Wednesday, 24 December 2014

thegeneral's 2014 Round Up Award Ceremony With Optional Sausage On A Stick

It's that time of year again, the time of year literally no-one has been eagerly waiting for. Perhaps even less of you than that. It's time to once again put the champagne on ice (Yorkshire Tea in the pot), to roll out the red carpet (this year, a rather fetching off cut of carpet from "Beige Monstrosities R-US") and artfully arrange the snackettes in a bowl on the coffee table.

It's "thegeneral's 2014 Annual Round Up Award Ceremony With Optional Sausage On A Stick" and although last year's will take some beating (several of the bands have yet to get over me doing that impression of Judy Finnegan - and I'm still waiting for Matt Berninger to come and whisk me off my feet), we're going to carry on manfully and see what treats are in store for some of the bands and acts I've really loved this year.

Let us get cracking with some festive cheer...

The Best of The Best In Genres:

Best Bit of Prog-Rock Goodness For 2014

Rob Reed - Sanctuary

Released in July this year, this was a superb paean to Reed's fascination with Mike Oldfield, A wonderful, original composition, which took in elements of Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn and Incantations, this quickly became my most listened to album of the summer and garnered much critical acclaim for Robert. A thoroughly engaging and beautifully composed listen.

You can read my original post HERE

You can buy "Sanctuary" from HERE

Best Bit of Trippy Electronica for 2014

Ninetails -  Radiant Hex

Ninetails - Radiant Hex

Liverpool's Ninetails have undergone something of a brilliant transformation since they released their initial EPs back in 2012, they've gone from a frankly marvellous and original complex guitar sound to a band that are now not afraid to experiment with soundscapes, trippiness and ambient delights. This was far and away my favourite bit of electronic tinged goodness this year and hopefully there'll be more to come from them in the not too distant future.

You can read my original post HERE

You can listen to "Radiant Hex" HERE

Best Punky Punks of 2014

Cross Wires - Assembly/Your History Defaced

ASSEMBLY EP cover art

Punk is such a contentious genre and many bands claim to fit into it, while being about as subversive as a Marks and Spencer's Mushroom Quiche. Cross Wires are a proper bona-fide punk outfit that really capture the essence of the music, yet still retain their own identity. "Assembly" was one of the best EPs I heard this year, without a doubt and it should be high up on any self respecting punk's playlist.

You can read my original posts HERE

You can listen to Cross Wires HERE

Best Shoegazers Since My Bloody Valentine Award 

Mutes - MPDG

M.P.D.G cover art

Mutes. Lovely lovely Mutes. When I heard their EP "MPDG" earlier this year it took me back to a time when my hair was long, my clothes were black and I walked around with a permanent air of ennui about me (though that might be last week if you listen to most of my friends). Mutes have brought the gentle art of shoegazing back with a 21st century twist, "MPDG" was an EP of lovely contrasts, great songs and beautifully thought out music. One to watch in 2015.

You can read my original post HERE

You can listen to Mutes HERE

The Folk Me (!) Alt-Country Award

Blair Dunlop - House of Jacks

I'm a big folk music fan, weaned on it from my youngest years - bands like Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention were some of my fondest and earliest musical memories and Blair Dunlop carries on than fine tradition, and puts his own spin on a genre that is often misunderstood. "House of Jacks" is a superb album, one for well initiated folkies, but also one for people who don't know much about the genre and want a good initiation - it's alt-country tinged brilliance shows Blair to be a very talented singer/songwriter/musician. More please, Blair, in 2015.

You can read my original post HERE

You can listen to Blair HERE

The Best of The Best Best Best Best

Most Missed Forevs, Like


We Found Gold cover art

Tusk. Gone but nevs forgotten. There isn't much more to say. I thought I was bereft when Blank Maps split up, but I'll miss these guys heaps. There's still lots of time to catch up on their witty brilliance and musical aceness, so I heartily suggest that although they've gone, you click on my linkies and get acquainted. They were a brilliant band, much missed but hoping they'll return in some way, shape or form in the coming year or two.

You can read my posts about Tusk HERE

You can listen to Tusk HERE

Best Single of 2014

The Everglows - Sugary Sun

Sugary Sun cover art

The Everglows have become an oft-featured fixture on these pages the last few months, but "Sugary Sun" was definitely my single of the year. I loved it for it's psychedelic tinged awesomeness, it imbued the 60s without turning into a pastiche. This is one of those tracks that makes you glad to be alive. I'm expecting great things from them next year.

You can read my posts on The Everglows HERE

You can listen to The Everglows HERE

Best EP of 2014

Static Future - Assembly

This EP was a very very welcome late musical addition to the year, I'd so loved the band's last single "Marseille" and this release "Assembly", coming earlier in December is just as wonderful. Static Future are a band of great talent, I love their slightly ska-y, punky, syncopated rhythms and strong vocals. They should be getting much more attention than they are - so make it your mission to add them to your playlists in 2015.

