LIVE: JAWS, Engine Rooms, Southampton (18/11/17)

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JAWS, Southampton, 18/11/17 (photos: Phoebe Reeks)

Having released album Simplicity a year ago, JAWS took to the Engine Rooms in Southampton as part of their final touring cycle of this album. The Birmingham trio performed their dreamy indie-pop to a room packed with dedicated fans.

The moment the lights went out, letters spelling JAWS lit up, which got the crowd pumped. The band arrived on stage to rapturous applause, kicking the set off with Surround You, an energetic tune with catchy guitar riffs which got the crowd moving right from the off. Continue reading

Featurette – Upside Down

A beauty of an off-kilter track from Canadian electronic duo Featurette, Upside Down is an ode to the strangely mixed-up world we live in nowadays.

The Toronto-based pair of Lexie Jay and Jon Fedorsen create a richly-layed sound that is synth-heavy, slick and smooth, yet with an air of unpredictability that makes it a less than comfortable first listen but goes on to get well and truly stuck in your brain. In that sense, it’s a little Phantogram-esque… and that’s a very good thing.

Featurette – Upside Down

CHUNG – What You’re On

With a sound that feels like it has been beamed down from an altogether different place, CHUNG landed in our inbox with this beast of a debut track.

Out today, What You’re On is the first offering from the South London brothers whose expansive electro-pop sound really is something to behold. We think they will be well worth catching live at their forthcoming show on 25/11 at Tooting Tram & Social – details here.

CHUNG – What You’re On

UPCOMING: Tom Speight

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London-based singer-songwriter Tom Speight has been steadily making a name for himself through a string of support slots with bands including Starsailor, Travis and Turin Brakes. His pure and poetic songs have beguiled audiences across the country but as he prepares to head out on his own headline tour later this week, Sync caught up with him for a brief chat…

SYNC: So you’re covering some crazy miles later this month with the tour. How are you looking forward to getting back out on the road for these headline dates?
Tom Speight:
I only just got off tour from supporting Turin Brakes and Starsailor ilast month, so it was nice to be back home writing for a week or so before these dates start. I love touring and playing my songs live. I don’t I will ever get tired from that. Continue reading

LIVE: Jake Bugg, St David’s Hall, Cardiff (5/11/17)

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Jake Bugg, Cardiff, 5/11/17 (photo: Becca Egerstrom)

Another artist who has taken the acoustic option for their latest tour is Jake Bugg. The Nottingham musician released his fourth album Hearts that Strain a couple of months back and wowed his Cardiff fans with what was a very relaxed gig in a theatre-style venue. He was super casual too – just him and his guitar singing and talking.

It was a far from a conventional show, and all the better for it. Bugg was very good at interacting with the crowd, even at times entertaining requests from the back of the room persuading him to do a song on the spot without it having been rehearsed or on the setlist – Country Song was added to the list in this impromptu way. Continue reading

GALLERY: Liam Fray / Carnival Club, Albert Hall, Manchester (3/11/17)

The Courteeners frontman Liam Fray went back to his roots with a mesmerising solo acoustic set at Manchester’s Albert Hall last week. Long before enjoying the considerable success of his band, Fray initially developed his skills as a solo performer playing countless shows in and around the Manchester area from which he hails.

It was an intimate set-up, far removed from the raucous, full band set-up that fans will be more familiar with. But with the crowd singing back almost every word, what was lacking in volume was more than made up for in atmosphere.

Local four-piece Carnival Club provided the support, with a bold, confident set that belied their relative lack of experience of such large venues. Expect to hear/see more of this rock & roll outfit.

Photos: Dani Blakeley

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Jerry Williams – Grab Life

A suitably upbeat tune for the onset of the weekend, the latest song from Jerry Williams is Grab Life, a rallying call to make sure life doesn’t pass you by. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter from Portsmouth has an incredible knack for delivering catchy, wonderfully constructed songs, and clearly works with exactly the right people for helping her bring these ideas to the final finished stage – in this instance, the song has been co-written with Nick Atkinson (Gabrielle Aplin) and produced by James Earp (Fickle Friends, Bipolar Sunshine).

2018 is bound to be huge for an artist that Sync has been tracking pretty much since the beginning, with appearances at next year’s SXSW and The Great Escape already in the diary.

Jerry Williams – Grab Life

HAARM – Love In A Different Way

Another great piece of dream-pop from Liverpool outfit HAARM, Love In A Different Way is out today and continues their track record of wonderfully crafted songs.

