All posts by tonyrounce

LIME: SURF ‘N’ TURF – SINGLE OF THE WEEK

Review by Tony Rounce

On May 20 2019 I saw Lime for the first time, in a tiny room above a not much bigger pub in Brighton, at the recommendation of my pal Hannah of ARXX. “Do not miss them, you will like them a lot” was Hannah’s directive. She was not wrong either.  Just as I had with ARXX, I began an immediate audio love affair with Lime, and put them on my ‘Must See Whenever Possible’ list right away.

Over the past 9 months I have seen almost all of Lime’s gigs. Sadly there haven’t been as many as I would have liked, but that will surely change with the release today of  ‘Surf ‘n’ Turf’, as dynamic a track as you’ll hear anywhere, and from anyone, this year.

If you like ARXX and other bands that operate in a similar musical environment, such as Genn and underrated Reading duo Wolfs, you will like Lime – I guarantee that.  Fronted vocally by the tall and charming Chloe Howard (who sounds a little but not too much like a gutsier version of Altered Images’ Claire Grogan), powered by the impressive, robust guitar work of Leila Deeley and solidly anchored by a tough rhythm team in Tippi Morgan on bass and drummer Annabel Whittle, they are a young band both in age and in existence, forming barely 18 months ago.

At the start of 2019 Lime released their first, digital-only single  ‘Welcome To The New World Order’. The ethereal, slightly shoegaze-y elements of that debut have been supplanted by something with so much more power that  ‘Surf ‘n’ Turf’ barely sounds like the work of the same group.  A glorious headlong rush into full-on sonic satisfaction, hard, fast and full of confidence, it’s been Lime’s set closer in recent times – and rightly so. Not that they don’t have other great songs – they have loads – but the relentless up-tempo drive of this one makes it a tough act to follow ‘live’. Dollars to doughnuts the studio version will leave you wanting more, too. Hopefully there will not be too long to wait before there IS more.

I truly believe Lime are on course to be THE breakout act for 2020.  Here you have the evidence to support my beliefs.  Buy it now, play it often and check them out while they’re still playing smaller rooms; it surely won’t be long before bigger venues beckon…

‘Surf ‘n’ Turf’ is released digitally on today and on vinyl shortly thereafter. Lime are playing a sold out show at Brighton’s Rossi Bar the previous night to officially launch it. They will also be playing The Carlisle in Hastings on February 23rd as part of BBC Introducing’s ‘Under The Radar’ all-dayer, with more gigs lined up for March in Brighton and London.  Follow Lime on Facebook for further news!

BOYS OF THE HOLE: E.P. REVIEW

Review by Tony Rounce

The DIY scene continues to grow at grass roots level, and each week brings impressive new bands aiming to convince you that you need to add their gigs to your Facebook events calendar.  This week it’s the turn of South London’s Boys Of The Hole to bring you a debut EP that will hopefully put them on your ‘to see’ list. Once you’ve heard it, there’s a better than good chance that it will.

If you’ve seen the delightful Bitch Hunt, Boys Of The Hole is a slightly more boisterous version thereof  – which, given that the two groups share certain members, is not too surprising. The Boys themselves say that their sound is “sometimes delicate and pretty, but mostly rowdy and fun, and they write about messy sexual experiences, Internet dating, pizza, crisps, and feelings”. Not all in the same song, of course. But they are all topics that are covered during the course of their frequently rowdy, largely fun debut E.P., released digitally at the end of January with the promise of the possibility of a limited run of a physical CD on the horizon – and hopefully coming closer by the day.

The Boys also say that their music will appeal to fans of the Breeders, Cherry Glazerr and the Pixies. I can only agree, as I like all of those artists and I like Boys Of The Hole too. There’s an agreeably abrasive quality to their songs that they share with the latter in particular, particularly in the no-punches-pulled lyrics of some of the songs – emphatically to the point at one end of the scale, where you’ll find the ‘Messy Bitch’ who ‘fell asleep in your vegan kebab’ and ‘got a chocolate egg stuck’ somewhere that probably shouldn’t be discussed in a public forum. They sound like they might be the friend from hell, but you might also wish you had the chutzpah to be them.

