TRACK REVIEW: Simon York West – Something Good

The tragic story of George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life is beautifully told in a tale with a positive outlook. Something Good wraps up the plot of the movie into a quaint, folky track that feels relatable and honest, with an outlook that could reflect onto anyone listening. Simon York West has created a tender and reflexive track perfectly timed for Autumn. This debut single shows promise for the future of the multi-instrumentalist’s solo project, demonstrating his ability to use a film as

TRACK REVIEW: Arcade Skies – Lid On A Scream

The title of this track from Arcade Skies is pleasantly misleading; instead of putting a lid on anything, the song uses a series of melodies to take the listener in different dimensions minute by minute. The ambient synth of this track takes from the developments of Arcade Skies’ first and second EPs. The artist’s first EP epitomised an 80’s electronic style, whereas the second developed more experimentally, and Lid On A Scream perfectly blends the two styles into a multifunctional piece, one t

LIVE REVIEW: The Devil’s Advocate All-Dayer @ The Cluny, Newcastle (21.08.22)

Promoting a day full of local talent spanning rock, punk and alternative sounds, the festival invited music lovers from across the North East together to see what devilish behaviour they could stumble upon. The day opened for me with Smuj on The Cluny’s main stage. A very entertaining opening act who set the precedent for the day’s extravaganza. With a range of instruments, one member was playing the piano, synth and the trumpet on rotation. Incredibly curious, the soundscape was composed with

INTERVIEW: Cazimi

Following their debut album Late In The Day in 2020, the line-up of Sunderland alt. rock band Cazimi has reshuffled somewhat, with Gary Binns on drums and Kev Melling on bass joining guitarist Jim McCulloch and lead vocalist and guitarist Ian Hedley. The band note that while there haven’t been major changes musically, the make-up of the band has very much determined their direction. Ian described the production process: “I write the songs, take them along to the band and depending on who’s in t

TRACK REVIEW: Tales – What We Talk About

When I first read the title of this song it reminded me of Raymond Carver’s short story collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and I was delighted to find out this was the inspiration for the new song by Tales. This angsty track perfectly blends a new rock sound rooted in the literary. The lyrics focus on Carver’s details of unrequited love, wrapped up in this addictive and catchy track, which packs an electric punch with some lyrics on the cheekier side. The four-piece seem to

TRACK REVIEW: Cortney Dixon – Bang Bang Honey Honey

Cortney Dixon has an addictively unique voice, and the layers of guitar on this piece really heighten her use of her vocals as an instrument to compliment the rest of the soundscape. Most of the final vocals on this single are taken from Dixon’s original demo, which is extremely impressive given how confident the vocals sound against the instrumental backdrop. Bang Bang Honey Honey is the definition of fun-driven pop elevated with indie rock and guitars. It’s cheeky, positive and a great listen

TRACK REVIEW: Craig Clark – The Late Show

Slow, heartfelt and beautifully produced, The Late Show tells a beautiful tale through its lyrics, loosely based on Kurt Cobain. This is especially felt in the grungy style of the soundscape, with elements of country in the soulful guitar, mixed with an intimate vocal and the slow beats of the drummer. The lyrics, although loosely based on celebrities, are extremely personal and emotive, and deal with the sensitive topic of death. It illustrates this beautifully into a moving track that is sure

TRACK REVIEW: Baltic – July

This a cheeky glimpse of summer from Baltic, named July and coming out on the first of the month, this is a song for summertime which reeks in positivity, with a festival vibe the core of the soundscape. Baltic have been together for five years, and after taking a slight break from putting singles out, it’s great to see the band back releasing. With one verse centred around dialogues of summer house parties, July has a great nostalgic feel harking back to those “days of innocence”. Not only do

Hope Lynes presents: More Than Music - August 22

Slack’s is completely ad-free & independent. We rely solely on donations! Please consider becoming a Slack’s Supporter. www.slacks.world/support 1. Kick Like A Girl - Loose Articles 2. Ivory Tower - Nova Twins 3. I Threw Glass at My Friends Eyes and Now I’m On Probation - Destroy Boys 4. Formidable Cool - Wolf Alice 5. Knifey - Amyl and The Sniffers 6. Somebody - Dream Wife 7. Deranged - Venus Grrrls 8. P.M.P - Bambie Thug 9. Str8 Acting - Lynks 10. We Live Here - Bob Vylan 11. R&B - English Tea

LIVE REVIEW: Dream Wife, Straight Girl, Venus Grrrls @ Newcastle University Students’ Union (01.05.22)

Late addition to the line-up Venus Grrrls opened the show, and the vocal capabilities of the Hartlepool-via-Leeds band were a real highlight; beautifully melodic and almost operatic, they contrast with the punky instrumental soundscape. The band took the gig as an opportunity to play unreleased song Violet State of Mind, and revamp classics such as Deranged, noting the conversations the song brings up about women in the music industry.. Additional support Straight Girl gave an electric experien

