Thomas Ashby – Eat My Heart/Little Us E.P

For every artist in the top 40, maybe even the top 100, there are a thousand artists waiting to impress us. My maths is shaky, so don’t quote those stats, but my ears I’m pretty sure are doing ok. Thomas Ashby with his latest E.P Eat My Heart/Little Us is one of the things making giving them smiles.

Thomas Ashby, Eat My Heart, Little Us, Music, Acoustic, KentThomas Ashby is my one to watch this year, and recently featured in the’s Welcome To 2015 series. Eat My Heart/Little Us is quite delightful, delivered by acoustic guitars, piano, bass drum and even the occasional banjo or xylophone. All of these are played by Thomas and they help Thomas Ashby to tell stories in a touching, heart-warming and intelligent way.

It all starts with Eat My Heart. Lively and warm, Eat My Heart carries you with it as it persuades your feet to stamp. Joined by an instantly memorable chorus, a well-placed breakdown keeps Eat My Heart alive in your ears as even a little banjo creeps in. Little Us changes this energy with a tender subdued opening. Gradually it grows and expands as a story grows – hitting you right in that warm thing next to your lungs. At it’s end it’s a lively and warm beast (like a squirrel?), but still with that same tenderness. Aptly, Bittersweet End closes the E.P, told via a simple acoustic guitar. Bittersweet End showcases how Thomas can re-tell our world, elements reflecting it as it is but also making it sound finer.

Thomas Ashby isn’t reinventing the wheel here. However the place it takes you to and the road you travel on make this E.P an ideal travel companion. This three track E.P, released at the close of 2014, cries out for a full live performance and sharing with an audience.

8 / 10

David Horn


25/03/2013: Coco and the Butterfields – Low/Encore


Fip Fok.  A genre you might not be aware of but one you need to wrap your ears around quick.  Coco and the Butterfields are the Canterbury based band that created this genre, and as well as having a live E.P available they’ve just launched their shiny new website.

Available from the site are three free downloads.  This weeks free download is the first of these, a fusion of Flo Rida’s Low and Jay Z’s Encore, brought together by Coco and the Butterfields’ unque sound.  Sailing in on a violin Low/Encore anchors in your head instantly.  Driven by a double bass, guitar and bango Coco and the Butterfields even have a beat boxer.  A genius combination already; the rapping completes this fast paced and joyful mash-up of Low/Encore alongside the inventive beat boxing.  You won’t have heard anything like this anywhere else today.

Your ears need this inside them.  Get your free download of Low/Encore by Coco and the Butterfields here.  Also find a cover of Just a Dream by Nelly and Feeling Good by Nina Simone.  They’re only available for a limited time however so get them quick.

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CzechMate – Pipe Bombs

CzechMate, Pipe Bombs, E.P

With interests that include washing lines and basements it will come as no surprize that CzechMate create exciting and raw guitar music.  Fuzzed up guitars and gritty brit pop vocals slide down your ears easier than an energetic front man on a slippery stage.  CzechMate are a five piece from Sittingbourne, though like all the most interesting things they are currently scattered across the country.

As you press play on CzechMate’s E.P Pipe Bombs it soon becomes obvious why the band have play venues such as The 100 Club.  The E.P opener is Bus.  A charged indie riff instantly captures your attention and builds anticipation.  As drums and then punky brit pop vocals come in the anticipation becomes entirely verified.  A hooky riff and fast pace drag you along.  A powerful bass solo only helps to keep your ears trained in.  Ultimately Bus not only sounds exciting and urgent, but reminds you why the back of the bus is the only place to sit.

The sense of style and swagger established by CzechMate only increases as the Pipe Bombs E.P continues with Ties and Lies as CzechMate take a swing at business culture.  Short and punchy, Ties and Lies delivers it’s swing with a sharp riff, vocal harmonies and a chorus the whole band pitch in on.  The drums take the stage in With Me.  Fiery guitars help a drum build up to drop into another track that drips with so much indie swagger that it probably leaves a puddle, just a little heads up for you.  Driven by strong drumming With Me shows a more desperate side to CzechMate as the track begs ‘Just be with me/The one for me’.  Tonight ends the Pipe Bombs E.P on a similarly emotional tone.  A slow and inviting riff reminiscent of Modest Mouse starts Tonight, setting the tone for the track.  Warm drumming and vocals intoned with care cruise out your speakers and show CzechMate in a new light.  Tonight represents a new level of relaxation from CzechMate, but they still manage to sneak in a cheeky guitar solo.

The 100 Club, Live, CzechMate

At four tracks long the Pipe Bombs E.P is too short and will leave you wanting more.  All the elements of CzechMate come together perfectly to make a highly listenable and accomplished E.P.  It’s no one wonder Bus was picked up by BBC Introducing Kent whilst With Me has been played by GU2 Radio and ourselves.  All that’s left is for you to check it out.  Find a link to CzechMate’s music with two demo tracks up for free download and related posts below.

CzechMate on Facebook

CzechMate’s Music

David Horn

Track Listing:

  1. Bus
  2. Ties and Lies
  3. With Me
  4. Tonight

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18/03/2013: Stone Kings – Armageddon

Lurking in deepest and darkest south east Kent there is a band.  Built on dark tones and big riffs, Stone Kings have played many an energetic and packed out show. Currently planning the pressing of their latest E.P, we thought we’d whet your appetite with this little and importantly free gem from Stone Kings’ music library.

