Queen Alone may be Nicole Wray’s first full-length effort in some time; however, Wray is reunited with the original backing band from Lady Wray’s early days, along with Big Crown Records’ Leon Michels and Daptone Records Tom Brenneck handling production and as Wray explains in press notes the album is a “reflection of my soul. It’s who I am today. ” And as a result, the material on the album is inspired by the singer/songwriter’s life. The album’s latest single “Do It Again” is reportedly is a story about a failed relationship, as well as the story of a cherished and revered intimacy that the song’s narrator is desperate to re-enter regardless of the consequences on her heart and soul. Sonically speaking the song manages to channel What’s the 411 and My Life-era Mary J. Blige and bolstered by the Daptone Records famed horn section paired with silky smooth vocals.
With the release of “To Be Young” and “Radio Silence,” which received extensive radio airplay on BBC Radio X, Spanish radio station Radio 3 and Stateside on KCRW and KEXP, the Portsmouth, UK-based quintet Kassassin Street — comprised of Rowan Bastable (guitar, vocals), Tom Wells (bass, vocals), Andy Hurst (keys, samples), Ryan Hill (guitar, vocals) and Nathan Hill (drums) — quickly exploded onto the international scene last year. And as a result, the Portsmouth-based quintet had a busy summer playing the UK major festival circuit with appearances at Secret Garden Party, Bestival, Blissfields, Y Not, Great Escape, Beat-Herder and Isle of Wight, as well as a hometown slot at Victorious Festival — and they continued on that success with a successful UK tour, which included several sold out shows.
Building on a rather successful 2016, the members of Kassassin Street recently released their latest single “Hand In My Pocket,” a post-punk track which pairs an anthemic hook with a sinuous bass line, shimmering and cascading synths, angular guitar chords and an uncanny sense of harmony in a shimmying, dance floor ready track that sounds indebted to Entertainment! and Solid Gold-era Gang of Four (in particular, I think of “Not Great Men” “He’d Send In The Army” and “Why Theory“), Kasabian‘s self-titled effort, Evil Heat-era Primal Scream (in particular “Detroit” and “Autobahn 66“) and New Order — but much like Gang of Four, the song possesses an underlying scathing sociopolitical message as the song focuses on social injustice and inequality in fiscal austerity-era UK.