Phildel – Gig Review Bush Hall London 15 May 2013

18 May

She will send a storm to capture your heart

phildel album coverLooks can be deceiving.  From the outside, there are not many clues, if any, about its pedigree as a renowned music venue.  The building looks dated, tired, and you could easily be persuaded to believe it is a bingo hall or snooker club, which incidentally, it was years gone-by!

Bush Hall is a small 300+ capacity venue which has character, great acoustics, and lends itself perfectly for those intimate gigs where artist and audience are so close they could almost touch each other.  The interior is pink, ornate, reminiscent of those old-time dance halls with high ceilings and several two-tier chandeliers giving a sense of elegant decadence.

The lobby is a narrow corridor adorned with photos of musicians who have previously played at Bush Hall, and what an impressive line-up it is: Adele, Kings of Leon, Lilly Allen, Amy Winehouse, REM plus many more of the World’s best-known artists and bands silently watching over you as you study each phoPhildel stage bandto and accompanying review.  The corridor leads into the bar, which then leads into the auditorium, a hall devoid of chairs except for a few round tables and chairs near the front.

We parked ourselves at the very front on the left near a grand piano next to the stage.  In front of the stage a maypole had been erected with several coloured ribbons taped to the floor.  The auditorium filled slowly, and after some considerable time, it always seems like an eternity when you wait patiently for a performance to start, the lights flickered to indicate the start of the show.  First the band took their positions on the stage, and were followed by a group of six young females in dresses wearing masks, who took their places around the maypole each grabbing the end of one of the coloured ribbons.

As piano filled the hall and a chorus of angelic voices from ‘Union Stone’ gently caressed our ears, so the maypole dancers started their dance skipping in opposite directions round the maypole gracefully and skilfully avoiding colliding with ePhildel arms highach other.  The dance and music ended and as the last of the girls exited, the band started to play and smoke-filled the stage; Phildel appeared, barefoot, stunning in a white dress, and effortlessly started to sing ‘The Disappearance of the Girl’, her excellent debut album’s title track, a haunting, gentle, melodic song dominated by strings, percussion, expert synth and her immaculate voice.

Phildel is no ordinary artist, she cannot be compared to any mainstream artist, her style is unique, her songs are authentic and even the instruments which accompany her repertoire are not your usual guitars and bass, instead she uses strings, piano, synth, percussion and rich harmonies.  Her music is visual and tells a very definite story, her own story, which is both tragic and magical.

The third song ‘Storm Song’ a more upbeat but also gentle number with a very infectious hook and again those angelic harmonies and choruses is perhaps one of the most commercially strong songs on the album.  The sound at Bush Hall was so good, that this, as well as most of the thirteen or so songs on Phildel’s set list sounded as good as the fully produced and mastered CD versions, a true testament to Phildel, her band as well as the sound engineers at the venue.

After ‘Storm Song’, Phildel stepped off the stage and took to the grand piano which sat patiently waiting for her to start playing ‘Beside You’, a stunning love ballad with words like ‘I’ll be everywhere you go, you go, in my symbolised world I’m a beautiful girl, in my house on the hill there is room for you still’.  The arrangements with piano, strings, haunting synth plus those angelic choruses and harmonies are simply exquisite.  ‘Union Stone’, the full version quickly followed and Phildel, now fully relaxed and in her element, started to tell eloquent stories in-between songs giving away a charming, humble and slightly mischievous side to her personality.

Her magnificent set ended with a double encore and a standing ovation which took her by surprise and moved her to tears.  Without a doubt this is a performer who oozes talent, passion, determination and whose songs are honest, heartfelt, dramatic and sometimes verging on the tragic.  Phildel literally has the World at her feet.  I for one, consider myself incredibly privileged to have witnessed this performance, and I urge you to go to one of her intimate gigs before she starts playing larger and less intimate venues.  If you haven’t bought her album, go and grab yourself a copy.123

Orlando Seale and the Swell – Kings Place Gig Review

11 May

Artistry in Sound and Motion

IMAG0840The first thing we noticed as we waited outside No 2 Hall at London’s magnificent arts and culture venue Kings Place, was the diversity of our fellow gig-goers who were as keen and excited as we were to experience this original ensemble of musicians calling themselves Orlando Seale and the Swell.  People of all ages, sizes and looks mingled in the spacious bar area in a buzz of eager anticipation.

This performance is part of a weekly series of concerts called Folk Union which seeks to give artists from emerging and established backgrounds a platform to present traditional and contemporary music of the highest quality.orlando heart

When the signal to go in was finally given, we formed an orderly queue and filed into the hall, which was devoid of seating, except for three or four rows with a dozen neatly lined chairs to the left of the stage, which we soon learned had been reserved for the elderly and less able individuals who would not be able to endure two hours standing.   We stood at the front very close to the stage, which was darkened except for a large screen showing moving images of London with a very interesting soundscape, a fusion of electronic sounds with reverbed voices.  Not far behind us, we noticed a certain Josie Lawrence.

Orlando Seale and the Swell – Lost and Keeper (Encore) Kings Place 10 May 2013

Special thanks to LondonRocks2008 (Vivienne Drewett) for this video.

After what seemed like an eternity the lights in the hall dimmed, and the screen was raised to hushed whispers of excitement among the crowd. The band members slowly filled the stage, one, two, three, we counted nine, and then the tenth, Orlando Seale himself, who took centre stage right in front of us.

IMAG0850Without much pomp or ceremony, the band launched into their first song, ‘Running Through the Trees’, which was marked by a military drum beat accompanied with violas, cello, and flute, which were soon joined by guitars, bass, synth and Orlando’s distinctive vocals, very reminiscent of David Byrne, and some very infectious harmonies and choruses.  The second song, ‘Lost and Keeper’, featured a very haunting oboe and flute, and as the song unfolded, more instruments and voices joined in, always marked by resonant drums and intricate sounds from the electric guitar and synth.

Orlando Seale and the Swell are a musical machine of extraordinary versatility and originality, with fresh songs which are as light-hearted and heartfelt as they are dark and verging on the macabre, but always uplifting, and euphoric.  The band members are young professional musicians who play with credible orchestras such as The Southbank Sinfonia   Orlando himself is an accomplished actor and this is evident in his songs as well as his own stage performance.

The band played two 45 minute sets with passion, enthusiasm and supreme professionalism.  During the second set, the 10 members soon became 12 with the addition of horns.


Orlando Seale and the Swell represent the very best original emerging music of the moment, and although they have had record deals on the table, they have chosen to do things their own way, confirming the changing landscape of the music business where the once omnipotent music conglomerates held all the power.  Now the balance is shifting in a totally new direction, music lovers like me are continually treated to many opportunities to enjoy and get close to talented and creative musicians who thanks to technology and the Internet, are now able to create, produce and distribute their music to the masses without having to sell their soul to the once-powerful corporate monsters.IMAG0863

If you enjoy fresh unusual sounds, interesting lyrics, supreme musicianship and originality, I urge you to catch Orlando Seale and the Swell at a gig near you, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Katharine Rose

6 May

This Rose will capture your heart

Katharine Rose MainImagine the beauty of Keira Knightley.  This songstress has it, and although I cannot attest to her thespian skills, I can assert that her artistry, song writing and singing skills equal Ms Knightley’s acting skills.  Based in Brighton, Katharine Rose is currently finishing her studies to become a vocal coach which she plans to commence in November of this year.

Her voice is delicate and pure, and her songs ooze melancholy, happiness and hope accompanied by her piano which she plays masterfully.  Her debut three-track EP ‘Four Leaf Clover’ is available for download and also available in a very limited edition in individually hand painted covers.  To continue describing and giving accolades to Katharine would probably dilute what I am trying to convey, so do not take my word for it, listen to her interview below, and watch videos of each of the three songs she performed for us on Under ThKatharine Rose Pianoe Radar Live Sessions, if, at the end of this exercise your heart is captured, give her your support by buying her EP and sharing with friends, acquaintances and loved ones, oh and go and catch her at one of her gigs in and around London and the south-east of England.


Katharine Rose defines her music

123Katharine Rose CD cover art

Under The Radar Live Sessions on Brooklands Radio with Katharine Rose 14 April 2013 (Full podcast)


Katharine Rose – Wild Rose


Katharine Rose – Four Leaf Clover


Katharine Rose – White Birds


Being Buffalo – ‘Start The Fire’ EP Review

1 Apr

Music according to the Buffalo people

EP CoverBeing Buffalo are a six-piece band based in London, who define their sound as folk driven pop with an organic twist.  I would say they are being modest and perhaps deliberately coy about their sound, in my opinion their sound does have those qualities in abundance, but perhaps the most striking element is their explosive anthemic choruses and harmonies which make Being Buffalo stand proud amongst the great stadium-filling bands of this generation.

The band visited the Under The Radar Live Sessions studios on 1st April 2012 (see videos and listen to the show podcast below) and since then they have been busy producing their EP and growing their fan base with a series of regular gigs in and around London and the South East of England.

Their current EP, ‘Start The Fire’ is a collection of four strong and very likable tracks:

Feels Like Home opens with a very seventies The Who guitar riff, and quickly fast forwards in time to somewhere in the early nineties with a dose of angelic vocals accompanied with supreme harmonies, the journey continues right up to this decade with some explosive anthemic choruses expertly paced by strong percussion and all the while adorned with acoustic and electric guitars, piano and those angelic vocals and harmonies.

Wake Me Up gently dissolves from Simon and Garfunkel style harmonies into a complex euphony of vocals, fantastic percussion and once again, those memorable explosive stadium choruses, the perfect way to wake up!

Anselm is a delicious gentle ballad which comes towards you like a soft wall of vocal sounds, such is the band’s expertise in arranging complex harmonies, which only need a hint of acoustic guitar and minimalist percussion.

The fourth track, I Will Hold You, is another breath-taking example of the band’s song-writing and musical arrangement skills which exude quality from the very first chord.

To sum-up, Start The Fire represents the supreme vocal and musical talents of Being Buffalo, and as an EP it should occupy a place in any discerning music lover’s collection, go and get your copy, and do it now!


Being Buffalo Define their music


Under The Radar Live Sessions on Brooklands Radio with Being Buffalo 1st April 2012 (Podcast)


Being Buffalo – April


Being Buffalo – Hope


August and After

1 Apr

The Law of musical attraction defines the Philosophy of these two great musicians!

August and After funky pianoAugust and After take their name from the classic 1993 Counting Crows album August and Everything After.  This pair of supremely talented troubadours are Ned and Vedantha who met each other at Cambridge whilst studying Law and Philosophy respectively.  Their songs are cleverly crafted with intricate guitar chords, thoughtful lyrics and supreme vocals which are enhanced by some expert harmonies.

With such distinguished education, both Ned and Vedantha are supremely eloquent and great conversationalists.  They are blessed with having a network of talented friends IMG_0973and acquaintances who collaborate with all aspects of their musical careers.  They have enough material for an album which they are currently putting together and are hoping to release in the coming months.  For now, you can enjoy the three songs they performed live for Under The Radar Live Sessions on Brooklands Radio which we filmed and include with this post.  Catch them live at one of their gigs and share their music with fellow music lovers, friends and loved ones.


August and After define their music


Under The Radar Live Sessions on Brooklands Radio with August and After 17 March 2013


August and After – Halley


August and After – The Orchard


August and After – Getaway



Amy & Rachel – Pick Up The Pieces

Alice Russell – Fly in the Hand

Tiger Lilly – Silence is Golden

Motel Raphael – Ghosts

Strip Darling – Melancholy Accidents

Phildel – Funeral Bell


Worry Dolls

30 Mar

Cool quirky Folk with clever story-telling lyrics, uplifting melodies, delicious harmonies and fiery red hair!

IMG_0939Worry Dolls are a fabulous duo of supreme vocalists and song-writers by the names of Zoe Nicol and Rosie Jones.  They first met at Liverpool’s acclaimed LIPA (The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) which was founded by Sir Paul McCartney on the site of his old school.  The girls are young, fresh, fantastically original, and play a host of different instruments with great prowess.

They describe their sound as quirky folk, and they write about anything but love.  Their songs are uplifting and memorable and the lyrics are thoughtful, humorous and always tell a story.  I was particularly struck by the purity of their harmonies and the way they swap instruments with one another.

They have just released their debut EP, a collection of five original infectious songs which they recorded at the George Martin Studio in Liverpool and like many other emerging artists they self-funded, produced, designed, packaged and distributed.  It is available for download right now through Bandcamp and physical autographed copies can be purchased via their website.IMG_0962

Worry Dolls EP – Review

1) Polaroid - Breaks with the pleasant sound of the banjulele, a diminutive banjo which is similar in size to a ukulele.  This is an upbeat number, with strong country and western influences, but do not be misled, it soon breaks into a very palatable Balkan fusion of sound which will transport you to a dark and dingy cafe in one of the cosmopolitan cities in south-eastern europe. Great percussion, fabulous vocals and harmonies and the perfect opener to this great EP.

2) Drive – This song greets you with the sound of a marimba or xylophone and you soon realise this is a ballad which is dominated by a collection of unusual instruments, and the girls’ very distinctive voices sung in perfect harmony.

3) Darling – Another upbeat number with some infectious choruses and chants, this could be one of the very rare occasions when Worry Dolls will venture into the subject of love in their repertoire, nevertheless, exquisitely produced, with dramatic choruses almost verging into the realms of Evanescence.

4) London – A fusion of gentle country and western folk dominated by the banjulele and the now familiar and very welcome harmonies from Zoe and Rosie.

5) Same Old Dream – I loved the acoustic version of this song which Worry Dolls performed on the show (video below) but listening to the studio produced version, they actually sound like a very credible and equally as good as the legendary Simon and Garfunkel, but remarkably they manage to still sound fresh and very relevant.

