Lake Malawi @ Tram & Social Club, Tooting

The alt-pop group pumped the room with energy and catchy rhythms, and gave us a taste of their upcoming album with Prague (In the City), and Surrounded by Light.

The group’s ‘ecstatic, positive, and hopeful’ stylised music combines indie tunes, with undertones of rock and pop to frontman Albert Černý’s lyrics – ‘inspired by intense life experiences, and feelings.’ They divide time between North London & Prague, and their exotic infused name was inspired by a real African lake, and Bon Iver’s Calgary.

Lake Malawi, formed of leadman, Albert Černý, bassist & keys, Jeroným Šubrt, guitarist, Patrick Karpentski (absent), and drummer, Antonín Hrabal, performed last Friday at the Tram & Social club in Tooting, London. Support was given by Cloe Corpse and Adryana Gold. They eased us in with the melodic tunes of Black Pearl, full of emotional lyrics and a touch of nostalgia. Upping the tempo with the addictive, catchy chorus of Bottom of the Jungle.



Playing Because Because


Secret Room followed with some gentle instrumentals, ‘about a secret room behind a NYC poster in [my] Černý’s bedroom.’ Prague (In the City) expressed the ‘lost in the city’ feeling with an equally dreamy harmony. The slow track Always June gets the crowd swaying with a ballad chorus of relatable melancholy feelings – “Nobody knew it would end so soon… So why do I still hold on when nobody does…”

The crowd used the wide open floor of Tooting’s high-ceilinged, hipster bar to let loose, with groups of people bouncing along to the music. The care-free atmosphere mirrored the band’s exuberant mood as they jumped around in the upbeat choruses.

Černý gave a shout-out to everyone enjoying the music before softening the vibe with Because Because on acoustic guitar. They enthused the audience with some vocal sing-alongs, and ended on a high with their new single Surrounded By Light, and a past favourite, Chinese Trees.

Lake Malawi’s lively performance and feel-good vibes were great for the cool down at the end of a busy week, and introducing the weekend ahead.

Check out upcoming tour dates for May on Lake Malawi’s band page.

They are supporting the Kooks on the 26th May in Prague, and their new album ‘Surrounded by Light’ is due out in December 2017. Guitarist, Patrick Karpentski, was away for the UK tour, but he will be joining for all their other performances.






Album Review: K. Flay’s ‘Every Where is Some Where’

K. Flay’s ethereal vocals combined stripped back instrumental beats with glass shards of honest, relatable lyrics. The solo-artist’s new album, ‘Every Where Is Some Where,’ shouts her inner feelings and opinions with an infectious attitude, filled with addictive poetics.

The album title summarizes the collection, each song on the record is about creating a different kind of meaning out of a different kind of something,” she explains. “Even the dark places are places. You’re still somewhere.” As she surrendered her feelings, world views, and experiences into her songs with a refreshing bluntness rarely seen, our own emotions and thoughts are unearthed and explored with searing poignancy. K. Flay’s unique husky voice adds to her edgy sound that hypnotizes us from the get-go.

The American singer and songwriter, Kristine Flaherty, came to the centre stage with her chart-topping 2014 album ‘Life As A Dog’, but has been producing music since 2005. She signed to Interscope Records (Night Street Records) in 2016, and her newest album has shown the artistic freedom given. She was inspired to create music by the superficial status quo rap music churned out, described by her as “simplistic, misogynistic and formulaic,” and has since become popular for uprooting hip-hop to show a new side.

The 2017 album merges heavy base electronica with mellow indie-pop to reflect the mood of her ingenious lyrics. She breaks through issues with short, punchy lyrics and ironic song titles. ‘The President Has A Sex Tape,’ and ‘Hollywood Forever,’ express her political and cultural views through lyrical phrases – “The immigrant died at sea, first they come for you and then they come for me,” and I’m hiding from mirrors, I’m frightened of sex, Despising my image…”

Many of the songs touched on the artist’s personal relationships, including hints to her rocky family past (“I was born next to my mother, she sang me to sleep, and I grew to adore my father as he drowned in a drink”). It’s this open vulnerability and confession-like voice that draw you into her intimate, emotional world, like a best friend in confidence. Her self-reflections are empowering, and as they are heavily influenced by life experiences, it’s no surprise that she is able to capture a brutally honest snapshot of life (“Thought if I was smart I’d make it far, but I’m still at the start”), along with uplifting insights (“This one goes out to all the dreamers at sea, this life is only what you want it to be”).

Flay steered more towards indie than the hip-hop prevalent in her past albums. However, for all those long-time fans, her original sound still appears through the powerful rap song ‘Champagne,’ and the subtle undertones of ‘Dreamers.’ The songs are well-balanced with an unusual musicality, ranging from the heavy beats of ‘Blood in the Cut’ to the melodic tunes of ‘It’s Just A Lot,’ and ‘Hollywood Forever.’ The most likely listeners will be hip-hop and indie enthusiasts, but her stereotype-smashing style will convert the least expected music-lovers.

Upon release, on the 7th of April, she also announced a London Headlining show on Wednesday 28th June @Camden Assembly. Get tour dates, and links to her music on Spotify & ITunes here.


The Flight Brigade @ The Water Rats Pub, Kings Cross


Flight Brigade’s multi-instrumental folk-rock sound reflects their roots and touches hearts with their profound story-telling lyrics.

The seven strong, Hampshire act start with, House Fire, from 2016’s ‘Our Friends, Our Enemies,’ to get the crowd dancing. A steady drum beat drives the song, followed by the melodic strings of violin.

The close-knit family dynamics are reflected in the stage set-up, accompanied by their diverse range of instruments. The Water Rats’ music hall is an intimate space, and the disco-ball reflections cast an otherworldly background that effectively combines with the music. Locals sway, with beers in hand, revelling together. Frontman, Ollie Baines, melodic voice is accompanied by the energizing vocals from pianist and wife, Miriam Baines, and violinist, Dorry Hughes. The violin’s searing tune intensifies the ballads and leaves you on the edge, waiting for the next crescendo and guitar riff to carry you away. Ollie, and guitarist, Thomas, jam together and their passionate, care-free feel releases a relaxed atmosphere that the audience embrace with an excited clapping of hands.


flight brigade gig

Dorry Hughes (photo credit: Hanna Andersson)


The synth intro of U Kill Me begins and head-banging from the front crowd ensues. A tidal wave of instrumentals pull you under and follows through with the seductive chorus, ‘Even though you kill me I’ve got to see you.’

Their third song, Streets of Tokyo, brings the crowd back to earth with sonically strong and friendly lyrical undertones that make you feel grounded; almost as if you are walking the streets hand-in-hand with them. Emotional ballads erupt and fall, guiding us through their story-telling style of musicality.

Flight Brigade surprise us with new material fresh from the song pages: Brain Wave. The intricate combination of vocals and instrumentals, rich with the immersion of the violin, give an unusual, yet desired feel. They continue with some older, lesser performed songs: The Phantom and When We Were Young. A full floor is now dancing in beat with the band, and violinist, Dorry, puts heavy rockers to shame with her moves. A calmer tone creates space and emphasis on the soulful vocals, rich with the delight of rebellious, much-loved golden days of youth.


fire brigade gig

Thomas & Ollie (photo credit: Hanna Andersson)


   Hurricane Season imitates its title, a rhythm dipping high and low with energetic instrumentals reflecting the mood of untamed nature and turbulent emotions.

The seven-piece finish on Friend-zoning, beginning with a distinctive, automated pilot voice, and continuing into a sensitive, slow track that orchestrates a gentle wave dance from the audience. Drums build the rhythm back up, with instruments gradually adding an extra layer, until Flight Brigade is rocking all guns blazing once again. An encore closely follows, Everyday draws on the bass-synth style like a heartbeat to match the lyrics, ‘your heart and soul still beats, beats, beats for me,’ with high notes from the violin and piano lightening the tune.

These talented musicians leave the crowd literally shouting for more and still dancing to the beat echoing around the star-speckled disco room.





AFI ‘Snow Cats’

AFI’s single release was added to their self-titled 2017 album, The Blood Album. Snow Cats showcased the unique vocals and rock instrumentals that we keep going back to them for.

The pre-release single pulls you in immediately with its enigmatic intro “Am I coy enough, not boy enough? You wanted me in this dress” that leads into heavier rock tones, and then dips back to the slower emotional ballads during the choruses.

Comprised of guitar riff highs and vocally focused verses, Davey Havok guides us through the ambiguous lyrics that strongly mirrors its subject material described by them as the ‘struggle of applied persona and identity’.

Read another review here:



Album Review: Icon for Hire’s ‘You Can’t Kill Us’

Icon for Hire’s aptly titled album, ‘You Can’t Kill Us’, plunged us head-first into an emotional tidal wave. Frontwoman, Ariel Bloomer, showed off her chameleon voice by adapting to each song with diverse styles ranging from pitch perfect ballads to edgy pop-rap.

Rising fast since arriving on the scene in 2007 and launching their 2011 album ‘Scripted’ with Tooth and Nail Records, this Illinois duo caught people’s attention with their prolific, bold anthems such as ‘Make A Move’ and ‘Get Well’. Now 2016’s album returned them to their roots.

It is no surprise they opted to go independent with this uncompromisingly honest album as they explore issues such as depression, and self-harming. The raw songs featured feel a lot like a combined breath of fresh air and an emo sucker punch, from the rebellious voice of ‘Too Loud’ (“let’s stop letting everyone tell us how to feel, tell us how to dream”) to the heart-wrenching lines of ‘Under the Knife’ (“You carved a special place for your pain, so it came back to hurt you every night”).

The lyrics played center stage with electronica and rock’n’roll instrumentals from guitarist Shawn Jump created to match the mood and make us want to dance – ranging from piano riffs of ‘Invincible’ to the party anthem beats of ‘Supposed To Be.’ It’s clear that songwriter/singer Ariel has much to say and this has peaked with ‘You Can’t Kill Us’. The popular album-titled song also embodies the band’s struggles against the label system, which adds to the creative depth of their material. We read you loud and clear IFH.

2016 “You Can’t Kill Us” available here