At the other end of the scale, ‘Flavour’ is the Boys’ playful homage to what our American cousins like to call Potato Chips. It lists all my favourite flavours and hopefully some of yours, too. Somewhere in between lies ‘Ll( a sensitive declaration of romantic rebound that says ‘I got your ‘Feelings’ right here’.  All five of the songs tell their own individual stories in a way that will not be lost on any listener, even though the balance of the audio is sometimes a little on the murky side and made it hard to hear them in places.

This though is the true sound of the DIY scene – low in fidelity, but high in aims and ambitions that are frequently firmly fulfilled across the five tracks on offer. As noted already, the mix is a bit wayward in places, but the creative process is sincere, honest and faultless. Not everything needs to sound like it came out of Abbey Road Studios and, let’s face it, most of the best music rarely does. Everything here points to a positive future, with lots more rowdiness and fun and possibly even Pickled Onion and Sour Cream & Chive crisps to add to the Boys’ flavours. A very fine debut, on the Hole…

Boys Of The Hole (the E.P.) is out now digitally, and can be streamed and/or bought via Bandcamp.  Boys Of The Hole (the band) are playing Not Your Galentines Day at South London’s Amersham Arms (near Deptford) on February 14th. You can follow them on Instagram

Eilis Frawley: Never Too Emotional – EP review

Review by Tony Rounce

As the self-appointed President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Anything To Do With Party Fears Fan Club, I received the recent news that the duo’s powerful percussionist Eilis Frawley and singer/frontsperson Maggie Devlin were going their separate ways with extreme dismay.  However, one happy bi-product of Eilis’ amicable departure means that we will all have twice as much interesting music to look forward to in the future – and ‘interesting’ is a perfectly understated word with which to describe Eilis’ debut EP ‘Never Too Emotional’, from which the dubby, claustrophobic and ever-so-slightly sinister (in a good way, if there is one!) ‘leave the house’ is the newest ‘single’…

Actually it’s much more than merely interesting, to be honest. It’s normally good to be able to offer some comparisons to existing music for reader reference, but you won’t have heard a lot like this before, however much music you’ve heard so far and however long you’ve been listening. The best I can offer you is a collation of 60s beat poetry and Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, but even that isn’t really or nearly accurate.

Photo by Daniel Purvis

The combination of raw synth topped, voluminously percussive soundscapes and laconic, semi-philosophical spoken word – not rapping, exactly, more meaningful discourse – is out of the ordinary, and it does takes a bit of getting used to at first. However, once you lock into what Eilis is doing here, it’s hard not to be impressed with the outcome.  What that is cannot easily conveyed in print, so please do click on the link and see if you don’t agree that I am right.

Eilis has been releasing songs from this project on her Bandcamp page over the past few months, each new issue helping to build a big picture of what she’s aiming to do with her solo project.  Her label’s press release says that the EP  “touches on topics of social structures, feminism, mental health, creative insecurities, personal tragedies, and the psychological impacts of living abroad” (in case you didn’t know, Eilis is Australian and I believe she is still based in Berlin) and indeed it does, both acutely and obtusely. Now it can be heard as a whole thing, its potency has never been more apparent.   If it doesn’t hit you round the ears with immediate effect, please do persevere – you WILL connect with it, and vice versa, in good time. Both refreshing and provocative by turn, it brings something new and interesting to the table, and I’m sure you will thank me later for insisting that you do so. 

As well as creating these invigorating musical episodes, Eilis has also been playing her own solo shows in the UK and elsewhere recently and is due for more of the same soon. I for one am intrigued as to how this will all translate to a live medium, so I can hardly wait….

 “Never Too Emotional” is out now on Reckless Yes records and can be found on most if not all of your favourite streaming services.

Follow Eilis on Facebook for further updates!