INTERVIEW: DREAM WIFE

Hope Lynes talks to Dream Wife’s Rakel Mjöll about finally getting to tour their second album, working with a talented female-led team and why activism is so important to their sound Brighton punk rockers Dream Wife have a clear manifesto when it comes to their music and live shows. Highly outspoken, with an activism streak which perfectly suits their forthright sound, vocalist Rakel Mjöll insists their forthcoming tour – which drops in at Newcastle University Students’ Union on Sunday 1st May

TRACK REVIEW: Frankie Jobling – Grateful

My favourite thing about this new Frankie Jobling track is how her voice sounds like an instrument, perfectly complimenting the melodic, soothing backing instruments to create a soulful soundscape that is both catchy and smart. Grateful is rooted in ending a difficult relationship, and has plenty of self love. The lyrics “I took a date with myself / it was the sweetest breakthrough”, root this otherwise melancholic and somewhat toxic tale in a newfound happiness. It’s a real treat to witness su

TRACK REVIEW: Cat Ryan – Rex Mundi

Quaint in its nature, this upbeat song is rooted in laid-back songwriting, dreamt up by songwriter Mary-Anne while visiting her rural family farm with no distractions. This is a happy track that is easy to listen to, yet hard to get out of your head. The Newcastle-based art rock band Cat Ryan have perfectly crafted a piece that is artistic in nature, with style and meaning emerging within the two-minute listen. The speed and agility of a greyhound (the titular Rex Mundi) is used as a metaphor f

LIVE REVIEW: Stockton Calling @ Various Venues, Stockton (16.04.22)

After two years out in the cold the sun was shining down on the throng teeming their way between the eleven venues of Stockton Calling. The background hum of excitable chatter, comparing of itineraries, swapping recommendations and sharing notes, whilst carefully crossing the widest High Street, all meant that an Easter institution was in town again. A music festival town centre take-off spreading music and joy and community. Welcome back…

REVIEW: CHARTS AND GRAPHS - X MARKS THE MAINSTREAM

Addictively catchy with an energetic chorus that remained in my head well after the first listen, the brand new track from Charts And Graphs, X Marks The Mainstream, is an extremely fun listen. The soundscape is very vintage, in that it masters a blend of the 00’s indie of Maxïmo Park and experimentative rock from the likes of Talking Heads. The vocals are confident and tell a cynical but touching storyline, rooted in the music industry, but exploring how there are “no more close relationships, it’s just me and you”, whether this be a personal relationship or about industry contracts in the mainstream. The dual meaning between music and personal love is a really interesting blend that this song nails, both in its lyrical craft and very well produced sound.

REVIEW: INDIA ARKIN - WHAT YOU CALL HOME

India Arkin brings an angsty lyrical twist to her summery new track What You Call Home. The storyline tells a painfully honest tale of home and growth within a “place like this, cuts off hope”, twisted with a naivety which creates a really interesting and thoughtful listening experience to reflect on. The track is heightened through the beautiful depth to India’s voice, uniquely layered into the soundscape. The backing on this track compliments India perfectly, and takes her singer-songwriter status to a really effective new level as a rockier prospect. This fun song is perfect for summer; light to listen to, yet laced with curious and meaningful lyrical dilemmas.

INTERVIEW: CIGAR CIGAR

HOPE LYNES SPEAKS TO THE TEESSIDE FOUR-PIECE ABOUT THEIR DEBUT EP, LOCKDOWN RECORDING AND THEIR COLLABORATION WITH STUDENT FILM-MAKERS Teesside-based four-piece Cigar Cigar release their debut LP, The Edge Of The Conversation, this month, a 12-track record which has taken 18 long months for its members to produce. The album’s soundscape is a nostalgic one, blending across the rock genres to encapsulate many inspirations. Singer and guitarist Russell Smith explains how his inspirations changed

PREVIEW: SWIM SCHOOL @ HEAD OF STREAM

‘swim school, band from Edinburgh’ seem to lowercase near everything on their social media, but there’s nothing lowercase about their sound. Headlining Head of Steam on Thursday 14th April and popping up again at Stockton Calling on Saturday 16th, their gigs in the region provide an opportunity to discover a band that have really nailed their sound; loud, dark, and confident. With a debut EP, Making Sense Of It All, under the belt, tracks such as ‘see red’ are angsty and exactly what post-punk needs. With an upbeat tempo and a thrilling vocalist, the soundscape is addictive and staged perfectly for mosh pits. Also in the mix are dancier tracks, and there’s a flexibility to the songs; their track ‘outside’ flexes between hard backing tracks and preppy guitars with a catchy chorus, creating a fluidity in their understandings of the alt. rock genre. Hilariously, the band describes themselves as “Tesco Value Wolf Alice”, but they are more Tesco Finest, with an exquisite sound FFO the likes of Wolf Alice, but definably swim school in the darkness of their alt. rock soundscapes. Swim School play Head of Steam, Newcastle on Thursday 14th and Stockton Calling on Saturday 16th April. www.facebook.com/weareswimschool
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