Music Reviews: January 2024

Words: Gemma Cockrell, Maddie Dinnage, Bassey, Rachel Imms
Friday 26 January 2024
reading time: min, words

This month, we review music from Simon Waldram, Airport Dad, Pretty Windows, Chloe Rodgers, Penny Moon, 1st Blood and Armton...

Simon Waldram
Mary Magdalene (Walton-on-the-Hill) (Single)
Nottingham singer-songwriter Simon Waldram has released single Mary Magdalene (Walton-on-the-Hill) alongside B-side Oil Rainbow, available on download and limited edition vinyl via Punk Fox Records. Psych-folk, pop, lo-fi… too many subgenres but none of them accurately portray Simon's great songwriting and sounds on both acoustic and electric guitar, accompanied by Isidora Novakovic on cello and Myk Budoff on keys. Mary Magdalene (Walton-on-the Hill) is fundamentally about not underestimating people - and you definitely shouldn’t underestimate Waldram. Bassey

Airport Dad 
I Wanna Cry (Single)
Local alt-indie four-piece Airport Dad bring fans to their knees with their latest single I Wanna Cry, a three-and-a-half minute track teeming with adolescent melancholy. The opening guitar melody is a familiar comfort, though when the drum beat kicks in at the forty-second mark, the listener is hit with a wave of nostalgia. Jesse Hodges’ lead vocals are hauntingly soft, with an elegance reminiscent of Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell, though it’s the guitar melody which does most of the talking, serving as a grounding motif for the track. A grungy, emotive tune, best listened to on full-blast, driving alone down a solitary country lane in the dead of the night. Maddie Dinnage

Pretty Windows
Vinyl And Heck (Single)
Nottingham duo Pretty Windows give us dominating guitar riffs, backed by electronic stripped back drum and bass beats and a vocal delivery that stays with you for days. Shafts of sound fall all around, leaving an almost whispering vocal delivery to fill in the gaps, and this all goes into making their debut single Vinyl And Heck a must listen. Singles rarely define a band but Vinyl And Heck has everything, lyrics centring around Nottingham folks and a deep love of what music means. Miss this band at your peril, because Pretty Windows are what Nottingham is all about. Bassey

Chloe Rodgers 
If Only (Single)
This deeply personal and vulnerable track is an ode to the singer’s own father, who tragically passed away. If Only is intensely poignant, even on its surface level, but it is after multiple listens that all the nuanced manifestations of grief begin to surface. The song grapples with a question which many of us ponder in the absence of a loved one; ‘what would I tell you if only I had the chance to see you again?’ Chloe Rodgers gives voice to the unfathomable with her lyrical mastery. Maddie Dinnage

Penny Moon
Slow Down (Single)
The sophomore single from this female-fronted, indie-pop band commences with a moody chord progression, peppered with a twangy string melody. The song melts together with the introduction of the lead vocals, which possess the same breathy yearning as the likes of Mitski. As the track progresses, as do the intertwining vocal layers, each voice delicately haunting its predecessor. Slow Down builds to an unexpected - but satisfying - crescendo, driven by a sudden, vital drum beat. This track teems with the influences of Wolf Alice, Boygenius, and Nirvana. Maddie Dinnage

1st Blood
Yak Face Syndrome (Album)
Back with a bang and a brand-new twelve track album is 1st Blood, one of the best known names in Nottingham Hip-Hop. This exquisite LP has everything - live instrumentation, appearances from Liam Bailey, Opticus Ryme, Jay Hannah Thomas, Ty Healy and other major players on the scene, with a certain musicality that makes it accessible to newbies to the genre as well as hip-hop aficionados. Check out My Way for genius lyrics and an especially authentic Nottingham slant - “don’t act like I just said boo to a goose… abusing the trust of the nice good people… he’s a fiend, he’s addicted, not evil.” Rachel Imms

Streetlight (Single)
This track may have been out for a while, but after seeing them perform at The Carousel at Hockley Hustle back in October, we wanted to give it a little (admittedly belated) shoutout. Young Creative Award nominees Armton started as a school project and have been releasing music since 2020; their latest single Streetlight is a lovely little slice of indie-pop, with earnest vocals and a gentle, easy-listening  instrumental, perfect for fans of sounds like Cavetown and Peach Pit. Following the positive reception to their performance, we hope to hear more music from them sooner rather than later. Gemma Cockrell

If you’re from Nottingham and want to get added to our list of music writers, or get your tunes reviewed, hit us up at

We have a favour to ask

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion

Please note, we migrated all recently used accounts to the new site, but you will need to request a password reset

Sign in using

Or using your

Forgot password?

Register an account

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.

Forgotten your password?

Reset your password?

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.