If you like this, be sure to check out some of their previous tracks which we have obsessed over at various points, including Valentine, Endangered SpeciesIn The Wild, and Foxglove.

The four-piece will play their final live show of 2017 at a special release party on 25 November at EBGB’s in Liverpool.

HAARM – Love In A Different Way

LIVE: Spinning Coin, Heartbreakers, Southampton (31/10/17)

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Spinning Coin, Southampton, 31/10/17 (photos: Ant Penny)

Spinning Coin hail from from Glasgow, and are currently on a UK tour to promote the release of debut album Permo. This gig was the third night of the tour, where they brought their eclectic mix of jangly guitar and vocal harmony laden anthems to relatively new Southampton venue Heartbreakers.

That word ‘eclectic’ seems to sum this band up, both in image and sound. To look at, they all could be playing in different bands; ‘bookended’ by the two most interesting-looking members: the keyboard player on one side, noticeable just as much for her Russian hat and dancing as for her keyboard playing, and the bass player on the other looking dapper with smart shirt and trousers, this wide variety of styles seems to sum up their diverse musical output too. Continue reading

Jade The Moon – Hotels

New from Canadian band Jade The Moon is Hotels, a song inspired by the experience of living out of a suitcase for a touring life on the road.

The track is from the upcoming album 11:11 which is set for release in early 2018. The band – made up of  Vancouver singer-songwriter Jade Moon and Toronto-based production team Bad Cop // Mean Cop – said of the album: “It’s a collection of tracks we can best describe as musical photographs. A moment in time turned dance party, true story turned love song, a daydream turned erie alt pop lullaby. These new songs truly reflect our stories. Although very personal and coming from very different places, our collective experiences feel somewhat universal.”

Jade The Moon – Hotels

Marsicans – Throw Ourselves In

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Marsicans, Southampton, 21/10/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

We’re mindful that Marsicans are one of those bands we keep banging on about all the time, but what choice do we have when they keep putting out material like this?! New from the Leeds four-piece is Throw Ourselves In, one of the standout tracks from their live shows over the summer.

It’s a harder and slightly more rough-around-the-edges sound than some of their previous songs, but is another absolute peach. You can catch them live later this month when they tour as support for JAWS, plus they’ve also announced a string of UK headline dates for March 2018, kicking off in London (2 March) then heading to Bristol (3), Glasgow (7), Manchester (8), and then a hometown show in Leeds (10). Ticket details here.

Marsicans – Throw Ourselves In

Continue reading

DISCOVER… Dominic Benjamin

in the morning artwork.jpgThe route between punk-rock and acoustic folk is not necessarily the most well-trodden of musical paths, so it is always intriguing to come across an artist whose work transcends genres. Essex singer-songwriter Dominic Benjamin has fronted punk-rock projects Abusing Mary Jane, Forever After and Brave Vultures, touring the UK and Europe over the past couple of years.

Now, he is striking out on his own with a sound of an altogether different flavour and we’re excited to premiere his superb new song In The Morning, released on 4/11. We also caught up with him to find out more about the origins of his versatile music talent, and ambitious plans for a whole load of new songs over the coming months… Continue reading

LIVE: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, o2 Academy, Birmingham (28/10/17)

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Birmingham, 28/10/17 (photo: Arta Gailuma)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club kicked off a mammoth world tour in Dublin last month in support of forthcoming album Wrong Creatures (released 12 January 2018), and we caught them at Birmingham’s o2 Academy a couple of nights later.

New material was given an airing alongside their better known classics. Kicking off with new single Little Thing Gone Wild, the stage sunk in deep red light and smoke to set a suitably dramatic tone. The crowd started a little on the subdued side, but soon livened up, with the occasional drink flying high in the air over the crowd every couple of songs. Continue reading

Saint Clair – Human Touch

Human Touch Artwork low res png 1 (credit Debbie Scanlan).pngThis super-strong new song from London singer-songwriter Saint Clair is Human Touch, the second track from her forthcoming EP D2, due out early 2018.

Saint Clair – so-called after her mother’s Scottish ancestry – is the recording alias of French-speaking North Londoner, Emma Topolski. She began her musical life as a gigging jazz singer, as she puts it, “playing three or four times a week, getting ignored in the corner of a five-star hotel”. The experience now repays itself in Saint Clair’s easy integration of a love for old standards, soul (Stevie Wonder) and classic rock (The Beatles) with her affinity for the electronica-rooted modern soul of artists like Son Lux and James Blake.

Saint Clair – Human Touch