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Son Primo - My Ruin - Album Review

Son Primo – My Ruin – album review

Son Primo - My Ruin - Album ReviewSon Primo

My Ruin (Self Released)


Available now

Rating 8/10

I first came across Manchester alt-rock outfit Son Primo on last years excellent Charity album Bostin’ Days, a double album of covers of Levellers songs released to raise cash for the Devon Air Ambulance. Their cover of the Levellers “3 Friends” was excellent so I was looking forward to checking out the self released album My Ruin.

I guess the first thing to say about any self-release is a comment on the quality of the recording and Son Primo certainly score here because My Ruin is beautifully mastered and engineered and the cover art is superbly photographed.

Album opener “Stoner Daydreams” gives an instant feel of what you will experience for the following 45 minutes and nine-tracks.  The track is a grower and features soaring guitar riffs over Robby Edgar’s slightly gruff vocal.  The addition of keyboards halfway through the track adds both depth and texture to the track.  I felt that this track reminded me very much of the Kaiser Chiefs, it’s great stuff.

Son Primo - My Ruin - Album Review

Title track “My Ruin” stays in the same indie-rock vibe but this one reminded me of Snow Patrol.  It is a song of missed opportunities and regret, a reminder to look after your relationships whilst you can.  “Spun Out” gives us a change of pace as the baseline dominates the early part of the song before those guitar riffs kick in and take over.

As we hit the middle of the album two mighty songs kick in.  Both weighing in at over seven minutes “Tinted Eyes” and “Icarus Looking Skywards” are very much the backbone of the piece.  The former opens with a deep bass groove that builds slowly to the introduction of guitars as the pace of the track accelerates.  The track has the feel of a power ballad but the lyrics are far from a love ballad.  Instead it speaks of the futility of looking to others for validation and there is more than a hint of bitterness across the piece.

The latter has a more fanciful and experimental feel to it as the keyboards and strings give the track a more free and flighty vibe.  It feels contemplative and perhaps slightly introspective and it is totally absorbing, the sort of track where you lock into it and suddenly, despite being over seven minutes long, it is over.  It’s the kind of track that leaves you exploring time and again as you search for the hidden meaning that it hints at throughout.  It truly is a beautiful track, it is worth buying the album for this track alone.

“The One” almost delivers a shock after the previous track as we move to a much more aggressive vibe. It is one of the heavier tracks on the album and certainly adds a new dimension.  A dimension that is continued through the next track.

Album closer “Wasting Time” is perhaps the most out and out rock track on the piece, the slightly distorted guitar and vocal melds with syncopated drum rhythm which harks back to the golden days of rock music.

Overall My Ruin is a very good album, one which rewards repeated listens and one I anticipate will be on my playlist for quite some time to come.

Son Primo are on the Internet here: They are also on Facebook.


Adele Album '25' Smashing Records: Some One Please Tell Me Why

Adele Album ’25’ Smashing Records: Some One Please Tell Me Why?

British singer Adele released he latest album “25” two weeks ago and immediately kicked Teen pop idols One Direction and Justin Bieber off the No 1 spot in the UK and U.S. respectively.

Adele’s album proved to be the UK’s biggest ever first week seller and Billboard reported that Adele had managed to flog almost 2.5 million copies of her latest dirge on its first day on sale in the U.S.  Over 900,ooo copies were bought on iTunes alone on the day of release.

Metro reports that “25” saw Adele sell over one million copies in the UK in under 10 days making “25” the top selling album in the UK this year and the fastest to reach one million sales.

In the U.S. Adele has smashed all previous records by becoming the fastest selling album ever.  The record was previously held by N*SYNC’s 2000 effort No Strings Attached, which sold 2,416,000 albums in a week.  Adele smashed that record by almost one million after selling 3.38 million copies in the States in seven days.

Adele’s comeback single Hello was the biggest debut of any other video this year, and racked up 50 million views in the first 48 hours it was online, beating Taylor Swift’s vid for Bad Blood.

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I am the first to admit that music is a subjective thing.  As a fan of punk, metal, hardcore and metalcore I guess some of the music I like would send some people running for cover.  I also have to admit that Adele’s success with “25” is incredibly impressive, you simply can’t argue with the figures.

What I can and will argue about is why on earth people are buying this music.  Admittedly Adele can sing, I would even go so far as to say she has a great voice but, and it’s a HUGE but, every single song sounds the same.  Adele’s music i’m afraid is a dirge.  Adele started out on 19 weeping about love lost and here we are all these years later listening to the same old story.

It’s dull, it’s predictable, it’s formulaic.  I struggle to listen to more than one Adele song before it all turns into background music.  It is the same bland and unimaginative path that is trodden by Ed Sheeran, George Ezra, Sam Smith and a host of other huge selling but bland pop artists.

Whatever  happened to music being the opiate of the masses?  Perhaps Adele and the other artists I mention reflect the current generation of the nation’s youth.  That part of the nation’s youth that sits in their bedroom glued to a computer screen that is.

There is a hell of a lot wrong with our world today and unlike yesteryear popular music does not reflect discontent or disillusion.  Instead artists like Adele pull a plastic veneer over the world’s problems.  Not for them any hint of stirring up the rebellious masses.  Perhaps Adele, Sheeran and company are part of the problem simply because they have nothing relevant to say.

Have you listened to Adele’s “25”?  What did you think?  Is Adele boring safe and bland or is she a genius?  Let us know what you think.

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BBC1 at 8:30pm

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New Years Day

New Years Day New Album ‘Malevolence’ Available To Stream

Post Hardcore band New Years Day were one of my picks of this years Download Festival.  I was thrilled by their performance and have been eagerly looking forward to their new album ‘Malevolence’ which was released through Another Century on 3rd October.

Malevolence was produced by Erik Ron (The Word Alive, Motionless In White) and is the band’s first release on Another Century Records.

New Years Day took the unusual step of streaming the album in it’s entirety on YouTube before it was released.

Check it out here.

Ash Costello (vocals) states, “Malevolence is the most personal album we have ever written to date. More than ever you can really feel the blood and tears in these lyrics. It wasn’t an easy process because it was so emotional but what came from it is honest and real. It’s therapeutic and angry but still shows vulnerability.

“Our producer Erik Ron will always start an album by asking me ‘what are you feeling right now?’ to which I replied ‘pissed off.’ I think anyone that has suffered through loss, betrayal, insecurity and abandonment will absolutely relate to it. For me, it felt so good to get everything I had been bottling up out and hopefully it helps others in the process.”

2015 has been a monstrously significant year for the band, it saw New Years Day dominate this year’s Vans Warped Tour, as well as frontwoman Ash Costello hosting the Alternative Press Music Awards Red Carpet and taking an active role as a spokesperson for PETA (see below).

PETA “Pet Adoption” Campaign 


NEW YEARS DAY – “Kill or Be Killed” Official Music Video


New Years Day will be back in the UK for a run of gigs supporting Motionless in White & Chelsea Grin in late November/early December. See below for a list of dates.

NEW YEARS DAY live:  with Motionless In White & Chelsea Grin

23 NOV Belfast, IRE – Mandela Hall

24 NOV Dublin, IRE – Academy

26 NOV Manchester, UK – Club Academy

27 NOV Leeds, UK – University Union

28 NOV Glasgow, UK – Garage

29 NOV Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
01 DEC Birmingham, UK – Asylum

02 DEC Bristol, UK – The Fleece

03 DEC Southampton, UK – 1865

04 DEC London, UK – Underworld **SOLD OUT**

06 DEC London, UK – Underworld **SOLD OUT**

New Years Day are on Facebook and they Tweet as @NYDrock

Jeff Michaels Townie Paradise

Jeff Michaels – Townie Paradise – album review

Jeff Michaels Townie ParadiseI was introduced to Jeff Michaels by his U.S. based PR company.  I confess that I had not come across his music before but hey we all like to hear new things so I popped over to Jeff’s website to check out his bio and learn a little about him before settling down to check out his new album.

It seems that even if you aren’t familiar with Jeff’s name, there is a good chance you have heard his music as his songs have been licensed to over a dozen television shows. Jeff was also a member of pop band Luce, whose music appeared on a couple of major movie soundtracks.

On the first listen I was reminded very much of Billy Joel and maybe Paul Simon.  Michaels songs have that sort of american piano soft-rock feel that Joel was so famous for and with frequent references to “high-school” romance and U.S. pop culture i initially thought that Townie Paradise was going to prove to be a sort of schmooze “all-american, sweet as cherry pie” sort of a record.  You know what I mean, inoffensive, pleasant background music but hardly thought provoking or challenging.

It took a couple of listens before I caught on that Jeff Michaels does not fall into that category at all.  The soft-rock patina hides an altogether deeper story.  One that is not afraid to lift the rocks and stare into the underbelly of hatred, prejudice and discrimination that seems to be so prevalent in today’s society.  His songs are also self deprecating, humorous and at times political.  In fact the humour is so good that at times I found myself getting some very odd looks as I giggled to myself whilst out walking the dogs.

Townie Girls is an amusing social commentary but it is when you get to “Same F’ing Sun” that you really begin to understand where Michaels is coming from.  The song talks about the social exclusion experienced by minority groups, even going so far as to drawing comparisons between social exclusion and the holocaust.

Top of the world” draws some delicious imagery when it has you “kicking the monsters back under the bed.”  There is of course more than passing nod to love’s found and lost, it may seem a little sickly sweet at times but lines like “Thats the kind of love that you don’t F**k with” amused me no end.

After a couple of listens I found myself falling in love with this album.  Once I understood the honour in the songs I began to really enjoy it and to listen more intently.  Perhaps bizarrely I finished up imagining Michaels as a sort of cross between Billy Joel and Weird Al Yankovic, that image alone makes it worth the effort of getting to know Jeff Michaels and Townie Paradise.

Townie Paradise is self released June 23.  You can order the album here and check out a free download too.

Jeff Michaels website is here, he is on Facebook and he Tweets as @jmichaelsrocks

If you are so inclined you could support Jeff’s Pledge campaign for this album

I Am Kloot – Hold Back The Night – album review

I am Kloot – Hold Back The Night – (Walk Tall Recordings)  Iamkloot


Released 13 April 2015

Sound of Summer’s Alan Ewart reviews the new live release by Manchester Rockers I Am Kloot.  A newcomer to the band, Alan found that this is an album with something for everyone.

The biggest joy of music is its capacity to excite, soothe, delight and surprise us.  No matter how many gigs or festivals you attend, no matter how large your music collection and no matter how much music you listen to there is always something that comes along, sneaks up on you and blows you away.

When you listen to music critically, for the purpose of reviewing, it is always a real joy to uncover something that has you diving to dig into a bands back catalogue to discover their roots and progression.  So it was when I clamped on my headphones to immerse myself in I Am Kloot’s live album, “Hold Back The Night.

The digital album consists of no less than 26 tracks all recorded on the bands 2013 winter tour.  The double vinyl version has 20 tracks with the additional tracks available for download.

I am no expert on I Am Kloot but I was immediately grabbed by the drama poetry and storytelling in the lyrics.  The songs are gritty, witty and poetic in many ways typical of the Madchester bands that spawned and obviously heavily influences the band.  That said there is none of the arrogance of Oasis nor the intensity of the Stone Roses, in fact I heard rather more of an influence from just along the M62, in particular I was reminded of Echo and The Bunnymen in many of their songs.

Hold Back The Night” is neither a retrospective nor a greatest hits collection but unsurprisingly it does draw heavily on the bands two most recent studio albums, 2010’s mercury prize nominated “Sky At Night” and 2013 top 10 recording “Let It All In.”  

I Still Do” finds John Bramwell displaying his skill as a wordsmith as he reflects on a childhood staring at the sea and sky, and seeing ghosts and “Northern Skies” gives further evidence if it were needed of Bramwell’s ability to draw a rich picture with his lyrics.

Let Them All In“, “Bullets” and the title track all come across superbly on this live recording, they are  a great showcase for Bramwell’s gritty vocals and lyrics.  There is no showboating on the album, no crowd singing no histrionics.  Instead you get a superb collection of beautifully written songs, delivered with passion and belief.  The mixing and engineering gives the album the feel of having been recorded during one performance and it affords the band an opportunity to demonstrate their skill and familiarity with each other and their material.

As a newcomer to I Am Kloot’s music I think this live album has something for everyone.  The long time fan will delight in superbly delivered live versions of their favourite tracks.  The casual fan will enjoy the tracks they know and be introduced to new material.  For the newcomer I think this is a much better introduction to the essence of a great band than any ‘greatest hits’ collection could ever offer.

If, like me, you think the real test of a band is their live performances then this album offers a fantastic opportunity to explore a superb band.

I Am Kloot can be found online here: IAmKloot.com. They’re also on Facebook and tweet as @IAmKloot.

Words by Alan Ewart: you can follow Alan on Twitter at @soundofmysummer or on the internet at soundofsummer.org and you can read more posts by Alan at his Louder Than War author’s archive.

Ronan Conroy – The Game – album review

Ronan Conroy is a New York based singer songwriter. His previous work was with dark folk band ‘The Listeners’ and Goth Inspired ‘Oh Halo’ for whom Ronan played guitar and shared songwriting duties.

In 2013 Ronan embarked on a “never-ending album” project, recording over 30 songs in the first year, working with the incredibly talented producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist Charles Nieland (guitarist with Her Vanished Grace), with a host of guest musicians including Justin Wierbonski (Children of Mu, Quiet Sons, Demonic Sweaters) and Satoshi Inoue (Quiet Sons, Cerenkov).

I had the pleasure of reviewing “Discontent” his first solo offering, late last year and I am delighted to say that the second album was released at the end of February.  Amazingly the next instalment is already in production.

Where “Discontent” was brooding, introspective and largely acoustic “The Game” is a ‘bigger’ album.  It is bigger in sound and bigger in outlook.  The stripped back acoustic approach is largely replaced by a full band sound and the songs are much more outward looking.  What the albums share though is that they dig deeply into the dark side of life.  No subject is out of bounds, drink, drugs, prostitution and the seedy side of big city life all get a run out.

Ronan Conroy honed his songwriting skills studying Dylan, and Nick Cave and those influences are clear once again.  Like those masters Conroy is extremely adept at building contradictions, layers and  dilemmas into his songs.  His songs are often metaphorical and allegorical, something that comes over really well in “The Princess, the Coke Whore and Magdalena.”  The song reacquaints is with Ramon and Magdalena from Dylan’s “Romance in Durango” as Magdalena lies with her dead lover.

We are introduced to the three sides of her personality, the princess on her wedding day, the coke whore turning tricks in a back alley for a line of coke and the wife, daughter and mother that is Magdalena.  It shows us that people have many faces and each of sees a different face at different times.

The Game reflects on life’s winners and losers, one light and dark, joy and despair, life and death and the stories that underpin each of those facets are told across the piece.  In “Hello Kitty” you get light bound in darkness.  The melody is bright and uplifting and holds out a message of hope “what we have will live for ever so you say” then Conroy cruelly smashes that hope as he observes “but I won’t live forever, I’m dying every day”.

“Give me what I need” conjures up a vision of the man who has everything and yet has nothing. “I’ve got everything I need, but I ain’t got what I need.”  You see the rich man surrounded by material wealth but unfulfilled because something is missing. “We’ve all night” builds on the theme of a lack of fulfilment claiming that “its all right now, I’m all cried out”.

“One way or another” sees the protagonist trapped in the cages of an unfulfilling job and an unfulfilling home life, trapped in cages, knowing that so much more is possible but not having the courage to chase his dreams.

“Right or Wrong” sees the pace lifted another notch, driving electric guitars set the tone and Conroy hints that you know what is right, it is there inside of you, things are not black and white but the answer is there if you choose to open your eyes and see it.  The higher energy is maintained through the rest of the album but the contrasts remain “we are going nowhere fast, but we are going there much faster, beyond the point of pointlessness,” deliciously ironic observations in “It Comes Around.”

Once again this offering from Ronan Conroy holds together beautifully as a piece its wry observations on life are the theme on which everything hangs.  It is more upbeat and perhaps more instantly accessible than “Discontent” but it still feels part of an overall story.  It is hugely enjoyable, interesting and rewarding and it still carries secrets that are given up only after a little effort on the part of the listener.  “The Game” is another wonderful piece of work by Ronan Conroy and it is by some distance the best album I have heard so far this year.

Ronan Conroy | website | facebook |  bandcamp |

soft close ups

The Soft Close-ups – City Air – Album Review

The Soft Close-Ups are a London based duo who are new to me and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I wandered off to walk the dogs with my headphones plugged in as always.  My dog walking neighbours must think I am a real miserable sod as I wander along plugged in and absorbed in whatever I happen to be listening to at the time.

The degree of absorption increases when I am listening to something new and City Air is an easy album to become absorbed in.  If like me you are someone who needs to put a label on things then I would probably place this somewhere on the folk tinged synth-pop spectrum.

It is a very easy album to listen to and clocking in at 30 minutes long it is one of those albums where you press the start button and suddenly find that you have been taken through the 10 tracks in a bit of a rush and you are pressing play again. It captures your attention sucking you in and then all too soon it is over.  I believe someone famous once said “always leave you audience wanting more,” but I might have just made that up.

David Shah has one of those lovely smooth gentle voices with a great range and I sometimes thought I could have been listening to Brian Ferry, at other times I was reminded of David Byrne.  The songs are observational and witty, mellow and at times introspective, the sort of thing that may be best played late at night with the lights down low when you are trying to impress a potential lover. It has that romantic feel, engendered primarily by Shah’s vocal.

That isn’t to say that the lyrics are romantic, at times they are pretty gloomy and ironic, for example in “Your Likely Years” Shah has the twenty-something contemplating their mortality because they only have 50 summers more!  A gloomy prospect delivered in a cheerful manner in the sort of way that say’s “Make the most of living because you are dead for a very long time”.

The title track draws ironic comparisons by reflecting on the British obsession to move out of the city into the countryside and the realisation that there is nothing there but fresh air.  It perhaps juxtaposes a love for city life with a desire for a more utopian lifestyle that may not exist.

Awkward Scenes” feels dark, almost menacing as it reflects on days that drag on and get harder.  It feels almost like a voyueristic glimpse into a troubled relationship.

I found City Air to be smooth, mellow, refreshing and absorbing. It is both refreshing and enjoyable.  Check it out.


Paul Weller new album

Paul Weller Announces A New Album “Saturn’s Pattern” for 2015

In years gone by the announcement of a new album by ‘Modfather’ Paul Weller would have had me looking forward in eager anticipation to its release.  As I read the Guardian’s announcement that Weller was about to release ‘Saturn’s Pattern’ I found myself thinking “Meh, so what”.

I have followed Weller’s career since his day’s with The Jam and still rate ‘All Mod Cons‘ as one of the best albums ever.  The problem for me began back in 2010.  I had been to see Weller at the Brixton academy and he put on one of the best gigs I had seen for years.  A few short months later Weller released ‘Wake Up The Nation’ an absolutely dreadful foray into electonica.  A friend and I went to see the tour at Bournemouth international centre and sadly it was one of the worst shows I have ever seen.  Weller ignored the audience and played ‘Wake Up The Nation’ in its entirety.  He also totally trashed some classic tunes by playing the in an electronica fashion.  My friend and I left the gig early preferring the elevator music in the local pub.  Some Weller fans said afterwards that the show got worse.  2012 saw Weller release ‘Sonik Kicks’ another pretty awful foray into psychedelic electronic rock.

Talking to Uncut Magazine Weller has said that ‘Saturn’s Pattern’ which is due for release in the spring and consists of nine tracks, was a “defiantly 21st Century” record.

Weller continued, “I think it’s one of the best things I’ve done. And it’s been a pleasure doing it. There’s been no headaches, I can’t compare it to any of my other albums. I think it’s different not just for me, but different from what else is around. It’s been pretty quick, really. We did a bit of work before the summer, then I took a break because I was out on the road. We started back in October. It’s taken us a couple of months, maybe.”

Given Weller’s recent history I dread to think what that means.  I can’t say that I am bursting to find out.  I suspect this will be an album I will give a listen on Spotify but I don’t think I will queueing outside the record store  to buy it on the day of release.

10,000 Maniacs

10,000 Maniacs To Release An Album Of British Folk Songs

It has been announced that 10,000 Maniacs are going in a different direction for their ninth studio album and their first with Cleopatra Records.

Twice Told Tales, set for an April release, is a full-length collection of traditional British Isles folk songs that will be given the 10,000 Maniacs touch.   In another interesting departure for the band the album is being crowd funded

This new project digs deep into the historical roots of not just the Maniacs’ own sound but Western music generally, and finds the band at the very top of their musical, melodic game.

The current members of 10,000 Maniacs include founding group members Dennis Drew (keyboards), Steve Gustafson (bass) and John Lombardo (guitar), Jerry Augustyniak (drums) who joined during the band’s third year, Mary Ramsey (vocals), who replaced Natalie Merchant in 1993, and Jeff Erickson (guitar) who joined in 2001. Lombardo has returned to the group for the new album after having quit in 2002.

Twice Told Tales promises to be a fascinating look at the UK Folk scene with classics like ‘She Moved Through The Fair’, ‘Carrickfergus’ and Marie’s wedding included on the 15 Track album.