Kagoule

I’ve had a definite soft spot for Kagoule’s swirly churning since seeing them a few times a couple of years ago in Nottingham and more recently in London with Drenge. These guys are seriously exciting, sickeningly young and overwhelmingly talented.

Cai’s gloomy-cool and Lucy’s urgent throbbing on bass makes me want to wear my clumpiest school shoes again. Sometimes calm… often brooding…and all round achingly nostalgic, I can’t do them justice by cobbling adjectives together.

Maybe a mood-board demonstration, consisting of tattered velcro-fastened coin purses, after-rain walks home, braces and biro battered lined papers would be more apt but it would only go some of the way. Listen, Kagoule are anything but clumsy!

Kagoule just released a single called ‘Adjust the Way’ on Hate Hate Hate Records along with their first (suitably dark and fuzzing) video. Watch it online here, maybe make an afternoon of it.

Of course you can find Kagoule on Facebook and they are setting out on their first tour in December, playing all over the UK with Cold Crows Dead so you must keep a look (or ear) out!

Suitably dreamy photos by  Angela Chan.

Adam Black

Adam Black is a happy-go-lucky 18-year-old, just starting art school but already reaching notoriety for his enlivening bold and poppy work which as featured on t-shirts he has designed, gig posters and much more! Definitely reminiscent of the Cape Town sunshine he grew up in and now Nottingham based, his work touches upon the clear political and socio-economic undercurrents in both the South African and the UK landscapes.

Think: ‘Whut!?’ ‘Arms’, ‘Life’ to name a few slogan-like texts which lie sprawled, in funky letters across drawings, paintings and increasingly digital and collage work. It is hard not to like. Like, it is hard not to like this scanned piece of ham. Adam works very quickly and points out various family members painted in his recognisable but perhaps unflattering style, seemingly always armed with drawing materials! Paintings are light hearted and slightly satyrical and the film photographs very sincere and documentary-like, collage work perhaps playing lightly between the two.

Check out Adam’s website at www.adamtblack.com, tumblr – letsadamblack.tumblr.com and follow him on Facebook at for new work and updates,

(All images copyright to Adam Black)

Amber Run

Amber run is a five piece indie-rock band based in Nottingham. The boys first caught people’s attention when they uploaded their melodic cover of Imogen Heap’s ‘Hide and Seek’ to the internet. Since then, though, they’ve exceeded all expectations with their original songs, despite only having been playing for just over a year. The catchy yet captivatingly haunting track ‘Noah’ caught the eyes and ears of yet more music fans, leading to their becoming increasingly popular on the local scene.

My first encounter with the band was at Sheffield venue The Harley, where they shone bright playing songs from their self released EP ‘Heaven’ (first released under the band name ‘Amber’) and new songs from an upcoming EP, which they hope to release this year. But I was late to the game; the band had already played Reading and Leeds on the BBC’s Introducing stage having captured the heart of BBC presenter Dean Jackson who’d listened to the tracks the band had uploaded on BBC Introducing.

Amber run fit right into an increasingly popular brand of indie music, combining the melodic harmonies that brought Mumford and Sons into the spotlight with catchy indie rock we all know and love. But that’s not all that makes them special – what’s sets them apart for me is the poetic nature of their lyrics which are dripping with a gritty kind of honesty that one rarely comes across in today’s sex-and-drugs fueled music scene.

The band have recently played in London and will be supporting Irish indie rockers Kodaline on their sold out UK tour.

You can listen to their stuff here.

Ady Suleiman

The Replay and Rob Da Bank stage returned to this year’s Bestival on the Isle of Wight and saw a number of emerging musical talents onstage over the weekend, from the likes of Sam Smith, Ghostpoet and Nina Nesbitt. One of the most exciting new artists I saw there on the final night was soul singer/songwriter Ady Suleiman from Nottingham, a city building a great reputation for producing artists that inject a bit of Midlands grittiness into the popular music scene (see other recent exports Jake Bugg and Dog is Dead). He has been featured on Radio 1Extra and also played at Glastonbury in the summer of 2013.

The festival organisers gave a glowing report of Suleiman, professing to festival-goers that ‘if you only get to check out one new act at this year’s festival, make sure it’s this young man’. He certainly didn’t disappoint: with just an acoustic backing and his own soul-cum-reggae vocals, Suleiman successfully created a chilled ambience in the tent and his music was incredibly easy to listen and dance to. Interestingly, this was juxtaposed with some incredibly uncompromising lyrics, for example in State of Mind, a song which challenges prevailing religious and political ideologies, where Suleiman lends us a healthy dose of scepticism regarding the structures by which we live our lives. However, although this may sound like an angsty and rattling subject matter, Suleiman has successfully struck a balance between social commentary and musical storytelling through his reassuring vocal tonality, which has an endearing overall effect.

In a time where intelligent song writing has become secondary to producing club-friendly and frankly annoying electro-pop music, it’s encouraging that there are artists like Ady Suleiman who are willing to take issues like disillusionment, depression and disappointment and come up with a refreshingly soulful and sensitive musical means of expressing them. Britain has not produced many soul singers, but Suleiman is paving the way for an exciting new arena of musical talent from this country.

Find out more on Facebook, Twitter and Sound Cloud and here’s a personal favourite of mine: Need Somebody To Love