Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (part II)

Hopefully by now you’ve had time to investigate and digest the artists I recommended in ASAM pt I, and form your own opinions on them. As promised, I’ve returned to present some more exciting new discoveries for part II. Some heavier, some lighter, some jazzier (is that even a word?), and I’d be interested to hear what you think about them.

JMC / Justin McConville
Brother of Chris McConville (see ASAM pt I), and coincidentally playing drums for Chris’ solo project these days. One of the most ridiculously talented musicians I’ve ever met (as well as being obscenely modest about it), Justin is actually the frontman for the current incarnation of The Heavy Metal Kids by way of a day job. In between this, he’s also found time to get busy with his own discography. A little research suggests that JMC was a full band for a few years, though as far as I can gather, the most recent albums have been Justin writing and performing the songs by himself. His most recent effort (notably the first on which he’s used his own name, rather than JMC) received a glowing review on UberRock. Whilst UberRock and I might have differing opinions on music in general, it seems we both agreed that Turn It Up was a bloody excellent half-hour of hard rock. (Unfortunately, I had no luck in finding a youtube clip of JMC, but you can listen to the entire back catalogue for free on the bandcamp page linked above!)

Fiona Bevan
I met Fiona Bevan at an acoustic music night a few years ago. I can’t remember how many years ago now, but it was back in the day when every band still had a Myspace page, at any rate. In the midst of an evening filled with singer-songwriter-acoustic-guitarists who varied from the uninspiring to the downright dull, Ms Bevan stood out as something different – songs which put a higher priority on good tunes than on “sensitive” lyrics, performed by somebody who engaged with her audience and seemed to be enjoying herself in the process. Her first EP and full-length album (In the Swimming Pool and Plant Your Heart) are both excellent, and the most recent updates on her website suggest she might finally be getting closer to the recognition a good songwriter deserves.

Victoria Klewin & The TrueTones
Time for some jazz. During one of the very few occasions that I had a trawl through the forums on LinkedIn, this band had posted a link to their EP, to which I decided to give a chance. I bought it on the strength of the second track, Dance Me to Heaven. Klewin has a superb voice, and the band behind her have a fantastic groove. Some of the music strays a little too close to “lounge jazz” for my liking, but only rarely, and the trad-jazz clarinet on some of the tracks more than makes up for any misgivings. I shall certainly be keeping an eye out for their next release.

Enjoy. Coming up in part III (yes, I’ve decided already): Belgian ambient, French chanteuse and British blues.

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