Luna Rosa – Fear, Filth, Dirt & Death

The new single from Luna Rosa is being marketed directly to help the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster, and all money generated from sales and merchandise will go towards the funds. So please buy it, or donate directly to the cause, as the victims need all the help they can get.

That’s all I’m gonna say about the charity and fundraising for now, because this is, after all, a music review site and not one of your high street chuggers moved online.

So – the track.

Luna Rosa spring forth from Corby, the town that won the naming rights for the world’s favorite trouser press. However, whilst the most popular unused hotel appliance sits quietly in the corner of the room and serves for nothing but an additional space to hang a jacket, you’ll never be able to say the same about Luna Rosa. Since forming in 2015, they have played at festivals, sell-out shows, and headline slots, sharing stage space with many of music’s big names with their high-energy, high intensity sound.

Fear, Filth, Dirt & Death is a driving, pulsating track, in complete contrast to the Simon Cowell-inspired version of Bridge Over Troubled Water. It’s clearly politically driven, with the theme basically being ‘the rich and powerful don’t care’, complete with references to the NHS, financial corruption, and of course, the terrible events in West London in June 2017.

That’s why it’s not an easy song to review for me.

The song itself has some great hooks and melodies, is well played and well produced, and would generally sit well alongside most others in the Alt-Rock-Punk scene.

For me, however, the last thing I imagine that the victims of the fire need is more anarchy in their lives. The tragedy was preventable, and yes, the inquiry will identify those culpable and then justice will – at some level – prevail. But linking it to perceived or even actual assaults on the NHS is disingenuous. This was,to me, not a failing of national government – irrespective of which party was in power at the time any local decisions were made that contributed to the tragedy – and the two things are, to me at least, very different.

Anyway – time to sum up: Fear, Filth, Dirt & Death is a good song, worth listening to, and for the purpose of helping the victims at Grenfell or just for a big protest sound blasting your eardrums, well worth investing in. I just wish that it had been released apart from the disaster, because the two don’t sit well together in my mind.

For more info on the band and release info for the track, please see their Facebook page.

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Man-buns and Beards – punky folk on Facebook

So it’s seven thirty in the evening, and I’m in that hiatus time between eating a pasty and going out to rehearsals, and what do I find to fill an hour?

My old mate Laurence Crow (a.k.a. The Artist Formerly Known as Wolfe Sunday) sat cross-legged on the floor with his friend Brandon Neal, throwing out some acoustic tunes in lieu of their evenings gig, called off because the Beast from the East snowed them off.

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Although I’ve never reviewed a live Facebook event, this was actually pretty cool. New songs and old favourites, plenty of well-groomed facial hair, barnets that suited an early-2000’s David Beckham slightly less than they do Laurence, and some great laughter with the online audience. If it were possible to throw some digital underwear, they would be drowning in Marks and Spencers’ finest!

Nice one guys!

Find them on facebook at either https://www.facebook.com/billytalented and https://www.facebook.com/brandon.neal.5201

Filthy Militia – Innocent Until Proven Filthy

Growing up in the late seventies / early eighties as I did, I hit the punk / Two Tone movement square on. Being from the ‘good’ side of the tracks, my friends and I naturally gravitated towards the ska revival movement of Two Tone for several reasons: it was happier and more accessible to us; we were a mixed-race group and the message of inclusion and what would now be termed ‘anti-fascism’ was at our core; and none of us had mothers who would let us grow mohawks.

As such, I love finding new artists whose roots and influences lie in the same place, and North London-based Filthy Militia are one such band.

Their debut EP, Innocent Until Proven Filthy, dropped into the inbox this week. So I was looking forward to a return to my youth and evenings spent arguing the relative values of The Specials against Madness, The Selecter against The Beat.

What I got was something different – a set of tracks which seemed to find their base more in the heady days of Jamaican Ska than it’s rougher, punk-influenced offspring, but with a definite nod towards the punk-inspired bands I grew up with. There’s a lot more brass than we got in the revival, where guys like Saxa and Rico sometimes felt more like an affectation than an integral part of the sound. Here there’s no mistaking the excellent stabs and fills.

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We start with Up In Smoke, an energetic blast which is very danceable and jaunty. Storm Warning is slightly darker, with hints of The Clash, and is probably the closest to the revival sound. Be Real takes you right back to the Sixties with it’s laid back vibe hinting at Prince Buster’s pace and attitude. Finally, Little Sister keeps us firmly in the decade of my birth, with even a suggestion of California surf thrown into the Caribbean mix.

