The NBT Review 4

Martin reviews new releases from


The Bastard Groove Orchestra




And Manik (the host of the NBT Bullets From The Belfry Podcast) reviews the new EP from

Kings Die Kings



Fuzzy Jank – The Bastard Groove Orchestra (Mello-Drama)


In the world of the bastard groove, it is always 3am. The neon lit Main Street drenched in swagger and slow falling rain, leads off to scary alleyways, their gloom promising sensual ghosts and finger clicking adventure.

It is a world where the dead dance a reverb twist, a twilight zone 50s movie of a place. A world where the women are beautiful and scary, mostly worshiped sometimes scolded gently to the ever present sway of the teenage delinquent bass.

This is the sound of nervous tension. Plug ugly barmen who know all the words to every Elvis tune. The room full of Exotic dancers with broken hearts, and musicians who having seen it all, play the blues to prove it.

This is rough sly grinning rock n roll.

This not all a swagger though, in the song ‘Time and Place’ the Orchestra even finds time to deliver some tenderness and an honest yearning.


Onus – Kings Die Kings (independent release)

(Opening Disclaimer)

Ok, admittedly the opening chords (well the whole thing, really) of Anticipate are soooooooo Interpol circa Antics but any talk about Kings is going to involve Interpol, Editors and of course, ultimately, Joy Division. And of course, my bias towards the music of that particular trio of acts will permeate any review I’ll do of Kings Die Kings, who are in the self-same vein.

But damn this is a fantastic quartet of songs, Kings from the outset have worn their Joy Division influence proudly, Keith Routledge’s vocals (if not lyrics) solidly in the Ian Curtis mould, especially on ‘Exhibitionist’…”…No regard to reason, here’s the price to pay. Senseless isolation where love should’ve been made…

‘In the Grips’ continues the powerful punch, the frenetic robotic drumming of Simon Goundry grinding the song to its abrupt conclusion.

‘The Onus’ rounds off this release, a slowly building piece not a hundred miles from ‘Transmission’, Routledge’s bittersweet vocals slowly combining with Ros Armstrong and Andy Grant’s twanging guitar swirls, the drums and Sam Poullin’s pounding bass climatically building to a cliff face of distorted sound before collapsing onto a wistful piano outro…

Hören – Hören (independent release)

11 songs of 3 am flame flicker drama. The Joy here is in the subtle instrumentation, a hint of brass here, a twang of guitar there, taking the mood from the bedroom to the window to the world, the movies behind the walls of the surrounding buildings.

This is a creation full of the seriousness of the gothic, but developed into something far more by a sly playful knowledge of Pop and Electronica.

There is angst here to be sure, but this singer is not afraid to dance while scraping the lyrical knife across the flesh of (past?) lovers.

Arrangements that reveal more each listen and layered vocals that entice and enhance all add up to a collection that rewards the audience.



Songs Of Hope And Despair – Antiqcool (Sick-Note records)


Picture this.

It is a sunny afternoon and the schoolgirl lies on her bed, her diary open to the days events, a portable radio hanging from the door sends out harmonies and nostalgic snapshots. It is a time when the music was more important than the Dj’s jokes and the craft of the pop song was a delicious adventure.

The girl could daydream her hours, her crushes, her flirting with melancholy, and the band on the radio would soundtrack her sighs and smiles.

The clever lyrics would make her want to write poems of her own, and she found her thoughts drifting to times before she was even born, and black and white TV.

She fell asleep with the music playing soft over her, and as she dreamt she found her herself in a strange new chaotic century, cynical, ugly, and mostly just noise, but she was not afraid.

She had the music, the creations of Antiqcool, to keep her safe.



Listen to all these bands either on the nbt podcast going out on the 14th April

Or on the latest edition of the ‚Bullets From The Belfry’ podcast









Kidzlikedanny2 Launched

The charity ‘Kidzlikedanny’ was formed in January 1997. It was started by Lin and Dave Lloyd, parents of Daniel Lloyd with the help of brothers Matt Tyler (Matthew Lloyd) and Jacob Lloyd. Daniel was born on the 2nd of December 1987 at City Hospital, Birmingham, and is autistic.

A total of over £1600.00 ($3200.00) has been raised by the Kidzlikedanny charity so far. Organisations who have benefited from KLD are Baskerville Special School (Birmingham), Gorse Farm Residential Home (Marston Green), Uffculme Special School (Birmingham), Longmoor Special School, The Pines, The Birmingham Centre For Arts and Therapies, and The Northern Support Group, Poplars Residential Home and many more…..

The money is used to purchase specialised equipment or items not covered in the school or organisations normal budget. Sometimes the money is used to fund trips out, for families with autistic children. The cost of these days out can be quite expensive, as much manpower is very often needed.

Most recently “Kidzlikedanny” has turned its hand to CD’s and Digital downloads to generate funds. All releases are on Dannyboy Records.

Last years effort Kidzlikedanny (1), is on sale at all good digital music stores including iTunes, Napster, eMusic etc…

All arists on the CD’s donate a track and all its proceeds from the CD sales and digital sales to the Kidzlikedanny funds. Kidzlikedanny (1) acts featured were Jacob Lloyd, Scorched Earth, Subrosa, Motorcycle Stunts, Hey Pablo, Rozagy, Blue Nation, Hoden Lane, Matt Tyler, Satchel Blue, Apollo, Voices In The Fog, Karl Bayley, David Garside, Amoa, Angels Exist.

The follow up release “Kidzlikedanny 2” has just been released (March 2008). The line up this time (Aaron Yorke, Cracked Actors, Caroline 7, Crisis Blues Band, Everett, Ian Babington, The Kidzlikedanny Choir, Kristy Gallacher, Matt Geary, Mavoxor, Onion Child, Quill, Raging Angel and Raymond Froggatt.

Every track downloaded makes a difference as 0.79p ($1.58) goes straight into the Kidzlikedanny fund from every song purchased!

Without the support of many fantastic friends and family, KLD would not be able to help support organisations, whose aim it is to make autistic children’s lives as happy and fulfilling as possible.

Kidzlikedanny 1 and 2 can be found on all good digital music stores worldwide including iTunes, Napster, eMusic, Amazon, 7 Digital etc….

Itunes link for Kidzlikedanny 2:

For info or queries email at:

or or phone 07847 340 664.

More info can be found about the albums (Kidzlikedanny 1 and 2) at

Dannyboy Records Myspace can be found here:

The Making of “Safe From Silence”


Dirk Hanekom Vocalist for Colour Cold shares some thoughts on the creation of the bands debut release.


I think it was Frank Zappa that said “Sometimes, writing about music is like dancing to architecture”. I couldn’t agree more. It’d be easy to describe the making of our album in purely techno-istic jingo; Two weeks recording with another week for polishing, and two months of mixing sessions slotted in between work, practice and the rest of the daily bullshit that gets in the way of what we love doing most, namely making music. So with that in mind, I’ll share my fondest recollections of making “Safe From Silence” with as little technical crap like sample-rates and layers and drop-ins as is humanly possible.

We started on a beautiful August morning, moving our gear into MARS Studios, and spent the rest of the day getting a basic rough sound for the whole band, where we could play together as a band without being separated into single little boxes where each of us would have to play individually on our own. This setup made for a much more relaxed vibe whilst recording and I have to say that I was particularly grateful for that. We spent the first week laying down basic tracks, with the rhythm section going first (meaning that we still played together, but with more emphasis on Dirk and Tiaan), and then the same with me and Liz. After the basic tracks had been laid, Liz went wild with her guitar parts, nailing them either first time, or only after take 1 million. Whichever the case, I think she did a brilliant job, and her ‘voice’ on guitar really is one of the outstanding things about our album. Then it was down to me, my vocal chords, an isolated room and headphones.

Here I have to give a huge shout out to Malcolm Aberdein, producer and head poohbah of MARS Studios. He was not only our producer on this album, but also a mentor and more importantly a friend. Malcolm helped me reach places deep inside of myself and thus helped me make my voice soar to places I didn’t think it could reach. Colour Cold was very lucky to have been able to work with someone so dedicated and passionate…and that’s the short of it. The long would take more space than I have here, and besides, the amount of energy, tenacity and downright criminal fun we had with making Safe From Silence would be hard to bring across properly, however long there is to talk about it. I hope whoever is reading this will have a good time with our album, and if our music can make you crack even the faintest of smiles, or frowns depending on your demeanor, then our job has been done well. I’m never good at endings, so I’ll close this off with a thank you to our fans, who are the very soul of what we do, and the top 5 things I learned while making this album:

5. Making breakfast for your band gives you at least 2 extra hours in the day before your nerves start to get frazzled…

4. if your guitar has earthing problems (here’s the only place I’ll get technical) then take a standard guitar cable, cut off one end, attach that to the bridge of your guitar and the other end attached somewhere on your person and viola! No more earthy-hiss…

3. Laugh every now and again.

2. if your producers three year old starts bouncing on the carpet when you play a track, that’s a good sign.

1. As terribly clichéd as this sounds, never give up. The next take might just be the one you’ve been waiting for.


Thanks and Peace. D 

The NBT Review 3


Alphabet Blues EP – LowStar (Independent Release)

First there is guitar, like a lone rider coming out of the silent mist. Then an army of melody and emotion. We are taken over by the bangPOW rhythms and the glorious shouts of the chorus. This is how the title track wins the day.
Tribal drums and swirling guitar, vocals mixed in the heat of battle, the song ‘Drone’ continues the battle, and then the bassGLIDE intro of ‘Connected’ slides us into the aftermath, flowing and thoughtful.
A trio of shiny forceful rock songs.

Paper Tiger – Sean Fournier (Independent Release)

Fournier produces and plays all the instruments on this his second release, a subtle but multi layered love letter to the too often disregarded singer/songwriter world. We are invited to ‘step inside’ and the galloping guitar of a younger Paul Simon greets us. Even in its many dark moments, the warm and gentle (personal) voice makes the visit here a comforting one.
The songs are arranged with quiet skill and in the heartbreaking ‘she was the green’ the stark vocal sadness is wonderfully counterbalanced by the fade in and fade out of a fuller string and band canvas.
To prove that this isn’t some 70s folk rock homage, Fournier hits us with the wry and pleasantly rude Fiest like ‘Weathervane’ and the flamboyant bittersweet ‘Lie’ making this a collection of songs that lets out it secrets carefully and irresistibly.
There is nothing fake about the fragile here (listen to ‘Weak-I feel like Superman) and no self pity in its soft-smile honesty. And most important of all it has none of the smugness that artists like Jack Johnson let filter through when attempting moods similar to those on this release.

Leaving Kansas – Holly Long (Skim Milk Productions)

The darkness of mortality and the brilliance of redemption, this is an album of personal strength and victory over fear and falling.
The stories captured here are sharply focused, uncluttered and so very real. This is no doom and gloom epic, but is also no shiny happy people holy missive, it realises that even in redemption there is space for dirt and truth.
And truth can be harsh, as in opening track, ‘Brokedown’ where no punches are pulled, but , Whether this is sung to the mirror or directed to another character, the words may just set the woman free.
And the singer knows that when she sings ‘Trust Me’ it cannot be wrapped in sweetness but must allow for the edge of darkness to be believed.
And the singer knows that to haunt (as in ‘bones’) is to seduce and where there is pain light will always follow. You can be saved by the romance of the harmony and the shimmer of the piano.
If anyone fails to be moved and drawn into the world of ‘He and I (For Truman)’ then that poor listener is lost indeed.
A beautifully dark uplifting release.

Bilkis – Bilkis (independent release)

This is the sound of another world, a lo-fi sighing, almost dangerous world. It is the sound of a glass world, a mirror world about to shatter from vibrations and whispers. It is a mix of the scary gypsy queen and the fragile fairy princess.
These are songs stolen shy from reflections upon nervous water.
These are magic chants, revealing what hides beneath the dreaming lovers eyelids.
These are gently twisted Pop songs, they rumble and roll using Folk as a mere departure point
And in ‘make me happy’ lies the secret of Bilkis, tunes that drift by the soul, then dart sideways , sinking sneaking in, and when u go to sleep tonight dear listener
The soundtrack to this other world shall be playing.

Hear these Artists either on the 3rd April NBT Podcast or the 10th April Show.