Songs To Learn And Sing – Jess Roberts & The Silver Rays, Shannon Hope, Blindness,The Underground Youth, Johnno Casson.

Jess Roberts & The Silver Rays

Jess Roberts is one of those rare singers whose blues soaked smoke stained honey cracked voice sounds as if it comes from the depths of her soul.  She gives the impression that she and her band, The Silver Rays were brought up beside the  Cahulawassee River and spent their days singing the blues, drinking moonshine and occasionally challenging ‘city boys’ to duals via the medium of the banjo.

Yet here is a remix of their song “Money (I like You Better)” that takes her gritty, timeless rock n soul and transports it into the 21st century with an electronic re-working.  It shouldn’t work, rather like mixing up your sweets and savouries and yet, like chocolate coated pretzels it works incredibly well.  Yet again its Strangers who are on remixing duty, a band who are rapidly becoming the ‘go to re-mixers’- to quote Virgil Tracy  it’s “F.A.B.”  


Here’s the original video.

  Shannon Hope

Shannon Hope UK The VPME.COM

Formerly the drummer and singer of power punks GLORY GLORY, Shannon Hope (not to be confused with the South African artist of the same name) re-emerges as a solo artist with a slightly more reflective and melodic sound , think Cat Power meets Tracy Thorn after nicking Billy Bragg’s guitar and amp. Intelligent, contemplative and passionate and a welcome change from the fey knowing whimsy that seems to be de rigueur amongst female acoustic artists of late.



BLINDNESS – Serves Me Right

We’ve previously featured the lead track from Blindness’s forthcoming EP ‘Last One Dies’ but really, all three tracks are outstanding, so as it’s Friday let’s have another. You can read an interview we did with the band HERE and listen to the whole EP here. Phew ! I think we managed to get through a piece on Blindness without saying ‘swaggering and sexy’ – well done us !

The EP will be live and free for download via the Blindness’ bandcamp page on 18th March

Sparrow And The Workshop


As band names go Sparrow and the Workshop is somewhat perplexing, on one hand it sounds rather like a slightly avant-garde statue you might expect to see  in Red Square to mark the workers revolution -“Comrade Pip, see the mighty Sparrow, see how it flies over the people’s workshop to represent freedom and industry and the goodness of ‘The Party’ ” or something ;).  Yet on the other hand, I’m picturing the nation’s favourite bird watcher, the diminutive Bill Oddie, he of the rubicundus complexion and absurd bowl head, peering angrily out of a shed window for some reason.

No matter though, because despite the rather questionable moniker the band’s songs are fabulouso!  Their latest offering via the mighty ‘Song, By Toad Records’ (another barking name…  unlike the VERY sensible Von Pip) has a jarring kind of loveliness.  Jill O’Sullivan slightly off kilter vocals are always a joy to listen to and throw in a juddering raucous guitar that teases you into thinking it’s about to explode into some crazy slide blues riffing and you have yourself a winner!

The Underground Youth

One of the many great things about soundcloud is that after playing a track, it automatically plays the next track from the band or label etc. This happened when we were listening to Sparrow And The Workshop and led us onto another artist released by “Song, By Toad.” The quite wonderful ‘Juliette’ by The Underground Youth-  It’s not a brand spanking new  track but we care not a jot, because rules are for squares man !  And besides its “caps lock 300pt” AMAZING

 Johnno Casson


Joe Strummer once said “without people you’re nothing,” – Joe always saw music as ‘community’ not business and so what happens when some of the nicest chaps in music meet up and collaborate?  We are talking the likes of Johnno Casson, Tom Robinson and the very tall Pete Mc Partland- well they sit down and remix Johnno’s original “Window Shopping“album and then agree to give it away for FREE –   In the spirit of collaboration, Johnno invited a wonderfully diverse & talented group of music artists within the musical community to remix the songs from his recently released album.  
With no set brief other than to re-imagine the songs in their own vision-this is the result of the work of those artists-“Window Dressing”  Download it all here and listen to Tom Robinson s remix below

[bandcamp track=1866363973  bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]


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