Alternative Friday

Spreading the word about great new music

Mind the Gap! This latest Mixtape covers everything from a bit of indie and alternative, through to electro, house, and something quite hypnotic! I love ’em all, so I hope some of these excellent tracks appeal to your inner earworm too. Enjoy…

Stereopol – The Hitch
Mosley Bar – Record Sleeve
Souls – I Wait For You
Zurich – Small Wars
The Rooz – Violins & Animals
Border Scout – Let’s Pretend We’re Dead
GirlBoy – Girls Won’t Mind
Leader – Live Like Kings
Ernesto Alonso – Moonshine
The Pocket Gods – Bermuda Rectangular

There’s a wonderfully eclectic mix in this latest New Tunes, taking us from blues rock to Nordic indie, via pop, grunge, and a musical noise! I love ’em all, but which is your favourite and where do caffeine and nice food fit into things? Enjoy…

Broken Witt Rebels – Shake Me Down
This Birmingham 4-piece are from the UK, not Alabama, but their soulful blues rock takes a lot of influence from the best southern rock such as Kings of Leon. Air guitar hasn’t had it so good in ages… in my front room anyway. Quite brilliant.
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube


Owen Duff – Nobody Loves a Tortured Soul
East London based Owen Duff is a singer-songwriter and videomaker, who says he has “a tendency to prioritise unusual chord progressions & extended metaphors over most other things”. I can’t compete with that, so I’ll just say it’s a charming and warm piece of melodic pop. Surely guaranteed to make you smile?
Website | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook


Stereopol – The Hitch
If you love a bit of Nordic indie pop with a chorus to rival your caffeine addiction then this track by Oslo 5-piece Stereopol should have you hooked. Something tells me they wouldn’t need to sing the chorus themselves when playing live, as the crowd would take over vocal duties. Play on repeat and it becomes more addictive than an espresso!
Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook


Man Ray Sky – Ether Song
This band say their genre is “musical noise”, and that their interests include “nice food”. I won’t argue about the food bit, but I’d describe this fuzzy scuzzy song as a mix of psychedelic & shoegaze rock, with dreamy vocals and a highly melodic tune at its core. Suited more to a dance floor than a mosh pit… which works for me at my age! [he’s injury prone, Ed]
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook


Rival State – Stay Strong
Lovers of ferocious grunge rock should be all over Rival State, who are originally from New Zealand but now based in London. With Stay Strong they also prove that it can be loud but also have a killer chorus, while I’ve seen them live a couple of times now, and can vouch for their excellent live performances too! One to wake the neighbours up with!
Website | Soundcloud | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook


We’ve featured the floor filling indie dance music from Leeds band Apollo Junction before on Alternative Friday, but now they face a ‘grilling’ in our Q&A, so read on to find out how, er, talentless they are, and what Rocky Balboa and Homer Simpson have to do with rock ‘n’ roll…

Website | Soundcloud | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

~ How would you describe your music for those who may not have come across it?

That’s a tricky one, we have quite a diverse range of music and we have been compared to so many different bands from U2, Oasis, Biffy Clyro, 80’s stuff, someone even said REM once. We have guitars, synths, pianos, drums, strings and lots of vocals. We think the best bet is to go here and listen!

~ Your website says you were “former band rivals” when you formed in 2012. What was going on there then, and if you’d remained in different bands, which would have been most successful, and why? *attempts to encourage a punch up*

It was 3 bands, and I think we all know they wouldn’t have been successful, as the other members were stopping us from going in the direction we wanted to go individually, not musically, but more directionally. Individually we want to be in the biggest band in the world and when you have someone in the band who is satisfied with less you will never achieve your goals. We all have the same directional goals, one direction… good name for a band that.

~ Do you have any band rules / touring rules?

We don’t get drunk before we go on stage, we see that as an insult to the fans they come to see us at our best so we deliver that. We make sure we keep the backstage and bus a really positive place to be, no negative vibes and 1 hour before we go on stage we all do our warm ups and that’s it then we are on. As we said, any rules we have are there to give the fans the best show, they’re our main focus.



~ What’s the best advice you’ve received about making music?

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how the winning is done.” – Rocky Balboa

~ If you could claim one song as your own – wiping the original from all memory – what would it be?

