Social media is a wonderful tool. It can connect us with people across the globe; amuse us, inspire us and introduce us to music and films that might have otherwise escaped our notice. There’s a joy in interacting with people we wouldn’t otherwise meet – through being victims of geography, rather than any desire to do so – and discussing cult bands at length. As anyone moving in such circles will attest, conversations about Pink Floyd, Marillion and the Grateful Dead can effectively seem endless.
The negative side of social media is that to find the gold, we have to sift through the mundane, the verbal attacks, the political tensions and the endless moaning. Only last week, an insightful soul on Twitter suggested that if television was once considered “the idiots lantern”, then the internet could well be “the shitbag’s mirror”, effectively reflecting the bad side of all of us. It’s easy to pour scorn and derision on everything from a keyboard when you don’t have to hold your own in a face to face argument.
When Brockley Forest released their ‘Die Has Been Cast’ EP in 2015, it felt as if the band had reached a turning point. While the raw garage blues of their previous releases still provided the heart of their music, the EPs songs showed a leaner, meaner Forest – slightly more commercial without selling out; by providing bigger hooks on bigger songs, they really stretched their musical talents. Following a long gap between releases, Brockley Forest’s welcome return with 2018’s ‘Castaway’ is a step forward yet again. The production values on these three songs are terrific. Far removed from a garage based labour of love, the material has as much punch as that Royal Blood LP you all love – even though there are better exponents of that style – and the choruses are more than sizable.
It’s been approximately three years since the world had a new studio recording from Brockley Forest. The band’s third EP, ‘The Die Has Been Cast’ was their biggest sounding to date, but the long awaited follow up, if anything, is even better.
With the bleep of old style tone test, Sunshine & The Rain open their 2017 long player in a most unexpected manner. Kicking square into ‘Let’s Go’, their music, too, has a very old soul…and it’s all the better for that. It might seem at once that this duo’s main musical stock comes from tried and tested garage rock noise, but just as quickly as the distorted guitars assert themselves, the harsh melodies are topped off with plinking glockenspiels in a contest for the ultimate contrast. The vocals come with almost a sweet naivety, as Ashley Morey (previously of New Jersey’s The Black Hollies), approaches her performance with a clarity and an almost bubblegum inspired sound. With the push and pull between the noise and the pop, you’ll either love or hate this band immediately. If you hate them, your opinion is the wrong one. Within a couple of minutes, Sunshine & The Rain assert themselves as the most exciting thing to happen on the garage rock scene since Coach ‘n’ Commando released ‘FBP!K!K!‘ the previous summer…or maybe even since Brockley Forest dropped their third EP way back in 2015.
Ramsgate is a seaside town in east Kent, once famous for the docks, its hovercraft trips and a town horse. It still boasts an impressive harbour, but often gets overlooked in favour of Margate – its arguably more famous brother – situated just along the coast. Ramsgate also home to alt-rock two-piece Black Initials, a band whom bring a mixture of garage based sounds on their debut EP. Continue reading →