Music Reviews: April 2024

Words: Gemma Cockrell, Sam Marshall, Louis Dargavel Corbett
Monday 15 April 2024
reading time: min, words

LeftLion Listens: Kai-Otee, Roshan Sabet, Di$mal, Sharon Watkins, Rat Face Lewey, Drone Queen, Deri Sharman, Kirvn, ThaiThai, EM

About It All (Single)

Fan of Lilac Grove? Well, you may have also heard of the new duo on the block, Kai-Otee, since guitarist Ryan is a member of both! We’ve covered Lilac Grove aplenty in the past, so this time we’re focused on Kai-Otee and their latest single About It All. With plays on BBC Introducing East Midlands and BBC Radio Nottingham, it’s clear to see why. This is a slice of rock that anyone can enjoy, with energetic riffs and hard-hitting drums - the two elements that the project serves as an outlet for, according to the duo, and two things we are very much enjoying here at LeftLion. Gemma Cockrell

Roshan Sabet
Melody for Tiamat (EP)

Immersive and chaotic, Melody for Tiamat truly embodies the ancient sea deity it’s named for. Each track is built around two or three repeating phrases of Sabet’s iridescent guitar, which are meticulously layered to submerge the listener in ethereal, ocean-deep music. Loops flow in and out like the tide, their disparate rhythms overlapping so that the layers feel less like melodies than clashing weather fronts. We are under the ocean, in a rainstorm, but Sabet’s minimalist, masterful guitar always finds us, guiding us to tranquillity among the chaos. An intriguing EP that offers more with each listen. Sam Marshall

Pure Water (Single)

Nottingham based Hip-hop artist Di$mal has just released his new single Pure Water, providing the chill, wavy vibes for the start of 2024. It is definitely one to lift your spirits and its melodic hook and catchy beat will definitely give you a much-needed boost in this rainy start to the year. The local artist started his career in 2021, with NeverMinD which ended up making it onto BBC Radio Nottingham, and we hope to see more of the local alternative rapper in the coming year. Louis Dargavel Corbett

Sharon Watkins
Beyond Your Eyes (Single)

Who knew someone with such a beautiful voice, and such critical acclaim, lived down the road in West Bridgford? Well, those of you who are already lucky enough to have discovered Sharon Watkins knew… but those of you who don’t know of her yet, then today is your lucky day. Beyond Your Eyes, her latest single, tells the tale of falling for someone who struggles to express their feelings, starting with a string quartet introduction before seamlessly transitioning into a pop-rock song that is guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings. Gemma Cockrell

Rat Face Lewey
Falling For Love Again (Single)

This established band have been doing their thing since 2013 and are now readying the release of their third full-length album, The Last Days of Lewey. Born of the isolation spawned by the pandemic, the record is a concept album that follows the fate of a heroic character named Rat Face Lewey, and its lead single Falling For Love Again is an introspective, uptempo, lo-fi, indie-rock meditation on the fleeting nature of love and the different meanings that it breeds. Their first release since 2019, it definitely sparks excitement about what’s to come from this three-piece in the near future. Gemma Cockrell

Drone Queen

Following the release of the eerie Intro, Drone Queen has now released the single CARNIVORE. While the first release served to build anticipation, it feels like this is truly our first taste of what the Drone Queen project (a pseudonym for Nottingham born singer and songwriter Lewis Hill) will offer. This rock tune is raw and hard-hitting. The sound allows the meaning behind the emotionally poignant lyrics to flow naturally throughout the track, as they are cathartically released through the music. Gemma Cockrell

Deri Sharman
Heavy Weather (Single)

While Deri Sharman’s voice is suited to the softer, mellow tone of tracks such as Sewn Together and Mother, it also lends itself to this upbeat tune which takes on a more punchy, guitar-infused sound than her former singles. Heavy Weather is an indie-pop tune with a catchy chorus and guitars that earworm their way into your head, and it may be an unexpected direction based on her other 2023 releases, but it is one that she should definitely explore further. Gemma Cockrell

Distant Blue
toothache. (Single)

Dark and brooding, the new single toothache. by Distant Blue is a slow burner of a track, with instrumental layers that build up until the chorus hits just after the one-minute mark. This unique structure is a winning formula for the band and makes the track’s four-minute runtime fly by in an instant, not seeming to drag or overstay its welcome at all, with gritty vocals which gain momentum and power as the song progresses. Gemma Cockrell

Kirvn, ThaiThai, EM
Wait For You (Single)

2023 Future Sound of Nottingham winner EM provides vocals which soar on this euphoric, larger-than-life track. It sounds like something that would be used to accompany the emotional climactic moment in an anime film or an open-world video game, with the hyperpop-inspired instrumental mirroring a style of electronic music that has been popularised by the PC Music collective in recent years. It is dreamy and atmospheric, yet beautifully urgent and moving at the same time. Gemma Cockrell

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