Main photo by Kate Seabrook 

A WOMAN OF MANY BANDS: Jade Ellins in conversation

Interview by Tony Rounce, photos by Keira-Anee and  Neil Anderson

It may have been all quiet on the DOLLS front of late, but Jade Ellins has not been resting on her laurels.  Currently in two active bands, the duo’s charming, affable front woman took time out from her ever-busy schedule to tell our Tony all about herself, and to bring LW up to date with what she’s been up to recently…

I suppose the first question that everyone would like an answer to (myself included!) is what’s become of DOLLS?

Well it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster as Bel had to go back to Spain last year. However, we will be releasing our 2nd EP this year, hopefully in the spring. We recorded it with Margo Broom producing, and it’ll be coming out with the same team who released Pop The Bubble – I can’t wait! I’ve been writing too, and working really hard on new songs that I think are really strong and I’m so excited for people to hear them!

You’re still in two top notch bands that we know about, in Abjects and Big Sea Creature. Obviously BSC is an outgrowth of the late, lamented Long Teeth, but how did the hook up with Abjects come about?

I got a message from Kelly Chard of We Can Do It, saying that Abjects were looking for a bassist and would I be up for a jam – so I said yes! Then Noemi (Abjects) got in touch, we had a jam and that was it! I enjoy playing with the girls so much, and think their songs are fantastic!

How does being a part of a bigger band (as you are with BSC and Abjects) differ from being its lone frontsperson for you?

I generally feel a lot more relaxed at gigs if I’m not fronting, and I love supporting front people and getting to watch them on stage. I feel like when you front a band you give all your energy to the audience and it feels very personal, almost like a form of therapy. There is nothing quite like that feeling. With fronting though you feel the highs and lows of performing a lot more. I love doing a mix of both, as they are very different experiences.

What and who inspired you to aspire to a career as a musician originally?  Were your family musical/supportive/influential, for example? Did you see someone on TV and think ‘I Want To Be Them?’

Both my parents are musicians, so I was always encouraged to be musical from a young age. I started piano when I was 4 and could also hold a tune, so luckily I got my parents musical genes. I feel so fortunate that I get to earn a living out of music, as well as be creative and write my own music. Thanks Mum and Dad for pushing me to practice when really I just wanted to play Barbies all day!

Your favourite and most influential singles/albums are?

  1. Made in Japan – Deep Purple
  2. To bring you my love – PJ Harvey
  3. Push the sky away – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

And your favourite five most influential artists?

  1. Nick Cave
  2. PJ Harvey
  3. Bikini Kill
  4. Mitski
  5. Talking heads

First record you bought? And the most recent one?

First record I think was ABBA Gold and honestly I mainly listen to music on Spotify now. My partner Sam loves listening to records so I listen with him, lately we have been listening to ‘Be the cowboy’ by Mitski which I have been loving!

First band you saw? And your most recent one (that you’re not a member of, obviously…)

My first band was Bjorn Again, I loved ABBA when I was 6 (and still do!) and recently I saw Mango at their single launch, which was ace!

And your most memorable gig to date with any band you’ve been a member of?

Long Teeth’s final gig was a really wonderful evening for us, I honestly felt like I had to prepare emotionally for that gig for about two months. When I was there I was like right let’s do this! It brought me such happiness to be able to play those songs for people again and to remember our lovely Al. I also loved the DOLLS EP launch at Rough Trade. It was a Monday night at 6pm, and I thought ‘Oh it will be a small crowd’. I could’ve cried when I came on stage and saw it so full! (TR – having been present at the show I can happily confirm this to be true…)

You play guitar with DOLLS and bass in every other band I’ve seen you with. Which is your preference, and which came most naturally to you in the first place?

I started guitar lessons when I was five so I have been playing guitar for a really long time now. I started on double bass (I know I’m 5 ft 2 and I only got to play a half-size) then naturally moved onto bass guitar. I guess guitar will always be my first calling, but I love the discipline of bass and crafting functional parts. I also seem to get asked to play bass in bands way more than I do guitar. Bassists always seem to be the ones that are in demand.

