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Features

02/11 – Best In The East Spotify playlist

Every fortnight we round-up some of the hottest releases in the local area and shed light on some of the tracks we’ve missed out on over the past few months!

The Islas – Somewhere In Between
Fresh from playing our TMB42 night last month, The Islas are back with another instalment from their forthcoming EP A Generation To Forget. The band have made a lasting impression on the local scene over the past year with their unique 00’s indie-influenced sound, and Somewhere In Between really hits the spot with its passionate, warming vocals about anxieties and missing home.

BaVard – Upside Down
Relative newcomers to the scene BaVard are slowly making a name for themselves after being shortlisted for an NMG Award and releasing some awesome new tracks this year. Upside Down is the latest addition to their back catalogue, with catchy instrumentals and a feel good chorus making this one of their best tracks yet.

Final Transmission – Dream Awake
After a lineup change and a short hiatus, Final Transmission are back with a crash and a bang with their enthralling new EP Samsara. Opening track Dream Awake is the perfect track to open up a new era for the band. The vocals from new frontman Alex are inch-perfect coupled with heavy rock instrumentals. 2019 looks to be an interesting year for the band.

Eeeyore – Heroine
Eeeyore have made a name for themselves around the region with their intense, unorthodox live performances and this really translates onto their debut EP RisingHeroine clocks in at just under two minutes packing in an in-your-face guitar riff which pulsates throughout and vocals that pack an almighty punch.

Stretch Soul Gang – Few Tricks
Arguably one of the best live bands in the East, the Stretch Soul Gang have been busy recording their debut EP which is set for release very soon. Few Tricks is just a snippet of what is to come from the six-piece funk heroes. The slow grooves, slick vocals and funky basslines makes us want a lot more music from the Gang.

The State – Human
After the departure of guitarist Will Goodey earlier in the year, The State are back with a new EP whetting the appetitive ahead of their third album releasing later on this year. Title track Human is a powerful industrial rock number with references to the rise of fascism, poverty and attacks on LGBTQ minorities.

Fightmilk – Summer Crush
The loveable Fightmilk unexpectedly brought forward their album release date a matter of days ago, meaning we got the pleasure of listening to the amazing Not With That Attitude early! Summer Crush is a track which brings out the best of Fightmilk with intriguing vocals and classic pop-punk instrumentals. Catch them at The Hunter Club on 17/11 supporting Gaffa Tape Sandy!

Amethysts – How It Is
A new release from Amethysts is always going to go down well with us here, and How It Is sees the duo crank it up a notch with beautiful atmospheric instrumentals and a flawless vocal performance which really shows why they won an NMG Award earlier on in the year and have had countless plays on national radio.

LISTEN TO THE NEW PLAYLIST BELOW:

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Gig Reviews

Bury Fringe Festival 2018 Fundraiser gig review

A night of great variety performances culminated in a truly special headline set from funk legends Stretch Soul Gang.

The night kicked off with comedy, with four comedians all sharing the spotlight with their rib-busting humour, Bimi Adeyi was the pick of the bunch here though tonight showed that the comedy circuit in the area is one what is certainly up and coming.

Before the musical sets, the audience were wowed by the wonderful words of poet Joanna Hagan-Young. She certainly didn’t disappoint here, and her poem We All Came Together written about the Fringe, was without a doubt the highlight of her delightful set.

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Kelodown

Kicking off the musical side of proceedings was country soloist Lucy Grubb. In this year’s Fringe, Lucy deservedly won the Bury Songwriters Competition with the stunning 18 Miles, a track performed live with so much heart and passion. Other tracks played during her short set were from her 18 Miles-named debut EP. She truly is an artist to look out for, because she is definitely set for bigger things.

BurySOUND finalists Kelodown warmed the crowd up for the main event with their joyous brand of hard rock. Though the band are of a young age, they instantly interacted with the large audience and showed off their experienced stage presence with shredding riffs and extreme amounts of head banging. We’re still awaiting new music from the five-piece rockers, but as soon as we have news on that we’ll let you know!

