Maybeshewill to embark on two tours before year’s end

British post-rock band Maybeshewill have announced two separate tours for this coming October and November.
The year’s live appearances finish with a home town pre-xmas show on December 22nd.

On the October tour dates, the instrumental outfit will be supporting …And You Know Us By The Trail of Dead, while all others are headline shows.

9 Colchester Arts Centre, UK
10 London Scala, UK
11 Manchester Academy, UK
13 Edinburgh Liquid Rooms, UK
14 York Fibbers, UK
15 Norwich Arts Centre, UK
17 Lido, Berlin, GERMANY
18 Gebaude, Cologne, GERMANY
19 Tivoli De Helling, NETHERLANDS
20 Zoom, Frankfurt, GERMANY
21 Trix, Antwerp, BELGIUM
22 Nouveau Casino, Paris, FRANCE

2 LIVERPOOL, Mello Mello
5 ABERDEEN, Tunnels (Rescheduled date – original tickets valid)
7 NEWCASTLE, Trillians
8 BRISTOL, Cooler
9 BIRMINGHAM, Academy 3

22 Leicester, Y Theatre

Zebra to be inducted into the “Long Island Music Hall of Fame”

It has been announced that cult AOR/pomp rockers Zebra are to be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

The rock trio – fronted by Randy Jackson – have enjoyed cult success since the 80s and have gained strong press from the AOR/melodic rock community over the years. Their third disc, 1987’s ‘3.V’, considered to be one of the band’s strongest albums was particularly hard to find on CD for some time, until a very welcome reissue (with the band’s second LP, ‘No Tellin’ Lies’) in 2010.

Also at this year’s event – the Hall of Fame now in it’s fourth year – Twisted Sister’s Dee Snyder will be performing a selection of tunes from his 2012 release ‘Dee Does Broadway’ and death metallers Suffocation will also be inducted.

Alanis Morissette announces three UK stadium shows

Alanis Morissette is to visit the UK in November.

The Canadian artist will play three huge stadium shows in support of her eighth studio album, the 2012 release ‘Havoc and Bright Lights’.  Morissette’s previous visit yielded a more intimate show at the Brixton Academy which sold out almost instantly.

Confirmed dates:

28th: London O2 Arena
29th:Nottingham Capital FM Arena
30th: Liverpool Echo Arena

LIZ WOOD – Into My Own EP

Most of this second EP from Connecticut-based singer-songwriter Liz Wood moves away from the adult pop style that provided the basis of her debut release.  It’s darker tone was inspired by the end of a five-year relationship and finds Wood looking inside herself, moving through the various emotions associated with such a shake-up.  As if to resemble a sense of rebuilding, two of its four songs have a very stripped down feel.

‘Ruin’ is sharp and a little bitter. Backed by a simple acoustic riff, Wood rings emotion from every line, exploring a relationship where someone else “called the shots”.  As the song progresses, slightly discordant electric guitars round out the sound while mechanical rhythms add a real edge.  The tension is wound throughout, but essentially at the heart of the piece is Wood’s anger and insistence that she is not at fault; her delivery of the feeling that “you fucked up not me” providing the track’s main hook and central point.  She could not have picked any less a subtle jumping off point, but it’s a very strong opening statement.

‘Hanging On’ and ‘Can’t Hide’ are very intimate, featuring just Wood’s voice and piano. The former has a lovely light tune, reminiscent of Tori Amos and so many other chanteuse pianists.  Although less spiteful, a fantastic vocal, fuelled by another deeply personal lyric, makes it, perhaps, Wood’s best number this time out.  Whereas ‘Hanging On’ has a questioning tone, ‘Can’t Hide’ finds Wood in a position of strength, emotionally, vocally and musically.  Again, the piano arrangement is smooth, lending a great backdrop to Wood’s innermost thoughts with great results.

