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Lost Winter

Sometimes the best songs are the most simple, uncomplicated ones. Lost Winter understand this and are the kind of band who have the uncanny ability to create melodies and lyrics that hit that sweet spot time and time again. After releasing four EPs (Winter, Summer, Spring and Autumn) in the last three years and now just a duo, Richard Westwood and Charlotte Francis have just released their debut album ‘Long Distance Journeys’ In a world where everything has to be intense, in your face, and hurtling along at 100mph it’s wonderful for an album to give you a feeling of being transported to wonderful place, where music tugs at the heartstrings.
The album is the bringing together of the influences and experiences of the band in the past year, Richard has recently taken an interest in the piano compositions of the talented Francis MacDonald, classical composer and drummer for Scottish band Teenage Fanclub and Charlotte has recently given birth to her son and the pregnancy inspired her poetic lyrics. Previous releases have been mainly based around electronic indie-pop, but the pair have laid themselves bare for their debut album, stripping their sound back to just a piano and the gorgeous vocals of Charlotte, with a slight sprinkling of strings.
The album leads with ‘Song of Love’ a spine tingling ballad, Charlotte’s heartfelt tones melt into the lush chords of the piano as she sings “Listen to my song of love, the one we have been dreaming of”. Flawlessly flowing from one track to the next, the lyrics are heartfelt and cleverly written, on ‘Walking Mind’ “Sleepless nights” are to compared to “Traffic Lights, turning red to green, up and down” Although the sound of strings is used sparingly, when heard on tracks ‘Hold On’ and ‘Is Anything Free’ along with gorgeous, subtle harmonies they gently lift the songs further. The album finishes with a flourish, the final track ‘Vanishing Light’ features bass and drums, but their low-key use only adds to the beauty of the track.
‘Long Distance Journeys’ leaks with passion,love and talent, and will have you reaching for the skip back button as you crave to listen again and again.

The album was released on August 28th and can be purchased from bandcamp


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Halloween Jack

In David Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’ Halloween Jack is described as a real cool cat, which is very apt for this London band who have crafted a lively sound all of their own, blending a retro-tinged coolness with a fresh and exciting modern edge. The band have just released their debut album ‘Nitelife’, full of swagger and retro-laced rock ‘n’ roll, combining rock elements with indie-pop ones to produce a strong, self-assured album, that doesn’t have one bad moment on it.
Halloween Jack, who formed in 2013, are Adam Camm on Vocals, Ian McEwan Bass, Nigel Tait Guitar and Sam Kerins Keyboards. The band’s sound is unpidgeonholeable as it crosses over many genres, drawing on numerous influences from the 60’s onwards. They played their first gig at the Dublin Castle, Camden in November 2013 to promote their first EP, the four track ‘Red’. Since then they have released two Singles, the gorgeous laid back ‘All My Love’ and the opener for this Album ‘So Masochistic’ with it’s scorching fervour of glam rock.
The album features ten tracks “built around themes of what ‘Nitelife’ entails and the characters that are a part of it’, kicking off with ‘So Masochistic”. As the lead out track it sets the bar high right from the start, a striking foot stomper with a furiously groovy guitar. It’s funky, it’s infectious and you can’t help but get swept along in its energy. The title track ‘Nitelife’ follows brimming with a melodic rock sound that is epic in ambition, yet underpinned with Camm’s versatile vocals giving it an indie feel. Vocally satisfying and well written lyrics, this is the kind of track that just keeps getting better with each listen ‘Vice’ is a teasing, edgy kind of track with some blistering guitar work and even a rapping segment, nevertheless it still manages to retain a catchy pop element courtesy of some cute hooks and sharp melodies. The fourth track ‘Fly in Amber’ has a 70’s classic rock vibe to it, allowing Camm’s vocals to quietly soar over some rollicking guitar licks and piano chords. ‘Sex Appeal’ sees the band cutting loose and adding some funk. It’s a song oozing with good-time energy from start to finish, dancebeats, handclaps, falsetto backing vocals and a shout-out chorus.’The Streets Come Alive’ slowly builds on the back of an infectious central guitar riff towards one of those bold singalong chorus that goes down a storm live. There is a blast of indie-rock energy on ‘Lover Boy’ as the guitars weighing in with some grittier riffs mix it with heavy keyboards, an energy that’s difficult to resist. ‘2995’ is one of the standout tracks of the album with it’s twangy country rock intro and piano keys weaving their way in and out with an effortless brightness. It slowly builds to a striking chorus, with Camm’s emotionally delivered vocals sounding a little Mick Jagger-esque . An anthem-in-waiting, it demands to be played loud and repeatedly. ‘Pop Music’ is one of those bouncy, happy-go-lucky songs that just gets under your skin and refuses to budge. The final track ‘Into The Sunset’ ensures the album finishes on a high. Built around atmospheric electronics and some breezy guitar riffs, it’s a perfect slice of indie-pop.

The album was released on August 21st and can be purchased from itunes


 


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Embers In Snow

One of our favourite artists of all time is the Cocteau Twins, who created ethereal soundscapes that were truly timeless . Nearly twenty years later another artist has released an EP that has grabbed our attention in the same way, the EP is ‘Foresight’ and the artist Embers In Snow. Although the sound is sparser, there is a greater atmospheric feel to the music, creating twenty-four minutes of uncompromising beauty and intelligence.
Embers in Snow is the single-man led musical project of 21 year old Songwriter/producer Rakat Zami, hailing from Dhaka, Bangladesh, and this five track EP has been in development for over a year.
The EP opens with ‘Locked Souls’, a track that drifts on a tranquil cloud of synth amidst gentle keys and some delicious pulsating ukulele strings. As the sound develops Zami’s lucid vocals and lyrics melt into the track as it slowly reaches a crescendo before gently fading away. Safira follows, a sublime piece of work that has been around for a while, but has never sounded better than on this EP. It soars on a fuller sound that captivates and entrances, wrapping its wings about you, sheltering you within this place of safety and fortifying the spirit for its inevitable re-emergence, stunning. Written by Tilok Adnan, the third track is The Gathering, and it sees Zami’s vocals, sung over an acoustic guitar, at their most confident, delivering poignant lyrics about holding on to the past. ‘Fall’ is possibly the weakest of the five tracks, only because of the standard of the other four, it delivers a song from the heart with it’s clever well-written lyrics. The final track is ‘Bonfire’ a song that brought Embers In Snow to our attention, a beguiling, almost haunting track with delicate vocals sung by Tilok Adnan, supported by a sparse, minimal arrangement giving it a sense of mesmerizing beauty.
Some people may call this EP “ambient” but that is misleading. Ambient music is intended to function as a backdrop, but these original five tracks demand and reward close attention. Every listen it gets better and better. An artist with a great future in front of him and a wonderful vision for his music.