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"Real World" by Joe Dolman

Review

It's been above a year since I last got to review a Joe Dolman release (his collaboration with Millie Tilby "Let's Go Home") so it's good to be able to tell you about today's new single called "Real World" .

Delighted as I am to tell you this, in case you hadn't picked up on it from any other source, beyond the facts, I must admit I get a little concerned with the judgemental side of reviewing artists of Joe's calibre.Of course I am so pleased when the quality of music created by Coventry and Warwickshire artists becomes appreciated more widely and I rejoice when their careers take off at national level and beyond. Living as we are lucky to do at the moment with such a breadth & depth of original talent, we have quite a few others whom I think could easily follow in Joe's footsteps.Nevertheless, by that time in his & their careers, it becomes increasingly difficult to talk about some aspects of releases which are bread & butter to those of us writing about music. The issue of "quality" becomes pretty meaningless as they reach levels where all the work is clearly of such a high standard that it can be taken as read. Equally it's no longer possible to discuss potential or those earlier aspects of development which it is so exciting to chart, especially when we cover careers from really early days. You are kind of really just left with description of the song(s) in question & such context as you can glean. So I'll do my best.

So, it's a Joe Dolman single, so it's immaculately written, performed & produced: not that you needed telling of that. One of his piano led ballads, it is hard not to jump to the conclusion that it's melancholic & fragile tone is not in some way reflective of the past months (I know I tend to read COVID19 references & resonances into far too many songs) and an even bigger leap (as the lyrics really don't support such an interpretation directly) to wonder if Joe is contrasting the "Real World" with the fantastical experiences of recent lives: he certainly is aiming his words at someone he feels is living outside such a place.

Co-written by Joe & Angus Parkin, the single was produced by Joe with Jack Arnold and mixed by Matt Cotterill. I have said often enough in the past that despite his reputation for love song writing, you do have to feel sorry for Joe or at least the characters in whose mouths he places the words he writes. Frequently they beat themselves up over their own perceived failings and in this case, although this does not seemingly apply, we don't get the impression of a happy person: which always strikes me as odd as his live performances of the songs tend to be quite joyous affairs. Maybe that paradox & tension goes so way to explain his success. It's certainly an intriguing dynamic.

As noted, the words are appropriately supported by a plangent piano which serves to emphasise the overall fragility (and I've never heard as much of that quality in Joe's voice than I can on "Real World").

In the pursuit of fame & fortune, I think there are a few potential traps: admittedly ones you can understand people falling for, but ones which I think are best avoided, especially if you want to have a long career. One is to try to please all the people all the time, another maybe to be endlessly cheery and keep accentuating feelgood factors. Joe hasn't gone down this route: sure he is very popular & has a broad fanbase, but it's not through pandering to anyone's concept of what his audience might be. I think they respond to the inherent honesty in his songs, and if they are of the nature I've just described, then so be it. After all everyone understands and experiences such emotions. Thus "Real World" is not a song for all occasions: it is a very mood specific track and seeks to capture that feeling as accurately as possible without compromising. In that way it may be seen as brave, yet it also shows integrity and as I've said, that's what's brought him this far & I think it will keep him going a lot longer than if he tried to construct synthetic pieces which he didn't personally feel.

I normally end reviews by expressing hope that the record in question will reach as many people as possible & touch as many hearts: I honestly doubt that in this case it will be any sort of issue.

If you'd like to see Joe live, then his December 17th gig at All Saints church in Leamington (rescheduled from last year), still has a few tickets available I believe via http://infinitymusicgroup.bigcartel.com/

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Made In Coventry

News

Made in Coventry celebrates the incredible range of music artists and styles in our city and across Warwickshire.

The first event celebrates the contribution of inspirational women to the region's music scene, with sets from Srividya Venkat, Abz Winter, Catherine & Josephine Nightingale and Letitia George.

Srividya Venkat is an Indian Carnatic violinist who started learning at the age of six in India, performing from the age of nine as both a solo violinist and in group collaborations. At the age of 10, she received the Government of India Scholarship for excellence in art (CCERT). She has performed in Music festivals in India, the United Kingdom and the USA. Srividya is also a meticulous teacher and conducts classes in Rugby and online. As an organiser, Srividya has been organising virtual concerts titled ‘Carnatic Music rendition series' since May 2020 with eminent artists from the UK, the USA and India. As a musician, she loves to experiment with different genres of music and collaborate with artists from different musical styles.

