TC&I – Naked Flames: Live At Swindon Arts Centre

Life is capable of dealing out a surprise or two. One of the biggest musical surprises came in 2017 when ex-XTC drummer Terry Chambers returned from Australia and it subsequently announced he’d been writing and recording new material with his old bandmate Colin Moulding. The likelihood of any XTC members recording together had seemed about as likely as Roger Manning, Jr reforming Jellyfish, but it had quickly become a reality. Fans were, understandably, ecstatic. The resultant EP was good rather than great, but the fact that Moulding had seemingly returned to something resembling full time recording was good news enough.

TC&I then unleashed bigger news when they told the world they’d be playing a handful of live shows to support the release at Swindon Arts Centre. There was more at stake here than just a few new songs, of course; XTC had abruptly stopped touring in 1982 and Colin had a legacy of great material that had never been played in front of an audience. It was time to right that wrong.

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LOCAL DRAGS – Shit’s Lookin’ Up

Local Drags have been called “The best power pop band from Springfield, Illinois”. Regardless of how much competition the band may or may not be up against, if your idea of power pop is still rooted in the 70s with Raspberries and Badfinger albums, with Cheap Trick’s ‘In Color’ and the early works of Nick Lowe, it might be time to move along…this album won’t necessarily fill your ears with the musical hit you crave. If, on the other hand, you enjoy basic power pop aesthetics mixed with an insanely huge dose of good old pop-punk, then ‘Shit’s Lookin’ Up’, will indeed, catch you off guard and deliver a dozen tunes that’ll perk up your day…and fairly quickly too.

Bringing together the talents of Lanny Durbin (sometime of Starter Jackets) and Matt Sailor (Mayor Sheriff) and produced by The Copyrights’ ‘Luke McNeill, it’s an album with a great pop-punk pedigree and, in the main, the kind of record that fans of The Copyrights, The Apers and Parasites will certainly take to their collective hearts.

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ROY SHAKKED – Know Nothing EP

Using the name Holmes, singer/songwriter/producer Roy Shakked released an unmissable covers album – the appropriately titled ‘Covers’ – back in 2011. The following years found him disappearing into a busy schedule of work: a full length album of originals appeared in 2012 and following his relocating to Israel, by 2015, he was became a member of a new band The Bright Wild. Roy’s music continued to be hidden in plain sight over the next couple of years with his compositions appearing on numerous TV shows and adverts in the US and his need to create new sounds eventually yielded a new solo EP in December 2017. Continue reading

BEST BOYS ELECTRIC – Brett Pop Affairs EP

It’s not immediately clear what (or, indeed, whom) “Brett Pop” is, but it’s obviously really important to this group of musicians from Bremen. Immersing themselves in a retro, cartoonish world, Best Boys Electric are out for fun. Sure, music can be deep and cerebral, but that’s not so much a focus here, as these guys set out to stoke up good times throughout this EP.

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