As a songwriter, what part of writing comes easiest to you, lyrics or melody?  And how much input do you have to the creative input of a band like BSC, where you are not the main or sole songwriter?

I find coming up with the guitar riffs/chords the easiest. I write lyrics with Sam, and he always helps me come up with melodies. With bands like BSC and Long Teeth, Sam writes the core of most songs and we add to it. Sometimes I might heavily influence a song with a bass line but I’m also happy to support Sam’s ideas.

You’ve already played for and with some notable names outside of what we think of as the DIY music scene. Is there anyone special on your wish list that you’d like to add to your CV?

I would like to support Nick Cave and the Pixies, please!

Has there ever been a time in your life when you have considered an alternate career path?

Yes! Being a musician is tough and not always the most stable of careers. But it’s the only thing I really love doing so I keep on going.

What do you do when you’re not being Jade the professional musician (assuming you have time to do anything else…)

I watch a lot of films and TV, if I’m honest. Characters I see in shows inspire a lot of my songs. I also make an effort to be social, as I feel like when you are writing and working from home you can become bit of a hermit and slowly become more and more uninspired.

Do you think it’s getting any easier for women in music, now that there are more bands out there comprised predominantly and/or exclusively of women/womxn?  Both at the DIY level and in general?

I think at a DIY level definitely. There are so many female fronted nights in the UK, which I think is brilliant. I think at a professional/mainstream level it has definitely got better, but there is still some work to do. I can think of some incredible female singers, but when it comes to instrumentalists I can struggle. I find there are very few female guitarists I can show my young female students for inspiration. I’m hoping this will change soon.

Any closing advice for those who aspire to the life of a singer/writer/musician?

I think my main thing is don’t become too complacent. It’s very easy to get a tiny bit of success and think ‘woo I made it!’  and then become big headed and very quickly realise the success isn’t growing as quickly as you think. Being hard-working and polite is also so important!

ĠENN: DU DA DANCE – Single of the week

Review by Tony Rounce

2019 was an important year for the women of Ġenn. Three of them relocated to Brighton from their native Malta, subsequently undergoing the rebranding that led them to their new name.  The latter was a risky thing to do, given that they had forged a decent public perception as Cryptic Street, and had already released their album “Tittymonster” under that name. But the gamble has begun to pay off and Leona, Janelle, Leanne and native Brit Sofia have quickly re-established themselves as one of the busiest bands in the country – and they are starting 2020 with the release of their first tune under their still-new identity. 

As the late Irish comedian Frank Carson used to say – “it’s a cracker”.

If you have caught Ġenn’s act, you will already know ‘Du Da Dance’. A favourite from the late Cryptic Street days, it shows that while their name might have changed, their full-on, take-no-prisoners style of music is as potent as it ever was. Filled with big riffs and an uncompromisingly mainstream rock sound, and topped by a solid sing-along ‘HEY-NaNaNaNaNaNa’’ chorus, it will quickly become your next big earworm if you allow it to. (To be honest, once you’ve heard it, you might not have any other option…)

The audio is accompanied by a simple, slightly claustrophobic black & white video that successfully captures the image that goes with the music, and particularly the unflaggingly energetic personality of lead singer Leona Farrugia.  As a taster for what you might expect to see and Ġenn live, it serves its purpose admirably.

‘Du Da Dance’s message is not cerebral, for sure. But if you like a bit of jumping around the room music to get you in the mood for a night out (particularly if you’re going to see Ġenn) it’s something you ought to check out more than once. Or twice.  Ġenn are out there gigging with commendable regularity at the moment, so you should have plenty of opportunities to do so over the next couple of months…

…And what of the name Ġenn, then?  According to group co-founder and lead guitarist Janelle Borg “it means crazy”. Appropriately enough for a bunch of highly likeable women with a crazy year ahead of them.  One that’s starting as it means to go on with ‘Du Da Dance’.