For a four-track EP, Filthy Militia have managed to convey four very different elements of ska, and as such they show their versatility and knowledge of the genre. Certainly if I find myself in their neck of the woods, I’d seek out a gig.

For more information, go to their Facebook page at facebook.com/filthymilitia/ and give them a like!

Wolfe Sunday – Wolfe Sunday

I’m usually fairly laid back about music, different genres, different approaches. There’s so much stuff around, if you listen all the time you can maybe get a little… well, immune, I guess, to how it can make you feel.

So let me get this out there straight away, so that my comments about Wolfe Sunday’s debut self-titled album can be taken in the spirit they are delivered:

I love this guy. I love his approach, I love his sound, and I love that he’s just doing what he loves.

There. I said it. I’ve never met him, I’ve never spoken with him on anything above email.

But there’s something about this album that pushes all the usual rules aside. It’s foot-tapping stuff that tells a story in a genuine, funny way that throws in elements of pathos, sadness, ambition, disappointment and remorse. If we were the sort of review site that gave thumbs up ratings, this one would get many…. but we’re not, so…. anyway…. we like!

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Sometimes Wolfe Sunday is full band madness, sometimes it’s pared-back acoustic. Either way it’s just the thing that nestles perfectly in the ear. With songs like “I Spend More time at Service Stations Than On The Stage” and “I’m Still Not A Rockstar (But I Sure wish I Was)”, this is folk-punk with a human edge. It’s his story. And it’s inspired stuff.

Wolfe (a.k.a. Laurence Crow, which in itself isn’t a bad musician name) describes himself as if “Kimya Dawson had a baby with Beans On Toast and brought the boy up listening to Motörhead, then gave him a guitar”. I kinda get that, but there’s a lot of Billy Bragg and early Elvis Costello in the mix as well. all of which I like, and all of which I have returned to several times since it dropped into the Sound Impression inbox.

The Album launch is on July 14, it’s gonna be out on Beth Shalom records (you can buy it HERE) , and to find out more, go to www.facebook.com/wolfesunday – a click that won’t disappoint.

 

Mr Happy Chainsaw – It’s Not My Ball EP

One of the many emails to drop into the Sound Impression mailbox recently was a note from Essex-based punky popsters Mr Happy Chainsaw. Their latest EP, It’s Not My Ball, is being released soon, after strong airplay for their single release, Standing There.

Now for me, there’s a few things that stand out in the band’s favour. There’s a level of production that helps show this hasn’t been thrown together in a mate’s garage. The lyrics cut through the instruments, and the whole thing is balanced, tight, and technically accomplished. All of which is important, but let’s face it – it’s a bit dull for a music review. Which is why I got it out of the way early. You don’t want to know whether the tracks are professionally produced, you want to know what’s gonna slap your ears and make you smile.

Let’s start by sharing how Mr Happy Chainsaw describe themselves. Imagine if you will, a cocktail bar. If you asked for a Mr Happy Chainsaw (they tell me) you’d get “a pinch of Blink 182, Green Day and Alkaline Trio, to which we add a splash of Foo Fighters, a hint of Barry Manilow and Elton John and it all gets topped off with a generous serving of tongue in cheek fun and a dollop of Essex”.

There’s a big expectation after that kind of statement. You’ll either be looking for the flavours of all those great acts, or you’ll be hoping for something uniquely distinctive. The truth? It’s actually somewhere in between, somewhere that mixes all of these to make something a bit different. Although I probably wouldn’t recognise ‘a dollop of Essex’ if it was served on a spoon with a cherry…

Tracks like Standing There and Your Best Friend have a Foo Fighters / Blink 182 vibe, with a solid, driving freshness that propels you along. There are catchy riffs and vocal hooks, all of which make their music something you can listen to over again.

There’s also clearly a more considered, thoughtful side to the guys. When listening to their tracks (especially Leaving Town) there’s a definite story running through the songs. I hope it’s not all from personal experience, because if it is, well… hard luck, dudes. There’s … an intelligence behind the music – trust me, I don’t always get that impression – and that appeals to me in a way that much of today’s one-dimensional blandness simply can’t.

Overall?  A Sound Impression approves, and suggests you go to http://www.mrhappychainsaw.com and see for yourself.

Track listing:

  • Standing There
  • Out of Time
  • Charlie
  • Leaving Town
  • Your Best Friend