live review ~ the sass ~ voodoo, belfast ~ april

by 15:53

Voodoo, Belfast
The Sass
 Belfast’s latest gem from the growing new Rock 'n' Roll revival scene is "The Sass", an energetic, pulsating unit of screaming guitars, rhythmic bass lines and effortless charisma. They opened proceedings with "Jukebox", an upbeat, exuberant affair with the lyrical quality of Stereophonics played to a Cribs style riff, incorporating a Kelly Jones-esc vocal. They followed this with "Sonny's Daughter" an anthem which again highlighted the groups solidarity and synergetic qualities. Another tune which radiates optimism, reminiscent of the Libertines in their prime. Perhaps the highlight of the slot came towards the end of the set, when a note perfect rendition of The White Stripes classic, "7 Nation Army" was blended seamlessly into 80's cult smash "Sweet Dreams" by Eurythmics. An inspired mix, which worked perfectly and drew a great reaction from the audience, highlighting the intelligent musical minds of The Sass. Front man Colm Donnelly showed his composure by adding, almost ambivalently, "That’s a tune I wrote last week", again working an already impressed crowd. The most surprising moment of the set was learning that this was the groups debut gig, a rather remarkable testament to a band with a bright future. To reiterate the words of The Sass front man, we "don't think it went too bad" either. Brilliant gig!
Review by Taylor Johnson.
Check out The Sass on Facebook here:

The Sass ~ Full of attitude & stomping riffs

encore on facebook...

by 14:11
Hi guys,
Just a quick notice to inform you that Encore NI has finally entered the world of social networking! So please like the page to help us continue to grow and support local talent. Hopefully this will allow us to connect to as many undiscovered talent as possible.
Thanks for your continued support,
~ Taylor

Check us out here:

website coverage ~ the skin we're in ~ #1

by 01:07

Yet more good news to report from us here at Encore ~ our review for contemporary rockers "The Skin We're In" has been featured on the Newry Times website. Nice one!

It's great exposure for a very original outfit, with a mature and captivating debut.

You can check out the debut & other "Skin We're In" news here:

Read the article here:

Brilliant news ~
More to come


#1 ~ "Contmporary rock infused with soul, jazz and funk licks" 

echo raptors get newspaper coverage ~ "she's so free"

by 11:51

Raptors in the telegraph!

Encore is proud to announce that another one of our articles has been printed in the Telegraph!
The review for Echo Raptors EP "she's so free", will be printed tomorrow.

Nice one ~ It's brilliant coverage for a fantastic band we have already tipped for great things.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of the bands, artists and organisations that are continuing to get in contact with the website. It's greatly encouraging both for the music industry in this country and the website to have so much potential coming through.

More reviews and news on the way,



Check out the fantastic "she's so free" ~

single review ~ welcome pariah ~ "neither here nor there"

by 17:34

Single Review
Welcome Pariah
“Neither Here Nor There”

This week Encore had the opportunity to listen to alternative English outfit “Welcome Pariah”. The Southampton lads have already gained significant appraisal from critics across Britain, earning rave reviews from newspapers such as The Guardian and gaining much sought after support slots for alternative indie Idols such as Chris Helme from The Seahorses and Ocean Colour Scenes Steve Craddock. Now armed with a brand new single and a string of gigs in various London musical hot-spots, “Welcome Pariah” look ready to take on the big boys of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

A melodic riff kicks off the track with a distinct Stone Roses sort of feel, (like a psychedelic “Waterfall”), which soon erupts in a vivacious explosion of energy and vibrant guitars.  The influence from the Britpop tidal wave which swept the 90’s are on show here, but it’s the bands ability to take this inspiration and make it their own which shows a creative spark many have failed to light in the wake of what was truly a special time for British music. The optimistic vibes from the track are allowed to thrive through the upbeat rhythm, in a musical formula highlighted by bands such as The Enemy. Clever vocal delivery from John Waghorn are reminiscent of a young Damon Albarn, perhaps tinged with the assured swagger of Arctic Monkey’s Alex Turner.
The bands almost hypnotic lead riff blends perfectly with a primal drum beat to pave the way for A “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?” era Oasis jam towards the end of the song, radiating a passion and genuine emotion not often heard since the days of the legendary Mancs.
“Neither Here Nor There” opens with the background noise of a city in desperate need of a wakeup call to the exponential world which surrounds them. Welcome Pariah have delivered just that.
Cool, calm and filled with belief, this tune promises to be a festival favourite.
If you like: The Manic Street Preachers, Oasis, The Verve, The Cribs
You’ll like Welcome Pariah.

