Sunday, 30 January 2011

New Music : Round Up Sunday

RJ Thompson 
With a quite astonishing voice, RJ Thompson is a singer songwriter from Newcastle-upon-Tyne who looks set to have a great 2011 ahead of him. His next single 'A Better Life' is released 27th February, you can check out the video here. // RJ Thompson
RJ Thompson - Another One In Your File (Acoustic Version) by Music Liberation

Jess Bryant
If you're a fan of Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes) then you're going to love Jess Bryant. Understated yet endearing vocals, combined with magical music you get totally lost listening to. There's a rumour she's an excellent guitarist too. Debut album 'Silvern' out this Spring. // Jess Bryant
Jess Bryant - Molten by Music Liberation

Music Liberation first encountered Digits back in 2009, when we checked out his debut record 'Hold It Close'. Since then he's been working hard and returns this year with a new single 'Lost Dream' which carries on his dreamy 80's inspired indie pop. // Digits
Digits - Lost Dream by Music Liberation

Instrumental bands, you either love them or hate them. Music Liberation loves them. Which is why Fear And Records signees Masks have gone straight onto our must listen to playlist. Brooding, swirling, finger picking, riffs, crushing finale, its all there. '7 of 9' comes out on a new mini album later this year. // Masks
Masks - 7 of 9 by Music Liberation

Thursday, 27 January 2011

EP Review : Gaoler's Daughter - Rhyme &Treason

Gaoler's Daughter sound like all your favourite indie bands combined. Is this a good thing?

Gaoler's Daughter – a London based quartet – have incorporated a plentitude of differing indie styles into their sound. Each song on 'Rhyme & Treason' has a different character; making it rather difficult to conclusively decide which indie subgenre the band belongs in. More often than not, bands that vary styles or genres from song to song claim to be 'pushing boundaries' wherein actuality they lack coherence, confidence and direction. This is not quite the case with Gaoler's Daughter – their aspirations to appeal to all fans across the indie spectrum are clear and confident.

Alex Turner's Arctic Monkeys (particularly their 'Humbug' direction) and The Last Shadow Puppets have clearly been an influence on these Londoners, with both 'Shark In A Sink' and 'Famous Green Dress' containing one or more of the key elements of Turner's songwriting. 'Shark In A Sink' flits back and forth from a somber tempo to an energetic one, much like the 'Monkeys, and goes out with a spirited, guitar-driven bang packed with sharp, layered riffs. 'Famous Green Dress' sounds exactly like a Turner ballad, and for that reason alone it is a little disappointing – even Sterry's vocal delivery sounds too similar to Alex Turner’s whine.

The most instantly gratifying track on 'Rhyme & Treason' is 'Angry Eyes,' a little indie-gem laced with hints of reggae and folk. Fantastic strumming and plucking by singer/guitarist Sterry and second guitarist Mahood, but as likeable and catchy as this tune is it just sounds too much like The Libertines. Just as Sterry took too much of Turner's whine on board for 'Famous Green Dress,' here his voice contains a little too much of Pete Doherty's trademark slurring-drawl for it's own good. 'Anyone' contains Sterry's best vocal performance (even if it does lack the immediacy of the other three tracks) simply because he isn’t trying too hard to sound like one of his indie heroes. Intriguingly it contains a kind of shoegazing and noise-pop edge to it, which despite not really fitting the overall tone of this EP makes for one of the most interesting listens available here.

So Gaoler's Daughter's new EP isn't particular original (no, splicing together elements of Arctic Monkeys, The Libertines, The Kooks and My Bloody Valentine does not make for an original sound, no matter how openly and confidently those elements are put together), but it is pleasing to the ears. Well written and well performed, this EP suggests Gaoler’s Daughter are capable of achieving great things. They just need to iron out those obvious similarities to their influences. Check out 'Rhyme & Treason' upon its Valentine Day release. // Gaoler's Daughter

Gaolers Daughter - Angry Eyes by Music Liberation

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Single Review : Chris Devotion & The Expectations (CD EX)

Rock and roll has never been about musicianship, it’s what you do with it that counts. From Chuck Berry to The White Stripes, various incarnations of the twelve bars blues have been roaring through the decades with perfection when placed in the right hands.

So Glasgow’s Chris Devotion and The Expectations familiar take on this even more familiar genre is a risk, but it pays off. New single ‘I Need Your Touch’ is brittle rock and roll that might begin with sparse Hives-style riffs, but culminates in a baying mob of hand claps and blues solos. Devotion does a frenzied job telling everyone he ‘needs your touch’ in an impassioned call-and-response wail all within a mere two minutes. And it seems brevity is the key here as supporting b-side ‘Pinhole Suit’ rips through 90 seconds of Rocket-from-the-Crypt-esque posturing, ending before it’s almost begun.

This compact aural assault of a single might be nothing new but that doesn’t mean it’s nothing good. It’s a welcomed slap round the face that’s worth catching on it’s release. But caution: blink and you’ll miss it. Music Liberation’s advice? Don’t blink.

I Need Your Touch’ is out on 7th February on Armellodie Records. // Chris Devotion & The Expectations

I Need Your Touch by CD/EX by Armellodie

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Guest Post : Callie Morris - Top 5 Live Acts of 2011

It's a new year (well, it's been a couple of weeks) and you might be wondering about some of the hottest new live acts to check out in 2011. We got Callie Morris, Web Editor on ticketing website to tell us some of her favourite acts and hot tips for the year ahead.

Anita Blay, better known as Cocknbullkid and her foray into the dark side of pop is definitely one to watch for 2011. Her live performances put huge focus on being interactive, entertaining and unforgettable as her powerful voice and glitzy charisma combine.
With influences such as Morrissey, The Human League and Madonna, and comparisons to M.I.A, Cocknbullkid isn’t one for fitting into just one genre. Her debut album 'Adulthood' is set for release in February and she’ll be playing in London for the ‘Next Big Thing’ event in the same month. For more details on Cocknbullkid tour dates you can check out

Possibly the most cheerful band ever, Grouplove put a lot of their success down to fluke compatibility and fate. With two members from New York, one from London and two from Los Angeles they all met by chance while spending a summer in Greece where they made music, had a great time and developed a family-like bond. When it ended the five-piece decided they couldn’t leave it there - A year later they were all happily living in Los Angeles and pursuing their music. Their live performances are peppered with sweet harmonies and foot-tappingly good beats, making it impossible not to sing along to - even if you don’t know the words. They also have a blog full of stuff. They’ll be playing in London and Manchester at the start of February, for more details check out the Group Love tickets page at

The Naked and Famous
Five piece indie band The Naked and Famous make their own brand of electro pop which is set to be huge in 2011. Their first album 'Passive Me, Aggressive You' was released in September 2010, with the single ‘Young Blood’ debuting at number 1 in their hometown of New Zealand. This heralded them as the first New Zealand band to reach this spot on the charts in three years. They are now setting their sights on the UK for the recognition they definitely deserve – beginning an extensive UK tour in February with an appearance at the NME Awards Show in London, and ending in Manchester on the 8th March. Check for more details of their 2011 tour.

Alex Winston
Alex Winston’s live performances are so packed full of atmosphere that you’ll leave wondering why you took so long to go see her. The Detroit singer-songwriter moved to New York in 2010 to pursue her career in music, releasing her first single ‘Choice Notes’ to critical acclaim and cementing her position as a definite rising star for 2011. In February she will be making an appearance at the NME Awards ShowGo to for Alex Winston tickets and more info.

In the past Warpaint has had many alterations to their line - some of these include actress Shannon Sossamon & current Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer - showing you’re in very safe hands with musical ability. Their bewitching debut album 'The Fool' was released in Oct 2010 with their first single ‘Shadows’ being released this month, undoubtedly catapulting them to the forefront of the experimental rock genre. The girls will be appearing at the 2011 NME Awards Show in Feb, before heading off onto an extensive UK tour in May, ending in Sheffield on the 24th. Check out for more info.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

New Music : Surreal

With quite possibly the busiest January for new music ever on Music Liberation in our 4 years of existence, we kick things off on a strong note with Brighton based duo, Surreal. Consisting of vocalist Laurence Allen and multi instrumentalist Tim Rowkins, Surreal could well be the ones to take over from Mike Skinner when he hangs up his boots later this year.

Whilst Surreals music can easily be compared with other singer/beat maker combo's such as Dan Les Sac Vs Scroobios Pip, that lazy comparison hides the true quality. 

For me, that quality is Allen, with his ability to combine styles of rap, singing, and spoken word seem almost effortless, with the track 'Distance' being a prime example of this. His lyrics are cutting, switching from sweeping choruses to pin point reflections of modern day life in the UK. The beats get mixed up too, from standard hip hop-ish to piano, to dubstep and dance, sprinkling of guitars, and all back round again. It makes for a real listening pleasure, with the variation on offer making each return to Serreals music seem new, exciting, and fresh.

With remixes lined up for the likes of Jamie Woon, support from indie guru Steve Lamacq, numerous live shows in the pipe line, and a debut album set to drop later this Summer, Surreal could (and probably should) have a very busy and successful year ahead of them.  // Surreal / Twitter / Soundcloud

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Future Sounds of 2011

2011 looks set to be another stellar year for Music Liberation, with EP, Single, and Album reviews of brand new music from across the world, as well as a sprinkling of interviews, videos and live gig reports. We are also looking to expand the writing team this year, so please get in touch if you'd like to get involved and join the team. 

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, we thought we'd share our thoughts on which artists we think are going to do well over the next 12 months. In last years 'Future Sounds of 2010' post we tipped - Fenech Soler, Marina And The Diamonds, The Muscle Club, Turbowolf, Ellie Goulding, George Lenton, CasiokidsJoy Orbison, iLiKETRAiNS and Errors . Most of those did rather well if we do say so ourselves, although maybe we were slightly too early with a couple. 

Right onto this years tips...

- Funeral Party
Disco Punk crazyness from LA, Funeral Party release their debut record 'Golden Age Of Knowhere' through Jive later this month.

- Joy Formidable
We first featured Welsh trio Joy Formidable over two years ago, so we are eager to hear their debut album 'Big Roar', and have high hopes.

- James Blake
2nd on the BBC Sounds of 2011 to Jessie J (urgh), James Blake brings something completely new to the table with his unique and and abstract take on dubstep.

- Yasmin
Making the transition from DJ to solo artist, Yasmin looks set for a bright future if her debut single 'On My Own' (produced by Shy FX) is anything to go by. 

- Chapel Club
Will 2011 finally be Chapel Club's year? Well with the long awaited release of their first LP 'Palace' later this month, its surely got to happen!

Over to Moker with his thoughts on 2011...

Of course, music never stops and this year looks set to be as packed with aural gems as 2010. I’ve stumbled across a few low key bands of late who I would recommend you keep tabs on for 2011. 

These are: - Seapony, who have a full album pending, the lo-fi LA-based Superhumanoids, punk-math-noisers Hold Your Horse Is (featured on Music Lib back in September) and ex-Cherbourg lead singer Andrew Davie, who’s now struck out on his own and is fantastic. M83 also has an album in the pipeline for 2011 which should be all shades of amazing, as well as yet another release from the crazy ‘… And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead’. Fantastic!

And finally here's Clive with his chosen few tips for this year.

- Vices
Despite remaining unsigned, this guitar-driven Indie sextet from Reading have racked up 180,000+ MySpace hits. Combining blues, garage rock and skinny jeans could Vices be the UK’s answer to Kings Of Leon?

      - Two Wounded Birds
According to The Drums guitarist Jacob Graham this quartet are that “surf band that everyone wanted The Drums to be.” Look out for their melodic surf-rock tinged debut later this year.

- Sound Of Rum
Jazz laden hip hop outfit fronted by the youthful Kate Tempest – lovable but equally intimidating – their first LP will be released relatively soon through Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best label.

- Jamie Woon
Yes, Music Liberation knows he’s topped everyone’s ‘Tips for 2011’ lists, but having caught his intimate live show at XOYO just before the close of 2010 I can honestly say that he is one of the new artists I am most excited about for the coming year.

- I Ching
A very new band consisting of Kevin Emre and ex-Thousand Natural Shocks frontman Rollo Smallcombe. Their blend of noise pop, new wave and folk with electronic music is genuinely inspired. I Ching’s MySpace page may still label them as unsigned, but the question is for how long?

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Music : Discodeine feat. Jarvis Cocker - Synchronize

Before we get to Music Liberation's original top tips for 2011 later on in the week, here's a latecomer in the shape of French duo Discodeine. Ahead of their debut album release through Dirty/Pschent on February 14th, comes the track 'Synchronize' which features Britpop legend Jarvis Cocker. It's a super little disco infused indie belter which bodes well for these new Frenchies. Buy Single / Discodeine