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Stretch Soul Gang

It was well-documented that on Friday night I was meant to be attending the Craig David gig in Newmarket, but as soon as this event was announced I sold my tickets. Why you ask? Because Stretch Soul Gang are arguably the best live band in the region. The band played a similar set to the one at Homegrown a few months earlier, but as always the audience were up on their feet dancing away to their amazing original tracks like recent single Open Up Your Eyes and the sweet Poncho Villa. Upcoming single Ungrateful is a track that always goes down well, but as soon as they jive into Ain’t Got No Money that’s when you know you’re watching something truly truly special. New music is almost certainly on its way… see these lot when you can, they are epic.

Thanks to Jan Roberts for the use of his images in the article.

On SATURDAY 18TH AUGUST, we are holding our first gig night at The Constitutional Club with psych-rockers Sun Scream headlining, with support from BurySOUND winners Influx of Insanity, loud rock duo KULK and Cambridge’s hottest prospects God Hates Astronauts! Music starts from 7pm, £5 on the door!

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Gig Reviews

Highlights of Homegrown Festival 2018

After two brilliant days at Homegrown Festival 2018, here’s our highlights of the brilliant weekend, although all of the bands were awesome!

The first act we saw at the Festival was the underrated talent Connor Adams. Hailing from  Ipswich, he released his first EP only a few weeks ago, and the songs from this sound pretty awesome live especially the title track Open My Eyes. Alongside the new tracks was an inspiring cover of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac which really set the tone of the weekend! A really great set to open up the festival.

Making their debut at Homegrown Festival were young duo Influx of Insanity, bringing their heavy prog-rock to the fields of Barrow. It’s been a phenomenal few months for Dom and Oli, having won BurySOUND and Cambridge Band Competition, and starting to recording new music for their upcoming EP. A slight change to their set list paid off with tracks like Scaffolded Minds and Envious Souls sounding better than ever.

Tom Lumley played his first of many festivals this summer, having confirmed a slot at Truck Festival a few days previously. Lumley has a knack of writing anthemic indie bangers, and his last single Skyhigh is one of many on his packed setlist. One of the highlights of the weekend was his passionate performance of yet-to-be released track Crawling, a track which shows off a heavier side to Lumley’s music but also proves that he is still one to watch in the Cambridge area.

After playing The Apex the night before, The Catch dropped in and played a stormer of a set featuring old favourites like Artist and Effort, but it’s the rock-influenced Sort It Out and fast-paced fan favourite Tie Dye that went down really well with the Saturday afternoon audience. The trio also played a few new tunes which you can expect to hear real soon. They play Cambridge Junction tomorrow night (15th June), be there!

Among The Citizens were another band who played at The Apex the night before, and here they delivered a set which proves why they are highly thought of in the region. Tracks like Curved Lips and Needy not only shows off the band’s versatility in their styles, but makes their set list even more varied alongside the heavier, guitar-driven tracks like their brilliant new single Mess In The Head.

Having seem them at the Bury Fringe All-Dayer, we were excited to see Blue Mean Eyes  and they definitely didn’t disappoint. They played songs from their 2017 EP Through The Mill like Brixton Shrug and our favourite Escapade whilst also teasing new material. After several line-up changes it seems like the trio have finally settled as a band, and it’s exciting to see how their sound develops over the following year.

One band who always goes down well with a crowd wherever they play are the psychedelic quarter KYANOS. Having won BurySOUND’s Rising Star award, they were given an early evening set which showed off their talents playing smooth instrumental tracks and the usual crowd pleasers like Thunder In Japan and So High. The band also teased new music to be released soon in the form of an EP, more news when we get it!

One of several artists at Homegrown who we hadn’t seen before was young rising star Gabby Rivers, and after this showing we can’t wait to see her again. Not only does she write some really awesome original tracks, Gabby also played some enjoyable covers like Portugal, The Man’s Feel It Still and Florence + The Machine’s Dog Days Are Over which had the crowd singing along. An inspiring talent at only 15 years old, definitely one to watch.

When it comes to energetic indie rock tunes, Fick As Fieves are the pick of the bunch. Deservedly, they co-headlined The Coastline Stage with an impressive light show throughout their fast-paced, catchy set. A moshpit formed in the crowd when the trio played tracks like English Weather and Wasteman, whilst new tracks from their debut EP Drift End like COL and Outstayed prove why they are one of the region’s finest live bands.  More new music could be on its way to your ears by the end of the year, watch this space!