‘Du Da Dance’ will be available from all the usual streaming sources from January 27th and will be accompanied by a number of live shows around the country. Follow Genn on Facebook or Instagram for further updates on when and where…

GHUM: CALIFORNIA – new music

Reviewed by Tony Rounce

The four women of Ghum have been on the verge of breaking out of the regular DIY scene and moving up to a higher-profile level for some time now. In the past six months they have been tipped for success by national newspapers, and feted by national radio DJs. Their gigs are getting bigger and more full, and it can surely only be a matter of time before they find a ‘name’ fan (rather in the way that Big Joanie found Thurston Moore, or vice versa) to further their cause.  Good for them, it’s not something we should begrudge any band or singer from ‘our’ scene.

In the meantime Ghum are still ‘ours’, and still working at making music that we can all enjoy while world domination awaits.  They’re kicking off their move into 2020 with a long-overdue follow up to last summer’s ‘The Coldest Fire’. Has the wait been worth it?  Oh, most certainly…

A dark, brooding headlong up-tempo rush into full-on musical exhilaration, driven by layers of echoed guitar and singer Laura’s passionate whisper-to-a-scream vocals, ‘California’ brings to mind – and I hope that Ghum or anyone else won’t be anoyed by me saying this – the sound of U2 in the “Boy” era, when that particular band were fresh, interesting and innovative rather than the rock dinosaurs they have become.  There are also hints of the early Cure sound there, but all presented in a 21st Century soundscape that confirms Ghum’s early promise is now more of a threat than ever (in the nicest possible way, of course).  It’s a glimpse into a future that’s seemingly limitless, if ‘California’ is anything to go by…

‘California’ is out now, and can be streamed and downloaded from all the usual sources, including Bandcamp and Spotify. Ghum are headlining a launch show for it at London venue Electrowerkz on January 30th and again in London at Dingwalls on March 5th. Follow them on Facebook for further gig and other general Ghum news!

 See GHUM on tour in 2020: 

30 Jan | Elektrowerkz, London

5 Mar | 6 Music Festival, London 

28 Mar | Ritual Union, Bristol

25 Apr | Are You Listening? Festival, Reading

3 May | Stag & Dagger, Glasgow

6 Aug | Haldern Pop, Rees-Haldern, DE

7 Aug | CanelaParty, Malaga, ES

GHUM – California – out now via Everything Sucks Music

I, Doris: Just Some Doris – single of the week

100% guaranteed totally unbiased review by Tony (Doris) Rounce.

I had an Aunt Doris when I was much younger than I am today.  She was a nice woman, always happy and smiley and very musical.

I feel sure she would have approved of our very own I, Doris, with whom she shares all those traits.

Since joining forces just over a year ago, Doris, Doris, Doris and Doris have quickly grown from being four fab friends having fun, to a serious contender for Toppermost Of The Poppermost.  They’re still growing as a band, but they’re getting there faster than most. And as 2019 hurtles to its conclusion, they are gracing us with an early Christmas present in the shape of their second splendid single, following the late spring release of ‘The Girl From Clapham’.

If you have seen I, Doris live, you will know the delightfully catchy ‘Just Some Doris’ as the opening number of their set. I’m pleased to say that the studio recording retains all the simple charm of the song’s live performances. As winsome and lovable as the Dorises are themselves, and a perfect illustration of what the undisputed Mistresses Of Mummycore are all about, you’ll be clapping and singing along with it before you get to the second chorus.

Pure ‘now’ for pop people, it’s a 21st century tune with a 20th century sound and, believe me, that’s a recommendation in every respect.  If parts of the tune are naggingly familiar to you, you’ll have a lot of fun working out where they might have borrowed them from (consciously or otherwise).  I think I know, but if I told you I might have to kill you…

They’ve conquered the kitchen, they’ve conquered the stage, they’ve conquered the studio and if they haven’t done so already, they are about to conquer your hearts.  Just some Dorises, but not just any old Dorises.  These Dorises are a little bit special, and if ‘Just Some Doris’ doesn’t bring a little sunshine to your December and make you fall completely and totally in love with them, I hope all the needles fall off your Christmas tree this week…

Mama weer all Doris now!