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Launch of the latest Cities and Memory project – Prison Songs — April 26, 2016

Launch of the latest Cities and Memory project – Prison Songs

The latest Cities and Memory project, Prison Songs, launched yesterday and the standard of submissions has been absolutely amazing. You can see and hear the project on the Cities and Memory website here.

Prison Songs examines the lives of the prisoners of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in the late 1940s, by reimagining the work songs recorded there.

From ‘Eighteen Hammers’ to ‘No More My Lawd’, these songs are a moving portrait of prison life, and defiant statements of hope and unity in the face of appalling conditions.

Here, 30 sound artists from as far afield as Brazil, Turkey, Australia and the USA bring their own lives and experiences to bear on reimagining these songs.

My entry is embedded above. I’m a massive blues fan so it was with some trepidation when I started to think about re-imagining a blues song. I wanted to produce a piece that is sympathetic to the original but not contrived or gimmicky.

I’ve tried to add a modern edge and glitch into the blues sound. The fluidity of the processed recording weaves around a steady drum beat which synchronises at times and others creates a tension.

I’ve used a cut-up approach to make elements of the song non-linear and these are interspersed with the original. The song was created and produced in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock II DAW and I’ve also used the grain micro loop tool with random movement on a ring modulator effect fairly low in the mix to add some contrast and movement.

Sound artists wanted!
If you’re interested by the songs you’ve heard submitted for this project, why not take part? Cities and Memory have field recordings from all over the world waiting to be reimagined, remixed and reinterpreted. The latest places up for reimagination include British Columbia, Cuba, Dubai, Mumbai, Venice, Bangkok, Sicily and London.

There will also be future projects that you can participate in. For further information Cities and Memory can be contacted by email :

Review of ‘A Doll’s House’ by Everything Down on Wetlands Productions — April 24, 2016

Review of ‘A Doll’s House’ by Everything Down on Wetlands Productions

Everything Down is the solo project of Chris McReynolds.

This is an excellently produced album, there’s some superbly crafted percussive and noise / drone sounds which are really well layered, sometimes against more natural sounds. There’s a great attention to detail, the vocals are excellent and processed really well, there’s great use of distortion to create a real edge at times but with great control which highlights the contrast with the softer parts.

Gathering Scattered Thoughts
Great sounds create a generative rhythm to open, the drum sounds are really tight. There’s a great interplay between clean and processed vocals with excellent distorted sounds and a nice glitch in the rhythm too. The song has great production, a really edgy sound.

In You
Sparse piano and delayed background effects to open, the song has a sparse rhythm and feel. The vocals have great use of delay and distortion.

This is a short song with a piano riff and a sparse percussive sound like a typewriter. A really good reflective soundscape.

Not Time Yet
An ominous drone sound to open contrasts with a synth riff which I can best describe as a percussive bell. The percussive rhythm builds, there are some excellent impact / percussive sounds against a kick rhythm. The vocals are layered and processed really well and have an otherworldly feel to them at times, a haunting whispered quality at others. Great use of distorted sounds / noise elements too.

Systems of Hate
Emerging white noise to open, percussive sounds are excellent again being really tight and very well crafted. I really like the riff, there’s excellent use of distortion. The emerging bass gives a great momentum.

Washed Away
A really dirty distorted bass riff to open contrasts excellently against the more organic sounding piano riffs.

We Walk in Circles
A great groove from the bassline and excellent percussive rhythm again. The vocals are more spoken, really well processed and create a great tension against the more laid back groove. There’s some great lead and drone sounds too.

Don’t Think I’m Not Here
Great percussive rhythm and distorted sounds to open leading into a solid groove from the drum pattern and bass. The drum sounds are excellently processed again. The distorted guitar tone is superb and the vocals are excellent creating a great tension. It’s a really edgy song with a great simmering tension.

Everything Down on soundcloud
Everything Down on facebook
Everything Down on twitter

Wetlands Productions on bandcamp
Wetlands Productions on facebook
Wetlands Productions on twitter

Review of ‘Forever Driftin’ by Foul Tip on Cardinal Fuzz / Captcha Records — April 21, 2016

Review of ‘Forever Driftin’ by Foul Tip on Cardinal Fuzz / Captcha Records

The music created by Foul Tip is dense, unified, and symbiotic, but the band itself is comprised of the unlikeliest of duos. Bass player Adam Luksetich, grandson of Notre Dame legend Johnny Lujack and co-founder of Amazon, began pursuing music as a hobby after his third semester at Oxford. Drummer Ed “Tedders” Bornstein, on the other hand, grew up in a rural town that had been largely destroyed by feral pigs in the 1970s, only to become a destination spot for prostitutes and shoe thieves in the years to come. Luckily, Ed was able to drum his way out of his decrepit town and into a higher education.

Only when Adam and Ed found themselves both living in Chicago were they able to make Foul Tip a full-time project and lifestyle. Since then, the band has toured relentlessly, recorded fourteen full-length studio albums, and drawn international attention for their wild stage shows and extraordinarily controversial political views – K.Koppes

It has been released by Cardinal Fuzz as a limited 43 pressing on Red Vinyl (only 3 left at the time of publication) and also black vinyl.

For customers in the USA it is available from Captcha Records on red vinyl, black vinyl, handmade CD and also as a digital download.

Foul Tip have a great sound that is very difficult to describe. At times there’s elements of indie, rock, grunge and post punk yet they carve out their own unique style and sound. They have a very tight knit sound with a great edge which this album highlights really well. It’s also impressive how Adam makes his bass playing really expansive by including riffs and melodies (seemingly at the same time) into the songs.

Opens with a sound like a radio in the background leading into an uptempo feel from the bass riff and drumming, this song has a great edge with a great distorted tone on the bass. There’s an excellent riff towards the end when the song is canned for not being good enough.

This song has uptempo drumming with a syncopated bass riff which sounds like chords leading into a distorted riff. The vocals are quite edgy with some good harmonies.

A staccato opening riff with drumming to open leading into a more defined groove. Great vocal harmonies again, nice changes in feel between the staccato and more defined grooves.

An instrumental song, I really like the harmonics produced by the bass which has an expansive sound compared to normal bass playing.

Great groove from the opening bass riff and drumming, the song has a jumpy feel. There are some great effects on the bass which also provides a harmony and melody.

This has a more laid back feel, a great riff with harmonics which provides a really full bass and chords sound. The drumming is solid again and vocals are really good too.

Changes ***
A great uptempo groove from bass riff and solid drumming again. Really good vocals again. A great momentum and energy.

Strike 1000
A creeping feel to the riff with sparse drumming leading into a more defined groove. The vocals have a great edge of tension at times. I like the change in feel, the distorted tone gives a kind of ominous feel at times.

Has a military feel to the opening drum beat which gives an urgency. There’s an anger to the vocals and the bass is quite subtle on this track.

Great drumming and riff to open, really good vocals with harmonies again. It’s a great groove with an excellent distorted tone on the riff at times. The sound opens up really well with the bass providing a kind of harmony which contrasts really well against the more distorted chord sounds.

Cardinal Fuzz on twitter
Cardinal Fuzz on facebook

Captcha Records on twitter
Captcha Records on facebook

Review of ‘The Estuary’ by Loop Theory Collective —

Review of ‘The Estuary’ by Loop Theory Collective

Loop Theory is a collective of musical talent based in the stunning location of Cornwall. It has been designed to let artists have creative freedom to push boundaries and remove limitations in musical production. They work to develop an artist’s sound in prestigious creative spaces, such as Sawmills Studio. They never rehearse, allowing very special moments to be recorded through improvisation.

Loop Theory Collective are Matthew Trout (Founder), Reuben Kramer (Producer), Dean Forrest (Co-Producer), William Harris (Drummer), Matthew Johns (Keys), Alex Black (Bass), Paul Haywood (Saxophone) and Nathen Fitzgerald (Trumpet & Flugelhorn).

This is a brilliant EP, a great smooth jazz sound with elements of funk and trip hop. The playing is excellent and the production is superb, allowing each instrument it’s own space to grow and develop. The subtle use of delayed background sounds adds an excellent element too. I was listening to this on a train journey across the Peak District. It made for perfect listening, engaging and absorbing.

The Estuary

There’s an excellent vibe to this song, a trip hop drumbeat with looping keys and very cool jazz infused trumpet and sax interspersed with some excellent background sounds.

Ebb and Flow
Another trip hop type of drumbeat with subtle keys riff, this song is an excellent jazz improvisation with trumpet, sax and keys arranged with individual lead lines and collectively at times too creating a superb laid back groove.

Wavy 2am Jam
There’s a call and effect feel to the opening of this song which builds gradually with an excellent soulful funky jazz vibe. There are some excellent squelchy synth sounds too and a brilliant late night jam feel.

Loop Theory Collective website
Loop Theory Collective on twitter

Review of ‘Escape II’ album by bloodhounds on my trail on Moon Sounds Records — April 14, 2016

Review of ‘Escape II’ album by bloodhounds on my trail on Moon Sounds Records

Bloodhounds On My Trail are Johnny Green (guitar, vocals), Chris Donaldson (guitar), Nik Donaldson (drums) and Ché Walden (bass). Rooted in their joint love of shoegaze bands, ranging from the late 1980s to early 90s, Bloodhounds On My Trail aim to fuse the rhythmic underpinnings of bands like the Velvet Underground and the Stooges with the infectious stylings of shoegaze luminaries such as Cocteau Twins and Slowdive.

Since playing their first show in February 2014, the band has been blossoming through a whirlwind combination of live shows, festivals and recording sessions. Their music was met with positive reactions, encouraging press, and opportunities to play with notable Australian artists such as Lowtide, Contrast, and White Walls.2015 also seen the band gain momentum with appearances at local gaze festivals alongside Flying Colours, Immigrant Union, Black Cab and Day Ravies.

Escape II was released on Moon Sounds Records in December 2015.

This album has a great vibe, a huge sound with a great presence. The vocals are excellent with a dreamy and ethereal feel and the bass and drumming provide a solid foundation. There’s some excellent synth sounds and great distorted guitar tones too.

A jangly guitar riff to open with an atmospheric background synth, the song has a great chilled vibe propelled by solid bass and drumming. The vocals are excellent having a dreamy, ethereal presence.

Great atmospheric opening, the drumming enters to give a great momentum. The guitar riff provides an excellent tension and I like the way the vocals site low in the mix. Great changes of feel from distorted to a more acoustic sound.

Old Fools
Another great jangly riff to open, the drumming builds to the introduction of an excellent distorted toned guitar. I like the way the bass is quite subtle but provides a solid momentum for the guitar to weave around. The vocals are excellent again, sitting low in the mix gives a dreamy feel, a bit like a half heard conversation.

Silence, it’s Golden
This song has a great atmospheric string type synth sound to open, drumming enters to give a great momentum. The subtle guitar riff works really well. The vocals are more upfront and there’s a really good change of feel when the distorted guitar enters.

She’s in My Plans
There’s a tension to the opening subtle strummed guitar chords and drone type of sound. The jangly guitar riff adds a great element and the drumming, bass and distorted guitar enter to give an excellent momentum. It’s a big, brilliant sound with great movement complimented really well by the vocals. The song has hypnotic qualities with an edge of tension.

Jolly (Ummagma mix)
This is an excellent remix, it’s subtle whilst retaining the essence of the original but adding some drone / soundscape elements and a hint of glitch too.

Keep up with Bloodhounds on my trail
Facebook | Triple J Unearthed | Twitter | Bandcamp

Keep up with Moon Sounds Records
Facebook | Bandcamp | Big Cartel

Keep up with Shameless Promotion PR
Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

The 2ube Xtra launches today at 5pm — April 13, 2016

The 2ube Xtra launches today at 5pm

In just under two hours, The 2ube Xtra online music festival launches and will use the hashtag #2ubeXtra for the duration of the festival.

Streaming live on YouTube from 5pm UK time on the following link – –  the online festival will be hosted by James Bailey (@TheJamesBailey) and Connor Lee Dye (@connor123123).

It promises up be a great start to this year’s festival with Venus Demilo (@VenusDemiloBand) kicking things off at 5pm followed by Pink Kink (@pinkkinkstink) at 6pm, Her’s (@thatbandofhers) at 7pm and The Rainband (@therainbanduk) at 8pm.

The Rainband have an album ‘Satellite Sunrise’ which will be released later this year and are supporting Kaiser Chiefs at Forest live, Delamere, Cheshire on Sunday 3rd July.

That Band of Her’s have a limited edition single to be released on May 6th on Heist or Hit.