You can read my posts on Static Future HERE

You can listen to Static Future HERE

Best Album of 2014

Co-pilgrim - Plumes

Co-pilgrim were one of the loveliest discoveries I made this year and now I've found them I'm hooked. "Plumes" is a genuinely brilliant album, full of simply stunning harmonies and wistful melancholia. Reminiscent of bands like Teenage Fanclub, yet ploughing their own furrow in an effortlessly stylish way. This is a record I've played over and over and I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

You can read my post on Co-pilgrim HERE

You can listen to Co-pilgrim HERE

Best Band of 2014

Flights of Helios

Factory cover art

Easily my favourite act of the year. Flights of Helios have been a real joy to listen to. Their single "Factory", released in March is one of the best songs I've heard in years (the bassline at the start is IMMENSE) and they followed it up in fine style with a third outing called "Succubus" just in time for Halloween, which was equally captivating. They're a band that I'm going to continue to champion heartily and that really do deserve great success. A worthy winner.

You can read my posts on Flights of Helios HERE

You can listen to Flights of Helios HERE

So there you have it, thegeneral's blog of the year awards are complete - and it's now time for me to take a little break into the new year.

Every single band (whether featured in this review or not) have been a joy to feature on these pages through the last twelve months, and I've really enjoyed hearing from, listening to and writing about some genuinely outstanding music during 2014. Here's hoping 2015 is just as brilliant. I'm sure it will be.

It just remains for me to wish you all a safe, happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year - see you in January.

Much love

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Everglows - Amanita

Good afternoon. It's Sunday. It's the Sunday before Christmas, which doesn't technically have a name but given the number of things that have gone wrong in thegeneral's house today, it might well now be termed "Fuck The Fuck Off Sunday".

Anyway, bad luck and household woes aside, I've got some more brilliant new music to share with you and I'm happy to be doing so.

If you read these pages regularly you'll know that The Everglows have, over the last few months. become something of a fixture on the blog and I'm really pleased that they got in touch with me again to share their latest song - which is literally and actually out literally today. If you'd like to, you can read my previous posts on the band HERE.

However, ye can hear the new song by clicking on the link to their soundcloud page here:

"Amanita" is another soup-herb track, and continues their psychedelic excellence apace. There's also something slightly punky about this too - it's got a fab rough around the edges, discordant feel to it, which the band really do so well. It's also one of those kind of songs that you only really need to listen to once before you can sing along - or in my case, have it stuck in your head all day - always the sign of good tunesmithery in my book.

If you're after new music this festive season which isn't festive the season, then give the new track by The Everglows a whirl. You need it in your life!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Bethany Weimers - Winter Heart

Winter Heart (Single) cover art

Hello once more dear friends. Actually, I haven't got any friends, I live in a world of strangers. Go me. It's quite nice though. I talk to myself and sometimes I even make sense. Anyway, random ramblings aside, I've another new act to introduce to you and also to the blog - Bethany Weimers.

Bethany's new single "Winter Heart" was released on 1st December and it follows on from her critically acclaimed debut album "Harpsichord Row", which came out in 2012. This, however, is thegeneral's first introduction to her music and I'm really pleased to be featuring it on these pages today as it's just lovely.

As always, here is all you need - go to Bethany's bandcamp page to have a listen to the new single and also, if you so desire, her last album:

Here is also a wonderful link to the video which accompanies the song:

This is perfect for those who like really elegant, delicately crafted songs, with a feeling of vulnerability and fragility to them. It's very moving to listen to and the video is just beautiful. To make comparisons always, to me, seems very unfair to artists who are trying to make their way and be unique - but that said, if you're a fan of someone like Kate Bush, it's highly likely you'll love Bethany's music. There is more of a folky feel to Bethany's style, however - and "Winter Heart" is a lovely song to accompany the dark evenings.

The bandcamp page also features a remix of the song, by one of my favourite favourite acts of the year, Flights of Helios, who I've rattled on about quite a lot.

So, for something heartbreakingly beautiful and moving to listen to, give Bethany Weimers' new single a listen, and give her your support this season of goodwill.

FaceOmeter - Why Wait For Failure?

Why Wait for Failure? cover art

Hello and Happy Mad Saturday to you (or whatever they call the last Saturday before Christmas - I'd personally like to call it "lets all amble aimlessly round the supermarket getting in thegeneral's way, when all she wants to buy is some butter and tomatoes"). Anyway, that moan aside here we are and I think for all those of us that need something non-festive to cling's some music which might tickle your undercarriages.

Today I'm very happy to be bringing you a wonderful new album, released on 2nd November, from an act called FaceOmeter, called "Why Wait For Failure?".

As always, here are the necessaries - hoik your folk fiddles off to the bandcamp page to have a little listen:

This is a great album, absolutely great - and comes from a genre I don't feature nearly enough of on these pages (folk/alt-folk). I'm a big folkie anyway - those of you who read my missives regularly will know how much I love 60s and 70s folk rock. This album is of that ilk, but really in a class of it's own and does try to bring something fresh to an area of music that can sometimes be quite misunderstood.

I love the pace of these songs and their tempo, they're so evenly and freely constructed, and have a real feeling of movement to them. It's a jolly romp and the pace of the guitars, paired with urbane and froclickingly clever lyrics mean that you actually never get bored with any of the tracks or want to skip through them.

What's great about this collection of songs is they also have a really wandering, meandering, winding essence as well (a bit like reading this blog posts, for those of you who visit here regularly) and this comes in part, I think, from the fact that Will Tattersdill (erstwhile singer/songwriter/musician behind the act) describes himself in part - on the bandcamp page - as a travelling storyteller.

