Commonwealth Connections: Kathy Giddins & The Rolling Sevens, “Only Me”

Kathy Giddins & The Rolling Sevens - Only Me

I’ve made many references over the years to how the infectious sounds of the British indie-rock scene helped mold my listening preferences during the early 1990s. At a time when traditional rock music was facing challenges from the rising wave of ‘grunge,’ and mainstream radio became an outlet for a never-ending stream of dismal, bland pop, it fell to indie pop/rock music to literally be the ‘alternative’ choice for those craving something different (these were the pre-internet days for many of us).  Whether seeking refuge in the post-punk sounds of The Cure, and The Jesus and Mary Chain, or in the post new-romanticism of Suede, and The La’s, for a few short years, I had discovered a new sanctuary.

Nineties indie music was impossible to ignore once exposed to it, and after hovering from beneath the radar, would eventually reach wider audiences.  Of course, what followed was an explosion, with the arrival of Oasis and Blur propelling a niche scene full throttle into the mainstream; two bands that battled for supremacy as the indie-rock elite.  At this time, I’d already packed my bags and moved on. Indie music had become too commercial for my taste, and most that followed was simply not cool or authentic anymore (with a few exceptions).  The passion for those early days was reignited just a few weeks ago, however, thanks primarily to Toronto alt-rockers July Talk, who released a stunning music video covering the popular James hit, “Laid.”  The perfectly timed arrival of new music from the Nottingham, UK-based ‘Kathy Giddins and the Rolling Sevens’ into our GDW inbox followed, and less than ten seconds into this track, I knew it was something that had to be shared here right now.

Kathy Giddins is an emerging vocalist on the UK indie scene.  Richard Clark is a gifted songwriter.  So, it seems perfect for both to collaborate, with Richard providing the raw material, and Kathy creating the magic, along with Jordan Humber (guitars) and Chris Allen (drums) – collectively The Rolling Sevens.  “Only Me” may only be a few weeks old, but could easily convince me of being a lost, undiscovered studio find from the golden age of indie-pop music.  The recipe for success within this genre is pretty cut and dry: take a relatively simple moving beat, add some light, cheery vocals, and season with a generous splash of ringing guitar riffs, hooks, and melodies.  Yes, Giddins and co. have that part down with ease, raising the bar with some stunning harmonies courtesy of Edward Randell, Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson, and Imogen Parry, a trio of classically trained vocalists (The Swingle Singers) who contribute a solid extra dimension to this already wonderful sound.

Kathy Giddins

Per Richard, “Only Me” is the first teaser of new music from the band’s debut album, “Where Sweet Confetti Falls,” one that they plan to release independently very soon.  “The album traces a young girl’s journey through the [longing] of love, only to find herself trapped in an abusive relationship,” he explains. “The storyline remains largely obscured within a gloriously accessible melodic rock soundtrack, served with a slight country edge, of which [this single] is a delightfully infectious example.”

Listening to this track on repeat as I consolidate my thoughts, Richard’s tale comes alive thanks to the beauty of Kathy’s voice: “I lose you win / I end where you begin / Time it wears so thin / You shout out slam the door / Scream you want something more / That’s rich but then there’s poor …”  Vocals, I might add, that very quickly earn your attention; Kathy fluttering between simplicity and vulnerability one moment, followed by naivety and skepticism the next.  Indeed, two immediate thoughts spring to mind about Kathy’s vocals here as I listen.  The first draws similarities to the delivery style of Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction), although sans the intensity – but trust me, Reader boasts unbelievable strength with her vocal cords.  The second being the sound itself, as I detect hints of Sonya Madan (Echobelly), another vocalist with a cheery disposition who toggled between emotive lines with natural ease.  Giddins draws from both elements to create her own unique style, leaving this first impression an incredibly memorable one for me: “I’m holding onto nothing / In high dependency / Holding onto nothing / Nothing’s grabbed a hold of me.” 

As newcomers Kathy Giddins and the Rolling Sevens continue to navigate the music industry, their immediate challenge is to find their identity, create their music, find their audience, bond with their audience, and pursue their dreams.  “Currently unsigned and hitherto unknown, the long-term ambition of making more meaningful music is … replaced by a more immediate dream of getting the recording pressed on heavyweight vinyl, slipped inside poly-lined inners and presents in a thick cardboard gatefold sleeve,” shares Richard. “Let’s keep the ‘sevens rolling,’ watch ‘sweet confetti’ fall all around us.  It all promises to be rather wonderfully beautiful.” 

Just a few days ago, Richard informed us that the bands’ follow up single, “Henry (Why Did You Marry Me)” is now officially released and being shared with the world.  This track demonstrates once again some great positive vibes, those beautiful backing harmonies, and just is another remarkable early offering from Kathy Giddins and the Rolling Sevens.  Please check this band out on Facebook – we’d love you to help them out by liking their page, and enjoy taking the journey with them and their sonic delights together.

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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