Song of the Day – Josef Salvat

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Originally Rihanna’s 2012 hit (gifted to her by the supreme pop music making machine that is Sia), Josef Salvat has taken ‘Diamonds’ and morphed it into something graceful, haunting and supremely gorgeous. Truer to Sia’s originally stripped back arrangement than Rihanna’s electro epic this track has, surprisingly, never hit so hard. Gentle verses and climactic choruses makes you see this track in a whole new light. Taken from his new EP In Your Prime, ‘Diamonds’ cuts deep and is only a mere glimmer on the energetic electronic release. Any track from this EP could have been chosen as the track of the day but ‘Diamonds’ is so stunning it just can’t be ignored.

In Your Prime is currently available on multiple streaming services including Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud and available for digital download on iTunes.

Written by Joseph Murray

Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would be interested in? Send it over! amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.co.uk

Song of the Day – SLUG

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Meet SLUG. Quite a peculiar name, I’m sure you’ll agree. But so is the music. ‘Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped In Plastic’ is a spasmodic eclectic megamix of peculiarity in all its brilliance. It’s totally unpredictable, underpinned by a funking fuzzed up riff that then whips into a frenzy of a chorus. Packed full of genuine originality, Ian Black’s (formerly of Field Music) latest project is bound to grab your attention, and this first single will be available as a free download for a limited time on www.slugband.co.uk. Get your mitts on it asap.

The SLUG live band play their first shows as follows (all dates supporting Hyde & Beast):
20th September – Pop Recs, Sunderland
20th October – Lexington, London
21st October – Brighton, Prince Albert
23rd October – Leeds, Belgrave Hall
27th October – Manchester, Night & Day Café
28th October – Glasgow, Broadcast
29th October – Newcastle, Cluny 2

Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would be interested in? Send it over! amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.co.uk

Pick of the Week – God Damn

God Damn

You may wonder how God Damn got their name. My guess is as good as any, but I think it may have something to do with the fact that the very second that you listen to their music, you will involuntarily say “God Damn!” Having toured with The Growlers and The Wytches, these alternative rock grungers are proving their own tumultuous power on tracks such as ‘Horus’ and ‘Heavy Money’. They have the power to make your skin crawl, your blood pump and you head spin.

With particular allegiance paid to what they call the ‘Seven J’s’ of their Holy Bible: Hendrix, Homme, Cash, White, Page, Bonham and Jesse ‘The Devil’ Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal)’ their sound pretty much is a massive amalgamation of those artists. Fusing all aspects of the rock spectrum, they have a no holds barred approach to music that accumulates in filthy guitar riffs and colossal percussion. It’s heavy, it’s dirty, it’s dangerous, and it’s thrillingly exhilarating to listen to.

God Damn are currently on tour. Check out the tour poster below for dates. ‘Horus’ is released through One Little Indian records on 27 October 2014.

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Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would be interested in? Send it over! amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.co.uk

Song of the Day – Slow Magic

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By Joseph Murray

Starting off with gentle textures and the classic vinyl crackle and pop alongside an electric piano you wonder how they’re going to take it somewhere original and authentic yet when it drops the piece is taken to new heights. After we’ve been rocked for long enough the track crumbles away into a subtle jazzy piano break and the hypnotic repetition of the lines “hold still”. Upon the second drop we are greeted by a fizzy arpeggio return the track to it’s former epic glory. Textural, volatile and epically eruptive; ‘Hold Still’ certainly is what electro is all about.

‘Hold Still’ is currently available for streaming on both Spotify and Soundcloud and Slow Magic’s debut album How To Run Away is available for purchase on iTunes.

Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would be interested in? Send it over! amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.co.uk

TMS Highlight – Paul Smith & Peter Brewis

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Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park) & Peter Brewis (Field Music) have teamed up to produce some of the finest new music on the block. Their collaborative album, entitled Frozen By Sight, is released on 17 November, and to celebrate the announcement of their upcoming performances (see below for dates) they have given us another little snippet from the LP.