Review by Taylor Johnson.

Check out “Neither Here Nor There” on the Welcome Pariah official bandcamp:
Keep up to date with them on Facebook here:
Follow the lads on Twitter here: @WelcomePariah

"Neither Here Nor There" promises to be an explosive live tune ~ catch them live at  "This Feeling" in London on 26th April

EP review ~ pretty cartel ~ "tales of the working class"

by 18:25

EP Review
Pretty Cartels
Tales of the Working Class

For a band that have been together for little over a year, Pretty Cartels have certainly been busy. Constant gigging around Belfast’s musical hotspots was followed up by the release of their first single, “The Busker”, which has made big waves amongst the big-wigs of the local music scene, even being chosen as the official anthem for the “BackinBelfast” campaign (which also won the band substantial airplay in the process ~ and left Citybeat inundated with calls as to the identity of the mystery band behind the tune!). All that was left to cap off a fine start by any group’s standards, was the launch of their debut EP, “Tales of the Working Class”. It’s fair to say I was rather excited to finally hear it!

The EP opens cleverly, with white noise and brief flashes of sound before bursting into life with screaming electric guitars and a bluesy overtone. The bands complex vocal harmonies are evident from the outset, but it’s the solidarity of their rhythm section which is perhaps the most impressive. “She’s The One” kicks the record into life, but the energetic and upbeat solos from Neal Connor’s guitar wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the watertight synergy between bass and drum, which gives the track it’s foot tapping charm. One can imagine that this would be an excellent live song.
“Diamonds and Rainbows” shows a more folksy side to the Cartels. A beautifully syncopated drum intro again highlights why Davy Braniff is held in such high regard, as a fast paced acoustic guitar drives the tune forward. The song carries an upbeat vibe, not a million miles away from American chart act The Lumineers, which captures the relentlessly positive attitude of the working class, living up to the EP’s title.
The Cartel’s then display their rockier edge with the beautiful “Holyman”. An atmospheric track, filled with rocky guitar riffs that somehow blend seamlessly with a stunningly subtle string section. This is a tune that would not have looked out of place on a Travis album, the guitar solo towards the end of the song a particular highlight, showing the bands diverse range of influences. A hidden gem.
This is followed by the song which has slowly grown to be considered their signature tune, the wonderfully acclaimed track of the “Backin Belfast” campaign, “The Busker”. A Noel Gallagher esc acoustic guitar intro paves the way for one of the most rhythmic and catchy songs your likely to hear this year. With radio friendly lyrics such as “just put a penny in his case, he’ll put a smile onto your face”, “The Busker” is a song for the family. Paying clever homage to The Beatles (“he’ll sing a song from Let It Be”) and making an obvious reference to Belfast, show that the Pretty Cartels have written what must surely be their biggest crowd pleaser.
The final track, “Light Shines Through”, is an emotional piano number which alludes to the bands more serious side. With a Damon Albarn style arrangement, this song drifts beautifully, giving Dee McIlroy’s strong vocals a chance to take center stage. As the track builds towards its climax the rising and gentle fall of the violins give it a Badly Drawn Boy effect, the abrupt ending suggesting that there is so much more of the Cartels to come. If they can sustain some of this emotional fragility there could be a very bright future ahead for the Lisburn lads. More of the same please!
Review by Taylor Johnson.  
Check out “Tales of the Working Class” here:
Keep up to date with all things Cartel here:

If you like: Travis, The Lumineers, Bell X1
You'll like Pretty Cartels 

"Tales of the Working Class" is the debut from the Lisburn lads.

news ~ the remedy get some newspaper coverage!

by 08:18

News of a musical nature.

Hiya folks, just a note to keep you all up to date with the latest news from the site. Recently we've been gaining a bit of momentum and am delighted to report that quite a few local bands have gotten in touch for reviews ~ That, of course, is what the sites all about  and I want to thank everyone who's continuing to get in touch ~ awesome stuff.

I'm also well pleased to announce that the review of those alternative-funky rascals The Remedy and their debut EP ("Death By Groove") is being featured in this weeks Belfast Telegraph! Result.

It's proof that this site is starting to gain recognition and will hopefully lead to some extra coverage for a great local band.

So spread the word, get in touch & don't stop chasing the dream.


EP review ~ echo raptors ~ "she's so free"

by 04:25

EP Review
Echo Raptors
She's So Free

Having been born at the start of 1995 I remember very little, if anything, of the 1990's. Yet for as long as I can remember I have looked upon this period in time with a certain halcyon quality, were life was simpler and music really meant something. Upon hearing the sound of Belfast 4-piece "Echo Raptors" you'll soon understand why I feel transported back to that period every time I listen to one of their tunes.  When I first heard the name "Echo Raptors" I was immediately intrigued, it seemed something distinctly unique, without being pretentious, something interesting, without the complexity and above all else, it sounded awesome. I then heard their first single, "Plastic People" and couldn't help but announce my new found love of the Raptors. I was hooked. This was special and for the first time since I heard Oasis live at the age of 12 years old, I remembered why I fell in love with music. I couldn't help but review their latest EP, "She's So Free".

The first track, “Change My Way” opens with a beautifully melodic guitar riff, before bursting to life in a cacophony of crashing chords. What hits you straight away is the Raptors seemingly effortless melody which leaves you with a feeling of hope. You may not be able to explain why, or even what that hope is for, but the result is the same and man does it feel good! Front man Phillip Rainey’s vocal delivery has a pristine and yet powerful effect, like an Urban Hymns era Richard Ashcroft. Perhaps it’s a bit early for such wild day dreams, but when the chorus kicks into top gear it’s easy to imagine a hundred thousand strong Glastonbury Crowd singing along to every word in the summer sunshine.
“Nothing Lasts Forever” shows the bands more emotional side, with striking and potent lyrics such as “Turn the page, turn it over and feel the weight of your own words” showing that when they want to be, the Echo Raptors can get deep too. The song fades out with an almost Manic Street Preachers quality. There was also the feeling that had The Beatles wrote tunes like, “I’ll Follow the Sun”  today, it may have sounded a bit like this. Melodic and gentle, “Nothing Lasts Forever” is a beautiful way to break up the EP.
The EP ends with the title track, “She’s So Free”, this time showing off the groups rockier edge, with a real statement of intent. This track edges away from the groups 90’s roots and instead transcends to a 60’s psychedelic level. The soloing from lead guitarist Vince Caddell containing hints of George Harrison in his Beatles hay-day, while maintaining a unique tone that really captures the belief and passion of the Belfast rockers. Ending with some fade-out feedback and chants of “She’s So Free”, that leaves a lasting impression of excitement and optimism.
The Echo Raptors have created another work of Brilliance with “She’s So Free”. A swirling concoction of raw guitars, effortless vocal melodies and pure nostalgia. The Echo Raptors have the ability to make you start believing in Rock ‘n’ Roll again. All you have to do is let them.
If you like…: Oasis, The Verve, The Beatles, The Manic Street Preachers…
You’ll love Echo Raptors.
Review by Taylor Johnson.

Listen to the EP here:
Buy the EP from i-Tunes here:
Follow the band on Twitter: @Echo_Raptors
Check 'em out on Facebook here:

"She's So Free" is out now - Grab a copy and be part of something big!

Echo Raptors have the Northern swagger of a young Oasis ~ They're Mad Fer It!

~ Echo Raptors Live ~

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