It’s the second week of May and our sixth instalment of Keeping It Real! This week we introduce you to more amazing artists like The Zang!, Kurbitz, Liam Vincent, CVC, Connor Adams and loads more. What do they have in common? You should know by now, they’re all keeping it real!
THE ZANG! – ‘DRINKING WITH YOU’
Described as a fusion of turbo-pop, pop-rock, rock and blues, The Zang! are a three-piece group hailing from Belfast. The trio met at a house party in 2018 and since then have been brewing a very tasty brand of music. Influenced by a range of bands from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and a bottle of whiskey, The Zang! deliver tongue-in-cheek lyrics over a feisty melody.
The latest offering from The Zang! is ‘Drinking With You’. Recorded at Oiltape Studios in Belfast, the single is one of the first off a full-length album to be released later in 2020. The album looks at themes of sex, drugs, love, relationships – in a word, life. This single examines human connections, feelings of loneliness and detachment.
” ‘Drinking With You’ is equal parts a celebration of human connection and the joy of spending time with loved ones versus the feeling of detachment and loneliness. The song is not an alcohol endorsement. Indeed its tones may suggest this on first listen, but if you dig a little deeper there are other themes to be found at play.” – The Zang! on ‘Drinking With You’
BRYAN CHUA – ‘FOUND’
All the way from Singapore, Bryan Chua is a 23-year-old singer-songwriter. His aim is to create music that is not only relatable for the listener but also spread feelings of hope and love. His songs about a person’s daily experiences, as well as his outstanding gigs throughout London, has gained Chua a reputation of being an engaging performer connecting with his audience. His latest release is ‘Found’.
Unlike previous tracks focusing on mental health issues, ‘Found’ explores love and relationships. This evolution as an artist shows Chua’s flexibility as an artist and his connection with fans (and potential fans). ‘Found’ is a soothing track with good harmonies between Chua’s unique vocals and trusty guitar.
“This song is as much a story about my loves and my relationships as it is for everyone else who loves someone – be it a friend, a partner, a family
member, or even themselves. It’s about the loves you find that help save you and the loves you promise to protect, so they can sleep safely and soundly every night” – Bryan Chua on ‘Found’
CVC – ‘THE MORTGAGE ANTHEM’
Not that I’m showing any bias to the Welsh artists, but Cardiff has produced some of the best rock acts to come across my virtual desk. One of these bands is CVC. Combining elements of funk with their classic rock style, David Bassey (vocals and lead guitar), Francesco Orsi (lead vocals), Elliot Bradfield (guitar), Ben Thorne (bass), Nanial San (keys) and Tommy Fry (drums) are the personification of Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music, White Boy’!
The latest single from CVC is ‘The Mortgage Anthem’ – a relatable song if I ever heard one. The song is about not being able to keep up with bills and the solidarity that comes with it. Along with single, CVC released a video for ‘The Mortgage Anthem’.
The video revolves around notorious thief ‘Robin Joolz’ and his court appearances. An amusing tongue-in-cheek song with a Law and Order-type visual – I’m serious, they have the renowned Law and Order intro and everything! I don’t know if I can ever watch this TV show without thinking about CVC. Not a bad thing at all.
” ‘The Mortgage Anthem is really about being young and not having any money, ever. All of us in the band connect with the song as we’re all in some sort of financial troubles and I think a lot of people are, especially people our age and people who come to our shows.” – CVC on ‘The Mortgage Anthem
LIAM VINCENT – ‘HATE MY PLATE’
Raised in Northamptonshire by his Irish grandmother, Liam Vincent was constantly surrounded by traditional music. At age 12, he began playing the guitar and soon adolescent rebellion kicked in leading him to the punk scene. After approximately 20 years performing in rock bands, Vincent chose to return to his roots immersing himself in folk music. He recently released his second single as a solo artist – ‘Hate My Plate’
Now, not everyone dislikes vegans, but, as an omnivore, I will always skip the vegan aisle in the supermarket. What is life without meat? Vincent – a non-meat-eater – answers this question in his latest track ‘Hate My Plate’. Thing is, instead of focusing on the differences between people with different dietary lifestyles he looks at the similarities.
Along with the single, Vincent released a rather amusing music video with bananas, bacon and all sorts of other foodstuffs. The food fights, Liam intervenes and even Bacon agrees Banana has a good beard. Amusing and insightful, this has to be my favourite music video of the year.
“The idea for the song first came to me last year when Greggs came out with their vegan sausage rolls and loads of people on social media absolutely lost their minds about it. I found all of that a bit odd. Why get so angry about people having a choice that has no effect on you?! With the video, I wanted to get across the message that even though there might be aspects of how people go about their lives that you don’t agree with, if you take the time to dig a little deeper there are always things we can find to like about people. So yeah, it’s kind of a hippy anthem” – Liam Vincent on ‘Hate My Plate’
KURBITZ – ‘MONA LISA’
Founded by Swedish producer Pelle Anderston and hard rock singer-songwriter Stefan Blomqvist, Kurbitz is a brand new project for these music professionals. The brainchild of Blomqvist, this new pop-rock meets rock and roll, Kurbitz is easily a band for all occassions.
The first track from this talented duo is ‘Mona Lisa’. The gruff vocals combine well with the steady guitar and drums. If you want something that is soothing with a rock edge, then you’ve found your band. Easy transitions between powerful guitar riffs and Blomqvist’s vocals make ‘Mona Lisa’ one of the tracks I’ll have on repeat.