Standout tracks for me were "The Singular Adventures of Sally the Tumbleweed" and "Why Wait" (absolutely marvellous).

If you want something non Christmassy to listen to and would like to gently lower yourself into some fab folky inspired music, you won't go far wrong by getting yourself acquainted with FaceOmeter. Heartily and highly recommended.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Thieves - Same Old Story

The Thieves
Howdy. It's Saturday afternoon and it's pouring with rain, thegeneral has just been out for a long walk and is now what can only be described as "piss wet through". So what could be finer that sitting down, drying off (well actually I dried off first before I sat down) getting a big mug of tea and sharing some excellentosity in music with you.

Today, I'd really like to introduce you to a band from Derby called The Thieves. The guys contacted me via The Twitters and asked me to have a listen to their single "Same Old Story". They've got a new single coming out in the new year which I'll give you all a heads up on when it's due for release, but in the meantime, have a listen to this:

The Thieves - Same Old Story

...and then do yourselves a favour and buy it...

...from here...

Reasons to love this song. It's super super cool. It's got brilliant riffage, I like the ebb and flow of the chords and the slightly maths rock feel to it. The vocals are nicely powerful, yet slightly muted and raw and to me it feels like one of those songs I'd want to listen to repeatedly 'cos it's so bloody infectious.

This is pretty much thegeneral's major introduction to the band and I've loved what I've heard so far - if you have to then give the guys your support, they're definitely one to watch in 2015. You  might not have heard them here first, but they're really worthy of your support and I'm definitely looking forward to hearing the new this space...

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Whitemoor - The North Wind

The North Wind - Single, Whitemoor

Well, here I am with a second post to whet your musical whistles on this grey and dreary day. We all need some musical sustenance on days like this.

What can I offer you? I can offer you another band that I've happily featured on these pages before and am equally happy to be featuring again.

Step forward Whitemoor. If you like, you can read my previous post on them HERE and I highly recommend you do.

Now then, they have a new single, due for release on the 13th December, and it's called "The North Wind". It will be available for download from their site:

and you'll also be able to preview it from here:

I've been lucky enough to have a sneak peak of the single and I can say that it's very very well worth a listen and, when the time comes, a download.

"The North Wind" is a stunning track, it's very stripped back and the band are, for want of a better phrase, laid bare for the first time. It's a step in a different direction for the band, after their last album and is more ballad-like. It allows the strength of their lyrics to shine through and also shows that they're a group of great depth. The video, which accompanies the single (and I'll update the page with this when the time comes for it to be released officially) is wonderful in its simplicity and it marries with the song very well indeed.

If you're after something gently lulling and emotional to listen to as we head into December, then look no further than this wonderful record. I hope that the band allow this side of their musical personality to come through more in the future.

The Everglows - Walking In The Air

Walking In Air cover art

Hello, good evening and welcome. Or if you're reading this in the morning, go away. I don't do mornings.

Normally, when it comes to the festive season I'm about as happy as a Misanthrope visiting the University of Happy People (Grinning Idiot Campus), the day they dish out the uppers. This year I'm making more of an effort. I've wrapped tinsel round my...actually, I won't tell you where. I'll leave you guessing.

But today, I'm breaking with my grinchyness to bring you a lovely bit of festive rock and roll joy. One of the best singles I hear all summer was The Everglow's last release "Sugary Sun". For those that missed it - SHAME ON YOU, but here is the link to my post so you can read and buy: HERE.

The guys got in touch with me late last week to ask if I'd be willing to cover their new gramaphone recording, and reader I am more than happy to oblige. First of all, the necessaries, hoik your tinselly gussets over to bandcamp to have a listen:

Yes. Yes, you're hearing right. It's a cover of "Walking In The Air". And isn't it jolly bloody most brilliant? Aled Jones, eat your little undropped plums out (there's an image you never thought you'd have...)

I love this. I love it's moddy-psychedelic tinged hipness. You could almost believe it was a brand new track they'd written themselves. But most of all, it's a perfect antidote to those of us who are sick of the usual festive songs doing the rounds (you KNOW the ones I mean...). It's a belter of a cover and it's well worth adding to your festive playlist.

So go on, do your festive bit and get the track. Every time you download this track, it stops you from buying the Band Aid single. Please, everyone, buy this instead.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Static Future - Assembly

Well, I'm pure mad excited about this. Hello again by the way. I hope you're sitting comfortably and have managed to make a nice cup of tea since my last post. I've got something to share with you that I've been waiting ages for (and not, it's not a copy of "Fifty Shades of Anthracite"), it's a brand new EP from a brilliant band that I've featured here on these pages before - the very very tres marvellousse Static Future.

I love these guys a lot and their last single "Marseille" was one of the songs I played to death when it came out and also over this summer too. I was honestly about to send out a search party for them as I thought they might have got lost on the way back from the toilets, but no - it turns out they've been away preparing another brilliant set of recordings.

"Assembly" is going to be released tomorrow - 1st December if you're reading this today, if you're reading it tomorrow then it's already out, or you're in a parallel universe.

It'll be available from their bandcamp page here:

and to be honest while you're waiting for it to go up there you wouldn't be badly placed to go and pick yourselves up a copy of "Marseille" and their previous releases up.

