REVIEW: BUTTERFLIES, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM ZAIA

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.

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THE 20 BEST RADICAL MUSIC RELEASES OF 2016

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.

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TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK – AN INTERVIEW WITH ERIK PETERSEN OF MISCHIEF BREW

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

TOGETHER WE CAN BE MORE – AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS OF LUVDUMP

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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

#WORSTGOVERNMENTEVER – AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS T-T

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

EDUCATION AND AGITATION – AN INTERVIEW WITH SAM BELL OF THE ROUGHNECK RIOT

By Chris Jarvis

Much like how their hometown of Warrington is overshadowed by neighbouring Manchester and Liverpool, The Roughneck Riot have for many years been overshadowed by their peers on the celtic punk scene. Flogging Molly, Dead Kennedys, The Real McKenzies and The Tossers are the big league, and everyone else is overlooked and often forgotten. But The Roughneck Riot excel in the field of the tried and tested blend of folk music instruments and thudding punk rock just as much as any other. With mandolins, accordions and banjos, Roughneck Riot like many other celtic punk bands are part of a movement that for many years has bene redefining what it means to be a rock band and what punk music is.Continue Reading