Zervas & Pepper
Americana, Folk Rock, Laurel Canyon
Cardiff, Wales, UKRead More
For fans and musicians of Folk, Americana, Country, Blues, Singer-Songwriter, Rock, Roots & Acoustic and music from the Laurel Canyon late 60’s/early 70’s era.
LCM is a new co-operative music community, promoter, event organiser and on-line magazine to promote & support the music that we love. All the latest news, reviews and interviews
LCM is your indispensable insider guide to the wonderful world of independent music and beyond
We aim to help music fans connect and discover great new music and help indie musicians promote their music and help them build relationships with supporters and industry professionals.
Please join us now and explore our website.
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Zervas & Pepper
Americana, Folk Rock, Laurel Canyon
Cardiff, Wales, UKRead More
London, England, UKRead More
Good Soldier Records
Band Members: Sarah Howells
Discography: Chocolate Factory Sessions EP (2015), EP1 (2016), EP2 (2016), Like An Island (2018)
It would be far to say that without meeting Sarah almost five years ago, LCM probably would never have existed in it's current form. So we owe a great deal to Sarah and her music. It's also always a pleasure whenever Sarah joins us for one of our LCM gigs. It is a very exciting time for Sarah as she is about to release her highly anticipated solo debut album 'Like An Island' as Bryde.
Sarah was born in Pembrokeshire but is now London based. She was originally part of the excellent band Paper Aeroplanes but is now forging a solo career as a girl and an electric guitar playing fierce and fragile songs. Her music swaying from vulnerable to uncompromising within one verse and chorus. Bryde's music is honest and furiously authentic. Often compared to the likes of Daughter, Sharon Van Etten, Ben Howard & PJ Harvey, Sarah has such a distinctive vocal and the electric guitar sounds gives Bryde a different feel to her Paper Aeroplanes and EDM music.
Championed by blogs, her music so far has been described as “tender, wiry piece of tear-jerk alt-pop” (The Line of Best Fit ) and played by Huw Stephens on Radio 1, Tom Robinson on 6music, BBC Introducing in London and cited by various blogs as ‘One to Watch’.
Sarah will be releasing her debut solo album 'Like An Island' on the 13th April followed by a full UK tour including a London date at Omeara (London Bridge) on the 1st May.
“The song is a showcase of Bryde’s impressive vocal range, although her most exceptional vocal quality lies in her ashy timbre and seemingly uncalculated vibratos. It’s these perfect blemishes that imbue her music with a certain convincing vulnerability not normally present in singles from the usual pop titans.” (Earmilk)
“A female soloist gathering a lot of interest …. helping her stand-out among a great tide of very good female artists such a Lapsley.” (Never Enough Notes)
“It bends but does not break, with the insolent sorcery of Sharron Van Etten or PJ Harvey” (Les Inrocks)
Single of the week - “[Help Yourself] glides, soaring skyward through its powerful and emotive choruses, headstrong. It’s clearly cathartic, but not just aimless and explosive, it is instead guided and direct with a complete conviction in itself. A strong but raw vocal performance only enhances the earnest lyrical sentiment.” (Cultured Vultures)
“There is so much beauty in Sarah’s voice: the huskiness of Gemma Hayes, lightness of Laura Marling and sensitivity of Jeff Buckley — beauty that is hard to define, which is a big compliment.” (Fresh on the Net)
Singer-Songwriter, Folk, Acoustic, Pop
Singer-songwriter, blues, gospel, rock, acoustic
Discography: Proof of Life (2010), I Fought Lovers EP (2013), Revolute (2019)
Record Label: Independent
Katey Brooks is a gorgeous singer-songwriter with a beautiful intense vocal. We are big fans of her music here at LCM, with her stunning song 'State of Mine' being one of our favourites. Born and raised in a commune setting between Bristol, London and Arizona, to hippy music-loving parents, Indie Award nominee Katey Brooks’ unique sound and style epitomizes the culturally diverse environment in which she grew up. Drawing influences from artists like Johnny Cash and Kate Bush, her voice is often compared to the likes of Joan Armatrading, and Annie Lennox, and has best been described as a voice “…to melt glaciers” (Venue Magazine).
