Alternative Friday

because great new music doesn’t always get the exposure it deserves

There’s been some excellent music released so far in 2017, as evidenced by the challenge it was to trim this month’s longlist down to these ten tracks. It’s an eclectic selection too, so do spread the word about your favs as we take you from electric guitars to Oriental guzheng strings via some alt rock, Scandi pop, acoustic storytelling, and Americana folk. Enjoy…


M60 – Honey
The Magic Gang – How Can I Compete
Tom Hickox – The Dubbing Artist
Lewis Bootle – Cells
Of Empires – See You With The Angels, Kid
Annabel Allum – Rich Backgrounds
Bedroom Eyes – After I Was A Kid But Before I Grew Up
The Lodgers – Sound The Alarm
Chris King & Hotel Radio – The Fire People
Mintball – Shogun


If you use Spotify then do check out (and follow) the new Evolving Tunes playlist, but as the name suggests, it will be updated on a regular basis!

It’ll contain a dozen or so newly released tracks by hugely talented musicians, and as hard as it will be to eventually delete them from the playlist – that’s the point… it will evolve!

Therefore for every superb new tune added, the oldest will reluctantly be removed, and so to avoid missing any of them, follow the playlist and pop by regularly to hear more new and independent musicians. Enjoy…


There’s an broad range of excellent new music in this month’s mixtape, which takes us from lively alt rock to a bit of mellow folk, via some indie, shoegaze, ambient, and quirky pop. I love’em all, but do spread the word about your favourites. Enjoy…

Tall Ships – Petrichor
Outlya – The Light
Tourists – Masquerade
Snippet – Bad Man
Kid Wave – Everything Changes
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – French Press
Pip Hall – Turn Over
Albert Man – Riding Shotgun
Lorne – Bread Alone
Tom Craven – Magpie

Sublime! In New Tunes #44 we described this track by London based solo artist Lorne as having “poignant lyrics, smooth vocals & some cinematic piano work”. Now the cinematic angle has been added to by this atmospheric and dreamy video, directed by Gonçalo Almeida, which captures the mood of the song just perfectly. The track itself comes from an upcoming debut EP, and you can keep tabs on this talented songwriter via the links below.


iTunes | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

Welcome to the first New Tunes of 2017, which features four varied artists, however they all display a common theme which includes outstanding and melodic songwriting, first-class vocals, as well as highly polished production. I love ’em all, but do spread the word about your favs…


Albert Man – Riding Shotgun
From his new EP Nothing Of Nothing Much, Riding Shotgun encompases all the joyous warmth that he brought to us in last year’s award winning Cheap Suit album, which was full of wonderful piano led pop tunes with a mixture of both witty and poignant lyrics. The strength of the new EP is also highlighted by the fact that this isn’t even the leading track! To find out more about Albert Man check out the Q&A I did with him last year.
Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube


Pip Hall – Turn Over
This talented singer from Preston has already caught the attention of new music gurus such as Huw Stephens and John Kennedy, and yet she’s only 16! This is due to the winning combination of melodic yet dark instrumentation, and a mature smooth vocal that belies her age. The track is taken from the EP James, which is due for release on 10th March. Stunning.
Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook


Mosley Bar – Two Apart
This 4-piece indie rock band from North West England have already appeared here before, in the Oct 15 Mixtape, but they have reached new heights with this latest track, which is a wonderfully catchy indie earworm, full of singalong lyrics, addictive riffs, and strong percussion. Play on repeat and get your air guitar out!
Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook


Lorne – Bread Alone
Turn the lights down before you listen to this exquisite debut from singer-songwriter Lorne, aka London based Nick Liam. Poignant lyrics, smooth vocals & some cinematic piano work all combine with a calm melody to create a quite wonderful song. Flick the lighter on and raise your arm… just don’t set fire to the living room ceiling.
Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

It’s a squeeze! Whittling down the long list for this month’s mixtape down to 10 tracks was a real challenge, as the year has certainly started on a musical high note, so I hope you enjoy the selection as we bounce between alternative & indie rock, pop, and blues. Enjoy…

Mosley Bar – Two Apart
Paris Youth Foundation – Losing Your Love
Tom Hickox – The Fanfare
Yakima – Wabi Sabi
Mondo Cozmo – Shine
Zuzu – What You Want
Dan Croll – Away From Today
The Cheap Thrills – Same Old Faces
Green Buzzard – Never Let Me Go
Wilderado – Under The Weather


This is a first – two for the price of one! Lewis Bootle (left) from Ware in Hertfordshire, and North London based Gecko (right), are two individual musicians, however they have written, recorded, and performed together, so we’ve grabbed them for a joint Q&A! Both play a similar style of troubadour guitar, with delightful lyrics and a playful sense of fun. Lewis has previously appeared here, in New Tunes #41, and also won a 2016 Award, while this is Gecko’s first outing, so read on to find out what birthday parties, the Mona Lisa, and mind reading have to do with musical storytelling…


Gecko – Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook
Lewis Bootle – Website | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook


~ The two of you are obviously great mates, so how did you both meet?