The album is based on excerpts from Smith’s travel writing and music from Peter Brewis’ chamber band. ‘Exiting Hyde Park Towers’ beautifully capture the city-scape of London and the atmosphere of Hyde Park itself. The lyrics encompass the minute details of the people and features around the place, whilst the composition beautiful helps to create this musical re-enactment of what goes on around a very particular area of London. It’s like nothing else around at the moment, and is stylistically sophisticated and has an all-encompassing elegance and beauty.

18 December – Band on the Wall, Manchester TICKETS
19 December – St Giles-in-the-Fields, London TICKETS
20 December – Sage, Gateshead TICKETS

Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would be interested in? Send it over! amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.co.uk

Song of the Day – This Will Destroy You

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Written by Joe Murray

Since the birth of post-rock back in the late 80s the genre quietly snowballed until exploding in our faces this past decade. Bands such as Sigur Rós and Mogwai are seen as the kings of modern post-rock but with its ever growing popularity an abundance of excellent artists are beginning to shine through. Texan troopers This Will Destroy You have gained a large following over the years and have now taken their music to a new level with ‘Memory Loss'; a track from their latest release Another Language.

Following the classic post-rock structure the track starts with subtle tape-like timbres and textures which tickle and tantalise the senses to Brian Eno levels. The heartbeat of the track becomes immediately obvious when the beat of kick drum comes in slowly crawling its way to a powerful climax. It is rare to see a band exploring means of music force other than the layering of distorted guitars but This Will Destroy You and their leviathan track ‘Memory Loss’ shows you that the bass and drums really are the true kings of power and energy.

‘Memory Loss’ is a track from their latest album Another Language which is currently available for digital download, CD and vinyl purchase.

Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would be interested in? Send it over! amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.co.uk

Song of the Day – SYKES

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SYKES are bringing back infectious electro-pop with their latest release ‘Anybody Out There’. Back in 2009 we saw La Roux’s self entitled album revived the retro electro scene and SYKES are doing just that with a modern twist. With incredibly catchy vocal melodies and minimalist guitar lines they utilise the space in their tracks very effectively generating music that’s not only really memorable but also really fun to listen to. Reminiscent of a gentler and more melodic Yeah Yeah Yeahs with hints of The Naked and Famous, I’m eager to see where they take their music. For an unsigned band they’re generating some excellent tracks and I’m sure they’ll be making their mark on the electro-pop scene very soon.

‘Anybody Out There’ is currently available on Spotify and for purchase on iTunes.

Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would be interested in? Send it over amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.com

Alt-J – This Is All Yours Review

alt-J play it safe with their new release but manage to produce something satisfying and overall enjoyable.

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7.5/10                                Released: 22 September 2014 (Infectious)
Written by Joseph Murray

There have been instances of a band having an explosive debut and being unable to meet the hype for the next release but This Is All Yours is proof that alt-J have a lot to offer to the alternative music scene. The albums sound is incredibly familiar with almost identical instrumental arrangements to their first album An Awesome Wave however, they have managed to keep it fairly fresh by developing their mix of lo-fi guitar and electronic soundscapes to a new level.

Normally a band releasing what is effectively a part two to a debut album is tiring but it’s refreshing to see that alt-J are focused on their sound and are getting a lot out of it. Their contrast between bone dry tracks to super spacious tracks is, as always, really effective and this time round the electronic aspect seems a lot more refined and it really works in their favour. Hopefully we’ll see something equally epic for their third release but it would be good to see them branch out a little further and get a little weirder. An example of this is their vocal arrangements that feel a little safe in places but perhaps this not to detract from their complexity of sounds.

Whilst not entirely hit and miss the albums strong points are incredibly good with tracks such as ‘Intro’, ‘Every Other Freckle’ and the super seductive ‘Bloodflood pt.II.’ The weaker tracks aren’t so much bad they’re just slightly out of place and irrelevant, particularly the ‘Garden of England’ interlude and ‘Pusher’. Aside from the single releases (‘Hunger Of The Pine’ and ‘Left Hand Free’) other mentionable tracks are the beautifully haunting bonus track ‘Lovely Day’ and the slightly confusing but very pretty ‘Warm Foothills’. The undoubtable highlight has to be the Nara trilogy which encompasses all of the albums elements and translates them into three outstanding tracks (‘Arrival in Nara’, ‘Nara’ and ‘Leaving Nara’) which are supremely epic.

I have no doubt that there is a lot more to come from alt-J in the future I just sincerely hope that they really push themselves for their next release and aim to generate something a bit more ambitious. Playing it safe isn’t entirely a bad thing as can be heard with ‘This Is All Yours’ but ambitious musical movements means that we don’t have Radiohead or Bombay Bicycle Club releasing the same record year after year. For a band that caused a lot of fuss back in 2012 I feel like they can definitely shake things up a little more than they have this time round and only time will tell, upon their third release, if they are indeed a one trick pony.

I feel that an important note on this album is that it shouldn’t be viewed as anything massively innovative because there is clearly no intention of this. I think that this kind of hype overshadowed their debut when really it was simply just quirky and interesting indie rock. Getting too bogged down with the idea that alt-J are the “new Radiohead” is quite crass and convoluted. Sure they’re definitely influenced by them but find me a rock band over the past two decades that aren’t. This Is All Yours is raw, menacing and layered with brooding intensity and deserves to be viewed in its own right.

Despite my minor frustrations and nitpicking, overall this album is excellent and probably one of the best of this year. alt-J were put in an impossible position for their second release with all the hype surrounding the band and I certainly believe that they have done as well as they could have given the time they’ve had. As an incredibly exciting live band I look forward to seeing them back at festivals next summer and seeing what they do with their new material on stage.

Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would be interested in? Send it over! amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.com

Pick of the Week – Killing Moons: New Moons Volume II

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If there’s one thing you need to give your ears some pleasure this week, it’s Killing Moon‘s latest compilation. Made in partnership with Ally McCrae from Radio 1, New Moons: Volume II highlights a whole host of artists who deserve some attention. It features 26 tracks that span the musical horizons, with John J Presley‘s awesome hard hitting blues rock to the deep-seated electronic grooves of One Bit and then the heartfelt big chorus from Clubs, there’s something to suit every taste.

The standout feature of this compilation is how you can hear how much everything has been thought out and lovingly laid out. Each track is quality and unique. No space-fillers will be found here. No sir, not at all. It’s literally crammed to the rafters with amazing music and is demonstrative of Killing Moon‘s ethos. Killing Moon is a record label that has signed some great artists in the last few years and is dedicated to bringing the best in new talent to the forefront.

The release of the album is also running alongside Killing Moon Vs Club NME this Friday 19 September at London Koko and you can get tickets here http://www.koko.uk.com/listings/killing-moon-vs-club-nme-19-09-2014 .

The album is available from 15th September on iTunes, Amazon, Deezer, and Spotify and there will be 100 limited edition commemorative CD tins released through the label.

Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would want to hear? Send it over amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.com

Song of the Day – Gianna Lauren

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Having a stressful day? Feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all? Take a deep breath, relax, and listen to the lush and simply beautiful voice of Canadian songstress Gianna Lauren. You may be thinking that there are quite enough female singer/songwriters out there at the moment- do we really need another? But it is no understatement to say that Gianna Lauren’s music stands out from the crowd. Her voice is like silk, her melodies are divine and the overall production of her songs is simply breathtaking. It’s lovely stuff that sounds unique and effortlessly charming.

‘Anchor Down’ is the latest track to be taken from her On Personhood EP and its release comes alongside her UK tour later this month. Also check out Dreamsploitations’ remix of 2010’s ’19 minutes’.

September 24 – Truro, UK – Speakeasy
September 25 – Southampton, UK – The Art House
September 26 - London, UK – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
September 27 – Cardiff, UK – Four Bars
September 28 Bristol, UK -The Canteen

Have something you reckon The Music Shepherd would be interested in? Send it over! amelia.musicshepherd@gmail.com