Music, Music, Reviews, Uncategorized

Quick Reviews: Smile if You Wanna Get a Cadillac

Every week, one of our writers will be given five tracks – they could be unsigned, they could be international superstars.  Any genre could be included, and the writer gets one week to give their verdict on each song in under 100 words.  This week, Neil Johnson takes his turn.  If you like what you hear, click on the band names to visit their website, and if you want your music to be included in the future, send an MP3, picture, short bio and link to


Bob Dean: Can You See It

Bob Dean isn’t a man called Bob Dean. They are a band from Manchester. And none of them are called Bob, or Dean. But putting the misleading name to one side, this is a damn fine song. The opening piano melody and haunting vocal lead into a whirlwind of crashing cymbals and buzzing guitars that actually sent shivers down my spine. It’s melancholy without being depressing and triumphant without being self indulgent. And if that hasn’t convinced you to check out Bob Dean, if I said this reminds me somewhat of OK Computer era Radiohead would that encourage you?

Claire Kelly on the high level bridge, Newcastle Gateshead

Claire Kelly: Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby

Man this is smooth. As I listen, I’m transported to a red velour seat in the corner of a dark jazz club in NYC, where I’m chain-smoking and getting slowly arseholed on fine whisky.  Claire’s saxophonist wears a white jacket and black polo neck and her husky voice wraps around the room and draws all eyes towards her, including the rich record company executive standing at the bar armed with a recording contract. Having said that, it was probably recorded live in a Conservative club on Wearside with Match of The Day on in the background and an old bloke pissing on a plastic cheese plant in the corner. There’s no justice in the world.

George Cadillac and The Quarterbacks: Cadillac Dreams

I think these guys were the band that were playing in Back to the Future at the school dance. Remember? The good looking clean cut guys in suits? It was all romantic and sweet and mellow and harked back to innocent times of pinball machines and strawberry milkshakes and holding hands at drive-thru movies. And then Marty McFly turned up and rocked out Johnny B. Goode. Trouble is, while it was nice, before Marty’s appearance, the dance was kind of boring. And the thing is, on Cadillac Dreams, Marty doesn’t turn up. He was probably making out in the back seat of a Cadillac while listening to Chuck Berry instead.

The Tricks: Just For The Summer

This energetic indie-pop-punk track sounds like The Buzzcocks crossed with The Beach Boys crossed with The Clash. It’s anthemic, upbeat, catchy and memorable and it gets even better the more I listen to it. It’s good to hear a new indie band not poncing about trying to be clever or cool but just getting stuck in and bashing out a tune. What’s more, it is completely out of step with the universal depression enveloping ConDem Britain in winter 2012 and just what we need to cheer us all up. I like it very much.Tom Moriarty sitting next to a wall with a guitar looking moody

Tom Moriarty: Smile If You Wanna Get High

Apparently BBC Radio 2 has playlisted this track. Did they ignore the blatantly obvious drug reference in the title or do they just think that Tom likes pretending to be an eagle in his spare time? Anyway, musically, it’s definitely a radio friendly track, with a relaxed and easy feelgood vibe to it. It starts out with Tom’s gruff 30-a-day voice bemoaning his miserable 9-5 existence over a bluesy guitar riff and then turns, slightly bizarrely, into a gospel jazz singalong which indicates that everything is alright so long as you are flying off on holiday on an aeroplane. It’s certainly different to the work that many singer/songwriters are producing at the moment. I’m smiling.


About neiljohnsonarts

When I'm not at work, in the pub, or watching Bullseye, I take photos of things and write about stuff.


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