"Assembly" is a corker. It really is. I've been lucky enough to have a preview and I love it. I think I said it before, but their music has a brilliant bounce to it. There's something about it that makes you want to jump up and down. It's a combination of really pure guitar sound and brilliant vocals from Gavin Marshall (Gav, if you're reading this, you can leave my £10 under the plant pot outside my flat, not "that" plant pot...the other one). But seriously, there isn't a duff track on the new collection - there's a brilliant mix of almost ska like beats, syncopated guitars and poppy marvellousness that is really going to make winter evenings that bit more worthwhile at thegeneral towers.

Opener "Is This Real Love" is a fine way to kick off proceedings and the pace continues through to the end track "Sunday Suns" which has great scuzzy guitars on it and is a brilliantly rocky end.

If you don't go and buy this EP when it's released then we can no longer be friends. It's as simple as that. Static Future are ACE and I won't hear a word said against them. So there.

Roja - Promises I Should Have Kept EP

Roja image

Well greetings to you all. It's Super Blog Sunday (which literally means "I ran out of time to do all the fun stuff during the week and am frantically catching up now"), so today there's two for the price of one. I know you're all really excited about this - apart from YOU AT THE BACK WHO SEEMS TO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP - WAKE UP!!!

OK, for my first offering today I'd simply love to introduce you to a brilliant band from Liverpool called Roja. Roja are very new to my musical radar, but a very welcome addition they are indeed.

Tomorrow (1st December) sees the release of their new EP "Promises I Should Have Kept" and I've been given a lovely sneaky wee preview of it.

Here's a link to their bandcamp page to see what they're all about:

...and once the single is released properly I'll update this page with the necessaries so you can go and buy it/tell your friends/marry it etc.

I can honestly say that this new EP is a real breath of fresh air to listen to. First track "Yeah I Could" is utterly outstanding - and it's followed by three others "The End", "The Evil Stands High" and "It's Not Just A Game" - each are really worthy in their own right and go to make up a collection of tracks that are surprising in their ferocity and brilliance.

The act call themselves a modern mariachi act and there's a great feel to their music. It's vibrant, it's brassy and it's very complete - whilst it's music that makes you want to move, there is also a delightfully sepia tinged sadness to the songs. The guitars mix beautifully with the brass and the vocals are powerful and raw.

These tracks follow on from last year's LP of the same title and they pave the way for a new record which is to come next year. After hearing these tracks I can most definitely say that I'm really looking forward to hearing what they come up with.

Roja are definitely one to watch in 2015.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Provincials - When The Light Changes

When the Light Changes EP cover art

Hola babes. I love the way you've done your eyeliner. It would have been even better if you'd done it sober. And with the hand that wasn't dodgy. But never mind, You've made the effort. That counts for something.

We're getting awfully close to Christmas now. I've just got back in from town. I know that the festive season is upon us because the shopping centre was full of irate women walking three steps in front of their husbands going "I don't know why we're shopping for your Aunty May, anyway, Brian, she never thanked me for those bath cubes in 1973". Brian, meanwhile looks on and wishes he could be having a nice sit down with a cup of coffee. On another continent.

So I've just sat down with a brew myself and I'm in need of something to chill me out. Reader, I think I might have it.

I'd like to introduce you to a stellar, stellar band called Provincials. First of all, here is the link to their latest release, which comes out on Monday 17th November and you can pre-order from Bandcamp:

This is right up my street. The EP opens with a beautiful track called "White With Waving Goodbye". It starts off with a fantastic guitar pick, very very maths-rock esque in style and wonderfully intricate. Polly Perry's vocals are so wistful and engaging - and the song is incredibly touching from start to finish. If you like maths-rock style (think TTNG et al) this opener will really grab you.

The second preview track from the release is "Jesus Christ" and this is equally lovely, bluesy, soulful and calming to listen to. This is a fantastic track to listen to if you like seasonal music - but are a leetttttle beeet sick of the usual suspects year after year and would like something a bit heartwarming and touching to listen to, that doesn't make you want to boak eggnog. A thoroughly lovely listen.

As previously mentioned, the EP comes out on 17th November and it should be high up on your list of "must purchase music wise" this month. Add Provincials to your music collection now and forever. Do it!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Heart Shakes - Heart Shakes EP

Heart Shakes cover art

Hello and welcome to Sunday. It's nearly the end of the weekend. Yes. I know you're really glad I've reminded you of that. I'll be expecting the rocks through my window about now. Anyway, weekends are for wimps. I've just worked all the way through mine, but am taking a little break to bring you a little bit of musical loveliness to end it

Today, I'd really like to introduce you to a fantastic band from Sheffield, called Heart Shakes. The guys contacted me and asked if I'd give their stuff a little play on the gramaphone and I did so eagerly.

First of all, here's the necessary links to their necessaries:

and their soundcloud page:

The EP starts off with the excellent "Skeleton Keys". It's got a fantastic opening riff and the kind of bassline I love. It made me purr like a kitteh.

The tracks rattle along at a cracking pace, there's something just that little bit different about them all, but the thing that most appeals to me is their really great stacatto guitar sound. All their riffage is really chunky and their chord progressions are fantastic. There's a great "new" sound to them, but at the same time, lots of psychedelic influences in there too.

The final track "Canyon" is a pretty brilliant song. It's mellow, it's chilled out and it's got a great vibe to it - it was perfect to listen to this afternoon and a great way to end the collection.

