Ken Newman wastes no time in dropping the listener into an ominous place on his 2022 release ‘What Am I Afraid Of?’ The title cut doesn’t even have the time to deliver couple of muted chords before the singer-songwriter reels off a list of the dark things clouding his mind. And it turns out, rather expectedly, at the time of his writing, he’s concerned by almost everything the real world and its plethora of socio-political demons and societal issues.
Pop punk/indie punk band The Carolyn have been likened to The Gaslight Anthem and The Lawrence Arms, and one listen to their 2023 EP ‘Harmful History’ will make it really obvious why. These guys truly wear their influences on their collective sleeve, but in terms of any recycling, it results in something that’s been made with love. More importantly, its familiarity makes it massively enjoyable with immediate effect.
Like many musicians, singer-songwriter Jake Simmons had great plans for 2020. The time had come to start thinking about a follow up to his ‘Shake So Easy’ LP recorded with The Little Ghosts, but by the time he’d hoped to resurrect the band, the world had other ideas and sidelined everything and everyone with a global pandemic.
Pat Todd first came to prominence with the Lazy Cowgirls in the 70s, but has fronted The Rankoutsiders since 2004. This accompaniment to his ‘Blues, Soul & Rock and Roll’ EP pairs a new Rankoutsiders recording with a cover tune that’s somehow been on Todd’s “to do” list for decades. In doing so, it marries the past and present, neatly drawing a line under a long overdue project whilst simultaneously looking forward.
On this 2016 release, among other things, Sam Alone sets out to recount tales of blue collar strife. Armed with a booming voice and a guitar he calls his “working class rifle”, the Portuguese performer could possibly be accused of trying just that little bit too hard to appeal to the working class listener. And with an obvious love of Springsteen, his sounds are familiar sounds enough, but does he – and his band The Gravediggers – have what it takes to make an impression, especially treading a path so many have stomped down before?