I love discovering new music and old music I wasn’t familiar with. In the past week I have discovered music by Montmartre, Na Fianna, Chasin Vegas, and a mix of music and performance The Young Islanders. I’ve also picked up Down on Deptford Broadway the album by Skinny Lister who I was blown away by at Cambridge and Lianne La Havas new release Blood. I also recently found myself hanging around Euston Station listening to Laurie Mann who was part of the London Busker competition.
Here are what I make of the mix. Firstly, Montmartre who are a local MK band who are a young alt folk group. Their line up has been changing around a bit, but they are producing some good music and building up a good local following. Their next gig is at The Lab in Northampton this Friday 14th August. I want to catch them live as their music was introduced to me via being shown one of their videos and it is clear they have real potential being talented musicians who mix a range of instruments in including cello and keyboards. They have a couple of downloads available via their Bandcamp site which show they are in the earlier stages of development musically but still have a maturity to them.
Na Fianna, like Chasin Vegas and The Young Islanders were groups who found me via Twitter. Now, I know these are bands which have the marketing and use of social media sorted, but they are bands I’m not familiar with and so I tend to follow initially and give them a chance.
Na Fianna were the first I listened to and they are classic Irish sounding like the Pogues if Shane McGowan were replaced by Ronan Keating. This means that the music is a pleasant enough but sounds a bit too clean cut. That said there is a catchiness about them. By the second time I listened to Toora Loora Lay their new single I was thinking, yes this is summer time music which might be slightly clichéd in terms of the way they talk about being part of the Irish emigration story but they are kind of fun.
Chasin Vegas I took to more on first listening of their Take Me Back with their child of Britpop sound. They have a clear Oasis influence going on but have a good sound about them. Again what strikes me about them is how clean cut they seem to be.
As the name suggests The Young Islanders are another Irish outfit. These mix music and traditional dance in a way which is slick and to be honest seems to be River Dance the next generation. That said their promo does contain a harpist and vocalist who is great and sounds a lot like Cara Dillon. Yet again they seem to be gleaming.
And that’s one reason I like Skinny Lister, they are definitely not gleaming. They have that raw edged feel to them. I was worried their album Down On Deptford Broadway might not live up to the live performance but I was pleased to say it did. It is a great album which has the mixture of their sound, some of which you would find ok to play to grandma. It is good music to dance around the house to and thankfully This is War still sounds great.
Then we get to Lianne La Havas Blood. This album which came out a couple of weeks ago is currently being promoted via TV adverts which says this is mainstream and then some. She is a product being heavily promoted by Warner Music. It is a good album but seems somewhat over produced. Her distinctive voice is beautiful and has a jazz feel to it and so I fully recommend it, but I would say that something of the feeling of her earlier work seems to be missing from much of this album.
Another good young singer songwriter is Laurie Mann. I saw here whilst she was busking outside Euston as part of the London Music Big Busk competition a couple of weeks ago and whilst she is young and somewhat nervous she does have a good talent. Unfortunately she was doing a lot of covers in the set I saw, and it was in her own material that the talent she has really shone through. Allegiance which was the penultimate number of her set and one of her own was excellent. She was working a hard environment and was good enough to get me to stop and wait to the end of her set before moving on.