Soul Sister!

Soul Sister @Hackney Empire

Originally published: Hackney Citizen

Consolidating thirty years of history into just over two hours of crowd pleasing song and dance, Soul Sister introduces Emi Wokoma as Anna Mae Bullock (renamed Tina when she began performing with Ike Turner), who has done well to lay down sturdy foundations for a glittering career ahead.

Wokoma’s characterisation of the Queen of rock ‘n’ roll is seamless in its mimicry; she’s got the voice and the moves down to a T, but transcends mere Stars in Your Eyes frivolity on account of her convincing ability to tell a story.

Although elsewhere acting plays second fiddle to the music, Soul Sister is by no means narrative-lite. The ups and downs of Ike and Tina Turner’s turbulent relationship run parallel to key social movements like the Civil Rights Movement and feminism, serving up historical soundbites which add weight and context to the storied life of this storied singer.

The curtains open to a sequined adorned Turner in the 80s; the final click in the chain of a show which spans three decades of music making – perfectly executed by the band and Ikettes backing singers – ensuring every preference is catered for.

Wokoma belts out an enthralling, lung blasting rendition of ‘Private Dancer’, before the clock winds back to the 50s and we see a young Turner fleeing her hometown of Nutbush for the bright lights of St.Louis.

It’s in St.Louis that Tina meets Ike (Chris Tummings) – who quickly snaps her up as the frontwoman in his band – and she accordingly becomes his wife. Turner maintains her love for Ike even as he falls prey to drug use and domestic violence and we watch as he spirals out of control and their marriage falls apart.

The soundtrack moves through 60s hits like ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ – which comes with a cursory warning from producer Phil Spector who urges Turner to leave her husband – and 70s megabolts like ‘Proud Mary’ before rounding things off with a newly emancipated and empowered Turner in the 80s, who gets the audience up on their feet for final banger ‘Simply The Best’.

It’s a show-stopping end to a visual sonic feast which leaves little to the imagination but cares a lot for the soul.

Down Under with Dick Diver

Taking their name from the main protagonist in Fitzgerald’s ‘Tender is the Night’, Dick Diver or Dick Diver (tailor intonation to suit individual preferences or mood) are a Melbourne four-piece who make low-slung, eeked-out, widescreen indie – undeniably Antipodean in the kind of sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery mantra it expels – with Hawaiian lilts and dissonant, unmistakeably Aussie male vocals.

‘Flying Tea Towel Blues’ is a slow-burning meander through the heat scorched outback, ‘Interstate Forever’ is a jangle all the way (with the windows down) road trip with Pavement in the backseat. ‘On The Bank’ points a finger towards the Dunedin Sound of the 80s – with female vocals adding that storied dichotomy to the mix — and final album track ‘Head Back’ is tempered with harmonica, tying up any lose country ends.

All in all, ‘New Start Again’ – their debut LP which came out last year on Chapter Music (so I’ve come a bit late to the party) – fans out balmy gusts of air which will never get stale.

You can stream the whole album here:

Slowcoaches are heavy.


Endless high-kicks of adrenalin fuelled power-pop-noise-punk guitars where the occasional gnarly wig out sees the light of day. With brash outbursts from frontwoman Heather – see ‘Get Ripped’ – they also surf a melodic wave  – see ‘Gimme Fuck Ups’ – pitting male against female in a vocal sparring contest of which indie-pop mavens would be proud. ‘No Brainer’ revives the EARLY punk spirit of Ash, whose mini album ‘Trailer’ (released 1994) is like a time capsule of their youthful belligerence forever preserved.


Slowcoaches’ latest EP ‘We’re So Heavy’ – out on cassette with Tye Die Tapes – pertains to this punk aesthetic but boasts blasts of fragrant, doe-eyed singing. It’s sweet and sour. Steel toe-capped brevity. I saw them tear up Powerlunches the other week and it’s safe to say I had a pretty swell time.

Hear them sing and play!

They are here! –

Light Asylum Seeking

Light Asylum – Debut s/t LP!!!

WOW. The Light Asylum debut is what the world has been waiting for.  Just when you thought electronic music had become the preserve of the wishy-washy, Light Asylum grab you by the scruff of your neck and frighten the life out of you. This is earnest stuff. A much needed kick up the proverbial. Synth-pop with clout (and added terror).



Sounding the alarm with neighing horses on ‘A Certain Person’, moving through ravaging teutonic clamour on ‘Hour Fortess’ – a stab in the gothic dark – there’s also the monstrous, psychotic, verging-on-terrorcore of ‘Pope Will Roll’ (yes he will) and 80s OMD/Eurthymics ready ‘Angel Tongue’. There’s an industrial sized hole in the equator which Shannon Funchess and Bruno Coviello have just filled with molten silver. All hell’s about to break loose.