mike davies september 2019


With the new album lined up for November, THE TWANG are currently flagging up their funky new single Dream, a track that can’t help but put you in mind of the early Happy Mondays.

Gorstey Somedays

THE GORSTEY LEA STREET CHOIR return in shimmeringly superb style with the ‘lean on me’ themed Somedays, riding a rippling electronic pattern of harpsichord aspirations and puttering percussion as Michael Clapham sings “into every life you see you see a little rain fall” as it builds to an anthemic swell. Truly wonderful.

EMILY MAE WINTERS delivered yet another spine-tingling set on the Kitchen Garden Stage of the Moseley Folk and Arts Festival, unveiling a new as yet unrecorded number, Surrender that in an ideal world would have Dolly Parton beating down the door to record. Likewise, DEATH BY STAMPEDE delivered a blinder as the opening act on Saturday on the Lunar Stage, previewing several tracks from the album he’s currently recording, including Goliath The Man. A bear of a man with a bear of a voice, the UK’s answer to Benjamin Ffolke Thomas, the album’s due the start of 2020 and promises to be one the best things you’ll hear that year.


Formerly from the Black Country (where he was a member of San Lorenzo), and now based in Hampshire, OWEN TROMANS releases Between Stones (Sacred Geometry) next month. Kicking off with the folksy Danebury Rumination, musing on the cyclical nature of life and death, it opens with a lengthy instrumental passage of fingerpicked guitar and strings (arranged by producer Joe Bennett) before being joined on drums, the vocals arriving around the 2:30 mark, the number inspired by a Hampshire hillfort. The number later resurfaces as a brief orchestral instrumental in Danebury Reprise.

Complete with cough, A Dialogue, the tale of a Greek soldier who summons Zeus on the beaches of Troy to question the purpose of the war he is engaged in is a set to a driving strummed rhythm and plays to his late 60s West Coast influences a la CS&N while elsewhere, notably on Burying The Moon King, a song exploring the myths and legends surrounding the eccentric Ludwig II of Bavaria, told from the viewpoint of a trusted retainer, and the nine minute narrative fantasy epic Grimcross with its snarling, fuzzed guitars, clearly hark to Neil Young. On the other hand, the strummed acoustic Happiness and Martin Pales Ghost (presumably a reference to the Warwick born 16th century Aureate magician) also have a touch of the Roy Harpers about them.

Between Stones again brings Bennett’s strings arrangement into play before Troman’s simple fingerpicked guitar takes its place for another ruminative track inspired by the natural landscape as it tells of visions among Britain’s ancient megaliths. He gets a bit rocky on the staccato bass line of Vague Summer while the album also closes with the brooding percussion and guitar rumble and electronic pulses of Electric Wessex and its echoing spoken poetic lyrics.

roots-and-branches.com 2020