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Lost City

9 Notts Albums You Need To Listen To

23 February 18 words: LeftLion

Our ravenous reviewers have devoured a whole heap of new music, and told us what they thought about it...

JC & The Sunshine Band
Greatest Hits
Album (Hello Thor)

It’s frankly a disgrace that the world has had to wait this long for a celebration of the work of the legendary Nottingham singer-songwriter, comedian, artist, performance poet and originator of the White Collar Gangster Skiffle movement, Joey Chickenskin. Well, here it is; better late than never, I suppose. Performing these wonderful songs, it’s entirely fitting that JC & the Sunshine Band are a veritable Nottingham supergroup, consisting of various members of Fists, Grey Hairs, Kogumaza and Burly Nagasaki. As a result, the songs sound vibrant and alive… although I should point out that, if you’re after the full Chickenskin experience, some of the guitars here sound dangerously like they might be in tune. The songs themselves are – of course – a delight. How many genuinely funny songs can you think of? It’s pretty easy to write songs about a girl who played the fiddle in an Irish band, but far harder to make your listener laugh. On purpose, anyway. Still, who can’t find humour in the anticipation of Jim Davidson’s death or in a dream of Iain Duncan-Smith failing his work assessment and being forced into demeaning, menial labour? As if that wasn’t enough for you, all the proceeds from the sale of this record will be donated to the Nottinghamshire Hospice and to Zephyr’s Nottingham, the charity partners of Nottingham’s Annual Christmas Covers Party. That should be reason enough to get yourself a copy, but the plain fact of the matter is that the music sounds bloody good too. Get involved. Tim Sorrell

Cherry Hex & The Dream Church
Witch Girl
EP (Phlexx Records)

Anyone who listened to Cherry Hex’s debut EP, Tea of Tears, or who has seen them at gigs around the city, will already know what the band is about: woozy hypnagogic synths and echoey glacial vocals. On this follow-up, the minimalist electro-pop duo expand upon their hazy swirl by grabbing the eyeliner and going goth. Witch Girl, the title track, with its broken percussive sample adds much needed bite to the band’s formula. Help & Glue floats upon a spooky melody and haunted glockenspiel. Toska, which came out as a standalone song last year, is where the band really shine; Maddy nailing those echoey low-blood sugar dreamlike vocals and Alex’s backing track gently burbling like a tape machine breaking down, creating a tipsy brain fog. Closer, You’re Dreaming Again, is like The xx on downers; a song so blissed out it sort of hangs in the air. Paul Klotschkow

The Chase
Odyssey EP
EP (Robin Hood Records)

The Chase’s Odyssey EP provides a great insight into the sound of one of the best upcoming indie-rock bands in Nottingham. Starting track The Pit of Poverty is perhaps their most notorious; an energetic song that tussles with the need to break free from the inescapable clutches of home. The intro is fast-paced and catchy enough to stick in your head all day. Where is the Love and Knock on the Sky are both croon-filled and heartfelt, but the latter is on the brink of being a stereotypical rock ballad. Odyssey feels very much like an outro track with the haunting guitar and vocals at the beginning, but settles nicely into a journey of a song with various segments to it that flow well. The band have provided an exciting taster into the direction they’re going, and I’d be very interested to hear a whole album. Eve Smallman

Faceless Affair

Album (Timeline Provision)

As the name implies, Faceless promotes the idea of music over image and encourages us to close our eyes and just listen to the sounds. The notes you’ll hear are deep and rhythmic, mainly made up of percussion and piano then covered with a soulful voice, most of the tracks with a beat behind them. The artist creates an r’n’b, neo-soul sound, focusing a lot on themes of love and regret. The standout tune, Solution Resolution, looks at the concepts of struggle and finding yourself, pushing forward an inspiring message with lyrics like “I’ll find a way” and “I keep marching on.” The vocals themselves are rich, soft and strong, varying between fast and slow, song and speech. One voice often overlapped onto itself, creating a hypnotic effect. Overall, Faceless is a chilled listening experience and one I’d recommend. Elizabeth O’Riordan

Gallery 47
Young World
Album (Bad Production Records)

Jack Peachey is back with a new album, and it's bursting with rhythm. Young World's soft indie vibe is certainly not accidental: from its first track, Lefty, to finishing number Little Baby Luke, this release smacks of a kind of reserved commentary on the things surrounding the singer-songwriter every day. Soft guitar instrumentals accompany Peachey's mellow voice in almost every song, and it makes for a group of tunes highly likely to lead you into some kind of quiet contemplation. Tracks like Addicted to Rembrant and Getting Mad prove just how easy it is to get lost in this music, and are sure to be a hit when performed live. To top it all off, Young World is a collection of no less than eighteen songs. If you're looking for a sign that Peachey loves what he is doing right now, this is definitely it. Alex Keene

Louis Croft
Take Me Home
EP (Self-released)

At only seventeen, Louis Croft reflects on life, relationships and love in his new EP Take Me Home. Flitting between acoustic and indie, the collection is sweet and genuine, showcasing a boy and his guitar with a passion for music and expression. Simple lyrics like “I’ll pick you up at eight outside the local car park” alongside “I am hypnotised by everything you do” makes me think of long, suburban summer nights and falling in love. The songs, including Do You Love Me Too, Why Don’t You Call and Lonely Night all feel fresh and honest, capturing a confusing but lovely time of growing up. Some of the songs are slow and contemplative while others feature fast guitar strumming, creating a feeling of excitement and energy. An authentic tribute to youth, and an easy listen. Elizabeth O’Riordan

The Ruffs
New Obsessions
EP (Self-released)

New Obsessions by The Ruffs is fast-paced and upbeat from start to finish. The indie-rock band mix it up providing a variety of sounds from start to end; the rhythm might change but the beat definitely doesn't. Each track is rammed full of melodic and memorable music, with the mood fun and buoyant. The whole EP is a standout but for me, MST and Alligator nail it. MST will draw you in with its catchy instrumentals and incessant beat. It kicks in fast and won't finish until the song ends; it's lively, and will have you moving every time. Alligator has its entertaining lyrics and vocal styling, mixing a mellow vibe with quick-paced beats, forcing a click of the repeat button. That's just me; be the judge for yourself, grab a copy of the EP and find out which track makes you want to get up and rock. Ryan Muress

Promised You Nothing
EP (Self-released)

If you enjoy your rock music with a strong beat and love a good headbang, then this EP is for you. Starting off with a fast-paced guitar riff which doesn’t let up on the first track Fire Inside Me, the music is enough to lure you in before the vocals pipe up. Promised You Nothing, the EP’s title track, takes it up a step, kicking straight into a pulse-racing instrumental section that gradually slows as the song progresses, a great buffer between the accompanying tracks. Things start to slow down by the third and final track, Make Your Choice but this is done to complement the lyrics, as well as put a bit of the spotlight on the drum beat. The whole EP will get the blood pumping, and with T.O.W.E.R.S playing regularly across Nottingham, I recommend checking them out. Ryan Muress

Taco Hell
Bad At Being Average
Album (Self-released)

It’s the final offering from the dreamo punx foursome, as geographical factors have forced them to split. Self-described as “sad-but-fun Midlands emo-punk,” the album takes you on a journey through the band’s everyday lives: moving flats, losing friends and bidding farewell. Carefully ordered, moody first and final tracks Untitled and Goodbye share the same infectious tune and hook, coming full circle and landing on a sense of satisfaction. Songs like Girl Up and Twin Peaks References & Depression feel right at home with popular teen angst anthems from the early noughties, whereas Manston Mews does more to showcase their talents as musicians, with the guitar playing right at home with songs in the indie top charts. While it might be the end for Taco Hell, let’s hope they can continue making music as individuals. Emily Thursfield

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