DARK HORSE – Shot Down EP

dark horse shot down epThe names Matt Knee and Rosie Doonan might not be at the forefront of your mind, but prior to the launch of Dark Horse, both musicians had been fixtures on the music scene in the north of England. Matt had been drummer with Wakefield post-punkers Last Gang, while Rosie – among other things – had found herself with a much higher profile gig as part of Peter Gabriel’s orchestral shows in 2012.

Within Dark Horse, Doonan’s slightly trill vocal style is a good match for the retro pop sound and for some people, this may well prove to be the EP’s main attraction. However, as good a performer as she is, it’s the music that really counts here…and ‘Shot Down’ offers three songs that are an instant mood lifter. The band knows all about making that important first impression, too, making no apologies for front-loading what is arguably their best track.

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DELUXE EDITION DREAMLAND: Elton John – The Fox

the-foxIn the first quarter of 2011 Universal Music released a five disc super-deluxe edition of Elton John’s multi-million selling, career defining ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’. While huge chunks of the album are undeniably great, did we really need another deluxe edition of this when an excellent three disc edition was released (complete with SACD compatible material) ten years previously? There are other parts of Elton’s huge body of works worthy of expanding.

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THE 1957 TAIL-FIN FIASCO – The 3 Song Drive EP

tail-fin-epOn their first two releases (2011’s ‘Private Jet Flashback‘ and 2013’s ‘Cruise Control EP‘) The 1957 Tail-Fin Fiasco proved themselves to be masters of retro cool. Armed with a quirky sense of humour and an unhealthy obsession with Steely Dan, the two men at the core of the Fiasco made audiences wonder how such authentically American sounding music could ever have been spawned from the UK. Not only that, but from the wilds of Essex, too – hardly a breeding ground for AM radio pop.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Deacon Blue – Royal Festival Hall, London 16/11/2016

deaconThe Royal Festival Hall in London is one of those buildings that splits opinion. For some, it’s an amazing piece of 70s architecture, a lasting snapshot from a time when things looked yellow and brown…and different; for others, its mess of passageways and stairs around every corner gives the feeling of being stuck in an Escher painting. The performance area is great for the “serious” music event, the classical performance or world music extravaganza; for the rock or pop audience, it’s a space that never quite reaches its full potential, with people dancing in a restrained way in front of their fold up seats. Nevertheless, it’s here that Deacon Blue have returned after selling out the venue two years previously.

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