

I’ve been looking forward to this album for months now and I for one am not disappointed. I hear the similarities between Bay’s sound and that of later date Kings of Leon, but I have to say that I much prefer Bay’s music and I would liken his tone and vocal edge much more to Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) or Ben Howard. Aged just 24, I think we can look forward to a long and well established career from this artist.

A very satisfying debut.


shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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March 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm

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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 🙂

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March 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm

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Classic purveyors of female-fronted stadium-rock @metric, release their empowering and electric fifth studio album ‘Synthetica’

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METRIC is Emily Haines, Jimmy Shaw, Joshua Winstead and Joules Scott Key; a Canadian indie-rock band whose work just keeps getting better and better. Formed in 1998, the platinum-selling four-piece are about to release their fifth studio album, ‘Synthetica’ and have made the album available to stream via their Soundcloud page. The album is officially released in the UK on June 25th, 2012.


Following the wonder that was 2009’s ‘Fantasies’ was never going to be an easy task, but Metric took to the challenge with their usual infinite ambition and obvious passion for the craft. In a letter posted on the band’s official website, lead singer Haines said that:

Synthetica is about staying home and wanting to crawl out of your skin from the lack of external stimulation…about forcing yourself to confront what you see in the mirror when you finally stand still long enough to catch a reflection…about being able to identify the original in a long line of reproductions. It’s about what is real vs what is artificial.

I have previously described Metric as being classic purveyors of stadium-rock; producing tracks that you imagine filling stadiums and reverberating across cities, tracks that draw emotion and feeling from a place that you didn’t even realise existed. For me, the band’s clear USP is the vocal talents of Haines. I’ve always considered a female lead singer to be much more empowering and visually exciting when it comes to indie-rock…a statement which I concur could be as much about infrequency/supply and demand as it could personal preference, when it comes to females of the genre. An infrequency which makes Haines all the more significant and treasured.


The band will shortly be embarking on a mini tour of the UK, taking in dates at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire (July 2nd, 2012), HMV Ritz Manchester (July 7th, 2012) and Oxford’s O2 Academy (July 8th, 2012).

‘Synthetica’ can be streamed at the following link: I highly recommend ‘Artificial Nocturne’, ‘Clone’ and ‘Breathing Underwater’, though I would challenge anyone to find a poor track amongst the eleven.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

June 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Conscious submission; And the communication I have got to make is, that they have great expectations

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“Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations.”

Today (February 7th, 2012) is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. Dickens ranks third in my personal list of all-time favourite writers, with Shakespeare given top billing and Oscar Wilde a close second. Third is not too shabby a ranking in my book; the principal reason for which would be the wondrous and enchanting, Great Expectations. The opening segment of David Lean’s 1946 adaptation of Dickens’s tale of love and loss against the classes and the odds, struck a chord with me from a young age; never judge on first impressions, a small, seemingly insignificant act could mean everything to someone else and perhaps the most important lesson – you can and will love someone at some stage in your life, despite the obstacles, despite your differences and certainly in spite of them. I considered Estella to be beautiful and intriguing, everything that Miss Havisham had trained and wished for her to be, but above all of that, she introduced me to the notion of conscious submission. Estella allowed herself to be emotionally controlled by Miss Havisham, she was certainly conditioned to these ends from a young age, but with the conscious knowledge of this conditioning came her real power. First appearing as a mere puppet for her adoptive guardian’s bitter rantings, Estella gradually assumes enough power to affect and drastically alter the life course of each of the main – and male – protagonists. For me, Estella is English Literature’s greatest feminine superhero.

But I digress, back to music.


Tribes are a four-piece indie-rock band from Camden, who released their debut album ‘Baby’ on January 16th, 2012.  They have been receiving a great deal of radio airplay in recent weeks, with Fearne Cotton citing their new album as one of her current favourites. ‘When My Day Comes’ is one of my favourite tracks from the record and I expect to be seeing a lot of this band around the festival circuit.


Dry the River release their debut album ‘Shallow Bed’ on March 5th, 2012 and the next single to be taken from the record is ‘The Chambers & The Valves.’  I really like this band and was disappointed not to see them rank higher on the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll. Their music videos are every bit as captivating as their vocal harmonies and the band successfully combine folk and post-punk in such a way as to render the individual genres somewhat lacking.