Known for her powerful and evocative live sets, Katey has played a notable list of amazing shows including London 2012, Glastonbury Festival, WOMAD Festival, a BBC Introducing Stage headliner at Wychwood, several European Festivals, and supported a host of credible artists such as Newton Faulkner, Mercury nominee Lou Rhodes, Mike and The Mechanics, Grammy nominees Cutting Crew, and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Chris Wood.
Besides her own works, Brooks’s “John Martyn-esque” (Manchester Evening News) lamenting tones have earned her features on BBC Radio 2 Children in Need album ‘Bandaged Together’, recorded at Abbey Road with artists such as Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), and Paloma Faith, as well as compilations with Ane Brun and Anais Mitchell.
Last year was fantastic with Katey being added to the Starbucks playlist worldwide and signing an endorsement deal with American guitar makers Alvarez, joining the ranks of Grammy Award winner Ani Difranco, and Joe Bonamassa. Her ‘Back to Light’ Tour in the Spring received rave reviews and write ups from Metro UK, R2: Rock ‘n’ Reel, Venue and Shakenstir Magazine.
After a summer of shows, festivals and a busy few months tucked away writing for the new album, Katey recently released a brand new EP; which has been highly praised by critics. The ‘I Fought Lovers EP’ is the follow up release to her debut album ‘Proof Of Life’ which reached No.1 in the Amazon Folk chart along with favourable press reviews and BBC Radio 1 and 6 airplay. The EP contain one of favourite songs from Katey the stunningly beautiful 'State of Mine'. The first single and title track from the EP has been featured on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show, while two tracks were chosen for 6 Music’s Tom Robinson’s mixtape – – it’s haunting, ethereal sound being a great first taste of what’s to come off the second album in 2015. Katey released her debut album ‘Revolute’ in May 2019.
“Love this lady’s voice” (Joss Stone)
“Heartfelt English Gospel” (Tom Robinson BBC 6 Music)
“We’d even compare it to the impact of Jeff Buckley” (Supajam)
“Blown away” (Clare Anderson Late Lounge Show (Jazz FM))
London and Cambridge, England. UK
Folk, Americana Singer-Songwriter
Upminster, Essex. UK
Virgin EMI Records
Discography: Little Love EP (2018)
Essex based James Smith is a very talented and fast rising young singer-songwriter. With over 2M views on YouTube and over 20M streams on Spotify James is quickly establishing a loyal fan base. He also recently signed to Virgin EMI Records. The 19-year-old James is definitely one to watch for the future.
Cirencester, Gloucestershire. UK
Americana, Folk, Singer-Songwriter
Everyone Sang / Linn Records
Band members: Emily Baker
Bands and collaborations: Applewood Road, Vena Portae, Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo, Marry Waterson + Emily Barker.
Discography: Welcome To the-low-country (2003) The Dark Road (2004) Photos.Fires.Fables. (2006) Despite the Snow (2008) Almanac (2011) Dear River (2013) Vena Portae (2014) The Toerag Sessions (2015) Applewood Road (2016) Sweet Kind Of Blue (2017)
Our next LCM featured multi-award winning singer-songwriter is often described as one of Australia's finest exports. She is also one of our favourites. This Western Australian native from Bridgetown, has now made her home in the UK. Emily travelled to the UK in 2002 and was first based in Cambridge where she collaborated with guitarist Rob Jackson. They formed a band called 'the-low-country' which released two albums, Welcome to the-low-country (2003) and The Dark Road (2004), tracks from which enjoyed plays on John Peel's BBC radio show.. In October 2005 Emily won Country Song of the Year and Regional Song of the Year awards at the annual West Australian Music Songwriting Awards. Also in 2005, Emily started work on her debut solo album, 'Photos.Fires.Fables'., released on Emily's own label Everyone Sang. The release of this album saw the birth of The Red Clay Halo, an all-female trio of Anna Jenkins (violin, viola), Jo Silverston (cello, bass, banjo, saw) and Gill Sandell (accordion, piano, flute, guitar).Emily released three full albums with The Red Clay Halo: 'Despite the Snow' (2008), 'Almanac' (2011) and 'Dear River' (2013).
