Nat Johnson – Neighbour Of The Year

Sheffield singer-songwriter Nat Johnson has released her debut album, well mini-album or EP is more accurate as the recording is but seven tracks long, seven tracks of the highest quality – writing, playing and production coming together to create a rather wonderful offering of understated melodic melancholia.

Sometimes albums seem to perfectly to their release dates, from a purely personally perspective this one fits that modus operandi dropping into that transitional time, as the days ebb towards the winter solstice my thoughts and feelings err towards introspection and this is the kind of album that I can happily spend the evening with in thoughtful contemplation, the words and music encouraging the process, definitely Nat’s best work to date and highly recommended – take a trip over to the Mouth Magazine to hear all about the album in Nat’s own words.

You can get the album digitally through Bandcamp and on CD – though I’d recommended you pick up a copy of the limited edition 10″ clear vinyl of course – available from Cargo, Norman and Piccadilly.

Nat Johnson / Facebook / Twitter

Jan 29th Manchester, Takk
Jan 30th Nottingham, Lee Rosy’s Tea Shop
Feb 3rd Birmingham, Kitchen Garden Cafe
Feb 4th Cardiff, Gwdihw
Feb 5th London, The Finsbury
Feb 6th Sheffield, The Greystones



Public School Battalion – Demos 2013

Public School Battalion are a new indie band out of Sheffield, formed by members and ex-members of Fury of the Headteachers, Rotary Ten, Heart Yeah, Urgent Talk, Nat Johnson and the Figureheads the band have forged a new partnership and are working away on some new material, here’s some Demos for your listening pleasure.

Public School Battalion

Beat Surrender Quarterly Round Up

Spring has sprung and we are a 1/4 way through 2012 already, this last few weeks has seen the arrival of a raft of wonderful recordings and I thought it an appropriate time to put something on record.

My youngest is now starting to take more notice of the sounds emanating from the various speakers and portable devices his old man appears to have permanently switched on in one form or another and made a rather sweeping statement last week “Dad you listen to so much different music” which started a variety is the spice of life conversation, not sure he wholly grasped my initial responses but with a few football comparisons thrown in a little nod of the head acknowledged the concept, so the blog will continue to ignore any central focus, genre, artist type or hype and simply focus on the music I like.

Kicking things of is Simone Felice who’s first solo album proper has made a real impression on this listener and this reviewer too – a really self-effecting album with some truly excellent writing.

Last week saw the arrival of the follow up to Lucero’s horn adorned 1372 Overton Park (2012) the bands sound has taken a larger step away from the raucous roots rock ‘n’ roll of the earlier recordings, the ‘new’ sound embracing a more soulful type of rock ‘n’ roll and after a few spins the Memphis soul-train has me on-board and stoked to be along for the ride.

Any recording by Paul Weller is of course an highly anticipated event here and of the back of the two previous albums the expectations were high for Sonik Kicks, rarely has Mr Weller been a disappointment to me and he avoids doing so this time around too, whilst the album has had the impact of 22 Dreams or Wake Up the Nation it is still a great recording and combines enough of the old and new to prove once again his status as one of nations absolute finest musicians of the last 30 years.

From Woking to Stockholm, working their magic into what I’d describe as a more radio friendly package of songs the Söderberg sisters have produced a wonderful album in The Lion’s Roar, not a weak link or shooed in track to be found it’s a fantastic collection of songs that I’m sure will remain of my playlist for years to come.

Following on from 2012 Joe Hill’s Ashes Otis Gibbs has produced another great collection of American songs for Harder Than Hammered Hell, in a parallel world of more perceptive musical tastes Mr Gibbs would be a household name and his tunes would find themselves floating out of speakers all over the place.

No round-up would be complete without a couple of records from country side of the tracks, may I recommend a couple that I’m more than keen on, the first from this side of The Big Pond is the retro-duet offering from the collective talents of Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish who as My Darling Clementine have produced a classic sounding duets album that pays homage to Johnny and June, Dolly and Porter or George and Tammy but there’s not a cover version to be found all the songs are originals and the albums are real delight, crossing over the water another album that’s getting plenty of airtime with me is Rachel Harrington & The Knock-outs self titled début, you can read my thoughts and listen to tracks here.

The advent of Kickstarter, Pledge, Indie GoGo and the like has really opened up avenues for artists to get their music out to the fans with the help and support of the fans, a winner for both sides, I’ve backed a few projects over the last couple of years and yet to be disappointed by the result of my investment and this last quarter has seen the arrival of quality albums from Nat Johnson and the Figureheads, Sons of Bill, Melody Walker, Ellen & The Escapades and some rough mixes and bonus tracks from Kasey Anderson and the Honkies.


Vinyl Love – The Third Hangover Lounge EP

Stumbled across The Hangover Lounge recently on Bandcamp and they were offering a Limited Edition 10″ EP that included a couple of tracks from familiar artists,for a fiver the EP was impossible to resist and I was duly rewarded.

The EP features are total of six tracks all of which you can listen to on the widget below, including an acoustic version of Standard Fare’s ‘Darth Vader’ and a track from Nat Johnson and the Figureheads ‘Wifery’, along with the quality EP you get the obligatory download and the label throw in a couple of posters and badges too.

The Hangover Lounge


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