Worry Dolls are no ordinary pair of folk singers, these are a pair of highly original, supremely talented songstresses who are sure to go a very long way with their infectious and highly likable music.  I would recommend you buy their EP without further delay, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.


Worry Dolls define their music


Worry Dolls Under The Radar Live Session 17 March 2013


Worry Dolls – Same Old Song


Worry Dolls – Oliver


Worry Dolls – Boots


Show 10 March 2013

11 Mar

Winter returns but the music hots up

This week we’re doing something slightly different, we are not only listing all the tracks played on this week’s show, we are also posting them in full for your listening pleasure, including my introduction of each of the songs.  Enjoy!


Unsung Lilly – Just Be

Unsung Lilly PicAfter the success of their debut single ‘Happy’, they will be releasing Just Be on 13th May. ‘The song is about the pressures that many people feel about how they ‘should’ look, that predominantly come from the media’s influence,’ says Sera, one of the joint vocalists in Unsung Lilly. ‘Its something we all feel really strongly about and have always wanted to write about because we want to inspire people to try to accept themselves as they are. Its such an important subject that dominates many peoples lives, and the song is about overcoming that.’

‘We’re really excited to be releasing another single so quickly’, says Frankie. ‘The feedback from our first single ‘Happy’ was fantastic and it got airplay all over the world, so we’re keen to see what we can do with this one, whilst spreading such a great message at the same time!’

The band have just released one of their individual and home-made iPhone videos of the song onto youtube (filmed by sticking their iPhones to guitars and mic stands) and an official video will be released mid-April.


Roxy Rawson – Black Eyed Soup

Roxy Rawson Pic 2Taken from her forthcoming album Quenching The Kill, which was due for release last year but due to prolongued ilness has had to be postponed, this track is a very refreshing but simple fusion of delicious harmonies with clever percussion adorned with some very infectious choruses which will echo inside your craneum cavity for some considerable time after the song has ended.  The whole album is in fact a collection of songs blending complex arrangements with Roxy’s supreme and versatile vocals.  We are sending Roxy our wishes for a speedy recovery and looking forward to welcoming her to our studios for a very special Under The Radar Live Session. Watch this space!


Yessy Rivera – Me Gustas Tu (I Like You) Tango

Yessy Rivera is originally from the Canaries but based in Murcia in the south east of Spain. This song forms part of a 7 track demo album Yessy Rivera Picwhich Yessy has not released yet, but  she very kindly sent me four of the tracks.    This track immediately caught my attention because of the Tango element which in my mind, takes this song to a whole new level;  in fact, I often remark to musicians how important it is to be open-minded about introducing elements such as Tango into their music, and I don’t just mean allowing Tango to take over a song, but rather use subtleties from the very unique and enigmatic stylings of this magnificent genre and of course other genres and the instruments that characterise these.


Zemmy – Brittle Little Pieces

Zemmy picZemmy is a supreme songstress based in London but originally from Nigeria.  Brittle Little Pieces can be described as angelic, ethereal, soothing, haunting and utterly sublime.  It is one of those very special songs that will transport you to paradise in a heartbeat if you dare close your eyes while it plays.  A prolific song writer, her style is heavily influenced by Sia, Dido, Lauryn Hill, Sade, Imogen Heap, and her voice and musicianship easily earn her a place amongst these great ladies of song.  I have absolutely no doubt we will hear a lot more about Zemmy on Under The Radar Live Sessions.


The Frisbys – Philosolove

Frisbys Nicola and MarcThe Frisbys are a four-piece band led by twin sisters Nicola and Helen Frisbee with Marc Robinson and Sam Keer on guitar.   This song is taken from their self-produced and self-released forthcoming debut four-track EP Philosolove which will be released on 25th March.  The song title is a neologism or singlet which is a made up word from the sentence “Feel Loss of Love”.  This is a magnificent soFrisbys Helen Samng with exquisite harmonies from the twins, masterful guitar work and haunting flute.  The Frisbys met at university and have been together as a band since 2011 with a string of gigs around London and the south east of England, and this has steadily gained them new fans.  If you missed their performance on Under The Radar Live Sessions you will find a full review plus HD videos and audio by following this link.


Soneni and the Soul – Million Miles Away

EP CoverLondon based four-piece band describing their style as Zimbabwean Soul interwoven with afro beats and a generous dose of funk, led by the charismatic and eloquent Soneni Nkomo whose vocal finesse can easily be compared to some of the World’s all-time great ladies of soul, gospel and jazz.  Million Miles Away, like many of the greatest songs ever composed was born “by accident” and almost wrote itself like Soneni and Elmo describe during the introduction of the song in the sound file above.




Kid Kasino & Q-Tip Breathe and Funk, Jon Bongly Collision


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,736 other followers

%d bloggers like this: