by Sara Harrington
An acoustic bar cuts the silence as a rowdy ‘1, 2, 3, 4’ heralds in the full band and an anthemic pop punk belter: the start of something new for punks of the folk persuasion; Jake & The Jellyfish – Long In Winters. Released 26 January 2018 with a gloriously green vinyl available on Invisible Llama Music, this album sees an evolution of sound from this newly re-outfitted 5 piece (sometimes 6), as 2 new members, Derek and Omar, grace the line up. The album revels in raucous, melodic sing-alongs which you can’t help but join in with, even though you don’t know the words yet. But trust me, you will.
by Rowan Gavin
Today, Essex-born folk singer Beans On Toast releases his ninth album, ‘Cushty’. Last night, I saw Beans play live for the ninth-ish time (if I’m honest, I’ve lost count, but the symmetry is pleasing). If you’ve been to a British festival in the past decade you’ve probably run into Beans as well – he’s the kind of musician who pops up everywhere. With a new album out every year since 2009, he’s perpetually turning up in your town on tour, or supporting one of his many musical friends, or appearing at festivals you didn’t know he was on the bill for.
By Rowan Gavin and Liam Hawkes
“We break the rules”
So says lead singer Amy MacKown on Simple Tune, the penultimate track of the debut album from Oxford’s current premiere Reggae outfit, ZAIA. We wouldn’t say they break the rules so much as blend and bend them, juggling genres and playing with preconceptions throughout this fascinating and infectious summertime record.
By Chris Jarvis
Yes, yes, we all know that 2016 has been an unmitigated cluster-fuck, with rising fascism, worsening humanitarian crises and intensifying conflict. In moments of darkness, many of us turn to the arts world – especially music – for comfort, for release, for explanation. With David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, Maurice White, George Martin, Phife Dawg, Erik Petersen, Leonard Cohen, Nick Menza, Greg Lake, Sharon Jones, and too many others all having passed away, many have found music to have also fallen on dark times.
That notwithstanding, 2016 has been a year of some undeniably and uniquely brilliant music too, especially music that espouses messages of a better world, of political analysis, of radical alternatives. Here are the 20 best of those radical releases from the past year.
by Chris Jarvis
In the early 2000s, American punk music underwent one if its periodical renovations on the underground scenes. Bringing together punk rock’s anger, pace and aesthetic and meshing it with the instruments, skill and stories of folk music, folk-punk shifted the goalposts of what it meant to be a punk band. While Against Me! are probably the most famous, Defiance, Ohio the most innovative and influential, Mischief Brew are probably the best. A decade after their first full-length release Smash the Windows they continue to produce rebel rousing and exciting music, with last year’s This is Not for Children shows their ongoing versatility and eclecticity endures.Continue Reading
by Chris Jarvis
Luvdump came kicking and skanking out of Bury St Edmunds in 2007, bringing to life their aggressive mix of melodic punk rock and ska-core. 2013 saw the release of their second full length album, Age of Austerity, alongside their relocation to the North West, where they have made their home ever since. A regular on the UK ska and punk circuit, Luvdump have continuously maintained a political current to their music, lifestyles and lyrics, with the social conscience of the band seeping through almost every song.Continue Reading
by Chris Jarvis
‘Worst government ever!’ growls the chorus of Chris T-T’s latest single. The lead track on his forthcoming album 9 Green Songs, set to be released on June 3rd is a blistering attack on Conservative Britain. The song is emblematic of the reputation that Chris T-T has developed as being a singer-songwriter known not only for the music he produces, but also for the politics that he espouses along the way.Continue Reading