Below are the top ten grossing songs of all time take your pick.

10. ‘The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)’, Mel Torme/Nat King Cole.
9. ‘Pretty Woman’, Roy Orbison.
8. ‘Every Breath You Take’, The Police.
7. ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’, John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie.
6. ‘Stand By Me’, Ben E. King / Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller
5. ‘Unchained Melody’, Alex North and Hy Zaret/The Righteous Brothers.
4. ‘Yesterday’, The Beatles.
3. ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, The Righteous Brothers.
2. ‘White Christmas’, Irving Berlin.
1. ‘Happy Birthday To You’, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill/Warner Chappell.

Other than that I think Suspicious Minds would be a nice one to finish the set with.

~ Who are your musical Guilty Pleasures?

We caught Jamie listening to Ed Sheeran recently, Jonny listens to a lot of Country and Western, and Matt likes a lot of early house stuff like A Guy Called Gerald. It’s not guilty through, we would rather someone called us musically un-sophisticated than musically ignorant. You can take influence from anywhere, and when you stop doing that, your music goes very stale very quickly.

~ If you could collaborate with a famous musician, who would it be?

We have discussed this and we have a list: Sir Paul McCartney, Prince, Noel and/or Liam Gallagher, Robert Smith, Jarvis Cocker, Paul Simon, Damon Albarn. It would also be great to work with a Calvin Harrisesc person, or someone like Jay Z or Kanye just to see how they would drive our sound. We wouldn’t want to do one of those patronising tripe collaborations though, as that’s embarrassing for everyone involved (mentioning no names *Cough* Paul, Kanye and Rhianna *Cough*).



~ Do any of you have any hidden talents?

No, we are truly talentless outside of music, it’s quite funny… we were asked to enter a band footy tournament and whilst we all love football we just didn’t want to embarrass ourselves so we gracefully declined. Musically though we are all pretty impressive! Hmmmm just thinking if there is anything, Jamie thinks can draw Homer Simpson quite well, and Matt can quote every word of Ace Ventura Pet Detective… as we said, pretty talentless.

~ Are there any other new local bands or musicians from Leeds you that you recommend we check out?

Loads, yeah we have a great scene… Neon Dolls, Vendettas, Narcs, Allusondrugs, Vitamins, Clay, and Calls Landing.

~ What’s the most rock ‘n’ roll thing you’ve ever done?

Formed a band with our best mates, toured all over the country, sat in a room together listening to our tracks being blasted out on a national radio, then woke up the next day with hangovers from hell, and picked up a national newspaper to see they have describe our song as “magnificent”!

~ If you could curate a festival stage, what five bands/artists would you invite to perform?

Matt – U2
Sam – Arcade Fire
Jamie – Noel Gallagher (but he is begging him to reform Oasis)
Jonny – Fleetwood Mac
Ben – Prince

~ What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

Well we have just signed to a local label and we are planning a release through them, the new one is a belter it’s called ‘Born For Now’, then the boat is sailing down the river nicely, it seems a shame to rock it too much.


Summer may be over, if it ever began, but the excellent tracks in this month’s mixtape should give you a balmy feeling, amongst a few others! Enjoy…


Charlie Belle – Petting Zoo
Dodo Bones – Tell Me Now
Swoons – The Side
Memoryy – Feeling Sinister
Emma McGrath – Honey
Geraint Rhys – Klein’s Decline
The King’s Parade – Bunched Up Letters
Emae – Know You
Lear Lake – Shadows
The Wood Burning Savages – Premier League



Last Autumn in New Tunes #33 we said about Latvian 4-piece Carnival Youth that “if they keep this quality up, we’ll surely be back there again soon“.

Well, we’re now back in Riga (via Black & White Music) to have a Q&A with Emils and Edgars from the band, who play an engaging mix of indie and neo-folk which has seen them perform at London’s KOKO and Brighton’s The Great Escape festival. Read on though, to find out what they appear to have in common with Dave Grohl, and what Hobbit feet and blueberries have to do with rock ‘n’ roll…

Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | Black & White Music


~ Where are you right now, and what can you see?

Me and my brother are driving form the seaside to the capital of Latvia, we see the most beautiful countryside with its fields and forests.