Pink Kink are receiving rave reviews for their recent performances.

Venus Demilo’s video for their latest single ‘Sinking Ships’ is also receiving great reviews.

The Rainband:


Pink Kink:

Venus Demilo:

Review of ‘People’ album by The Jackals — April 7, 2016

Review of ‘People’ album by The Jackals

Unfortunately this one slipped through the net somewhat, the album was released on 14th September 2015. However, by chance it appears to be good timing because The Jackals have a number of upcoming gigs. You can see them play at a pre-match live showcase at Manchester City Square, The Etihad Stadium, Manchester on Saturday April 23rd 2016 ahead of Manchester City vs Stoke City (in association with Blue Soap Music); At The Phoenix Bar, High Wycombe on May 27th; At Dublin Castle, London on May 29th and At Underworld, London on June 04th.

People is a brilliant album. The Jackals describe their sound as ‘Cosmic Rock and Roll’ and that’s spot on. I love the vibe, it has elements of brit rock, western and some classic rock too such as The Eagles and The Allman Brothers yet The Jackals creates a very individual sound with great grooves and a really positive, calming feel. The Jackals have an excellent tight knit sound, the vocals are superb and the arrangements and production of the songs are excellent too.

People is available as a double vinyl or digital download from The Jackals website or on cassette from Burger Records in the USA.

Eyes Awaken
A great opening track, a brilliantly chilled out vibe with some excellent tremelo guitar chords and really smooth vocals. The arrangement is excellent, the bass and drumming give a solid foundation whilst the lead guitar is subtle and the piano adds an excellent element and there are subtle changes in feel which work really well too.

Raspberry Moon
A picked guitar riff contrasts against a string sound to open, the bass and drumming enters to give the song a great momentum. The vocals are excellent again with some great harmonies, there’s a kind of longing or sadness to them at times.

Call Out Mellowbird
There’s a great vibe to this song, a really laid back groove with a great jangly guitar riff. The vocals are really smooth with excellent harmonies. I really like the way the natural percussion compliments the drumming.

Ghost Soul Traffic
A really nice riff to open with shimmering trem guitar chords, the song has a positive uptempo feel with great vocals again.

Can’t Leave The City
A surf guitar / Western feel to the opening with excellent picked guitar chords and an ominous sounding lead line sets the tone for this song which has an excellent tension, a purposeful feeling of regret with a brief glimpse of hope.

Just to Pass the Pleasant Time
Superb opening with a picked riff and excellent vocals again, drumming and bass enter to give a great momentum. Another uptempo song, I really like the use of the organ and there’s a really nice solo too.

Dancin Round The Nails
An atmospheric opening with a great string sound and picked riff, drumming enters to give a slow groove. Excellent vocals again. I really like the organ sound, sparse use works really well. Nice change of feel in the chorus and I really like the guitar lead line towards the end of the song too.

Two Heads
A great uptempo opening with jangly riff and excellent vocals, the drumming enters to give a great change of feel, the song almost has a chord vamp feel in the verse with the sound opening up in the chorus.

Where The Face of Angels Lay
Another atmospheric opening with some great tremelo chords and a picked riff, the vocals have great harmonies and presence. There’s a great vibe to this song which has a laid back groove and a nice change in feel towards the end too.

Gold Gift From Paris
Great sound effects to open leading into another laid back groove with a drone really good use of delay and reverb on the guitar lead line.

Waiting for the Man with the Sun
Great vocal harmonies and an excellent uptempo riff to open accompanied by piano,the song has a great uptempo groove. There’s an excellent percussion section before the song resumes again, ending with a really nice harmony.

Update: There is a 12th track which was missing from the original review and The Jackals have kindly subsequently sent it to me. It isn’t included on the cassette version but is on both the vinyl and cd versions. The version I’ve reviewed is the CD version by Owen Morris, the vinyl has a slightly different mixdown.

This is a great song to end the album with, it has an excellent vibe. The song opens with very atmospheric sitar and evolves an eastern feel with an indie edge which creates an excellent laid back groove. The vocals are excellent with great harmonies and the guitar riffs are excellent too with just a hint of flanger / phaser which really adds to the sound.

The Jackals on facebook
The Jackals on twitter

Blue Soap Music website
Blue Soap Music on facebook
Blue Soap Music on twitter