” ‘Mona Lisa’ came out of the guitar riff in the intro and built upon that. The song is energetic and will, hopefully, make people happy and not be able to sit still” – Kurbitz on ‘Mona Lisa’
TIP OF THE WHISKER – ‘DON’T ASK’
Tip of the Whisker is a Baltimore-based rock band who believe in performing with passion, recycling and never giving their drummer Ben a mic. Founded in 2019 by Ben Day (drums), Jamie Edwards (rhythm guitar), Chris Malone (bass) and Dave Massimiano (lead guitar), Tip of the Whisker blends guitars with metal drumming reminiscent of iconic bands from the 1990s. Think The Smashing Pumpkins meets Nirvana meets Queen of the Stone Age and you’ll have some idea of Tip of the Whisker.
Despite having only one song to their Spotify name, ‘Don’t Ask’ is a debut single to knock your songs off. Mikka Pettaway’s vocals are an excellent accompaniment to the guitars and drums; I particularly enjoy the transition from simple picking to a full guitar riff. Pettaway’s breathtaking, effortless and distinctive vocals push the boundaries of rock, metal and punk fusion. I can’t wait to hear their upcoming EP Six Feet Apart later on in the year.
” ‘Don’t Ask’ is a song about regret in a relationship and learning how to walk away from something toxic. The song was chosen specifically for its use of harmony and the intriguing bridge leading up to the final chorus.” – Tip of the Whisker on ‘Don’t Ask’
THE GREAT DICTATORS – ‘RIOT ON A DIET’
Hailing from Copenhagen, the indie-rock trio The Great Dictators are spreading their experimental tracks far and wide. Inspired greatly by Kraftwerk and The Psychedelic Furs, Dragut Lugalzagosi, Christoffer Hein and Jakob Lundorff used their personal experiences to produce dramatic and eloquent singles. Combining a traditional indie-rock style with electronic vibes, The Great Dictators recently released ‘Riot on a Diet’.
One of the tracks on their new full-length album One Eye Opener, ‘Riot On A Diet’ is one of the more synth-focused singles from The Great Dictators. Reminiscent of The Cure and The Psychedelic Furs, The Great Dictators channel the ambient, experimental and synth-based stylings of the 1980s. ‘Riot on a Diet’ takes you on a trip from beginning to end, but in the most amazing way ever.
LLOYD JAMES FAY – ‘EVERY TIME I’M WRONG (I’M WRONG FOR THE RIGHT REASON’
Already having built a name for himself as the frontman of Scottish rock band Thula Borah, Lloyd James Fay decided to pursue a solo project. Beginning in 2013 with his debut album The Black River Chronicles, Lloyd waded into the pool that is solo singer-songwriters. An introspective songwriter, personal stories play a large role in his music. One of the most recent offerings is the single ‘Every Time I’m Wrong (I’m Wrong For The Right Reason).
‘Every Time I’m Wrong (I’m Wrong For The Right Reason)’ is the first single release of 2020 and comes off Lloyd James Fay’s new EP Fake Depth. Recorded with Andy Miller and funded by Creative Scotland, the track ruminates on the impact of internet culture and modern technology on society. Musically, the track is a simple one with steady drums and guitars accompanied by some throaty vocals. I enjoy the guitar riff near the end alongside a harmonica – a lovely ending to a calm song. The soothing aspect of ‘Every Time I’m Wrong’ seems to contradict the defiant lyrical message. I don’t really care about this paradox, I just like what I hear.
“This song pokes fun at our contradictions and hypocrisies, know-it-alls and narcissists, some who might be in positions of power.” – Lloyd James Fay on ‘Every Time I’m Wrong (I’m Wrong For The Right Reason’
BLADDERWRACK – ‘GOOD MOURNING BRITAIN’
Formed as a reaction to the very trying events dominating headlines today, particularly those in the UK, Bladderwrack plays one protest song after another. A duo from London, this Sex Pistols-esque punk rock group provides an irresistible form of thunderous, boisterous and engrossing music.
Using only their 12-string guitar, drums and some raspy lyrics not heard since Sid Vicious, Good Mourning Britain was recorded in one hour at Moles Studio with engineer Toby McLaren. Yep, the album was recorded in only one hour! Energetic and spellbinding, the nine-track album is a scathing rant of current affairs. In my opinion, Good Mourning Britain is more than a punk rock album, it is THE punk rock album for today and many years to come.
“Like Tom Waits channelling The Fall, this shit is not pretty. It’s not pretty, but it’s now, it’s about now, it’s raw and it fucking rocks.” – Bladderwrack on Good Mourning Britain
CONNOR ADAMS – ‘DON’T PLAY WITH A HEART’
If you’re looking for some dreamy indie-pop that could put you in a very comfortable bubble, then look no further than Suffolk-based artist Connor Adams. Along with his first single ‘Adventure’ in 2018, Adams has already been featured on BBC Introducing, worked with producer Rupert Matthews, supported The Darkness and currently released a single called ‘Don’t Play With A Heart’.
The debut single from his second studio EP, ‘Don’t Play With A Heart’ focuses on addiction to toxic relationships. A little more rock than Adams previous releases, the new shows a new direction for the new decade. Heavy guitars combined with intriguing melodies and Adams’ soothing vocals, this is a contemporary track to have on repeat.
“I really wanted to take the listeners on a journey inspired by the feeling I had facing the New Zealand Haka – fear, excitement and electricity pumping through my veins” – Connor Adams on ‘Don’t Play With A Heart’