Abz Winter's music is described as 'Dark Pop,' with a retro '80s/90's sound, and electronic, dance, synth-type vibes, she has a strong voice that resonates. At only 19, Abz has been a BBC CWR Introducing Artist Of The Month and A BrumRadio's A-lister. She was also nominated for Best New Female at Radio WigWam, and nominated Best Female 2021 at the NMG Awards, as well as playing the Coventry City Cathedral ruins in July for Terry Hall's Home Grown Sessions - before The Lightning Seed.

Born in Coventry, of British and Guyanese heritage, Catherine and Josephine Nightingale were raised in an inner city multicultural household: the ground in which the musical seeds of their lives were planted was rich, deep and dark. Josephine is an artist of her times; Catherine, the epitome of old school Soul. Roots, Jazz, Gospel, Blues, Reggae, Motown, the beats and basslines of Funk and Disco, Bluebeat and Ska surrounded them growing up.

Best known across the UK for her appearance in Series 4 of The Voice in 2015, where she reached the knock-out rounds as a member of Team Ricky, soul singer Letitia George is now a presenter on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and performs regularly around the UK.

Made In Coventry is at Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, on Saturday 9 October 2021 from 7.45pm. Tickets are £6.

For more details and to book, see: www.warwickartscentre.co.uk

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"The Pines" by Chessi O'Dowd

Review

The last twenty or so months have to some extent made us all consider various aspects of time I think: such as how long has elapsed since we last did things etc. That's why in the few live reviews I've managed, I've sometimes referred back to the previous gigs I'd attended: more than a year before. In fact another date sticks in my mind and that's the first concert I had in my diary which got cancelled back in March 2020, namely the launch of Chessi O'Dowd's ‘Wine Glass Filter' EP. Now that has still to take place but if you recollect, at the time, Chessi decided to release an EP track "Snowflake" as an interim measure, a song which has gained her a great deal of attention, airplay and critical praise. It also appears on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume 3'.

In the months since, Chessi of course has worked with Jack Blackman on a joint cover of "Pensacola" which was received to yet more acclaim, so it can definitely be said that although like everyone else her musical activities have been curtailed & she has endured the frustrations of slowed momentum, the two singles she has put out have greatly enhanced her reputation & she stands good to go to resume where she left off.

The superb news I am delighted to share with you this morning is that Chessi has conjured an opportunity out of a disappointment & ‘Wine Glass Filter' is still on the cards for a release, only in the interim it has expanded via lockdown written songs from an EP into a fully fledged album, produced by Dan Sealey of Merrymaker & Ocean Colour Scene renown.

The first fruit of this new collection is the release today of a trailer single called "The Pines".

To be honest, "Snowflake" and "Pensacola" are pretty hard acts to follow, each in its own way. However I remember back in March last year, rather precipitately praising the former as one of the best singles of 2020: and despite the many subsequent releases after that, I stand by that assessment. I also said at that time that in the context of releases of that year, the bar was really high, yet Chessi cleared it confidently. In this case she has pulled off a similar feat, this time in relation to her own recent work.

Part of how she has done this is by not repeating what she had previously done. "The Pines" has a gentler and more pastoral feel compared with the defiance of "Snowflake". Like other local writers in a similar vein such as Naomi Beth or Chloë Boehm, in this case Chessi has gone for the "less is more" route of an arrangement, with a sparse hypnotic guitar, varied for effect in playing style, leaving us to primarily focus on her voice, which on this occasion veers towards the languid, celebrating the pleasures of a mindful existence in a rural setting. There is a delightful calmness to the piece & it may be fanciful, but I hear in it a manifesto for coping with what we all had to deal with back in 2020: finding solace & healing amongst nature.

There is a lot of Americana around our scene at the moment and for an instant, I am in danger of describing Chessi as an Americana artist. There is good reason to do so, not least "Pensacola" and the styles of some of her close collaborators. I also immediately thought of Stone Bear's "Ole Cherry Tree" single when I first heard this song (more in terms of theme than sound I must stress). However, although Chessi is undoubtedly adept at such music, her interests seem more diverse than just existing in one box: "The Pines" could well be set in the USA but equally so in the UK or many other parts of the world. The song also can exist outside our own times & not only speak for past centuries but in future speak just as eloquently to generations for whom COVID19 will hopefully just be a chapter in history books.

