EP Review: Connor Bannister – Coming Home

Label: Independent ReleaseComing Home EP
Released: May 2013

When an over-produced, mass market, popular music culture reigns it is a joy to hear an artist with passion, subtlety, expression and pure talent.

Connor Bannister, 18, hails from small town Lincolnshire and travels around the country with nothing but his guitar and his songs, winning over audiences with his honest and disarming charm, which melds seamlessly into the stories in his songs.

As currently independent artist, he has the raw edge to draw upon his own life and experiences and using them to draw out all kinds emotions from the listener.

Connor’s debut EP, is a collection of material that gives you the impression whilst he’s only 18, he’s lived and experienced more than his age lets on. The five tracks range from the optimistic, mid-tempo Head High, the heart-breaking Father and the uplifting, upbeat band arrangement achieved on Take Me Away, reminiscent of an early Frank Turner. The other two tracks consist of short interludes, easing you in and out of the CD.

In it’s very nature an EP is a short recording, however in the five tracks Connor takes you on a varied musical journey with a ‘live-sounding’ quality, showcasing his strengths as a songwriter, guitarist and lyricist.

With each song, you get a small glimpse into the life of the performer. Father, is a heart-breaking ballad talking about a young man’s desire to get to know his Dad in the absence of his Mother. Searching for peace, comfort and acceptance and is by far the outstanding track of the EP.

If you’re searching for a real, refreshing change in your musical collection take a look at some of the great independent musicians in the UK. Connor is one of the few acts that are keeping acoustic music interesting.

– Charlie Barker


Album Review: Jetplane Landing – Don’t Try

Label: Smalltown America
Released: August 2013 Jetplane_Landing_-_Don't_Try

Jetplane Landing… you know you should know this band. The name sounds familiar but you can’t quite place them.

That was me until a few weeks ago and now I feel the shame of a man that realizes that he’s been missing out for years. Without these lads from Derry, Northern Ireland, nearly all the UK post-hardcore bands that are the back bone of that scene wouldn’t be half the bands they are now, it is that simple.

Early Biffy Clyro borrows heavily from JPL. They toured with groups such as Reuben and Hell Is For Heroes and helped shaped the sound of melodic, twisted riffs twined with gentle thoughtful sections that nearly every rock fan of the past 10 years loves.

Their new album Don’t Try is like a well made suit that makes you believe you’re the best dressed man in town, lined with the silk of a understated confidence, hard work and pride. The record features big riffs, grooves and a feeling of knowing where you are in the grand scheme of things.

The urgent guitars of opener Cheapskate Tricks for Worn Down People grabs you by the scruff of your collar and drags you around the floor like a rag doll. It has the fast, skuzzy punk rock of Beat Generation-Ha! that slams the knowledge that they’ve been undervalued for years by everyone but the ones in the know. The confident, ‘stand up for itself’ swagger of Man With a Movie Camera Trapped Inside His Head. Walls of Derry has a brutality that batters you for over four minutes and The Trees Fill with Screaming Birds has a greasy rock-n-roll brashness that wedges itself neatly between your ears.

However the stand out track by a country mile is their latest single My Radio Heart. Its an up lifting and honest 2 minutes and 50 seconds of courage, pop guitars, grounded lyrics and beats that make you realise that this culture we’ve made around ourselves of risk aversion and safety in art hasn’t helped anybody, as the lyric “My radio heart will come to no harm” backs up.

If this track had been released earlier then it would’ve been plastered all over every alternative radio and TV station and been the anthem of every rock fans summer.

It is reassuring to know that we still have bands like Jetplane Landing, who release albums that are an open book into their lives and not just a collection of clichés linked together with pre-approved guitar licks like so many others. This is an album for the people by the people.

– Matt Churchard