Tuesday, 27 January 2015

What I'm Listening To (27/01/15)

Sooooo, it's been a while since I've posted a 'What I'm Listening To' post and I feel like this one has a good mix of genres... I rediscovered a whole load of albums from my childhood over Christmas, so expect a couple of mid 00s tracks, as well as some newer ones - of course. 

1. Am Gone – Adult Jazz
I’m still confused as to why I hadn’t listened to this brill band much before, but the more I listen to them, the less guilty I feel. If you like Bombay Bicycle Club, I’m sure you’ll like Adult Jazz, but expect deeper meaning and a more flexible structure to the usual guitar-bass-drum set up, which is a fresh idea and I like it, along with the overall concept of Adult Jazz.


2. Last Hope – Paramore
It wasn’t until a couple of months ago, that I got their latest album and have had it on repeat, being a car CD for a few weeks. I like most of the tracks, specifically this one, ‘Ain’t It Fun’ and ‘Now’. The album itself is a good mix of a usual ‘Paramore’ sound but it also explores a newer style, with ukulele interludes – I like it! (Also this live performance of the track - YESSSSS)


3. God's Whisper – Raury
After featuring Raury in my Sound of 2015, I’ve had a couple of his tracks on repeat, but I keep going back to this one. The overall vibe is chilled and so catchy, with claps and group vocals backing and building throughout the track. I’m also a big fan of the music video.


4. Real Thing – tUnE-yArDs
I know I mentioned them in my Best of 2014 but I’ve listened to tUnE-yArDs A LOT in the last couple of months, which I guess backs up their position in that post. I really enjoy their layered percussion, vocals and well-written lyrics etc. and have been enjoying their latest album ‘Nikki Nack’, especially ‘Real Thing’, ‘Hey Life’ and ‘Sink-O’. The creativity is also out of this world...


5. I’m With You – Avril Lavigne
One of the albums I rediscovered was ‘Let Go’ by Avril Lavigne, one of my all-time favourite albums, so I’ve been listening to that a lot. It was surpringly hard to choose a song to put into this WILT but I decided on the one I’ve also been playing on guitar a fair bit too. Ahh nostalgia.


6. Lose Yourself – Eminem
I’ve also revisited Eminem recently, and having watched 8 Mile all the way through (at last), this song fitted the choice well. Also, when you know all the words to a fair few of his songs, especially this one, I think it’s fair to say you’ve listened to them enough, but I don’t get bored of Eminem’s verses and I’ve recently picked up his latest album, so will be listening to that too.


7. Small Things – Ben Howard
‘I Forget Were We Are’ was one of my favourite albums from 2014, and I still listen to it as much as I did when I first got it. The overall unique sound of Ben and his guitar is almost addictive, this is up there with my favourite track from the album, however my favourites change depending what I’m doing or how I’m feeling, and I can easily listen to the whole of the album on repeat.


8. Drop The Game – Flume & Chet Faker
I’m a big fan of both Flume and Chet Faker and I’ve been listening to them both over the last couple of months; so if they joined forces, great music would be made. Correct and here is the product released, as well as the ‘Lockjaw EP’.


9. The Hanging Tree – James Newton Howard ft. Jennifer Lawrence
Around New Years, I went to go see Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 at the cinema, the score of the film really stood out to me, as it does in most films, as the music can intensify scenes etc. However, James Newton Howard did a brilliant job composing the score for ‘The Hanging Tree’ and I’ve had it stuck in my head for quite a while now, Jennifer also did a brilliant job on vocals and it did well in the charts, which is an added bonus right?!


10. Coffee – Sylvan Esso

Another catchy song, that I keep getting stuck in my head and is one of my favourite electronic songs at the minute. I can’t really think what else to say about this one apart from give it a listen, slow-mo rave a long and feel chilled out!   


What have you been listening to lately? 

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Feature: Mo Evans (13/01/15)

Having grown up in a studio in Scotland, surrounded by music, Mo Evans is a brilliant upcoming singer/songwriter. After growing up with music from family and skilled musicians around him, he started his own musical journey. He was introduced to the drums, aged six and three years later he chose to learn guitar. He moved to England with his mum, joined a band and grew a love for performing. In the last year, Mo has been gigging in London, as well as going on European tours and warming up for Bonnie Tyler at Silverstone. Now it's time for his debut EP 'Spilling My Love' and it's one to be excited about! 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when your started getting involved in music and how?

