21 December 2014

#SRCZ Listens To The First Six Tracks from Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’ Album...

When Madonna suddenly announced the release of six tracks from her next album Rebel Heart, due in March 2015 via pre order we were intrigued. That’s potentially half an album and it’s always frustrating to have half a product but… we always welcome new material from Madonna no matter how mind boggling it can occasionally be. Her last release MDNA was largely excellent, a vast improvement on the still underwhelming Hard Candy but what will Rebel Heart bring? Let’s check out the songs released so far…

“Living For Love”

The first track on Rebel Heart opens promisingly, with an off kilter production soon introducing 80’s style keyboard stabs and pumping beats that transport the listener back to two decades ago. There’s an instant quality to the song, the production just one step away from too clean but as an album opener it’s a good proposition.

“Devil Pray”

Using what sounds suspiciously like the melody line from unreleased track Pala Tute, Devil Pray is actually rather enjoyable. It’s comparatively stripped down quality is a winner chez #SRCZ and it’s nice to hear the more thoughtful side of the artist coming out rather than the more recent dance focused music. This will definitely be a live favourite, perfect for the traditional ‘Madonna gets her guitar out’ moment with a dance breakdown to boot. It’s also possibly one of her best songs in a while, lyrically and production wise.


Another slow intro, just M vox and mellow synth lines and it’s a winner. Madonna does good ballads and this comes from the keyboard of someone who is distinctly averse to ballads in general. As a ballad this works well, the lyrics not too complicated and easily remembered. Not one of the best Madonna songs for sure, but far from bad even if it doesn’t break any boundaries.

“Unapologetic Bitch”

Getting past the needlessly confrontational title, Unapologetic Bitch is really rather good. The reggae vibe is a new one for Madonna and we can certainly appreciate its groove. Lyrically it’s the common guy (with a small g, note) dissing formula, (‘You never really know much you miss me…’) but it’s easily got by and sonically it sounds good. Pass mark!  


The last time we met Yeezy on an M track was back on the rather uninspiring Hard Candy album back in 2008. Kanye is producing on this occasion and the result is much better. That ego is legendary but his production is fantastic. Illuminati is an initially odd listen, but grows on the listener very quickly, with a killer chorus that is genuinely edgy. Even the small rap from Nicky Minaj works well!

“Bitch I’m Madonna”

Hmm. The last time Nicky Minaj turned up on a Madonna record it was on the still jarring (but still curiously catchy) Gimme All Your Love and in the Madonna singles stakes, it’s still an odd one. Bitch I’m Madonna is unfortunately in a similar vein. It’s less candy coated but ultimately it doesn’t serve any other purpose than to say ‘Bitch I’m Madonna’. (Which is a brilliant title by the way!)

The verdict so far then is a good one. As with any Madonna release (and Rebel Heart has 19 tracks according to iTunes) the true test is the whole album. With the title it has, this could be something quite special. Just as there were fillers on MDNA, there will be fillers on Rebel Heart most likely. But one mans filler is another’s instant classic so, especially in the case of Madonna, what do we know?!

The verdict so far: Getting There!    
Rebel Heart will be released in full in March 2015 and features production from Madonna, Diplo, Kanye West, Billboard, DJ Dahl and Blood Diamonds. 

#NewMusic // Rhayader – “Innervision”

Released via the delightfully titled L.O.V.E LTD, this Eighties synth pop inspired debut single from French artist Rhayader is an unexpectedly joyful offering for the darker months.

Innervision comes with three remixes to accompany the dark synth based rhythms of the original. The additional remixes will please those into funkier, beat driven directions of music but chez #SRCZ we’re loving the fact that the dark tones the original mix accompany the darker evenings perfectly.

Inner vision is released December 22nd 2014 via L.O.V.E. LTD digitally. 

17 December 2014

#SRCZEssential2014 // EPs of the Year 2014

It’s the time of the year when we start to recollect what went on in months past and what may well happen when the haze of another New Year commences once more. We’ve already revealed the albums that kept us entertained the most during 2014 but now it’s the turn of the humble E.P.

5 / White Sands – ‘White Sands EP’

This lovely little EP from White Sands (made up of members of #SRCZ favourites Novella, Mazes and Male Bonding) was released on very cool limited edition flexi disc with a zine and the more modern digital download earlier in 2014 and it’s still one of our favourites. Listen to ‘The Wait’ to find out just why…

4 / New Years Day – ‘Epidemic’

It’s not often we dip into metal but that’s not to say we’re averse to it. In fact, when we heard Defame me from the Epidemic EP we were instantly ear pricked. Heavy, gothic metal with shades of electronic and big choruses that work abound on Epidemic.