Saturday’s epic day of music was closed by the funk-soul legends Stretch Soul Gang. Their epic hour-long set was full of original classics which made the whole field have a dance. Opening their set with latest single Open Up Your Eyes, the Gang kicked in to gear with their next single Hit The Deck, fun groover Poncho Villa and the always outstanding Sharks At The Wheel. One of our highlights of the whole festival was the performance of Ungrateful which featured a rare live outing from soul singer Steven Bamidele whose vocals complimented the flawless falsettos on the track. They closed their set on debut single Ain’t Got No Money, followed by a fireworks display to round off the day. Let’s hope they get invited back for the third year running next year!

We had a great time at our first Homegrown Festival, and we want to thank the organisers (especially Sara!) for their support, and for putting on an awesome weekend!

Categories
Gig Reviews

Stretch Soul Gang @ The Con Club, BSE

In an area which is heavily dominated by indie and rock music, it was a welcome change to go to a funk and soul gig, and when Stretch Soul Gang are about you know it’s going to be a good one.

Motherfvker, a covers band from Ipswich, opened the night with a variety of brilliant covers. The best track of their set was a rather surprising cover of Childish Gambino’s Redbone, which was enhanced massively by the lead singer’s powerful vocals and guitar player’s sweet riffs throughout. A really nice way to kick off the evening.

The headliners of the evening were Stretch Soul Gang, a six-piece group from Sudbury who are one of the most-loved bands in the area. It’s a shame that the group only have the two tracks available to listen to on streaming services, but it’s those two tracks, the glorious Open Up Your Eyes and Ain’t Got No Money, that really got the adoring crowd moving.

What I personally love about the group is that everything about their sound is inch-perfect. Whether it be the tightness of the instrumentals, the impeccable vocals or the savvy crowd interaction between tracks, the Gang are really on to a winner.

The Gang’s setlist is one which is full of great soul numbers, Sharks At The Wheel shows off guitarist Alfie Row’s flawless falsettos whilst Poncho Villa and Ungrateful (featuring local rising star Steven Bamidele) gives us a taste of things to come with the band with an EP set for release in the immediate future.

Stretch Soul Gang are headlining Homegrown Festival this year, so if you want to have a great night grooving to some great original tracks and come away with a huge beaming smile on your face, then get yourself there. Because these guys are one of the best live bands around.

Thanks to Wigwam Promotions for organising a great night!

Categories
Track Reviews

Track Review: Stretch Soul Gang – Open Up Your Eyes

We are so so pleased to be premiering the new track from Stretch Soul Gang: Open Up Your Eyes.

Off the back of a great 2017 for the band which saw them narrowly miss out on winning BurySOUND and releasing their first single Ain’t Got No Money, the Gang are back with another enthralling track which will get you off your seat and dancing away.

Open Up Your Eyes is the first track from four soon-to-be-released tracks which will make up the group’s first ever EP.

Stretch Soul Gang got together in 2014 and have been grafting ever since, honing their original music, taking inspiration from the likes of Earth Wind & Fire, Anderson Paak and A Tribe Called Quest.

The song starts off with smooth saxophones and hand-clapping before lead vocalist’s Alfie Row’s trademark vocals kick in. His voice combined with groovy baselines and the rapped verses from Jamie Hicks really shows why Stretch Soul Gang are one of the most loved bands in Suffolk.

A staple of their live sets (which you all really need to get to), Open Up Your Eyes is an enjoyable, funky gem of a track. And like we said before, there’s still way more to come from Sudbury’s Stretch Soul Gang, and we can’t wait for it.

Band Members:
Alfie Row- Guitar/Lead Vocals
Jamie Hicks – Rap
Benjamin Mason – Tenor Sax/Backing Vocals
Louis Hicks – Alto Sax
Max Bridges- Bass
Camden Clarke – Drums/Backing Vocals

Open Up Your Eyes by Stretch Soul Gang is out TOMORROW (30th March) on all platforms!

The song was recorded at their drummer Camden Clarke’s studio, click the link here to find out more: https://www.camdenclarke.com/

Upcoming Shows:
1st April – supporting Huey Morgan @ The Bassment, Chelmsford
30th April – Neil’s Jazz and Blues in West Kensington, London
9th June – Homegrown Festival, Barrow nr. Bury St Edmunds

Be sure to check out our track reviews tomorrow (30th March) of TUNDRA’s Swimming Shorts and The Glitter Shop’s Sleep!