Sunday, 30 September 2012

Album Review: Long Goner - Mat Gibson

Album: Long Goner
Record Label: RoseBird Records
Genre: Americana
For fans of: Fleet Foxes
Best Song: Before The Dawn
Rating: 9/10

      Since the release of Forest Fire back in 2011, Mat Gibson has gone from strength to strength to produce an even more sumptuous follow-up in Long Goner, a year on.

     Gibson's voice rings out with a beautiful sensitivity on Before The Dawn, whilst the crashing keys and drums anchor the haunting melody from drifting away. The Americana feel to the song stays true to Gibson's roots, but also exudes a sophistication that Forest Fire occasionally lacked in; his faultless tone making hairs stand on end.

     This new-found elegance spans the whole album, with the lyrics relating a darker edge than his previous work. On Dark Well of Sorrow, Gibson sings 'when you feel left for dead, when every glimmer of hope is gone, don't fall or trip, take another dip into the dark well of sorrow' - a simple lesson in the beauty of indulging in your inner melancholy.

     Long Goner is the perfect release for Autumn, with Gibson's icy voice wonderfully contrasting with the warmth of the rich guitar and piano. Whilst the leaves fall off the trees in a sea of oranges and reds, curl up by the fire with a wee dram and Long Goner on repeat, close your eyes and allow your mind to wallow in that delicious autumnal malaise.

Long Goner is out now on RoseBird Records. For more information, and to get a free download of Before The Dawn, visit

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: Yard Sessions - Modern Art Oxford, 31st August

      The Yard at Modern Art Oxford is the perfect setting for hosting a series of summer gigs, and featuring some of Oxford's finest bands of the moment, with the addition of headliners, Treetop Flyers, (winner of Glastonbury's Emerging Talent Competition) the third Yard Session was an evening filled with a diverse range of musical genres and sounds.

Oli Steadman, Count Drachma
      The evening got underway with local Oxford lads Broken Bedsteads. Despite their young age, the confidence they exuded made them seem much older than their years, and with a sound similar to The Vaccines and Razorlight, their infectious basslines filled the room with glittering janglings.

      Billy T'rivers followed, with his americana twinged folk music, performing what was in fact his debut gig. For someone who lacks in experience playing live, he certainly executed an impressive set. Although the vocal harmonies could have been a little tighter, his music was easy listening, with gentle guitars and a soulful voice.

      Count Drachma transported the audience to their native South Africa with their zulu beats, ironic considering the 'colonial moustache' lead singer, Oli Steadman, pointed out that he was sporting. Comprising members of Oxford band, Stornoway, it was a somewhat smaller gig than they perhaps are used to, however their melodies flowed in a sea of colour and with saxophone grooves and bass-harmonicas aplenty, the set featured a medley of various folktunes, lullabies, and even a song about a shape-shifting lizard.

      Headliners, Treetop Flyers' relaxed folk rock was a perfect end to the evening, with lead singer, Reid Morrison's gritty voice gleaming with a rawness that many aspiring country artists can only try to emulate. Despite it being the last day of August (and therefore in my view the last evening of the summer), the band's soulful music had a summery feel to it, and in the semi-openness of the yard with its hanging baskets and cosy atmosphere, it was an intimate set, brought together by the obvious enthusiasm of the audience - a small one, but appreciative nonetheless. Unfortunately the call of London's last tubes meant the set was cut short for myself, and it was sad not to see the band through to the end, but the first half I saw was magical with its close harmonies and americana infused guitar hooks.

Treetop Flyers

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Single Review: Not Drowning But Waving - Spring Offensive

Rating: 9/10

Out today, Spring Offensive's harrowing Not Drowning But Waving is a beautiful take on the Stevie Smith poem with rich four part harmonies and dark lyrics relating the tale of a man's guilt of letting another drown. The pulsing guitars and breathy vocals singing 'a freezing mist comes rolling in', add to the haunting melodies with ghostly background murmurs and refrains of 'I will be blamed for this one'.

Spring Offensive will be touring around Europe from late September. Visit for more details

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Focus On: All We Are

Written in a Norwegian cabin, arranged in an abandoned school, and recorded in a n old church, the 'We Hunt' EP by Liverpudlian trio, All We Are, is not surprisingly filled with rich melodies doing justice to the majestic locations in which it was produced. Single, Cardhouse, has a haunting and strangely hypnotic feel to it, with soaring choruses, a thumping drum beat, and beautiful intertwining layers of male and female vocals. You can listen to Cardhouse below, and get a free download of it here.

Catch All We Are play in Liverpool on 6th September and London on 11th September. For more information visit: 
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