3 / Courtney Love – ‘Wedding Day’ / ‘You Know My Name’

It’s always a pleasure to hear new music from Courtney Love, (It doesn’t happen nearly enough to our minds) and this double A side is a good start in getting more. With her often underrated lyrics and delightfully grunge-pop sound on both tracks along with that trademark scream and the epic guitar delights of Wedding Day we loved this. More please!

2 / Science of the Lamps – ‘Candela E.P.’

We love lamps and we also love science. But on a more musical note, we love Science of the Lamps. The Candela E.P, launched in the unique surroundings of the Williamson Tunnels, a noted Heritage site in Liverpool, is three tracks of sophisticated pop that is sure to get you gently scatting the melodies of the songs on your commute. The delightful Id-Pop of Superhero Me is our highlight, but the full listening experience is recommended.

I / Us Baby Bear Bones – ‘Ursari’

Shortly before the release of Ursari, Us Baby Bear Bones announced the news of their ‘regeneration’. As a final record it certainly goes out on a high, retaining its wow factor many months down the line after myriad listens. Produced by Blood Red Shoes’ Steven Ansell, the dynamic and often hard edged sound of the songs works perfectly. Whatever happens next, we’ll be listening… 

15 December 2014

#SRCZ MixTape // December 2014 – Open Submission

December is here… and it’s rather cold. That, of course, is dependent on where you are in the world. There is one thing guaranteed to get the blood flowing and that is, of course, music. There’s nothing like it! Our December play list is short and sweet so please take a listen to it at your leisure. This playlist is not just for Chrstmas…

11 December 2014

Call Out // January 2015 MixTape Submissions Open on #SRCZ

You might be relieved to know that the #SRCZ MixTape is once again open and we’re accepting submissions for the December 2014 MixTape as of, well, right now! 

We’re feeling ready to have the best music thrown at us once more, (digitally, of course), and we’re leaving this at Open Submission. In fact, that’s what we’re gonna call it!

So, if you’re a band/solo artist/musical performance artist/ not a mime please send in your submissions by the deadline below with the following information:

1 – Band/artist name
2 – Song name
3 – Tell a little about yourself and your song.
4 – Your home city/country
5 – Your contact details!
6 - How you found out about the Call Out. 

Please send your submission via a link on SoundCloud only. Attachments will not be accepted!

Remember there will be other chances to submit in the future so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get through this time. That said, we’re all nice here at #SRCZ so don’t worry too much!

If you want to get your music heard by our readers please make sure to submit soon!
Deadline for submissions is Sunday January 6th at Midnight

And remember, we're open to all genres, countries, languages and BPMs! 

Many Thanks,

Team #SRCZ 

#SRCZ Music Review // Jim Pearson – Right Now Is The Moment That We Are Alive

It’s getting to that time of year when we stay indoors, huddled up in front of a digital box with hot drinks. It’s also the time when we start to consider deeper matters of the soul, propelled perhaps by the ever earlier setting of the sun. This is usually accompanied by song. The latest single from Wirral based singer-songwriter Jim Pearson is the rather good Right Now Is The Moment We Are Alive, perfect for such moments.

Running to just over five minutes and featuring a chorus of collaborators at the end of the sing along closing minutes the track is a simple affair. The message is simple; right now you are alive so enjoy it. The world might be falling apart but when it comes down to it, right now is all we have. It’s a succinct message and it’s delivered in a restrained manner that gradually builds up into a strong message imbued song.

Indeed, the song is very refreshing in its simplicity and for those who are listening closely enough you may spot the voices of just some of the following towards the end: Jo Bywater, The Kirk Owls, Ian Heath, Jeff Roberts, Scott Cryer, Caroline England, Henry Priestman, Phil Chisnall, Russell Cottier and members of The Wallasey Folk and Acoustic Club.
Now, go do something life affirming!


09 December 2014

#SRCZ Essential 2014 // Best Singles of 2014

10 / Shiina Ringo – ‘Netsuai Hakkakuchu’

Extracted from the compilation album Ukina, this song was produced by Yasutaka Nakata, (most well known for his work with a certain Kyary Pamyu Pamyu) and it was entirely possible such a combination of seemingly mismatched performers wouldn’t work. But, it did. And it resulted in one of the artist’s most impressive videos and addictive singles for a while.

9 / Freedom Fry – ‘Blackmailed’

We’ve had our eyes on Freedom Fry since we were turned onto their music with the Friends & Enemies EP in 2013. This stylish song and equally creepy yet riveting video set the perfect tone for enjoying this duo’s music. 

8 / Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – ‘Kira Kira Killer’

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is quietly rather good. It’s easy to dismiss J-Pop with a casual swipe but get past the commercial detritus it so often produces far too well and swiftly and there’s some magic. With its mix of pure pop melody, cutting edge production technology and bubblegum pop videos that are incredibly detailed this just works. And when it works, you know it. 

7 / David Bowie – ‘Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)’

Extracted from the rather fantastic triple album retrospective Nothing Has Changed, Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) is a typical Bowie curve ball away from the obvious and with its modern jazz trappings it works very well indeed. Not to be out done, it’s companion track on single ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore is even more of an experimental piece. More Bowie can only be good… 

6 / Science of the Lamps – ‘Superhero Me’

We’ve been hearing this song in the live setting much longer than in the studio setting but on both fronts it’s an ear worm of über proportions. With a suitably silly video that vanquishes the villains with superhero skills and plenty of musicality we’re pretty sure that the Do Ba Ba Do Ba refrain of the intro is the way forward… 

5 / Natalie McCool – ‘Wind Blows Harder’

Wind Blows Harder saw the return of Natalie McCool with an edgy, almost feral sound. The video sees a Hunger Games style confrontation in a mysterious wood between two tribes and the underlying furious beats of the song make all the more impact with the well choreographed visuals.   Make sure to check out the remixes from this song as well! 

4 / Mark Lanegan Band – ‘Floor of the Ocean’

We’ve quietly loved the music of Mark Lanegan for a while now. Whether he is collaborating, solo or, as on this release, with the titular Band there is much to get your teeth into. Floor of the Ocean is an album highlight and single and with this song we could feel the quality immediately. One listen just doesn’t suffice! 

3 / Neneh Cherry – ‘Everything’

Neneh Cherry is form favourite artist chez #SRCZ. Extracted from her excellent Blank Project album, part of our Albums of the Year, Everything closes the album with an extended jam that really merits its seven minute length. The tight, sparse production from Rocket Number Nine works perfectly with Cherry’s incisively timeless lyrics and the video is a work of minimalist art in itself. Everything really IS everything. 

2 / Argonaut – ‘TV’

If there’s one thing we like chez #SRCZ its music. We like it even more when music encourages new beginnings and positive distractions. TV is one such song, and with a low budget but pointedly cool video we are encouraged to put aside the TV and enjoy the fines things in life like good books, talking to people or making music. 

1 / Ex Cops –‘Black Soap’

The first single from Ex Cops excellent album is the addictive listen that is Black Soap. With an impossibly cool street scene video accompanying the song, we got right into this song from the first listen. 

07 December 2014

News // IDW Comics Announce ‘Millennium’ Mini Series For 2015

Following the revival of Chris Carter’s immensely popular The X Files in comic form for the well received The X Files: Season 10 and other short run release, IDW have announced the return of the series that followed, Millennium, for a limited series in January 2015.

Centering on main character Frank Black, the series was last on air in 1999, when the third and so-far final series concluded ambiguously. A press release from IDW said:

“Following his incredibly popular creation, The X-Files, Chris Carter produced another classic television series, Millennium. Early next year, the story of Frank Black continues in comics with a brand-new series from IDW! Overseen by Carter, this five-issue miniseries will bring the supernatural thriller back to fans! 

With the help of FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, psychic consultant Frank Black saved the world from a malevolent and destructive conspiracy. But not all is what it seems as Frank begins to uncover the terrifying return of the Millennium Group! With their eyes now set on Frank’s daughter, Jordan, he’ll be calling upon old friends to again survive the oncoming threat.

Series writer Joe Harris says “Millennium swims in the some of the same waters as The X-Files, but with an entirely different purpose and it asks something entirely unique of its audience when contemplating the forces of good and evil pulling on the series’ troubled protagonist, Frank Black. It’s not just a mystery series, or an X-Files ‘Monster of the Week’-type experience. It’s more meditative than that. Throw in a rich mythology involving an apocalypse-chasing, cult-like organization that stretches back millennia in history and I’m as hooked as the many fans of Chris Carter’s *other* great show remain. *This* is who we are."

#SRCZ. – Culture is Everywhere --