ELENI DRAKE – Songs On Sundays EP

A collection of songs that melded jazz melodies with swathes of contemporary soul, Eleni Drake’s debut EP ‘Blue’ had a lot of crossover potential and was a release that lent itself well to evening listening. With a lot of the music straddling the kind of sounds you might find during the softer parts of a Solange Knowles record and the laid-back electronica of Zero 7, it seemed so contemporary for the time of release and promised well enough for a potential follow up.

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THE KING’S PARADE – Mad EP

On their 2017 EP ‘Haze’, The King’s Parade presented a seamless blend of soft rock, blues and soul which captured their myriad of influences quite succinctly. It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea: some chided the band for being too “easy listening”, but the release gained solid support from listeners who actually understood that not everything has to be ground breaking or edgy. There’s praise enough to be given when music is played well – whatever the style – and throughout ‘Haze’, The King’s Parade truly excelled.

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MATS WAWA – Scuzz EP

NME once described Mats Wawa as having “monster riffs”. It’s clear that NME’s idea of monster riffs and actual monster riffs are two different animals. Kyuss they most certainly aren’t and the chosen title might actually be a tongue in cheek joke, but that doesn’t escape the fact that this 2018 EP from Mats Wawa has some enjoyable moments. Actually, “enjoyable moments” is pretty much an understatement, since three quarters of ‘Scuzz’ is superb.
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SHANDA & THE HOWLERS – Trouble

Mixing the cool of old soul 45s and a dusting of various rock ‘n’ roll revival meetings, Shanda & The Howlers are the sound of trouble walkin’. With a twang and a howl, their debut full length more than proves that you don’t always need originality to make a hell of an impression – you just need tightness, guts and a whole lot of conviction. It may so often be reminiscent of many a talent from a pre-Beatle era, but the band’s debut release ‘Trouble’ is a driven and fun affair that’s sure to thrill those who love Sharon Jones and maybe even impress those who dig a few late 50s throwbacks. Simply put, ‘Trouble’ is a really classy rock ‘n’ soul revue.

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