Stone Kings, Megadeath, David Ellefson, Armageddon

Certified by Megadeath’s David Ellefson.

Armageddon is four minutes and twenty six seconds of dark intensity.  Carried by strong drums, guitars and vocals join forces to create an unrelenting and seething track.  As Armageddon warns that ‘this world has got it coming /now its come around’ you’ll be forgiven for feeling more enjoyment than fear.  Even as Stone Kings talk about the destruction of planet it’s over shadowed by a decidedly ear tingling break down and big riff.  Armageddon is a big slice of hard rock/stoner metal which point towards great things from Stone Kings’ new E.P.

Get your free download of Armageddon here.  You can also find a slightly lighter and creative side to Stone Kings with a track called Midnight Warning up for free download.  Scroll down to hear Armageddon via Youtube and for related posts.

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12/03/2013: Optional Rubber Duck and Up For The Let Down

Another free download of the week, two more awesome bands!

Optional Rubber Duck caught our eye instantly, I mean who wouldn’t say yes to an optional rubber duck.  Especially when it comes with inspired and playful pop-punk.  Released on the 3rd September 2013 it even somehow comes from the future.  Jackie Chan is a short and punchy pop-punk track with a focus on the punk.   Starting with the line ‘I love you like I love the smell of bacon’ your word senses should already be tingling.  The lyrics only get more genius as gang vocals and a oriental inspired riff fly down your ears.  Short at just under two minutes this is well worth the clicks.  A hard riff and driven sound combine with humour to create something that will do nice things to your insides.

Click here to get your free download of Jackie Chan and a second track My Kingdom here.  Scroll down for Up For The Let Down!

Optional Rubber Duck

Included in a forth coming post check out Up For The Let Down’s track I Fear Sharks.  Another fast paced track, I Fear Sharks opens with a bright riff and dominant drumming.  This is completed by a big and infectious chorus that will climb into your head and like an angry student protester, never leave – but you’ll be ok with that we think.  I Fear Sharks comes to a big finish as the whole band raise the level and join in on vocals.  Read more about Up For The Let Down very soon, better yet – catch them live!

Click here to download your copy of Up For The Let Down’s I Fear Sharks.  Scroll down for related posts.

Up For The Let Down

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IRIS – Out of Fiction

Tour Dates

IRIS are reaching the end of their February tour.  The tour has seen them play venues across the country, supporting their E.P Out of Fiction as well as new material.  Out of Fiction is happily very real and will do all kinds of nice things to your inner jelly.  Signed to Engineer Records anyone that’s seen IRIS live will have seen the strength of their songs, professionalism and performance.

IRIS’s sound is a fusion of passion, energy and emotive riffs.  This exemplified across the six track E.P.  The title track Out of Fiction starts the E.P with energy and urgency.  A fast pace and infectious chorus sweep you along as Out of Fiction charges down your ears.  IRIS’s sound reflects the wide range of influences and continually keeps you on your toes as the band switch the delivery and urgency of the song naturally and seamlessly.  The band continue with the fluid transitions of style and delivery across the E.P.

Adding a bright sound Your Surprize is an energetic and fast paced track.  Vocal harmonies, crisp drumming and intelligent guitars show IRIS’s technical skill as much as their creativity.  The guitars maintain a bright but heavy edge as vocals and drums provide more hooks than a giants curtain rail.   A drum breakdown steals your ears as the song builds back up to a high energy finish.  This heavy and dominant sound is also reflected in Long Walk to Sleep.  The band’s latest video, Long Walk to Sleep hits you instantly with heavy and driving riffs.  More strong drumming adds to this to help carry the chorus and another chorus you’ll begin to sing instantly.   As the track goes into a dark vocal break down you anticipation builds, before Long Walk to Sleep explodes back into life.  The Out of Fiction E.P is a tale of relationships, something everyone can relate to they are driven down to the center of your brain harder than a shot of tequila to the eye by passionate and direct vocals.


IRIS do have a softer side however.  The Shade begins with another emotive riff as strings sound above it.  As the guitars soften, Adam Smart’s vocals have a more delicate feel to them.  These add to the fragile sound of The Shade and show IRIS’s versatility.  As your ears get comfy however The Shade packs a big guitar lead heartfelt chorus, snapping them alert like a dog that’s heard the word walk.   This mostly delicate sound is echoed in the E.P closer Thicker Than Water.  An acoustic track, clear guitars complement tender vocals.  Despite being an acoustic track Thicker Than Water picks up intensity as it continues.  Despite working acoustically when played live on electric guitar it will still sound all kinds of good.

On an E.P of strong songs Lie To Me shines a little brighter.  Aggressive from the start; riffs, drums and vocals conspire to create a louder and pounding monster of a track.  Lie To Me flies out your speakers as one more vocal breakdown breaks the track into a new urgency.  Even with thirty seconds to go the track reaches a new level of energy and determination as everything turns up and vocals become screams.

IRIS have a dynamic and versatile sound which will press all the right buttons in your brain.  This E.P promises big things of new material to come.  See them and hear them.  You know it makes sense.  Scroll down to see the new video to Long Walk to Sleep.  See live photography links from IRIS’s last Canterbury gig below.

Image by GIGgle Pics / Sarah Quinn.

Image by GIGgle Pics / Sarah Quinn.

IRIS on Facebook / IRIS’s Music

Engineer Records on Facebook

IRIS Photography from GIGgle Pics

David Horn

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