BansheeVa – Janus. The title character can be described as ‘….god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings…’. That just about sums up the mind-expanding pathways of this jumpy psychedelic instrumental extravaganza.
Death To Slow Music – Pressure. Two minutes of minimalist punk single line bass and guitar erupting into an explosive chorus.
People Look Like Dogs – Allan Thinks We Don’t Move. Probably the best combination of band and track name on the album for this untamed cacophony of guitars, drums and wild vocal.
Jaymotts – Love Paralysis. Retro jazz-funk, sounding enigmatically timeless.
Collars – Hey Lizzie, Lay It On Me full review here
Creepy Neighbour – The Optimist. Striking but slightly disturbing piano-led ballad featuring a strong vocal from Max Taylor along with lush string stylings.
Naomi Randall – Cabbage White. Lovely indie folk; evocative and effortless with the acoustic guitar adorned with other subtle instrumentation and echoing voices to frame Naomi’s sublime vocal.
Dom Howard – Cascade Mix. Like a coda to the previous track, a sparkling guitar chimes out a repeated riff over the lightest of jazzy backing before an introspective solo.
Lady Birdface – (I’m Gonna Give You) The Clap. DIY pop splendour from creative multi instrumentalist and songwriter Kate Shore, full of barbed edges and sparse couplets ‘…don’t you look too close or you’ll feel morose…’
Sunday Driver – Time Machine. Classy acoustic steampunk fusion and sinuous vocal whisks the listener into a cabaret club of the future.
Percy Black – Code Name Covid-19. If you need reminding about the subject, this is as pleasant way as it could be, super-smooth reggae with golden-voiced lead and backing vocals and laced with brass and sax; the messages are clear, ‘….give the scientists the wisdom to eliminate Covid-19….’
Tom Bainbridge – Nocturne. All-acoustic multi-layered piece, built around a gently swinging pendulum rhythm and a chorus of voices.
Keith Somerville – Red Angel. A loosely structured prog-psych song pulls the listener into a spiral of mellow musings, interrupted by a surprise electric solo.
Helefonix – Song Thrush Serenade. Pure atmosphere of delight here as sampled birdsong tonally competes with the semi-ambient electronics.
The Routine – Come Knocking At My Bedroom Door. Strong rock-pop anthem from Cambridge/London quartet with the upfront vocal and musical intricacies giving way to a huge chorus.
A second choice of tracks showcasing the diversity of the Cambridge music scene, DJ Dave Hammond has again aimed for quality, variety and surprises. The proceeds from this release go to the Cambridgeshire Alliance for Independent Living, a charity run by and for people with disabilities.
1. Beverley Kills – Sticks And Stones Great entertainment vibe with an intro straight from the punk of 77, you wish you were up on stage with them. Clever change of tempo part way through to keep you focussed. 2. Sound Menagerie – House Of Yesterdays Recent album title track of sixties spookiness from dreamy psychedelic revivalists. There is no-one else in the city quite like them. 3. Perfect Machine – Lost In The City A childhood nightmare of paranoia set to an electronic 1920s Berlin style soundtrack, the first entry on the collection from a multi-persona muso. 4. Searching Grey – I Accomplished melodic rock, adventurous drumming, soaring vocals and guitar solo too. 5. Izi Phoenix – Fears Gentle tune with warm vocal and lovely sparse guitar work. 6. James White – Take Me Home Solid boogie-blues with a brass section, much soloing and an as-live sound. 7. The Sound Of Pop Art – Freedom Sultry groove of jazz-rock with recurring ringing guitar motif. Smooth! 8. Psychic Lemon – Death Cult Blues Much reviewed on this site, the Lemon’s tracks always have something different to reveal on repeated listens to the complex, fiery fuzz. 9. Shyer – Bad Company Another favourite on this site, here with a brooding, intense piece driven by dark guitar and a great vocal performance from Amanda George. 10. Louis Perritt and Maverick – You Gotta be Strong Wow. I didn’t expect this; it is an epic, orchestral sounding mid-tempo stormer with Rick Wakeman style piano and a yearning vocal line. 11. Farlanders – Come Back Home A mellow, comfortable groove, all a bit retro celtic folk with the title phrase reflected in the lyric and the music. 12. Saving Scarlett – Hourglass A guitar fanfare heralds an in-your-face beefy rocker, a taster for their forthcoming debut album. 13. Nero’s Thumb – It Said Down and dirty with sampled preacher vocal, guitar riff never goes away. 14. Ricky Boom Boom and Tom Colborn – Eyes Of Strangers Characterful blues from tireless live performer, with of course a sad lyric, punctuated by the earthy slide of the second guitar. 15. Tape Runs Out – Red Vines Hear the unique instrumental line-up of this experimental ensemble, haunting and involving voice too. 16. Luna Falls – Falling To Pieces Superb songwriting on this deceptively simple arrangement, with three acoustic guitars and three-part harmonies. Great chorus line, the whole effect is pure magic. 17. The Abstracts – Aquarius Rising This band is a prominent fixture on the Cambridge scene, each of the musical elements of the players gel together here in a masterly rock anthem, featuring an impassioned vocal. 18. For The Hornets – I Believe Tight, minimalist power with great riff and drum bursts from this energetic three-piece. 19. Transoceanic – If You Look Up At The Sky At Night 13 minutes of ambient drifting, electric-ish piano and synthetic harp blending into some sort of cosmic music-box.
Another excellent choice, I look forward to Volume 3….