Emily is also the songwriter and performer of the theme to BBC TV’s 'Wallander' starring Kenneth Branagh. Her music is a blend of roots influences from country to English folk via 60s pop. Alongside the Wallander theme, Emily has also provided the theme music to BBC TV drama 'The Shadow Line' (which won an Ivor Novello for best TV soundtrack for series composer Martin Phipps) and has recently (in collaboration again with Martin Phipps) composed music for Daniel Barber’s The Keeping Room (Sam Worthington, Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld) as well as her first feature length soundtrack, for Jake Gavin’s UK road movie Hector starring Peter Mullan.
Emma Ballantine (Miyo)
Shut Up Jo Records
Discography: Flying Machine EP (2012), Tourist EP (2015), Somebody's Story EP (2017)
Emma Ballantine released her excellent EP called 'Somebody's Story' in April 2017, based on stories sent to Emma by other people. Featured by Q Magazine and tipped by Glamour as 'One to Watch in 2016’, Emma Ballantine is rapidly gaining recognition for powerful songwriting and a ‘shapeshifting vocal gift’ (Gigslutz). A finalist in the UK Unsigned Songwriter of the Year competition, Emma’s music has been played by BBC Radio 2, BBC 6Music and BBC Introducing and she has been described by Resonance FM as ‘a unique voice among modern songwriters’.
Emma has toured around the UK and Germany, playing at festivals including Glastonbury, Sidmouth Folk Week and Home Farm Festival. Originally from Salisbury and now based in London, she has played some of the capital’s best known venues, such as The Bedford, The Troubadour, The Barfly and Hard Rock Cafe. Emma’s latest EP, Tourist, reached no.15 in the iTunes charts
Artist: Fiona Bevan
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Acoustic
Location: London, UK
Discography: Talk To Strangers (2014) Wild Angels Sweet Demons EP (2018)
Record Company: Navigator Records
Fiona Bevan’s bewitching music has roots that run deep. They stretch as far back as the Suffolk-born singer’s childhood home, in which her family sang songs from black and white films and old musicals around a piano and her parents played her Cole Porter and Doris Day. They snake through her spell as an English literature student, several years spent perfecting her craft on the London club circuit and an extraordinary career as a writer that ranges from commissions for film, classical compositions and a Tate exhibition to co-penning a multi-platinum chart-topping hit, ‘Little Things’, with Ed Sheeran, for boy band behemoth One Direction.
That Fiona describes her debut album as ‘pop in disguise’ makes perfect sense. The dozen, dynamic songs on 'Talk To Strangers' have hooks, harmonies and melodies that linger from first listen, but they are defiantly timeless as opposed to time-bound, as rooted in the past as they are in the present and purposely hard to pin down. Among the guitars, drums and piano, you’ll hear violin, double bass, accordion and harp, all played by Bevan, a hapi drum played by producer Shawn Lee and birdsong, some of it real, some of it whistled by Bevan-as-bird.
“I didn’t grow up on pop,” says Fiona. “I heard The Beatles and Hendrix for the first time at 15 and they blew my mind. But by then I had found my own way of using my voice. I have a high voice that’s not particularly fashionable, but it helped me channel my songs. I’ve made all sorts of music in the past, but I’ve always known how I should sound.”
The album’s storytelling lyrics are as crucial as their impeccable settings, their meanings central to the songs. A relative of Robert Louis Stevenson (he was her great great grandfather’s cousin), Bevan grew up immersed in books, began writing poetry aged eight and stumbled in to her first band at 15, having joined to play bass, but been promoted to co-writing and singing the songs by the group’s first gig.
“I love clever, interesting pop and I adore storytelling,” says Fiona. “It’s important to me that no words are wasted. I write about real things that have happened to me or my friends. I try to find the focus of a story and work from there.
“My writing process is really an attempt to understand who I am and how not to be walked over in the world – as a woman, as a shy person, as someone doing something different. I’d say it’s about finding myself, if that didn’t sound so terribly cheesy.” Talk To Strangers’ first single, The Machine, is about… well, everything.