I (and everyone else) have waited an inordinate amount of time for ‘Wine Glass Filter' and once again I look forwards to another launch date. Clearly it's going to be even better than originally intended and judging by "The Pines" it is going to further burnish the reputation of its creator.

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"Señorita" by Rheo Uno

Review

I get extremely intrigued by what artists occasionally say about their own work. Obviously as a reviewer I sometimes (and only when I feel it's an accurate assessment and not knee jerk hyperbole) rate something as possibly being "their best so far". Many artists (at least the ones I review) usually err on the side of caution and wait for popular comment before rating their own work, which I think is a healthy sign. However on the odd instances where their enthusiasm for the fruits of their own creativity boils over into dubbing a track a personal favourite, I think one should take especial notice.

In this instance, I must say I take Rheo Uno's comments about her new single "Señorita" (out tomorrow) very seriously and with much respect. This is enhanced by my reaction to her previous two releases under this new brand as I felt that her debut under this new, augmented name, "Wife Me?" was especially strong and its follow up "Show Me", her first released composition of the new regime as the earlier single was written earlier, even more so.

Nevertheless, Rheo's enthusiasm for this new one is infectious and it is a real delight to witness an artist so confident in what she is doing & so obviously enjoying herself. Such attributes naturally help shape the glories of the song. Rheo clearly aims for perfection in her art (both writing & production) and the finer details of "Señorita" as with all her previous work indicate much hard work & thought as well as love. However the obsession with such matters can often result in antiseptic songs devoid of true character and passion yet Rheo seems aware of this too & "Señorita"  bubbles with authenticity & honesty.

Dabbling into Iberian culture can often, in the right hands (let's suggest the likes of ABBA or Madonna?) provide a very interesting variation providing it's not a trick you play too often & it's one you play with taste. The other end of the spectrum being of course the ghastly chart successes of material aimed at reminding returned holidaymakers of sangria drenched Spanish hotel discos. Thankfully Rheo is firmly at the classy end of this particular dichotomy.  There are plenty of Spanish musical and lyrical clichés available to her, all of which she ignores. In fact what you get is pretty much the epitome of what Rheo Uno music seems to be intended to be: well wrought danceable pop, in this case dusted with Latin elements with the softest and subtlest of touches.

I'm guessing that this may contribute to why she rates it so highly herself: it demonstrates what she can do with a light approach. "Señorita"  is certainly much less upfront than its two predecessors and not only is this contrast useful (and indicative of a broad range) but also it seems one with an appeal to a slightly more mature audience: this is cool Rheo Uno, with an insouciant elegance, one who can glide through a song as well as she can bounce through one. An adult accustomed to the finer experiences of life and as the song's lyrics suggest, a cosmopolitan individual at home in exotic and sophisticated cultures and able to express herself within them.

Created with the collaboration of Erim Ahmet and Charles Drew,"Señorita" is the third really excellent Rheo Uno release. I understand that her new profile has, with the success of the first two singles, risen in online following spectacularly, so I confidently expect that to continue. Although we can be proud that she is a local artist, her music is totally universal in appeal and I'd like to think that a national and thence international status is something which will come for her. She feels she is on a roll & upwards trajectory right now & I certainly am happy to endorse & agree with that. Viva Rheo Uno.

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"10-46" by Massasauga

Review

It was back in April when out of their "7 Nights of Terror" competition, Massasauga fans voted the chilling "Switchblade" to be their single. Now they are back with Hallowe'en starting to loom on the radar with another tale to chill us, namely "10-46".

It's interesting, and a sign of the depth of the material they are writing, that this is a brand new song rather than turning to one of other excellent ones which featured in the contest.

Based on a perfectly true story, that of the wonderfully named Artemus Ogletree who was murdered in the room whose number gives the single its title, in the Hotel President in Kansas City in 1935, the song not only tells what it can of a complicated & puzzling unsolved slaying, but perhaps more importantly, tries to capture its atmosphere. For the many details which accompany the case, I refer you to Wikipedia. The cover of the release however is a genuine crime scene photo.

Despite fitting so easily into the band's body of work, "10-46" is in fact something of a watershed release, marking the beginning of a new era being their first recorded professionally in a studio, and the end of another, being the last of this Massasauga configuration. Expect news of a new drummer soon..

The good news is that going into a studio has in no way diminished the power of the band's music and it has emerged as dirty & rough edged as their fans would expect: in fact if anything some aspects of the sound are muddier than previously (presumably reflecting what they were going for in trying to capture the uncertainties and unknown elements of the story): I was grateful for the lyrics provided in the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICZxL_2j34A

as they were not entirely clear first time without seeing them. The overall sound approaches grunge to some extent as the vocals dip into the stew of anguished noise & hide there from the ominous approach of the Grim Reaper (the continual repetition of "It's Coming" is eerily unsettling). Where the band perhaps differ from the actual history is that they place the events within some much bigger picture: their take on it is one of a much more primeval sense of evil, one which has waited "a thousand years" to slaughter the unfortunate Ogletree. Taken at this level, the more than four minutes of mounting terror reaches new heights of horror: exacerbated by the slow & steady tempo whose brilliant slow build is superbly constructed: anything faster would seriously have diminished the atmospheric impact. Presumably the poor man met his end in some prosaic way which knowing would also remove the power of the narrative: suggesting that he was the victim of some timeless and possibly immortal power makes for a much more gripping one.

Massasauga do seem to be going from strength to strength with each release & for a duo they strike a very effective balance between generating an awful lot of racket with so few instruments with not overdoing it, factoring in the power of tension created by restraint. And beyond all that analysis, the track is simply a very compelling one which is going to stick in your minds & refuse to leave.. which is another macabre story in itself I guess.

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The 'Hauntings' EP by Year Without A Summer

Review

It's been nearly a year since we last reviewed a Year Without A Summer  release in these pages (and the last couple of years have come close to living up to the band's name) when we told you about their single "What You Taught Me (Baby)".

It's unusual to use a plural pronoun about the band as it is generally thought of as a solo project for Joe Wilson (and indeed the last single featured only his talent) but despite all the music on the new ‘Hauntings' EP (their eighth release) which comes out on 10th September being as lockdown generated as "What You Taught Me (Baby)", this time round he is joined by no fewer than four collaborators, though in fact each of them recorded separately in the safety of their own premises. Tenor sax and bass clarinet player Bill Cameron and drummer/percussionist Chloe Lynch are names you should be able to find in previous "Hot Music Live" articles, though I'm not sure we have mentioned flautist Emma Cwyps Cooper nor trumpeter Melissa Reardon until today. Joe himself sings and plays guitars, bass, percussion and glockenspiel.  He also mixed and produced the songs (as well as writing them) while Micky Ciccone played his part in the separate recordings from Coventry, London and Warwickshire.

So let's next reveal what the tracks are called: and the answer is "Spoopy!", "Fly-Tipped Mattress", "Angels at Twilight" and "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions".

So have Year Without A Summer evolved into a full band: what some unimaginative ones might call a "proper" band? Well no, not really. Joe has always added layers of sound (by himself) to songs just as far as he wanted to do to fulfil the track as heard in his head, so it's not true to say that ‘Hauntings' displays a particularly "fuller" set of arrangements: most are as sparse as his songs in the past. The difference is limited to the novelty of the particular instruments added this time around (all of which are acoustic): presumably ones he can't play himself.

EP opener "Spoopy!" is pretty essential YWAS and instantly enriches their canon moving things another jump forwards. What Joe refers to as "..usual jittery anxiety about everything…" is there in spades (he sounds on this one as David Byrne might sound if he lived in Coventry) with the trademark outpouring of words (I have often speculated as to how he not only fits so many lyrics to the music but how on earth he gets them all out so coherently in singing) over a characteristically paranoid arrangement. You might perhaps consider it the outpourings of someone on medication except that he explicitly rules this out in the lyrics… There is, as the title hints, (as well as presumably a bit of wordplay associated with the EP title) some sort of scatological subtext going on (he has "a head full of sewage") which rears its head periodically, but what I think sells "Spoopy!" best is its sheer vivacity: you could easily dance to the song and there is a strange joyousness to the predicament which adds to its oddness. Most intriguing of all is a marvellous trumpet part which gradually asserts itself through the tune, offering a calm counterpoint to the other elements. This song has already had airplay too…..

"Fly-Tipped Mattress" slows the beat right down and if anything is even better than its predecessor. This time it's a flute which adds the extra flavour and makes it all sound a bit late 60s ish underground in style. The main thrust of the song (whose lyrics also supply the EP title) is a sort of bluesy alternative rock one embellished with a sort of Lou Reed sleaze effect (think "Vicious" maybe). Marvellous stuff which I imagine will go down a storm if & when played live. This one too really deserves airplay and maybe a single release?