~ You formed in 2012, but how did the four of you meet and decide that you wanted to be in a band together?

We met in school, it all happened very naturally. When we started playing together we did not have an aim to become a band, we did it for fun. Everything else came later.



~ What’s the best advice you’ve received about making music?

The best advice was to not take advice from others!

~ Do you have any band rules?

Last year we graduated from high-school, and the rule was: if someone applies for a university, the priority still is the band, and if there’s an exam and a gig coming up at the same time, the concert comes first.

~ What’s your most memorable UK gig, and why?

For me, it’s our first gig in London, we played in a small bar and Kit Harington was there, and as we are huge fans of Game Of Thrones we were super stoked!
The most epic one though was at KOKO, because the venue by itself is beautiful. However, we haven’t had that many gigs in UK that we could not remember all of them.

~ What are your plans for the rest of 2015?

A few concerts here and there, have fun, and clear our heads for new sounds.



~ Are there any other new bands or musicians from Latvia you that you recommend we check out?


~ Describe your most embarrassing musical moment?

There are none, but from time to time we like to fall from a stage.

~ What’s the least rock thing you’ve done this week?

Edgars – I gathered blueberries, cherries and cloudberries.
Emils – Had a chat with my cat!

~ If you could have a superpower for a day, what would it be, and why?

Emils – Have Hobbit feet, I would go for a good walk, hang out with Yetis.


There’s definitely a dazzling summertime feel to all the tracks in the latest Mixtape, which cover a range of genres, from dreamy indie pop to African influenced soul, via a bit of electro rock. Either way they’re all highly impressive and catchy tunes. Enjoy…

Death Masks – Always Lost
Record/Start – Lake Summerene
Auction For The Promise Club – This May Hurt
Charlotte Campbell – Songbird
Haula – Freedom
Lake Walawi – Young Blood
Stewart Newman – Love’s Off The Hook
Centrefolds – You, Me & Debauchery
The Android Angel – Words
The Crows Fly – Broken Wood


I will always argue that music should make people think, but I also want them to dance too.

Take a mix of reggae, folk, rock and pop influences, and infuse them with the politically aware lyrics of people like Morrissey, Frank Turner, and Joe Strummer, and you have Geraint Rhys from South Wales. I’ve already featured him for Fresh on the Net, while he was here last year in New Tunes #34. He’s just released an excellent debut album, with his band The Lost Generation, called All That Is Left Is Us, so read on to find out more about the album, as well as to uncover what butternut squash, a lobotomy, and mind reading have to do with rock ‘n’ roll?!

Website | iTunes | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

~ Where are you right now, and what can you see?
I’m at my desk doing ‘work’, and from the headlines in the tabloids what I can see is the supposed coming of the apocalypse fuelled by immigrants, refugees, benefit cheats and bacon sandwiches.

~ What’s the best advice you’ve received about making music?

At the moment there are many people like myself who are DIY musicians doing everything from writing their own music, to creating their own websites, doing their own marketing, promotion, getting gigs etc so I feel like I’m learning new stuff everyday and picking up advice from people all the of time.

One of my friends told me to be patient with everything you do and I think that is advice I often forget. There are many steps to self-releasing your own music and it’s very easy to want to try and get everything done as soon as you can so others can hear it. But by rushing things you inevitably make mistakes. Make sure you do things right and how you want them, even if it takes a bit more time.

~ What did you found most challenging about making the debut album?
As this is my first musical project, everything was a challenge but also a great opportunity to learn how to do and not to do things. When I moved back to Wales after living in Edinburgh for a while I had these songs which I had written which I wanted to turn into an album, but had never stepped foot in a studio or played my music with other musicians before.

So I really had to start from scratch. Writing the songs is the easiest part and the most pleasurable. Plus the world is such a fucked up but yet beautiful place to live in there’s inspiration on every street corner.

It’s the practicalities which I find are the most challenging. First I had to find a studio and musicians. I luckily found a place in Newport called Junkyard Studios and met up with a great musician and drummer called Steve Eyers who was really supportive and played a lot of the instruments on the album.

Musically the most challenging part as a solo artist is translating exactly what’s in your head to other people. What I have learnt however is that although you must take on other people’s opinions, at the end of the day you have to go with your gut and just do what feels right with you.

