Horizons 2015: AfterDark Talks With Dan Bettridge – ‘My parents’ record collection was the primary influence on my musical upbringing’

Published on AfterDark (23 June 2015)

AfterDark’s Dean Hodge speaks to Dan Bettridge, one of this year’s Horizons 2015 artists.

Dan Bettridge

The power of music partly lies in the pure, unabashed escapism it can offer and its ability to transport you to another time and place, regardless of where you are and when. It’s a philosophy that Welsh warbler Dan Bettridge fully embraces.

His husky, bourbon-soaked vocal and raw delivery instantly – the voice of an old soul placed upon young shoulders – sounds like more something born out of a smoky jazz or blues bar in late 60’s or early 70’s deep south America than like anything else today. You can almost feel the warm glow of sunset and the scent of smoke when you listen to his irresistible brand of Americana-infused Celtic soul, delivered with a voice which echoes the spirit of Van Morrison and Otis Redding but refines it within a Welsh lilt. Continue reading

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Horizons 2015: AfterDark Talks With Cold Committee – ‘To be asked by Liam Gallagher and Miles Kane to play for them is just living the dream’

Published on AfterDark (23 June 2015)

AfterDark’s Dean Hodge speaks to James Cairns from Cold Committee, one of this year’s Horizons 2015 artists.

Cold Committee

As the old saying goes, ‘rock ‘n’ roll will never die’. While the rock genre is quite far from dead, it lately seems to be in a prolonged state of hibernation, lurking in the shadows as a wind of soulless, manufactured-pop blandness sweeps across the musical plain.

Where there is a gust of third-rate Ed Sheeran wannabes or mediocre Arctic Monkeys offshoots, there is always a wave of frustrated young men with guitars to counterbalance it. But while there are plenty new bands making a big noise, it doesn’t seem to be getting heard by the masses.  Rock itself is in a current state of deep freeze, slowly being preserved for when the time arises for it to reignite in the mist.

One of its torch bearers may have just arrived in the form of four North Walian lads who together form Cold Committee. Possessing a love for back-to-basics rock ‘n’ roll in its purest form along with a disdain with the bland scene around them, they have decided to do something about it by picking up instruments, learning a few chords and writing great tunes. Continue reading

Review: Stone Roots ‘Paint The Town’ EP – ‘Pristine funk grooves drawn from southern blood but enriched with a northern soul’

Published on Cardiff AfterDark (16 June 2015)

AfterDark’s Dean Hodge reviews the debut EP by Cornish band Stone Roots.

Tracklisting: Tease/Do You Get A Kick/Paint The Town/Makes You Wonder

STONE ROOTS - PAINT THE TOWN - PIC 1

When you think of the music scene in Cornwall, some of the stereotypical type of artists that people can often connote with the scene here is either the husky-voiced, acoustic guitar-wielding singer-songwriter or its plethora of elegantly melodic folk bands.

It’s hard to dispute that Cornwall has these in abundance, and all of them are rather great too. But unless you live here and unless you are immersed enough in its local scene, what is often criminally overlooked is the sheer diversity of artists here.

Now and then, our shores can throw up darkly neo-psychedelic indie in the shape of sister duo Hockeysmith, retro psych-tinged garage-rock (Pastel Colours), electro-infused R’n’B (Abee Hague), soulful acoustic folk-pop (Polly Money), blistering garage-punk (Black Tambourines), or just about any musical sub-genre under the sun.

Then there is the sweetly soulful, pedal-to-the-floor funk-pop of Stone Roots. Continue reading

Review: Mi’das ‘Stronger’ EP – ‘A fresh take on the current soul scene that is both timely and timeless’

AfterDark’s Dean Hodge reviews the latest EP by Mi’das.

Tracklisting: Wish Road/Too Little Too Late/Vienna/Like You Did Then (demo)/Wish Road (Otis Porter remix)

Mi'dasThe soul genre has become an abused and often overused tag in recent years. There is no denying that the UK can, now and then, produce some gifted vocalists, but very few of them today can really tap into the raw, authentic emotion that a truly great soul artist can. Much of the artists today labelled under this tag favour glossy, overlayed production and catchy if uninspired hooks, over melodies that generally stir the heart and soul. Mi’das (aka Mike Davies) can be classed as an exception though.

A Brighton lad with a breathtakingly soulful voice, Mi’das is that rare thing in the music industry – a genuine artist who foregoes such shortcomings or any cheap shot at attention-seeking publicity and lets his music do the talking. Here is someone who really appreciates the soulful core of music, and the artistic journey behind every great piece of musical history. His three recent EP’s – aptly titled Glow, Grow and Stronger – are each described as a chapter of his own journey. In which case, the Stronger EP is probably the pivotal bookmark and sounds like an artist in full bloom. Continue reading