‘Fall Again’ provides a sharp contrast to the other three tracks, presenting Wood fronting a whole band and in a more optimistic frame of mind.  The drums have a real presence throughout, but they never completely overshadow Wood’s guitar lines which keep the tune motoring.  Wood’s vocal, meanwhile, is the strongest element here; her wordy performance straddles a fine line between strength and that previous vulnerability, showing a strong influence from the wonderful Lisa Loeb – something particularly obvious in her wordy delivery.  In terms of overall feel, this has far more in common with Wood’s previous self-titled EP. “Let me fall for you again and I will sink under your skin”, she sings, “no regrets”.

Given the strong feelings that rise to the fore within relationships (both during and in their aftermath), Liz Wood could have likely blessed the world with a full album’s worth of emotional outpourings.  As it is, the EP format is very effective: the shorter running time never makes it feel like she is labouring her point lyrically, while musically, its three distinctly different styles present a broad range of the artist’s talents.   While not the most uplifting of listens – understandable, given those circumstances in which the songs were born – this is a terrific release.

August 2012

EVOLETAH – Sleepwalker

Mixing elements of alternative rock, indie jangle and a just a touch of dream pop, Australian rock band Evoletah create sounds for people who like their rock music with a nineties vibe.  One of the first things notable about ‘Sleepwalker’ – the band’s third full length – is that the album’s live in the studio sound really favours the drums.  Even at times when the rest of the instruments are allotted an equal space in the overall mix, those drums still have the edge.  An indie rock approach to the guitar riffs often gives the band a centre-point from which to spiral out, but perhaps the strongest element of Evolateh’s sound is frontman Matt Cahill’s vocals.  The ex-Violets vocalist has a laid-back approach which sometimes hints at a fellow Aussie, The Church’s Steve Kilbey.

Released as the album’s first single ‘Cain & Abel’ is a mid paced tune. Throughout the verses, the guitars don’t break from their initial jangle, leading the listener to think that by the time the chorus rocks up, everything will reach a peak in a suitable blaze of glory.  While this is certainly true of the drums, nothing else really changes tack.  In this respect, the track is best described as vocal led, since it’s only frontman Matt Cahill’s voice doing anything really interesting.

‘Shortly After Takeoff’ is a professionally constructed slab of indie rock which builds tension during its first half, and then gives way to a rousing performance from Jason Eyers-White, while ‘The Hurting’ has a jangling, marching base, over which Cahill delivers an emotive performance.  Despite best intentions, the lack of obvious hook means the audience has to be totally into Evoletah’s sound almost from the get go, since there’s not always much else (hooks, mainly) to help win anyone over.  ‘Invisible’ has a cool vibe, as the band adopt a waltzing time signature, topped with more solid jangling.  These elements don’t necessary hold the interest alone, but a brief trumpet solo along the way adds something extra.  …And while the band are more than musically competent, this highlights that it’s that little “something extra” so many of ‘Sleepwalker’s tunes often miss.

Much better, the lack of drums during ‘Northern Gentleman’ allows a brief glimpse into something more intimate.  Andrew Boyce lays down a noodly guitar line which blends elements of pop rock with a touch of seventies prog, while occasional cello is on hand to add colour.  ‘Minutes Into Years’ is perhaps the album’s finest moment; a track of two distinct halves, the first takes a similar approach to the majority of Evoletah’s best songs, allowing Boyce to work a dreamy, clean-toned riff, over which, the vocals are wistful and breathy.  Occasionally, as the notes drift from the speakers, ‘Minutes’ has the majesty of a tune which could have been recorded by the aforementioned Church during their ‘Priest=Aura’/’Sometime Anywhere’ days.   For the second part, things really rock up, as the guitars crank out some distorted electric riffs to bring things to a climax.  Like ‘Invisible’, this number proves that despite their often middling outcomes, Evoletah are a band with a lot of potential.

Aside from ‘Northern Gentleman’, almost everything is of a mid pace, which after a while makes things start to blur. Although this release has a good end sound – giving some indication of how the Australian four piece possibly sound like in a live setting – and Evoletah are clearly quite talented, ‘Sleepwalker’ would have definitely benefitted from a change in pace once in a while.   As it is, though, you’ll find a few enjoyable tunes buried within, and picking up a download of ‘Minutes Into Years’ should definitely be on your “to do” list.

August 2012