"Angels at Twilight", which follows, turns the pace down still further and is in complete contrast to what passed before, being an exquisite guitar instrumental and I suppose highlighting Joe's breadth of interest and talents. I can also see how in its own wordless way, it manages to convey a sense of the EP's title, but given the intensity of the other three tracks, maybe this one supplies the greatest surprise of all. It certainly also acts well structurally in giving us a pause to catch our breath between the angst either side of it.

"Decisions Decisions Decisions" closes the EP with a neat bookend complement to "Spoopy!", bringing back the anxieties, which this time round have moved on from the paranoia of feeling trapped in a small space to more global ones of trying to chart a course through the waters of life while being bombarded by input from media of various perspectives and degrees of reliability. Emma's flute is back, offering the complementary voice of calm and reason while Bill's sax vacillates between taking sides with Joe's yelps of stress and harmonising with the flute part.

Joe is terribly worried that he has made some sort of mistake but (perhaps through the reassurance of the flute & sax etc?), thankfully he ends on an optimistic note when "..the sun will shine on you".

If you have never heard a Year Without A Summer record before, this EP could be a useful entry point. In only four tracks there are many of the characteristics to be found on the earlier seven releases: an organic low-fi approach which offers a great deal of authenticity and truth, edgy and barbed music with highly thoughtful and literate lyrics and strange and rather wonderful juxtapositions and dialectics. A lot therefore to engage the mind, yet there is always a pop sensibility at play, most songs are danceable (at least for better dancers than me) and most stick readily in the mind. Little magical details encrust most tracks. There is also (possibly) a thematic continuation with earlier concerns such as 2016's "Ghosthunting with the Happy Mondays" The only thing which seems to be missing are the moths, though perhaps I've just not discovered them yet.

Where ‘Hauntings' perhaps differs from its predecessors, apart from the developed instrumental palette is that in this case, the  world we all inhabit manages to elide with that in which Joe's interior dialogues take place. COVID19 is not explicitly cited, but it's hard not to equate communal feelings of anxiety with those being expressed here, even if only partially. Year Without a Summer I think by choice inhabit a plane of their/his own and though the songs don't always indicate a happiness with that state of affairs, nonetheless it seems something he/they can live with. It's nice however that with this EP, the planes have aligned a little.

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"Sinking" by Euan Blackman

Review

On 2nd September, Euan Blackman will be releasing "Sinking", his follow up to the widely praised and popular "24 Hours 7 Days" and I gather it will feature on an EP in due course too: a method of releasing which, from the reviews I've been writing for the past couple of years, seems to be increasingly popular.

I believe that  "Sinking" predates its predecessor in terms of composition, though I suspect it was still written during the pandemic experience (which is a term which suggests the worst ever theme park ride or possibly a very twisted rock band name). However the subject matter seems very different and certainly the sound is: in fact in some respects you might even mistake it for the work of another artist altogether, though on repeated & deeper listening, the commonality does become more apparent.

For starters, although Euan originated the song with a guitar riff in a drop D tuning, the initial impression is of a piano being the dominant instrument in the arrangement, until you realise how many guitars there are actually in there & the roles which they play: both an acoustic rhythm track (the initial riff idea I assume) and subtle little flashes of electric slide. It's one of those tracks which once you get the nuances of the arrangement you derive yet more pleasure from the experience. Full marks on the arrangement (by Euan) and mix (by Charlie Braddick who also mastered the single): it's impressive how much detail they get out of relatively few instruments.

The song itself is much more jaunty in tone than "24 Hours 7 Days" and swings along (which not too many songs manage) giving an upbeat air of optimism and seems both a message to a lover and a more general one to the world of anticipating travel and general liberation (Kerouac is name checked). In this respect, you can possibly see his thinking in terms of the order of release: it's the right sequence of emotions set against the COVID19 backcloth and in all honesty the theme of "Sinking" might have seemed a little premature earlier in the year: now it seems plausible and we can rejoice for him that he can contemplate such things.

Where the two tracks do share common ground though is in the understated melodicism which runs through them both: a very "English" light touch on both the intensity of the lyrics and the pastorality of the music. The words mark him out as a 21st century writer and to some extent, despite the apparent simplicity of the arrangement, this too is contemporary in style. However the melody underneath is pretty timeless and consistent with folksong of at least the last century or more.

