Leah Mason

There are great guitarists who have a shot at singing, and great singers who pass with a guitar. Unpretentious blues rock singer/songwriter Leah Mason is exceptional at both – how rare. Initially taking up the guitar self-taught, Leah took on the six strings like a child conquering the jungle gym in a sonic playground. Whilst all the other children squabbled for the limelight, Leah walked nonchalantly strumming past them all: an unaffected, organic talent.

Not dissimilar to powerhouse Joss Stone, Leah takes the plump and glossy quality of soul music and gives it an edge – and yet despite the punch she is so likeably laid back. Inspired by Janis Joplin, Patti Smith and Bonnie Raitt, Leah said “I don’t want to get caught up in comparisons to other girls with guitars who are out at the minute. I’m into Alison Mosshart, Janis Joplin, Courtney Love; essentially women who aren’t scared to show they don’t give a f***.”

Leah’s effortlessly potent flavour is brought to light in her track ‘Waiting On a Good Day’. The power rock energy brings a helping of guts laced with 80s The Clash-esque punk nostalgia. In a touch of roughed-up femininity her vocal range soars casually over the horizon; for an artist so nonchalant Leah has some pipes on her.

Similarly, in ‘Never Can Tell’ Leah’s voice cascades skybound as if falling up a waterfall. Combine this with shimmying maracas and polished chord progressions and the result hits you from inside: an afferent summertime high.

A strong recommendation, especially for those with a weakness for acoustic covers, is Leah’s live acoustic performance of ‘Toes’ on Mahogany Sessions at Lounge on the Farm. Whether you’re a savvy music follower or someone who enjoys it for pure pleasure, dare you not to gasp at the mega vocal range and dextrous guitar skill. Building through layers of quick finger picking, a fiery chorus and a rocky break, this breathes a welcome breath of summer festival season – catch it on Youtube.

For blues fans, ‘Is There A Man’ is another powerful track seeped in longing and vulnerability. The ballard-esque chorus implores, fervent and velvety, before rolling into an accomplished guitar solo that reminds us we’re looking at real ‘no frills’ talent. On a livelier tip, ‘San Antoine’ is a bip-bopping taste of country/folk rock that screams ‘shake a tail feather’.

Leah Mason is one of those artists you boast to your friends about discovering now, before everyone else catches wind. The horizon is bright. Although still an independent artist, in mid-2013 Leah toured with Nashville-born singer/songwriter Brendon Benson – incidentally also one of the founding members of the Raconteurs. Their forthcoming material together is something for any keen music follower’s radar. As she begins to really burst onto the stage, it’s clear that Leah is an artist who has taken careful time to hone-in her sound – a sound that shows off her talent as one of Britain’s best female vocalists and guitarists at the moment.

Find Leah Mason on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.

The Audacious Art Experiment

“The Audacious Art Experiment is more than a record label, we’re a community mindset that yearns for something more than ‘nine to five’ and aim to take back our chosen social freedoms, artistic expressions and community spirit from the companies trying to sell them to us. Music is our voice and the records we make are the product of our beliefs, dreams and desires.”

The Audacious Art Experiment is a community arts collective firmly at the heart of Sheffield’s DIY scene. The group has suffered personal losses in their upward climb but since its inception TAAE has managed to secure a well-deserved level of success.

The group pools together resources and offers out their local rehearsal space in order to encourage “challenging” music which they can them promote through their channels.

As the group states themselves ‘they are more than just a record label” and the ‘Information Buffet’ at the side of their website attests to this. Poetry, visual arts, photography, events are all disciplines the group contributes to and gets behind.

The video features friends of the TAAE, Algiers, and the song below is by previous label signee Cowtown.

Ski School by COWTOWN

The Audacious Art Experiment

Loud George

Loud George is a punk band comprising of members, Sam, Eric and Nick that originated in Crewe in 2012. It all started when Sam and Nick started to talk about making a band that they wanted to sound ‘loud’ and ‘angry’. They remembered that their friend Eric had recently mentioned doing something similar and asked him to join them. Then they got together and spent four hours making music, a feat that continued for four days straight. The final ingredient – the name ‘Loud George’ came into being after Sam’s girlfriend muttered the phrase while sleeping.

Loud George create a kind of music that has started to fade away, and it’s fantastic to see something coming up on the punk scene. The band describe themselves as being ‘all about the live performance’ with their energetic drumming, hard knuckle bass and big, filthy guitar sound. They enjoy compromising their singing between soft and intimate moments to harsh screams.

The difference between the boy’s singing abilities means that their music is an interesting mix between, punk, jazz and funk fusion. Causing for an excellent live show.

Loud George are now about to do their first tour through the UK, playing dates in Crewe, Manchester, Stockport, Birmingham and even Bristol. Futhermore, they are giving away their second EP for free at every gig, meaning that audiences can bring the music home with them.

The punk scene seems to have faded away in the last few years, and it’s exciting to see a band that are dedicated to resurrecting it.

Drenge

Guitar/Drums ensembles are nothing new these days as an intimidating lineage of duos have redefined what is possible with only two instruments.

Dead From Above 1979, No Age, Japandroids, Lighting Bolt, The Black Eyes, The Dodos; these bands have drained the well of creativity, championing polyrhythmic technique over layered instrumentation.

Once criticism leveled at these bands is their excess of sound and distortion, almost as if to say that they try to compensate for the ‘lack’ in the music by turning it up a few more notches like an instrumental representation of the Napoleon complex.

Whether the predilection towards ‘maximalism’ is a critical point or not, the brash, ‘rhythm&fuzz’ vibe that these bands effuse is raucous and exciting one to hear.

I Wanna Break You In Half  by Drenge

Drenge, a Sheffield-based two-piece composed of brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless, follows in this lineage and their latest release I Wanna Break You in Half, with its punchy breakbeats thrashy riffs, chugs relentlessly through an unruly two minutes savage playing.

In a live setting, the band truly is something. They tore through their Tramlines set at The Great Gatsby in Sheffield and established themselves as a one to watch! Catch their band at a few select shows in England in the near future.

http://www.facebook.com/drengeboys

http://www.facebook.com/drengeboys