Active Child is the stage name of electronic and dream-pop artist, Pat Grossi. His new album ‘You Are All I See’ was released in November, 2011 and the next single is set to be ‘Diamond Heart.’ ‘Hanging On’ is one of my favourite tracks from the record and could be described as a cleansing ritual for the senses. There’s a reason they call it dream-pop and this is certainly the stuff of dreams.


Benjamin Francis Leftwich is a singer-songwriter from York, UK who released his debut album ‘Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm’ in July, 2011.  ‘Box of Stones’ is my favourite track from the record, but the next single is set to be ‘Pictures.’ Leftwich has one of the best voices that I’ve heard in the past year, alongside only James Vincent McMorrow. / / /

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

February 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Top tips for 2012, featuring First Aid Kit, L.P. and Various Cruelties @firstaidkitband @LPROCK @v_cruelties

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First Aid Kit is a Swedish folk duo, consisting of sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg. The siblings formed their band and began writing in 2007, aged just 17 and 14 and have since gone on to release their debut album ‘The Big Black & The Blue’ (2010) and to support Fleet Foxes in Europe. They have a great deal in common with the aforementioned folk septet, particularly with regard to their tight vocal harmonies and earthy songwriting style. The band are set to release their second album ‘The Lion’s Roar’, on January 23rd, 2012, from which I have selected one of my favourite tracks, ‘Emmylou.’

L.P. or Laura Pergolizzi to the over-familiar amongst us, is a rock singer and songwriter from New York. Since signing to Warner Music Group, she has amassed considerable songwriting credits, including tracks penned for the likes of Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and… ahem, Heidi Montag. Currently working on her debut release for the major label; I have selected the track ‘Into The Wild’ to give you a taste of what’s to come from this fiesty rock frontrunner.

Various Cruelties are a four-piece band based in London, who make ‘Motown-influenced indie’ music. The band centres around songwriter and frontman Liam O’Donnell who, inspired by his Northern Soul roots in Leeds, moved to London to write about his experiences to date and stumbled across some bandmates along the way. Fast forward two years and O’Donnell and co are set to release their debut album in the Spring of 2012. They have found themselves on several ‘must watch’ lists and have enjoyed high praise from several notable TV performances, including Jools Holland at the back end of last year. I think this band have a great deal to look forward to in 2012, particularly with their USP (O’Donnell) at the helm. My favourite track to date would be ‘If It Wasn’t For You’ which I have loaded below. The band are currently touring the UK.


shelleyhanveywriter 🙂 / / /

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January 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Pnau’s new album ‘Soft Universe’ is sure to set electro hearts and minds on fire @pnau

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Pnau (pronounced “pah-now”, to rhyme with meow) is an Australian synthpop duo, consisting of musicians Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes.  The duo have enjoyed considerable success in their native country: with award-winning debut album ‘Sambanova’, critically-acclaimed – and top of Elton John’s personal record collection – 2008 release ‘Pnau’ and one of my favourite electropop outfits; breakthrough side-project Empire of the Sun. Indeed, such is Elton’s love for the duo; after hearing ‘Pnau’, he swiftly arranged for them to become his new musical apprentices. A couple of years later and the euphoric delight that is fourth album, ‘Soft Universe’, has finally come to fruition.

I have selected my top 5 of the 10 tracks on offer, kicking off with ‘Epic Fail.


This is probably my favourite track from the album and the most in keeping with Empire of the Sun ‘s sound; sure to set electro hearts and minds on fire when the record is released in the UK in early 2012.

Next up, ‘Everybody.’


This track was the perfect choice to kick off ‘Soft Universe’; Littlemore is also a Cirque du Soleil musical director, a fact not all that surprising when you hear the rousing synth guitar riffs and souring melodies on this track.

And so, on to ‘The Truth.’


Widely regarded to be one of, if not the strongest track on the record, ‘The Truth’ was released in early 2011 as the first single in Australia. I’d describe the track as ‘Solar System rock’; it wouldn’t sound out of place as the backdrop to one of these very quirky, very dumbed down Science documentary series. I use ‘dumbed down’ in an entirely first-person narrative context – it may look pretty and it may be fronted by a quasi-cool man with an indie haircut…but I still don’t get it.

Next up, ‘Something Special.’


This track is just pure electronic bliss; if you like Hurts, you’ll love this. If the album does well in early 2012, we might be treated to some UK festival appearances; if so, this would be a great feel-good show opener.

And finally, ‘Waiting For You.’ This is a serene love song, complete with intoxicating vocals and a melody that can’t help but get in to your head and play on repeat.


shelleyhanveywriter 🙂 / /

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

December 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm

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