Where it also scores is with the evidence that Euan is no single note writer: he has breadth as well as depth & the EP no doubt will showcase this even further. Taken by itself though, "Sinking" has multiple merits: it's a charming almost self effacing number which I'm happy to sing the praises of: not to enjoy listening to it would suggest someone had a bit of a heart of stone to be honest.

In the meantime, you can presave "Sinking" via this link:

https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/euanblackman/sinking

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"Polaroids of Yesteryear" by Levi Washington

Review

To say that I was stunned by the new Levi Washington single "Polaroids of Yesteryear" (which you can hear at 1800 tomorrow, the first of September, on BBC CWR I understand: Levi will also be talking to Rachel New about it) would be a massive understatement.  It grabbed me in the first few bars and held me tight for the duration of the first play and the several subsequent ones I made before tearing me away to try to channel my enthusiasm into a coherent review.

One of my very few rules which I try to deploy to rein in my tendency to rave about tracks I actually like, is to be very cautious about dubbing new songs as "the best" of any artist, although to be fair, most, if not all, of the artists I write about are very much ones who move their craft forwards each time, so maybe I could use the expression more than I do.

In this case however, despite Levi's very distinguished and high quality back catalogue, I think I might risk saying it. It really is that good.

And it's entirely his own work which is even more impressive when you hear the depth & complexity of the arrangement.

This is a wonderfully confident yet intimate track. In terms of the sound and the song, they are in perfect harmony. Not only does it impact instantly by just what you hear, but it's a really well constructed piece: what a sometimes call a "proper song". It says something worth listening to.

Based around the theme of romantic nostalgia (it was inspired by bumping into an old flame by chance), the overall feel is definitely a soulful one, yet the initial musical touchstones were apparently  ones involving artists such as the Smiths and the Cure. Hearing the very English guitar jangles, I  certainly get that, but even more so than the fact of the playing style I think Levi draws senses of understated intensity in the words: a lightness of lyrics which nevertheless suggest subtly that there is a far greater depth of feelings under their surface than the speaker feels he dare express. At every turn there lurks that cloak of humour which writers like Morrissey and Robert Smith used so effectively to partially conceal a passion. Whether or not Aztec Camera or New Order also played any part in the inspiration, I do not know, but parts of the song brought them to mind too.

However that is only a starting point: the sound itself is 2021 not 1982 and as I say, there is a soul element added which neither of the two previously mentioned bands ever went for. "Polaroids of Yesteryear" grooves.

Set against the rather jaunty guitar playing (and interestingly 80s sounding drums which are also courtesy of Levi as getting a drummer during lockdown was predictably problematic) he was also going for a "British rainy day romance feel": an interesting juxtaposition which creates a useful internal tension. I suppose that this too is a quintessential English songwriting  tradition: it makes me think of Ray Davies, though not of any particular song, and to some extent that beautiful if under rated Madness song "The Sun & the Rain", though that's not about romance as such. I suppose there are reasons why English song writers might go down that route from time to time, though not as often as might be the case. I think only an English writer would use the word "Yesteryear" too (though many examples of the French equivalents exist) and one of the very many delights of Levi's writing is his vocabulary, confidence in using it and ability to weave unusual words and phrases into songs and, tellingly, to do so convincingly.

However, digressions into setting this brand new song into its historical context aside, this is a corking song. You'll love it when you hear and it obviously is starting its airplay career already. Whether or not its roots etc are of any interest to you or not (I imagine such things are of greater moment to musicians and reviewers), it really does not matter, as  "Polaroids of Yesteryear" can speak for itself. More people I suspect will tune into the idea of memories of past relationships and shed a little tear for how well Levi evokes them (and he does: the track reeks of sincerity) than ponder about the various homages to his heroes included, though they are there too, and can act as either an alternative way of enjoying it or even better as different but complementary layers of pleasure and appreciation.

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Old and gold

"Never Gone" by Lemon Boy

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"Never Gone", the follow up to his very well received "I Want Your Blue Sky" single from May, will be the latest release from Lemon Boy on 1st ...

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Wendy James - Queen High Straight Tour

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WENDY JAMES RELEASES MUSIC VIDEO FOR ‘THE IMPRESSION OF NORMALCY' - WATCH HERE  + ANNOUNCES UK TOUR DATES FOR AUGUST, ...

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The Mintakaa Collective live at the Daimler Powerhouse

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If you enjoyed "Auriga" by Mintakaa on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Six' then it's a fair assumption that you'd be interested in ...

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Mugun Grips The Scene With The Release Of ‘Underglow'

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Establishing himself as one of Coventry's hottest exports, mugun grips the scene with the release of 'underglow'.

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'I Stripped Bare' by Daffod'i'll

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On today, his birthday (not a coincidence I imagine), Daffod'I'll  has released his ninth solo album entitles ‘I Stripped Bare' ...

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‘Seven Signs of a Soul' by Ian Todd

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As prophesised in our recent reviews of his singles "Don't Forget To Breathe" (in June) and "What Goes In Is What Goes Out" (last month), the ...

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Wes Finch on Stratford Bandstand

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I'm sorry to say that I'd never previously attended one of the summer Sunday afternoon concerts on the Bandstand in Stratford before but ...

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"Show Me" by Rheo Uno

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Considerably less than a month ago, I was strongly suggesting to you that you should check out the new Rheo Uno single "Wife Me?" yet already the ...

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"Dreamstate" by Free Galaxy

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Fresh out from Free Galaxy is their latest single "Dreamstate", though it is far from business as usual for this popular band.

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Leamington Spa Art In The Park (Saturday)

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Joyous return to live music at premier Warwickshire event, Leamington Art In The Park.

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"Highway to the Lost & Found" by The Rising

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True to their mission, The Rising are back with a new single "Highway to the Lost & Found"  (due out on 3rd September) just over a month ...

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"Art in the Park" 2021

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To be honest, as delighted as I was that live music in some quantity was back at an expanded "Art in the Park" (two stages rather than the usual ...

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"2 Tone and Rock Against Racism" event

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In my recent review of the "Women Pioneers" event at Coventry Cathedral, I drew your attention to its companion event centring on the 2 Tone ...

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LEAMINGTON SPA ART IN THE PARK 2021 (SATURDAY)

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It's been a long two years but I finally got back to a little live music photography on the Saturday of Leamington's Art In The Park ...

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"God's Little Punching Bag" by YNES

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Springing out of the blue somewhat is the new single from YNES called "God's Little Punching Bag" which burst onto our consciousness this ...

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"Bring Back the Feeling" by Danny Ansell

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The most recent occasion on which we reported on Danny Ansell and his music was back in April, with the release of his "Slice of Cake" single.

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‘24 Hours 7 Days' by Euan Blackman

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Fresh in from Alcester based artist Euan Blackman is his brand new release "24 Hours 7 Days": just when I imagined that the products of lockdown ...

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'Cocoon' by Tigermask

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When I wrote last month about the latest single from Tigermask, "Mirtazapine", I told you quite a lot about its parent album ‘Cocoon' which in ...

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"Wife Me?" by Rheo Uno featuring Chxmpion

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Unfortunately, it has been over a year since I last wrote about a Rheo release in the magazine and a similar timespan since her "Down For You" ...

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"Unbounded" by Dean MacDonald

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Following the very successful release of "Inflamed " in late May, today, Dean MacDonald shares with us the next track from his recent 14 Records ...

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‘I Hear Voices' EP by Molotov Souls

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Many thanks to Fred from Molotov Souls for sending me their latest EP called ‘I Hear Voices' which they made with Matt Waddell at 14 Records.

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"Female Pioneers"

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Saturday night was another real landmark for me: my first Saturday evening out since the pandemic struck.

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Record Store Day 2021

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It is unfortunate that catching every artist on a multi musician event isn't always possible, but the short time I was able to be at the Record ...

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"What Goes in is What Goes Out" by Ian Todd

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The time is rapidly approaching (16th of July to be precise) when "What Goes in is What Goes Out", the sophomore single from his ‘Seven Signs of a ...

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"Money" by Abz Winter

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As her follow up to the popular "B.

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"My Phone" by Hannah Woof

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During the last sixteen bizarre months or so, coverage of Coventry & Warwickshire artists in these pages has taken on unusual patterns.

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Motofest 2021

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I'm much obliged to Rob Halligan who has been in touch with me to ask me to pass onto readers of "Hot Music Live" the details of Motofest 2021: ...

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"Break The Chains" by The Rising

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I hope you have been following the progression of singles released by The Rising from their upcoming ‘No Hope Without Love' EP?  ...

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Ellie Gowers at Kenilworth Arts Festival

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Strange and wonderful times: I find myself today writing my second live report inside a week.

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"Rain Again" by Ivy Ash

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And so here we are at the third single from the irrepressible Ivy Ash, namely "Rain Again" (which is released on 2nd July) though really ...

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