Lewis: During early 2016 I had a manager booking shows for me. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but the last gig she booked me was Gecko’s birthday gig. I sung him happy birthday and we became best friends.

Gecko: And the rest is (recent) history!


~ Who first proposed the idea of collaborating together, and does the one who agreed to it regret it yet?

Lewis: Haha, well I messaged Will (Gecko) #namedrop a few days after the gig and asked him if he’d like to write a song. He readily accepted, and voila.

Gecko: Then we met up and we wrote ‘The Seed’ together (*see Hollywood’s romantic scene of this exact moment at the end of the Q&A) and from then our musical relationship started to grow. In the words of Dappy I have ‘No regrets’.


~ You’re heading off for a few dates in Holland later this month, so how would you best describe your performances to people who have yet to see you live?

Gecko: I’m a singer storyteller. Playful wordplay, lots of animal references, and a bit of humour chucked in for good measure.

Lewis: Well, we both have different styles but I’ve learnt a lot from Will this past year on performance and stage presence, all in all I love to croon my heart out and make people laugh so expect some of that.



~ Your lyrics are certainly at the forefront of your songs, but where does the initial spark usually come from when a new track takes root?

Lewis: This is always the tricky question. Sometimes I will write out poems / lyrics to a beat / rhythm in my head, then add the music, or vice versa. Lately I’ve got into producing / writing at the same time so its more of a patchwork as I go along.

Gecko: It will usually be the concept that sparks my imagination. I’ve often got some melodic ideas and chords on the go and then when a story strikes I’m off. They can come from anywhere, one of my songs is about a character in the painting opposite the Mona Lisa at The Louvre feeling ignored. That came from being in Paris and feeling it was an injustice that this beautiful painting was completely invisible for the majority of the hoards of tourists attempting to take (bad) photos of Leonardo’s work.


~ Are there any other new bands or musicians local to you in the North London / Hertfordshire area that you recommend we check out?

Lewis: Yes, check out:
Dom Claytor
Ten Tonnes
Ed Tattersall

Gecko: The Leano have been lying dormant for a little while, but I’ve heard some recent stirrings and it’s extremely exciting.



~ If you could each claim one famous song as your own, what would it be?

Gecko: The Beach Boys – ‘God Only Knows’, the melody is pure perfection, I find it hard to believe a human being constructed it, it feels so intrinsic. And there’s a good car horn tooting sound.

Lewis: Mine would be Heart Of Gold by Neil Young, because Neil is don and so is that song.


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

Lewis: Frank Ocean, Chance The Rapper, and Grimes.

Gecko: I second Frank and I’ll add Randy Newman, Conor Oberst, and Andre 3000 to the mix!



~ Aside from music, do you have any other creative skills? (or obscure talents!)

Lewis: I can fly falcons!

Gecko: I can read minds, so I know what Lewis’ answer to the next question will be.


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

Lewis: Be able to read minds.

Gecko: To fly like a falcon mate!


~ What are your plans for 2017 once you’re back from Holland?

Lewis: I have a London tour the first two weeks of March with a gig every day for 18 days… leading up to a full band show on April 5th at The Dublin Castle in London. Then me and Will are off to Scandinavia on a tour later in April, then another in May in Italy. Then roll on festy season!

Gecko: I’m currently crowd funding the recording of an album via PledgeMusic. On top of that in February and March I’m touring the UK with Harry Baker (World Poetry Slam Champion) & Chris Read (his Jazz musician sidekick). Dates and tickets are up at my site.


~ And finally… which actors would you each choose to play yourselves in a blockbuster film about your musical lives to date?

Lewis: Leonardo DiCaprio, however he would look rather old for the part.
Gecko: Kate Winslet

* Gecko & Lewis thoughtfully debate the line “can’t force the seed”.


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