I've really thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to this brilliant band and really hope to hear more from them very soon. That's an invitation to write more songs, lads.

You can also find the band on Facefuck here:

and on The Twitters here:

Go forth and listen, bitches.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Flights of Helios - Succubus

Succubus cover art

Hello and Happy the day after "National Shut Your Door, Turn All The Lights Off And Pretend You're Not In So Kids Don't Hassle You For Sweets Day". Yes, I'm a misanthrope. No, I don't care.

I'm not so much of a misanthrope that I don't want to share music with you all and I'm back today to share with you a new release from one of my most very favourite and oft featured on these blog pages groups - Flights of Helios. If you'd like to read my previous features about them - follow this link: HERE.

Firstly, go to their bandcamp page and have a listen to their new single "Succubus", which was released yesterday:

It's yet another wonderful song from a really underrated band and it follows on in splendid fashion from their last release "Factory", which is a major contender for my song of the year. I love the intensity of their music, I love their basslines and I love the delicately morose quality to everything they do. This is a song that starts slowly and fades with an intensely catchy drone. It's backed by the ambient and trippy "Palemoonlight" which provides a brilliant contrast - short, sweet, light and airy.

"Succubus" is a perfect song for this time of year and it's well worth a few moments of your time and a download if you want something to accompany the drawing in of the nights and the autumn season.

You can find out more about the band here

and you can follow them on The Twitters here:

Do it.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Sounds Like Interview: Thomas Truax - Feelin' Bad For Dracula

It's Halloween. Boo. Scary scary spooky Friday frolics to you all. I'm really really chuffed to bits to be bringing you the third in my occasional "Sounds Like" interview series, in which I don my Pringle sweater, sit in a leather chair on a beige set, fire up the Parkinson theme tune and quiz the best music stars, so you don't have to. Or something.

Mighty mighty pleased to say that I've managed to grill Thomas Truax for you. I mean, not literally, I know it's halloween and everything, but he isn't inside my George Foreman with a parsley garnish. No, rather I have quizzed him on his latest musical offering, his hopes for world peace and whether or not he'd like to bite my neck. I know. Questions we all need to know the answers to.

Here's the interview. Oh, and before I forget, here is the frankly wonderful video to his new single which I already reviewed here.

Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions for the blog, Thomas - I really appreciate your time - it's great to be featuring your new single. 
Thanks for spreading the good word!  Unlike with Jehovah's Witnesses and so on, we are only allowed one night a year to do this when we are releasing Halloween records.
1.) Firstly – BOO! Did I scare you – what with it being Halloween and everything?
Yes.  I scare easily, I should cut back on the coffee and try to get some more sleep I guess.
2.) OK, seriously, the new single is really cool and I love your sense of theatre and spectacle – especially in the video, which has a real feel of vaudeville. Does being a master of the dark arts come naturally to you?
I'm glad you like it, thanks.  I've never really thought of myself as being a 'master of the dark arts', or a master of anything really, except maybe of Hornicator playing (but even with that there's certainly room to grow). But yes I've always felt naturally inclined to a kind of love of most things nocturnal, and old fashioned show business as well.  It worried my parents a lot, and other people around me.  But then I discovered the world is made up of both night and day people, and show people tend to be night people, generally.  We night people have it easier, there's a lot less traffic on the road to contend with.  
3.) The new song sees you collaborating with Brian Viglione from The Violent Femmes/The Dresden Dolls. Is collaboration with other artists something you’re keen to explore more of in the future?
I became a sort of solo artist/ one-man-band through necessity rather than desire initially. I really like working with other people, especially when you've got the same goals in mind, or creative simpatico.  I felt that working with Brian (we laid down a lot of -as of now still unfinished - tracks, so there is more to come) and in the past I've worked with a lot of other people, especially on my early 'solo' records.  Even live initially I didn't feel very comfortable playing alone so I'd always have 'special guests' come on.  But I got more confident as a solo performer and my invented instruments started taking on personalities, which may be partly loneliness/insanity on my part.  Mostly it was the economics of it. He who travels alone travels fastest, and all that. But it's healthy to collaborate at least now and then.
4.) You’re having a Halloween party – which musicians/singers/creatives would you invite to join you and why?
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, David Lynch, Captain Sensible, Siouxsie Sioux, Leonard Cohen, Sun Ra, Nancy Sinatra, Cibo Matto and Karen O.  Because they'd all dress well and it would sound out of this world.
5.) Can you let my readers know if you’ve got any live shows coming up?
Tonight!  (Halloween) I'm playing in Dortmund, Germany at the Theater Dortmund. That may be the last show for a while, but there'll be a lot more touring coming up in the not-too-distant future. 
6.)  If I ask nicely, will you bite my neck? I feel kind of left out after watching the video…
What blood type are you?
I'm A Rhesus Ready Salted....for those of you that are interested....

Thanks again to Thomas for a great interview, hope you all enjoyed reading it and I hope you'll go forth and purchase the new single and give it your support.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Co-Pilgrim - Plumes

Co-pilgrim - Plumes

A second post for Blog Super Sunday and I'm back with something else to tickle your aural muscles and give you something to smile about.

What can I offer you? Well, I can offer you this, gentle, lovely readers (at least one of you must be gentle and lovely...admit it, go on...). The new album by Co-Pilgrim, called "Plumes" - and more specifically the new single to be taken from it, a wonderful track called "Pushover".

Of course I know by now you're all dying to hear it - so without further ado, here's a link to the video, so you can see/hear:

The first thing that struck me, apart from the lovely guitar sounds, were the harmonies. Such really clear, pitch perfect harmonies. I'm a bit of a sucker for anything like that and this track has them in abundance - it's a sort of Simon and Garfunkel-y/Alt-Country-y tinged wonderfulness that makes you feel a little bit like you're being hugged by a wall of comforting voices. 

Co-Pilgrim are another act that are new to thegeneral's radar, but a very welcome one - especially given my fondness for lo-fi, maudlin tunesmithery with wonderfully morose and sepia tinged lyrics. "Plumes" is a pretty excellent album which, given how much I've fallen in love with "Pushover" was a given. So, I urge you to give Mike Gale and friends (for it is they who make up this super act) a go...

You can check out the band's site here:

And you can make your purchase of the new album from here:

Do it. That's all. 

WhiteMoor - Horizons

Welcome to Blog Super Sunday, which doesn't really mean anything other than "Oh shit, thegeneral hasn't had time to update all week and now she's writing alllllllll the reviews in one go".

So, for this first post of the day - what can I offer thee, gentle readers?

I can offer you WhiteMoor, that's what I can offer you.

First of all, the necessaries - have a look at the band's website and if you'd be so very kind thank you please, have a listen to their latest (2nd) album "Horizons":


Although the album came out last year, the latest (and final) single from the record "On Top Of The World" came out at the tail end of Summer, and it's well well worth a listen.

WhiteMoor are from Derby and are very very new to thegeneral's radar - and a very welcome addition they are to it too. In fact, I'm slightly gutted I've missed out on them for so long! This album is a corker if you like perfectly honed indie that is well polished and has just a hint of maths-rock to it. They have great catchy, intricate riffs and vocalist Benny Ryan has a really excellent voice, powerful and just the right side of rocky emotion.

Standout tracks besides the last, awesome single are "Run Along" (a nice muted start with a lovely guitar pick) "Don't Hold Me Down" and opening track "High Lights" which is a brilliant start to the album.

Although this record has been out a while, if you haven't heard of WhiteMoor before, now is the time to get them into your life. And that's an order.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Thomas Truax with Brian Viglione - Feelin' Bad For Dracula

Feelin' Bad for Dracula - Single, Thomas Truax

Boo! Did I make you jump? Oh. OK then. Play it your way. I'll just turn the other way and talk to the people that really care. Mother, are you reading this...?

It's Spooky Saturday on the blog and I'm very pleased to be bringing you an awesome record which is going to be released on Monday, just in time for Halloween. It's another exciting sound via those lovely lovely skeletal bods at the ghostly PindropPublicity (wooooooooooo) etc. OK, I'll quit it with the scary stuff before it gets old.

Anyway, here you go. First of all, the usuals - hoik your bones over to the iTunes page to have a listen to Thomas Truax with Brian Viglione and their new single "Feelin' Bad For Dracula"

As previously mentioned it's out on 27th October, there'll be a video to follow and I'll verily update the page when that is out - but in the meantime, this is a corker of a track. It's very morose, mean and moody and lots of other things beginning with M and I loves it a heck of a lot. It's got a nicely dubby edge to it and Truax has a voice very much in the rich baritone style that really makes my thighs moist. It's darkly melancholy without being too over the top and it's a perfect accompaniment to All Hallow's Eve.

It's definitely well worth a listen and a purchase and if you don't buy it, I'm coming round to your house to trick or treat and I won't leave until you admit defeat and spend your cash on it. And nobody deserves to be scared like that...

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Cats Park - A Taste of Heaven

A Taste of Heaven cover art

Welcome to Sunday you big bunch of reprobates. How are you all doing? Well, I hope. ANSWER ME AND TAKE YOUR ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU...


Anyway. I think judging by the tone of the opening sentence I'm in need of something to calm to troubled waters of my mind and I think I might just have it...and, because I'm nice, I'm going to share it with you. Possibly.

No, I am really.

I'm really a huge fan of electronica and I don't get to feature nearly enough of it on here. So, first of all, a clarion call - if you are an electronica act, please contact me ( if you'd like your kit and kaboodle reviewing. Today's post features just such an act and I'm really pleased to introduce you to Cats Park.

First of all, hoik your lapels over to their bandcamp page and have a listen to their latest album "A Taste of Heaven":

Whilst the album came out at the end of last year, the reason for this post is that (I am reliably informed) the band have made it to the first round of nominations for next year's (2015) Grammy Awards - and, from listening to the record it is easy to see why.

The last single from the album "In My Room" is a corker. It's a really nice melding of perfect pop and trippy, wistful sounds. Vocalist Faijee has one of those voices that is instantly soothing and eminently listenable to and the entire album feels like a great crossover between good indie guitar songs and dubby keyboard goodness.

Some people feel that electronica can be a little bit one-note and a bit too samey. Cats Park prove that it isn't, that there's plenty variety in the genre and that they're not afraid to experiment with unusual soundscapes.