“Before I play it at gigs I say it’s a song about everything,” laughs Fiona. “It sounds really big, but in fact it’s about the small parts of a machine – the pistons, the cogs, the fuses. It comes from being angry and frustrated about the state of the world and from my feelings of powerlessness to do anything about it. Within the song, there’s a shift – that’s about breaking out and finding how you can have power in your own life, in everything you do.
The industrial theme is mirrored in The Machine’s hypnotic rhythm and clanging percussion, which are in vivid contrast to the spritely vocal and the frisky, looped acoustic guitar. The almost conversational, Sondheim-esque shift sees Fiona urging herself – and her listeners – to take control.
Talk To Strangers is littered with references to film and literature. The jazz-tinged Rebel Without A Cause was written after the London riots – James Dean being a metaphor for listless youth – but it’s also a love song that offers a fleeting glimpse of a relationship at a specific point in time. Or as Fiona puts it, ‘It’s a let’s go somewhere else sort of love song’.
Bluesy piano ballad The Exorcist nimbly nails a lover’s jealousy of their partner’s ex and borrows from Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.
“It’s about purging your life of jealousy and paranoia,” explains Fiona. “In the middle eight, the ex appears to say she’s not a threat. She says in another life, we’d be friends, not enemies, so it’s also about female solidarity.”
The album’s gorgeous closing track, the lush The Last Days Of Decadence, was inspired by both the financial crash and a flyer bearing the same name that Fiona was handed in the street.
“I had no idea what the flyer was for,” says Fiona. “On it was a line drawing of a beautiful building and a date. I put it on my wall, looked at it every day and decided to write a song about it. A year later, I was on a bus going through Shoreditch and I saw the building. It was a bar. I thought, ‘Oh shit, I’ve written a song about a bar’. But now, because of the crash, that bar has gone out of business.”
Among a handful of heartbreak songs on Talk To Strangers is the stunning Us And The Darkness, which first appeared as the title track of an EP Fiona self-released in 2011, but has since been rerecorded. The beautiful melody, beguiling vocal and twinkly sounds belie the circumstances in which it was written.
“I was living on Brick Lane, my heart had been broken and I couldn’t sleep at night,” recalls the singer. “I looked out at all the city lights and thought about the other people still up. So it’s an insomnia song that, again, is about solidarity. A lot of my lyrics are about people being connected, whether they know it or not.”
Talk To Strangers was recorded entirely on analogue equipment with artist and producer Shawn Lee at his Bloomsbury studio in short bursts throughout spring last year.
“The idea was to capture the energy of playing live,” says Fiona. “Nothing is digital or sterile; it’s golden and human. We recorded everything live and not to click and captured something that I’ve never managed in a studio before – the magic of live performance.”
Playing live has been the cornerstone of Bevan’s career since she first stepped on stage in Colchester aged 15. Her teenage band lasted four years, after which she moved to London to study and went solo with her guitar. Along the way, she has played with dozens of other artists in all sorts of genres of music. There was even a brief spell as a bassist in a band mentored by Adam Ant and fronted by Georgina Baillie (the woman at the centre of the Sachsgate scandal).
The song she wrote with a pre-fame Sheeran (the pair used to play the same club nights) spent years lost thanks to a misplaced mobile phone before Fiona came across the lyrics on a piece of paper. She sent them to Sheeran, who remembered and recorded the music. One Direction overheard Little Things, insisted they have it and took it to the top of the charts in late 2012.
Last year, Fiona wrote, recorded and toured with jazz vocalist Gwyneth Herbert. Reviewing the show in London, The Guardian gushed that “Fiona took us on startling odysseys that suggested Erykah Badu, Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush spine-tinglingly joined”. More recently, she has been in L.A. co-writing with Grammy Award-winning producer John Shanks.
Talk To Strangers was entirely composed by Fiona over the past four years and recently mastered in San Francisco by the legendary George Horn, who has been cutting vinyl since the ‘60s for musicians including Paul Simon, Sly & The Family Stone, Bob Dylan and John Coltrane. If the album feels like a long time coming for an artist already established live, it’s been well worth the wait. Those deep roots have spawned something truly special.