Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (Part I)

(Or, “TheCrowFromBelow shamelessly pimps his friends’ bands.”)

One evening, back in the spring of 2010, I was in a bit of a rut. The two bands I’d played with during my undergraduate days had been on varying degrees of hiatus, and the singer-songwriter for whom I’d been playing guitar had seemingly dropped off the face of the Earth. That evening, I decided to do something about this musical drought and made my first trip to the Tuesday-night blues jam at the Spice of Life, in central London.

The “quality” of this blues jam is debated, sometimes disparaged, by a lot of blues purists, but there’s probably enough material in that for another short post. For me, it was a nice little ticket into a network of new musicians and projects. I thought I’d share a few of those with you here:

Chris McConville
So that the vested interest is above-board: I play bass in the “live” version of Chris’ band. Normally the drummer for The Bishops (who I’d also recommend investigating), Chris recorded his solo album, Now Summer’s Gone in 2011. If truth be told, I’m not sure whether it’s on general release or not at the moment. At the very least, it can be previewed on the website – a bright but wistful set of folky pop songs with a subtle ’60s edge and some lovely vocal harmonies. And very hummable tunes; there are at least four or five earworms over the course of the whole album.

Fit and the Conniptions
Again, vested interest: I often play bass in the current live incarnation of this one. Fit and the Conniptions is the alter ego of Wayne Myers, a singer-songwriter who describes his material as “bluesy folk-rock.” Which sums it up quite nicely, but neglects to mention the delightfully strange, frequently dry sense of humour that pervades his songs. Two albums and an EP are available on his website for a price of your choosing. I’d particularly his latest release, Sweet Sister Starlight, which is a wonderfully dark, brooding work, and his most polished to date.

Sonia Serin
Sonia is an Australian guitarist and singer who visited the UK for a little while last year. Whilst she was over I had the privilege of playing bass at a few gigs with her. Now she’s back on the other side of the planet, but the last I heard is that she’s still playing occasional solo gigs and drumming for another band. Her website only features a couple of songs at the moment, but I recommend browsing youtube for some live footage – Sonia’s guitar style is strangely mesmerising to watch! For a better introduction than I can really give, try the following publicity video, filmed and compiled by Stu Sterling:

Right, I think that’s enough music for now. If you like any or all of these: fear not, I have plenty more music to share, all in good time. If you don’t like them…well, hopefully I’ll find something you like next time.

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