Definitely one to add into your collection if you're already a fan of the genre, or simply want something to listen to that will gently lower you into the world of electronic music without being too much, too soon. You won't have heard the last of Cats Park, regardless - definitely one to watch (and listen to) now and in the future.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Jon Byrne - The Bitch And Her Greed

Yeah. I'm back. Back and badder than a bad thing that went to Bad University and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Bad. Read me and weep. Weep for my badness and realise you'll never, ever be as bad as me, even if you try and copy. So ner.

Now then, for this second offering today, I'm going in a totally opposite direction to the previous post and kind of semi slowing things down a little.

I'd really like to introduce you to the wonderful, wonderful sound of Jon Byrne. Eye candy with proper talent. Something for everyone. Just what we all need.

First of all, some necessaries - here's Jon's website: you can go and familiarise yourselves with his work so far, his blog and his all round genuinely lovely awesomeoness.

Now here's the link to his new single "The Bitch And Her Greed"

Before we go any further, I'd just like to thank Jon for taking the time and trouble to write my life story and turn it into a mean it isn't about me? Oh...must try harder next time.

Anyway, what can I tell you about it. Well, it's great. Yeah! Seriously, this is another kind of departure for the blog as it's probably one of the first times I've ever featured a more blues inspired artist and not before time either. Jon's style is superb, it's witty, it's laid back yet very caustic and his lyrics go straight for the jugular. "The Bitch And Her Greed" is a cracking little number, one of those songs that you need to hear only once or twice till it sticks with you. A genuine delight to listen to and someone who really does deserve to be heard, not only for the great music, but for his clever, urbane lyrics.

If you like a departure from indie, or really heavy guitar based bands - and want someone fresh and inventive to listen to then give Jon Byrne some serious time. "The Bitch And Her Greed" should become an instant classic.

The Black Delta Movement - The Trip

The Trip - Single, The Black Delta Movement

Happy Sunday everybody - and I hope today finds you all well and dandy. I love the way the light catches your hair, by the way. It really takes my mind off your bleary, red eyes.

What can I offer you for this lazy weekend afternoon?

Well, something pretty totes amazeballs, as I believe the youth of today say.

The Black Delta Movement. Oh yes. Just the name was enough to get me running to listen to them and I wasn't disappointed. They've got a new single out called "The Trip", which is a cover of the 1965 Kim Fowley classic - which, I'm reliably informed is a song he wrote after a pleasant sojourn to Llandudno one weekend, to take in the sea air, drink tea and eat scones*

It's probably not a particularly obvious choice for a cover, which is a good thing - I like bands that swerve away in directions you don't expect and their interpretation is a really good, solid one, that manages to instill the vibe of the original, but at the same time allows the band's own strengths and character shine through. The Black Delta Movement describe themselves as a heavy garage rock and roll outfit and that's certainly true of this, though this cover does have many psychedelic elements to it.

You can watch/listen to the new single here:

...and, if you love what you hear (and I hope you jolly well do, you ungrateful bunch of scrotes...) then you can then spend some of your hard earned pennies on buying the single from here:

Check out their previous releases too, especially last year's "Ghost Dance" EP, very very much worth a listen/purchase if your funds can run to it.

You might not have heard them here first, but you should make The Black Delta Movement's new single an essential part of your autumn playlist.

(*this may possibly be a lie)

Saturday, 11 October 2014

James Poole - Runaway

Here we are for a second time on this sumptuous Saturday and we're slowing the pace right down again. I'm absolutely intent on trying to make you weep buckets with my musical offerings this weekend. Following on from the last post, I'm now about to offer you something else that will induce all the right emotions, but not necessarily in the right order (to paraphrase Eric Morecambe).

For this second blog, I'd really like to introduce you to the wonderful James Poole. No, he's not in my front room, waiting nervously to shake your hand, but last week he kindly tweeted me to ask if I'd take a listen to his new single and maybe happenstance perambulate my way to writing a review of it.

First things first, you can listen to James' new single here:

Now isn't that just lovely? It's a proper heartbreaker - without being mawkishly sentimental. It's got a beautifully plaintive vocal performance married with a powerful piano accompaniment. It's what I often refer to as "rainy window music", you know what I mean? The sort of tracks you can imagine sitting indoors listening to, in the autumn, as dusk settles and rain gently trickles down the panes. 

If you'd like to hear more about James you can follow him on Le Twitter here:

and on Facebook

and on YouTubes

Listen and love!

Sounds Like Interview: The Magic Lantern - Love Of Too Much Living

Love Of Too Much Living cover art

Ahoy there and Happy Saturday. And it really is a Happy Saturday too as I'm about to bring you the second of my "Sounds Like" interview features, which I hope you enjoy reading (and if you don't, please keep it to yourself, I can't stand audience participation). 

Today, I'm exceptionally pleased to be bringing you yet another fine act associated with PinDrop Publicity. The Magic Lantern and the exceptional new album "Love Of Too Much Living". Jamie Doe, the brilliant singer/songwriter/musical genius behind the act agreed to be gently probed by me (and I mean, who wouldn't fancy having that done...?) and here is the end result, chaos, classical guitars and Kleenex. No finer combination I think you'll agree. 

1. Your new album “Love Of Too Much Living” seems like a real labour of love – and it has a very intense feel to it. Do you think that keeping the instrumentation as simple as possible plays a part in this?

Yes I was really keen with this record to focus on the intensity that comes with stripping everything away, of trying to distill something to make it stronger. I think of these songs as miniatures, where the world, mood or experience they suggest is greater than the sum of their parts. In the same way an artist implies a face with a few lines, I spent a long time in the studio thinking about how I could make each song more powerful by the space I leave around it. I know for some people, all they’ll hear is what is there but I like the idea that with so much space, you leave room for the listener to colour in the arrangement themselves.

2. I noticed from your bio that you studied philosophy. Do you feel that this influences your lyric writing?

Ha! I don’t know! Certainly not stylistically as the language of analytic philosophy is pretty dry. If there is a connection it’s that the same impulse which drives me to write songs is what drew me to study philosophy. I’m curious about people. I think we’re remarkably fragile but surprisingly resilient and I have this urge to tell people that it’s going to be alright. I think that most of the time we’re doing our best but I really believe we could be better. Trying to understand what that could be but forgiving ourselves when we fail to reach it is something I think about a lot.

3. The album was recorded live – I love the idea of this, as I think you can capture more emotional depth and genuine feeling that way – would you agree or not?

Recording the album live was something that just felt like the right thing for these songs but posed some technical challenges in the studio. I don’t think it’s the only way to convey emotional depth, there are plenty of very moving studio albums where everything is multi-tracked, chopped, diced and edited but for the kind of record I wanted to make I wanted to create the impression of playing the songs directly to the listener in a very personal way. The way I play and the type of songs means there will always be some imperfections with each take. It took me a little while to be comfortable with that but once I stopped worrying that every take had to be perfect it freed me up to concentrate on ‘performing’ the songs rather than trying to just ‘record’ them and I think that helped to make each track sound like its being played just for you. 

4. From listening to the tracks, I can see that there may be inevitable comparisons drawn between your style and other artists like perhaps Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, but there are also some lovely traditional folk music touches too – such as in your song “28 Years Old”. Who has influenced your music most – whether well known or otherwise?

Influences are a funny thing. I grew up listening to a lot of jazz and as a kid I always wanted to be a jazz pianist before picking up the electric guitar when I was 16 and wanting to play like Jimi Hendrix, then when I was 18 I got a classical guitar and wanting to play like Bert Jansch. But the singer that has influenced me the most is definitely Chet Baker. He sings with a such an unshowy simplicity that long before I started writing my own songs I’d learnt to sing along to all of his records. After Chet, there are just so many… when I lived in Bristol I discovered West African music for the first time and played in this crazy group with a flamenco guitarist, kora player, mbira player, I learnt so much in those three years. Since then, I’ve tried to play and learn as much as I can about lots of music but in particular I’ve been very lucky to spend time and becomes friends with a lot of musicians who really inspire me like This Is The Kit, Nick Mulvey, Fred Thomas, Sam Lee, Zac Gvi, Jiri Slavik, Alabaster DePlume and too many to name here!

5. The record was released on 29th September. Can you let my readers know if you’ve got any gigs planned to promote the album?

Yes the album came out on the 29th September and I’m currently on a UK tour promoting it. I hope some of your readers can come along to one!

09/10              The Speak Easy at Fudge Hull^
10/10              The Fuel CafĂ©                      Manchester^
12/10              The Independent Cafe       Scunthorpe^
16/10              Catweazle Club                   Oxford
20/10              St Pancras Old Church      London 
24/10              The Grain Barge                  Bristol* 
25/10              The Goods Shed                  Stroud*
26/10              The Lexington                      London*
27/10              Norwich Arts Centre            Norwich* 
28/10              Portland Arms                       Cambridge*
29/10              The Loft Sessions                Brighton*
30/10              Railway                                  Winchester* 
31/10              UCLU Folk Society              London
02/10              The Jam Factory                  Oxford
12/11              The Green Note                   London
18/11              Woodburner                          London
19/11              Bath Gallery                          Bath
05/12              House Show                            Fife
10/12              The Carlton Cinema             Westgate^
11/12              The Lighthouse                    Deal^
13/12              Irregular Folk                        Oxford

 6. I played this album late last night and again this morning. It did actually make me cry, both times. Will you pay for my next box of tissues?

Yes of course I’ll pay for the tissues! But seriously, I’m really glad you were able to relate to it. Since the record has been out I’ve been really pleased to see different people’s reactions to it and how different some interpretations are from what I thought about when I wrote the songs. More than anything though, I hope people who hear this record are able to find in it something that speaks to them and their own experience.

7. What’s next for you? I mean obviously, I think being interviewed by me is the pinnacle and it’ll be hard to top it…but...

Well after I get over the honor of The General interview, I’m focusing on touring for the rest of the year as well as getting together a collection of covers and remixes of the songs from ‘Love Of Too Much Living’ by some friends and fellow musicians including Rozi Plain, Sam Lee, Emilia Martnesson, This Is The Kit and others. It’s going to be out as a free download before Christmas along with a special vinyl version of the album which I’m really excited about. Then I’m going to lie down, sleep for a few days, and then go away somewhere to think about the next one!

You can find out more about Jamie here:

And follow him on Le Twitter here:

You can also buy his astonishingly fantastic album here:

Please please consider giving The Magic Lantern an hour or two of your time, this is quite simply a delightful album, start to finish.