Over the first ten years of his solo career, singer-songwriter Frank Turner recorded some fantastic material. His deeply personal songs touched on many subjects, from death, love, travel, friendship, lost weekends and politics. In short, in that time, he’s acted as a friend who’s been there, seen it all and is able to lend a lyrical tale of empathy whatever your personal situation. This time, though, he’s really not messing about: the commentary of ‘Be More Kind’ is a world away from the songs of youth, parties and camaraderie that peppered his early releases. It’s also musically far broader. A restless album, even; one that refuses to settle into any one style, sometimes with only Turner’s honest and personal lyrical concerns as an obvious link to the past. And while it isn’t a concept album, more than a few of its songs are connected to the universal themes of time and mortality.
Mark Lane’s fourth album ‘New Memory’ continues the Californian singer-songwriter’s voyage down a rabbit hole of retro pop. So much so, that it’s hard to work out whether its title is meant to be ironic. These ten songs do not so much create things that’ll eventually become a new memory as delve into old musical memories and stir them up. To say that Lane’s work is often the sum of its many influences would be an understatement, but there’s no avoiding the fact that – assuming you like retro pop/rock with a heavy 70s bias – ‘New Memory’ is a thoroughly enjoyable record.
You might not have heard of Jack Watts.
But you will.
The UK singer songwriter has already had his music singled out by Spotify in Italy, Finland, UK and Turkey. As part of the promotion for his first two EPs, the musician has played extensive live shows and even shared a stage with quirky folk-dream pop band Slow Club.
In February 2018, singer songwriter Sophia Marshall released ‘lin-dah’, a three track EP of Kasabian covers. She was able to take the original material – including the massive hit ‘Fire’ – and strip it back to its core, resulting in recordings that found a place somewhere between folk and dreampop. [A full review of the EP can be found here.]
Kasabian are a huge selling band but, much like Elbow, most of their output hovers somewhere between generic radio filler and just plain dull. The idea of a Kasabian covers EP isn’t necessarily one that should excite: if you love Kasabian – for whatever reason – chances are, you’d want to spin the original tunes; if you hate Kasabian, hearing someone else recycling their often forgettable songs probably isn’t anywhere near the top of your priority list.
The fact that Kasabian are a generic radio filling non-entity didn’t deter singer-songwriter Sophia Marshall. The one time Have-Nots vocalist went to school with three members of the band and uses that as a springboard for her first covers EP of 2018. The cryptically titled ‘lin-dah’ finds the Leeds songstress taking three Kasabian songs and remoulding them in her own image. For something which, on paper, sounds less than pleasurable, the results are…impressive to say the least.