Logistically, the most challenging part is then finding the right people to help you make your vision a reality. One of my friends Luke Slade is a great graphic designer who designed all the album artwork and these things are also really important to get organized. When you surround yourself with other creative people good things will come of it.

The whole of this debut album has taken me two years which is a long time. But now I have a band in place and I know a bit more about how the process of being in a studio works as well as all the other intricacies that go into making your own CD, the next album will take nowhere near as long. I’ve already written 2/3’s of it and I’m already really excited about it.

~ Your videos are both simple yet highly polished and very watchable. Who came up with the concepts for them, and do you find performing for camera as easy as being on stage?

I have been working with a great South Wales director called Simon Bartlett and it’s always fun when we get together and make the videos. I will usually go to him with an idea and we will sit down and chat for a few months about what we want to do and how we want to do it and then we just get out there and do it.

It’s a really exciting process because we don’t have any budget and just rely on the visions we have in our heads and the good will of our friends and the great actors we have so far had the pleasure of working with.

For me, lyrics are really important in my music and in both the videos for ‘Think Again’ and ‘Take Your Time’, conveying this has really been a priority and a challenge. For our next video for the song ‘The Lost Generation’ we are moving away from showing the lyrics but still want the meaning of the song to be central to the whole experience. Music videos I think need to aesthetically compliment a song and as you can tell by the title, this next one is going to get more political.

Luckily I won’t be in it much as I find it very awkward to be in front of camera.


~ Which famous song by another artist would you love to have written yourself?
Currently I can’t get the song Johnny and Mary by Robert Palmer out of my head. I love the lyrics and simplicity of the song but it manages to conjure up a lot of atmosphere. I don’t understand how the same man wrote Addicted to Love.

~ What’s the best gig you’ve been to?
I just saw Manic Street Preachers play the whole of the Holy Bible in Cardiff Castle which was pretty special as that album has been so influential on my music and my life in general. Another quite special gig I was lucky to see was Daft Punk in 2007 under the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, both visually and sonically it was pretty amazing.

Sometimes however I find the best gigs are those where you are blown away by an amazing support act who you have never heard of. I went to see the guitarist Kaki King in Manchester a few years back and her support was Anna Calvi. I was mesmerized for the whole performance and couldn’t take my eyes off of her, it was so powerful. She later went on to be nominated for two mercury prizes so I was lucky I guess to see her at the beginning.

~ If you could curate a festival stage, what five bands/artists would you invite to perform?
1) David Byrne & St Vincent (I loved the Brass album they did together ‘Love This Giant’ and was gutted to not see them perform it live)
2) John Cale (Either performing the whole of Paris 1919 with a full orchestra or to see him play through the whole of ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ just himself and a Viola)
3) Jimmy Eat World (Their album clarity is one of my favourite albums. It would however take a lot for me to not get on stage and steal the mic and try wail my way through their whole set)
4) Chromeo (Because they would simply make everyone dance)
5) One Direction (Although I couldn’t name you any of their songs I would have them on stage because they will a) make me a lot of money and b) I would love to see the faces (and tears) of their fans having to sit through an angry John Cale performing ‘Venus in Furs’. They might even have a revelation moment and realise what good music is.

~ Are there any other new bands or musicians from the Swansea / South Wales area you that you recommend we check out?
There’s a good scene in South Wales at the moment. Someone I really like is a songwriter called Kizzy Crawford. I am lucky enough to have her as my support act for my album launch and recommend people check her out. She has a great voice and is creating some really innovative stuff.

~ What are your musical Guilty Pleasures? Don’t panic, no one will read this!

Kanye West. He is clearly bit of an anus but he has made some pretty good music and really innovative and lyrically interesting albums. Also Whitney Houston’s song ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ does exactly what the title says, it makes me want to dance.

~ Do you have any hidden talents you’d like to reveal to the world?
I can read the minds of animals.

~ What’s the least ‘rock thing’ you’ve done in the last week?
I cooked a butternut squash thai green curry. It tasted acceptable.

~ What would it take for you to do Eurovision?
Probably a lobotomy immediately after the experience so I can forget what just happened.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers

%d bloggers like this: