The NBT Review 95

Sleepless Street – Peter Doran (Independent Release)

We are welcomed into this world with an earthy jolt of fierce blues. The ‚‘Hunter’s Sketches‘are frantic even nervous, the seductive unease as the beautiful breakdown approaches.

Then the calm, a vision of the serene holy that can be found in the ordinary, if you have soul for it, and this wistful regret (oh how memories shine different now) envelops the listener.

But don’t dare get used to the intimate only, the next song strives for epic, a sort of personal adventure set against a vast landscape  Conor Oberst does so very well layered subtle upon a heartbreaking melody that once heard is never lost. ‘Eternity’, is exactly the right name for this.

He constructs a gentle swing, a love song simply (complicated), about the strength of love, then old fashioned piano ballad, with a skill an equal to those old Carpenters’ tracks composed by Paul Williams. Note here must be made of the soulful minimal production by Filippo Gaetani, never overusing orchestration, always adding just the right touch of drama and emotion.

To those who often cry out, ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ when whining about how good the folk pop song was back in the day, just listen to ‘The Composer’ or indeed, any of these tracks, these are creations that will be equally at home nestled in the mainstream charts, or that romantic couples private playlist.

But if I have given the impression that this is gloss, forgive me, because there is a wounded rawness at the heart of this, a frazzled moody Phil Ochs ghost wandering the chords and the choruses. It’s just that Doran doesn’t need to be strident to get his thoughts across, his song writing is sincere and pure.

Leaving the very best till last, the title track, the love letter to a difficult child woman, the allure of the leaving the sane path, the way some people cannot be touched, even when we so wish to, cause they thrive in their difference. This song haunts and touches and completes a tantalizing set.

Find out more here:

You can hear tracks from this album on NBT Podcasts from the 30th Sept and beyond


The NBT Review 94

Dave Rawlings MachineA Friend Of A Friend (Independent Release)

Another review from Cobus Rossouw creator of 88 Kilos of Sunshine

To the knowledgeable reviewer, Dave Rawlings’ Friend of a Friend is filled with allusion and tribute. There are nods to almost every aspect of Americana, from country rock through Nashville and into the Appalachians. It’s a treasure trove of covers and homage.

But I have to admit that my knowledge does not stretch far enough to pick up the more obscure references and perhaps this could have distracted from enjoyment of the album but this album is just wonderful.

Even for the unenlightened it has diversity, depth, emotion and mastery. Rawlings’ background and years of support play has made him a master, not only of his instrument but also of the idiom. He never shows off this expertise, but it is there, in the clarity of each note, in the spaces between and in the pathos of the vocals.

From the opening number, “Ruby”, we are clearly in the folk/country corridors of the US, and this style is held throughout, with perfectly arranged vocal and instrumental accompaniment that compliments each song in turn. This is an album where not a single note is unnecessary or out of place. This is an album that is easy to listen to superficially and rewarding to listen to in-depth. There are moments that’ll have your feet tapping and there are moments for red wine. Beyond anything else this is an album that recalls those front porch moments, a couple of friends, some old tunes and everybody so in tune and comfortable with each other that the group switches in mood, from Hank Williams to Guthrie to Dylan and back…

It doesn’t matter where I stop this album, that’s the song I’ll be humming for the rest of the day, but the one number, personally, that simply has me coming back for more is the weld of Bright Eyes and Neil Young on “Method Acting/Cortez the Killer, a 10 minute and 20 second ode that manages to seem about 2 hours too short. I could listen to this the whole day.

It makes you whistle and then it makes you think. What more could I ask for.

Hear a track from this album on next week’s NBT Podcast

The NBT Review 93

Delicate Dangerous Cool Part Two

Alive – Tallulah Rendall (independent release)

On a day that I am woken by an elegant storm that seems to fade in from a dream and lives here forever, I find that I am incapable of dissecting these creations, going in heavy with a technical post-mortem for the casually curious. Rather due to the beauty and presence of this album, I wish to simply freefall into the words and music and send back to you my impressions, some may be in bold sharp focus, and some may be as blurred as a soft sigh, but all will, hopefully give you, gentle reader an idea of what it was like to travel here.

Caught in the ripple, caught in the pulse, a good time to jump, the song builds outwards, navigates into the chaos, the singer surfs the turmoil and you hold on tight, but she wouldn’t lie for you, wouldn’t die for you, so this, is what it means to be alive, the drop is there to be savored, the tension seductive breathless and sweet. Is she cruel or a savior of detached kindness, does it really matter, giving up is not really an option.

Listen to her delight in the giddy theatrical, the lure of the exotic and untouchable, the way she watches those who need and those who create that need, a haughty mix of the progressive folk that Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane practiced and the ambiguous vulnerable of a PJ Harvey.

Here the stage lights concoct colours that merge into the walls, so that the shadows can hide if they wish or scare if they want. Remember how Ms. Bush flirted musically with Mr. Gilmore and you get a small idea of her control over melody and mood, never allowing the drama to overflow into something too gaudy, her trick is to keep us tricked, entranced, willfully hypnotized.

There is something distinctly old fashioned at play here, yet the decades of inspiration shift past so alluringly you find you are never left out of the modern pop room either. This is her strange cool party and you are very much invited.

Fly there and find out for yourself

You can hear tracks from this album, this week on the NBT Dark Electric Podcast

And next week on the NBT Flagship Podcast

The NBT Review 92

Delicate Dangerous Cool part one.

A whole bunch of great music to give my thoughts on today (its going to take two blogs i think) so without messing around lets just get right to it.

First up is the new single Summer by Elika, from the upcoming Snuggle Bunnies

This is the summer of static, the hope within the thunder storm, this is a summer indoors under the shifting club lights. The summer of beauty within the chaos a dreamy collision ‘tween 60s harmony pop, and the frantic longing of the shoe-gaze bubblegum. This song proves that gentle need not be insipid, that loving need not be bland. A song for your soon to be lover, but here is the twist, it is as much a song about leaving, losing, as it is about giving, accepting. The sadness in the crush, the absolute thrill of the now.

 2010 – Orange 1

 This is the soundtrack to watching the people move in slow motion, standing on the outside looking in at the ordinary day as it floats past, the drama of the seemingly typical, the zoom in, the noticing of every small movement, every indrawn breath, every controlled bit of anger or delight.

It is the detached view of the human fever, how the normal becomes sci-fi. In this music as we watch and we listen, all becomes movie, all becomes epic. Put these songs on your player, go to your mall or city centre, press play and watch the world.

 Various Songs – Magic Panda

 Leave the safety behind, there is danger in this sweet discovery. This is the music the wineglass hears as it shatter suicides against the cold-hearted floor. Soundtrack the sparkle from a knife as it glides through space, here is the eternity of the journey, the anticipation of the contact, the thud to come.

This magic is not in the dense or the obvious, the self made terror of the darkness, rather this is about the bang of the bright, the calm in the cold. It is music that manages to be both serene and complicated, ambient with shiny hooks.

 you can hear tracks from all these artists on the NBT Dark Electric Podcast going out on Wednesday the 22nd Sept

The NBT Review 91

another review from Cobus Rossouw creator of 88 Kilos of Sunshine

Lenelle Moïse Presents The Expatriate Amplification Project (featuring Karla Mosley)

Nothing excites me more than brave projects in music. I live for the discovery of something refreshingly different. In the case of the Expatriate Amplification Project, brought to life by Lenelle Moïse, the experience is rewarding not just because the project is creatively brave, but also because the execution and talent is audible in every breath.

This album consists in its entirety of vocals, with two loop machines allowing for breaths, squeaks, trills and plosives to create a backdrop for Lenelle Moïse and Karla Mosley’s breathtaking vocals. Other reviewers have commented on the contrast between Moïse’s contralto and Mosley’s soprano and I’m sure the reader will have read those, but bear with me as I wax lyrical about this combination.

As everyone knows by now I am a lover of great voices and great vocal performances. It should therefore be no surprise that I would love an album such as this. Moïse brings all the jazz, all the serious, all the heart and soul that is music and pours it over this album like molten honey. Mosley adds to this the passion, the fervour, the ambition the angels. When these two combine, as on the Body Part Song it lifts the listener as much as an Andreas Scholl Agnes Dei and perhaps more, because inside of Expatriate is more than training and perfection, there is life, lessons and a search for personal liberation.

So it is serious stuff, and the lyrics bear this out, with Motherland a lament for places left behind or places adopted, Baby Powder bringing us into the horror of social deprivation, Aliens taking us through disenfranchisement into the possibilities inherent in everyone. And it is this turnabout, this hope that is apparent in every song (no matter the bleakness of the landscape) that made this more than simply a glorious vocal album. If I had to sum it up with one word it would be “honest” and in today’s world I think that’s high praise.

This is interesting, rewarding, thought-provoking, beautiful and pure. It is not a flawless album, but its flaws are  relevant to the experience, if anything the flaws are necessary.

On “The Makings” Moïse writes and Mosley sings “I got the makings of a great jazz singer”, and listening to both performers on this album, I can only concur.

Discover more:

You can hear tracks from this album on the NBT podcast of the 16th Sept and beyond

The NBT Review 90

Slowpokes – Rebecca Turner (Independent Release)

Gentle false start into falling words jumbled melodic, a sweet lecture, the Singer’s good advice to slow down and take in the casual wonder of how the subtle shades of human emotion could change your day, your life even.

This is music that is always there, a running river that maybe you were listening to the whole damn time now gracefully sliding into focus.

She says she loves Country and it shows, what also is very clear is her love of classic pop song craft and her infatuation with the art of the warm easy hook. She says pretty important things with a soft smile rock’n’sway, a lightness that make her thoughts utterly believable.

What thrills is the layers in Turner’s characters and in the world they move in. In stand out track, ‘The Way She Is Now’ the heroine is flawed (even doomed because of those flaws), but the freedom she finds in her personal chaos, makes us fall a little in envy, in love with the girl in the lyric, the song.

In Turner’s world the mistakes we make don’t have to be fatal, this is an album that suggests that hope is strength, and that the strongest survivors are those that let go just a little. Understanding everything isn’t necessary, fear is ok, and everyone is scared sometimes, but if everyone believed that the rain and the cold would finally stop and the sun would skitter and save, well that fear would be like the thrill you get from an exciting movie, certainly harmless and kinda invigorating.

For a change this is indie music that is positive, playful, joyful even.

Not naive though, Turner has a rare and insightful perception into what makes us complicated souls tick, so nowhere is there a sense of blind optimism, just that..HOPE.

An antidote to the darkness, a cure for the little things that build up and create the heavy blues, this is music that makes you want to get out of your slump, go actively seek out a better few hours.

The Musicians belong to the songs, no instrument shoves itself to prominence, balance is all, allowing the listener to discover delightfully unforced slivers of banjo, or pedal steel within the arrangements.

Come on join the escape

Rebecca Turner will be featured on NBT podcasts during September

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here


  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here: