Groovy Uncle – “A Clip Round the Ear” (Album Review)

Located in South East England you’ll find the Medway-based group Groovy Uncle, and they’re back again with the release of their sixth album “A Clip Round the Ear.” The album serves as a nostalgic trip to the 60s for those who remember the era as well as serving as a gateway drug for a new generation to discover that sound for themselves. However, Groovy Uncle isn’t just here to re-create songs from the past for the sake of going down memory lane, but rather using the classic sounds and old-school style songwriting as a springboard into new uncharted territories topped off with a shiny polish for contemporary audiences.

Groovy Uncle is the moniker of singer-songwriter, arranger and guitarist Glenn Prangnell who has surrounded himself with a revolver door of talents through previous albums for a surprise with each release. For “A Clip Round the Ear,” Nick Rice (bass), Mole Lambert (drums) and a full cast of other talented musicians fill out the record with the most notable collaboration being that of vocalist Suzi Chunk, whose flavorful delivery on many of the tracks becomes the main attraction against the backdrop of soulful, energetic and sometimes raw songs found on the record.

“Mrs Saywell Says” opens the album with garage rock optimism by incorporating a catchy chorus, clear groove basslines and Beach Boys-styled guitars that combine into a fun pop song dipped into a vat of lyrical quirkiness. Glenn’s inspiration for this track’s lyrics stem from his parent’s tales of a real life infant school teacher called Mrs. Saywell in the 1930s and 40s who used the classroom’s open coal fire to heat up her rear end. This highlights Glenn’s ability of taking peculiar situations and creating a narrative consisting of memorable characters that are easy to latch onto and cleverly bringing the album to life in the process.

The nods to the 60s and 70s as an influence are especially notable on “Our Gary’s No Fool,” which is seemingly a lost Beatles track featuring John Lennon at the helm. Other songs such as “The Moon and Back” evoke memories of The Clash with its sassy, fun, and rocking sound that is perfect for blasting loud from a convertible in the neighborhood to enrage those still sleeping at dawn. The guitar solo completes the energetic tune and it’s a stand-out track off the album.

Other songs such as “I Thought It Was About Time,” “The Scheme of Things” and “I Really Wouldn’t Know How” are softer and offer an introspective Jazzy experience filled with sophistication and candor. These songs would not sound out of place coming out of a diner’s jukebox from the golden era. Suzi really displays her talent here in delivering emotion as well as articulating the meaning behind the songs and her boldness and vitality take Groovy Uncle to the next level.

The upbeat rocker “Oil and Colour Man” dives into an interesting narrative that applies the album’s title in its lyrics. The song takes inspiration from Glenn’s memories of a man back in the day who would sell items such as soap and lipstick around the neighborhood. The story in the lyrics is the definite highlight of the song and the spoken words and laughter by James Worse adds humor and a touch of distinctiveness. Listeners can truly visualize the character in the song, but it’s your decision to either feel pity or sympathize with this zany man.

groovy uncle.png

The rest of the songs on the album are either rocking with the occasional use of horns, or slower-paced with sing-a-long melodies that have clear, purposeful vocals, a tight rhythm section and solid production. “A Clip Round the Ear” is ultimately for those seeking a glimpse into a simpler time through light-hearted snippets about not-so-ordinary people told in catchy songs that will get you off your seat and dancing the night away. All the song are short bursts of energy and accessible for newcomers to the genre. If you’re looking for a classic sound injected with experienced yet always curious talent, look no further than Groovy Uncle’s “A Clip Round the Ear.”

The album is available on limited edition green vinyl and CD and is available from groovy-uncle.co.uk and iTunes. Like them out on Facebook.

Advertisements

Enter the Venture Magazine Issue #3 Released Today!

It’s Oct. 1, 2017 and that means Enter the Venture Magazine’s Issue #3 is out today! It features zenxienz on the cover as well as stories on the Ninkasi Brewery’s recording studio, the new Broke Royals music video that raises deaf awareness, the making of Lola’s latest EP and much, much more! Check it out the magazine here:

Concert Review: Arthur King & The Night Sea and Aaron Espinoza @ The Hi Hat

The Hi-Hat and Dangerbird Records presented an experimental, psychedelic odyssey on Sept. 20 as Arthur King & The Night Sea and Aaron Espinoza (of Earlimart) showed up with music that went beyond the normal audio performance one expects from a concert. A major addition to both sets was the inclusion of visual aids that elevated the already trippy yet calming sounds coming from a variety of instruments.

Highland Park’s The Hi Hat venue offers adequate space for the performers and music lovers to watch on. The building includes a bar, billiards tables and burgers within arm’s reach. It’s the ideal place to get good food, drinks, and watch interesting, boundary-pushing shows at an affordable price. The best aspect is the homey, comfy vibe you get within it all.

Haunting and comforting all at the same time, @theshipstudio #MICRODOSE

A post shared by The Hi Hat (@thehihatla) on

First to take stage was Aaron Espinoza, from indie rock band Earlimart, a Pixies / Sonic Youth post-punk band that’s been around since 1999. Aaron’s performance was a complete opposite of that: a part electronic, part acoustic set both spacey and calming yet daring and alluring. Two screens were placed on each side of the stage, setting the appropriate lighting for his journey through the cosmos. Aaron’s voice was sampled live and played behind his singing voice, producing a chorus of voices that were textured and layered above the various synths and pulsing drum beats. The set was one long, progressive experience that had no defined beginning or end, allowing listeners to get lost in their own trance thoughts and keeping rhythm while doing it. Overall, Aaron’s foray into minimalistic electronica expands our appreciation for his talents and keeps us guessing what he plans on doing next.

arthur

Image via Dangerbird Records

Arthur King & The Night Sea are a white-wearing clad of diverse talents all wrapped into one. Before they begin, a large drape covers the stage, separating the band from the audience. Soon enough there are light projections shot onto it allowing for interesting visuals that almost make it seem like we are watching a movie with a band providing a live soundtrack. The music was atmospheric for the most part, taking dives in and out of jazz, rock, electronic and at times, a mixture of all of them. At one point, the visual aid displayed a first-person view of riding a roller coaster just as the music elevated to a suspenseful state, truly making a cohesive marriage between both sight and sound. Although Arthur King & The Night Sea is mostly instrumental without lyrics, they can convey more feelings, emotions and thoughts with a high level of creative expression. Be sure to show up when this amalgamation of influences and styles comes rolling into a town near you.

IMG_20170920_222652403.jpg

Photo by Isiah Reyes

The combination of these two experimental acts performing in Highland Park is the appropriate marriage between of where the growing artistic town is and where it will be in the upcoming years. Stay tuned for more on Arthur King & The Night Sea, Aaron Espinoza and The Hi Hat.

zenxienz – Album Review

Hong Kong-born musician, producer, and songwriter, Cameron Williamson, aka zenxienz, has released his second full-length album for 2017 titled “Brainforest” on August 4. Listen to the album on Bandcamp here:

 

The opening track “Insignia” is a full burst instrumental rife with colorful sounds that mix both electronic and tribal-sounding drums, enchanting piano and an immense amount of creativity that sets the table as to what’s to come. The Middle Eastern vibe is traditional with a strong dosage of modern influences. “Undercurrents” continues the electronic sound but with a more intense EDM and dance vibe that pulsates at every turn. It’s the perfect song for those hot nights at a glow in the dark festival where you just want to lose your mind, body, and soul in the music. The album is the audio translation of a painting full of vivid colors and strange shapes all colliding into each other to produce a unique visual image. The beats throughout the album are fast yet the melodic keyboards that accompany them are slow, majestic and space-like to the point where being surprised becomes the expectation.

brainforest 2.jpg

Image via zenxienz

“Pico” has vocal sound samples mix with heavy bass and disjointed drums all put into a synthesizer blender that melts away all conventions about what music is supposed to sound like. The drum style changes pace, style and tempo all in a matter of seconds making it a stand-out track that is destined to be blasted against a backdrop of strobe lights and beer cups held in the air. The sound of the album is heavily electronic, constantly changing through different methods of expression in both planning and execution. Soaring synthesizers add layers of discover that make for repeated listens, as this is not an album that could be fully understood in just one spin. The amount of rave and hardcore dance injected in each track will be enough to last for a very long time.

Some tracks like “Coiled” are a bit darker in tone with vocal tracks making small appearances to keep you on your toes of what to expect. Though most of the songs border on being dubstep, they do not stray into the territory of being loud and abrasive for the sake of it. The psychedelic drums and bass have deeper intentions with many breakdowns that give you a breather from dancing and trancing about. The breaks allow for recuperation, reflection on introspection, and allows you to take in the moment with someone new as you’ll most likely be listening to this new age, off-the-rails record at a blistering venue. The sounds, although chaotic, are therapeutic even for those swaying alone to the rhythmic madness alone in a room.

brainforest 1.jpg

Image via zenxienz

There’s no doubt that the sounds from zenxienz will continue to impress for many years to come. For now, let’s all enjoy what this masterful electronic musician has created: an inspiring connection with others through sounds, mental images and creativity. To stay up to date with all things zenxienz, be sure to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Bandcamp, Spotify, Soundcloud, and his official site.

The Peanut Gallery – Video Review

New Jersey Hip-Hop duo The Peanut Gallery recently released its first single “Deep Thoughts” from the upcoming “Tales from the Basement” album. Check out the track here:

The Peanut Gallery is made up prep school graduate and breakdancing Orlando and his partner in crime Flee Jones, an inner-city gangster using music as an outlet. They got together after their plans to start up Party of 5IVE went astray and now the duo are making songs they want to and connecting with fans on a deeper level.

The song starts off with a symphonic keyboard track and popping beats that get you in the mood to hear what deep thoughts could come from the unorthodox duo. Almost immediately, hints of OutKast and A Tribe Called Quest can be heard yet the duo takes their expressive style in their own direction. The music production by Flee Jones has been accurately compared to the likes of Dr. Dre, Ja Rule, and Ludacris.

The personal lyrics cover topics like getting locked and being denied, but the main takeaway is that Orlando will not change his outfit or stop rapping because that’s who he is. The track delivers the message of accepting who you are and making it as far as you can despite the haters that will inevitable try to tear you down. His poetic style of the song and the lack of a chorus allows Orlando to fully express what’s on his mind without having to conform to any typical songwriting patterns, creating a refreshing and unexpected take in the rap genre. “Everything I end up loving always seems to disappear” is the final line that puts into perspective the overall message of “Deep Thoughts” and allows the song to be relatable to other people who are going through similar experiences.

The video strongly features Orlando’s interest in plushies, especially one of cartoon character Arthur. The visualizations on camera represent what’s being said lyrically and there’s a humoristic tone with the acting throughout. The use of the dolls highlights Orlando’s comedic values and soft spots rather than trying to appear all hard like most other rappers do.

The Peanut Gallery are in the process of writing and producing their album and both plan on releasing various projects together along and touring this year. “Deep Thoughts” is available on iTunes Spotify and SoundCloud, and we know we’ll be seeing more of them as they continue to rise. Be sure to check out the album “Tales from the basement” coming out Oct. 13.

Find more of The Peanut Gallery on YouTube, Vevo, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and Twitter.