I think I realised I wanted to be a musician when I was around 6, however, I was born and raised in a music studio so I've been around artists and bands and musicians for as long as I can remember!

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you've been to?
Wow, that could be any! From Dry The River at Reading Festival, to watching my kiwi folk friend in Scotland play around a bonfire. Bestival was also pretty inspiring this year. I really should have a notable gig or fezzy, but the truth is I think I come out just as inspired every time when I watch someone I like!

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Well, my favourite albums recently have been Ben Howard's 'I Forget Where We Were', or 'Rumours' by Fleetwood Mac and Bombay Bicycle Club's 'So Long, See You Tomorrow'.

3 Questions for Mo:

1. You've already learnt to play drums and guitar, but what other instrument(s) would you like to play and why?

Hmm, I've always wanted to play harmonica, and I practice from time to time. I'd say my friend Brendan Power put me on to that one, he recorded with me a few years ago and he is definitely the best harp player I'll ever see, since then I've always wanted to play it. Violin is another, and that's just because of how beautiful it sounds.

2. If you could invite any three people to one of your gigs, who would you choose and why? 
I could think about that question and answer with my biggest idols or someone prestigious and fabulous. But my initial thought would be my Mum, my Dad and my sister. No particular reason other than that is who I'd like to play to most! If I were to think about that question it would probably be Jeff Buckley, Stevie Wonder and Lou Reed. And that would be so I could say Jeff Buckley, Stevie Wonder and Lou Reed came to see my gig.

3. Have you got a favourite track from your debut EP 'Spilled My Love' and if so, why is it your favourite? 
I'd say the last track on the EP 'You Wanted Love' is my favourite. Out of all 4 songs, I think I enjoyed recording and writing that one most, and I revisit that feeling when I listen to it.

Random Q:

Favourite pizza topping?

Favourite pizza topping... It varies... Let's go American Hot - can't even remember what's on those...

'Spilled My Love' EP Review:

The title track, opens the EP with great guitar, adding cymbals to build into vocals, stunning vocals similar to Andreas Moe and Hozier, the song grows with a beat and violin and includes catchy builds and gospel-style backing.

The second track is 'Close My Eyes', starting stripped back acoustic, intensifying with piano into a powerful track, and is pretty wonderful.
'Can't Come Any Closer' is the third track and oh boy, the harmonies, percussion, piano, guitar and vocals compliment each other so well, Mo clearly knows how to put good songs together.
The EP finishes on 'You Wanted Love', the sound of fire and breathing at the beginning of the song, with slow piano, it's has a chilling atmosphere about it, reminding me of Benedict. The slowness allows you to really focus on the well-written, honest lyrics and then the song turns with introduction of strings and percussion, turning rockier for the last minute.
Overall, a brilliantly pieced together EP, one that pushes Mo into my 'future stars' list. He manages to create such a unique sound whilst having hints of many successful artists, Hozier, Ed Sheeran, Benedict and Andreas Moe. (I've also had it on repeat for the last couple of days, and haven't got bored of it!)


Mo's Links:

Check It Out!

Chart: Up - Olly Murs ft. Demi Lovato

'Up' was released on 1st December 2014, as the second single from Olly's fourth album, 'Never Been Better'. It also features on Demi's deluxe version of her fourth album 'Demi'. This track has peaked at #4 in the UK Singles Chart and hopefully goes even further up the charts (excuse the pun!).

Up - Olly Murs ft. Demi Lovato (link)

Live Performance: Young Blood - Saint Raymond

Saint Raymond has been featured on many '... 2015' lists amongst the music world and hopefully 2015 really is his year. Here's a great funked up and rockier performance with Transmitter, of his song 'Young Blood', which was the title track from my favourite EP of his. (Which you should definitely check out!) The guitar riffs, drums and lyrics will get you tapping your feet and nodding your head. 


Cover: Holocene - Evan Chapman

I stumbled across this the other night, and honestly, couldn't have been happier about finding such a stunning, haunting, atmospheric cover of one of my favourite songs. All I can say is just listen to this cover and subscribe to him over on YouTube. (Evan's YouTube channel)


Classic: All The Small Things - Blink 182

'All The Small Things' was the second single released from Blink 182's third album 'Enema of the State'. This pop-punk track easily features in my all-time favourite songs and was a favourite for others too, peaking at #2 in the UK Singles Chart and #6 in the US Billboard Hot 100. To me and many of my friends this is a singalong classic. 


Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Conflicts: 'I Liked Them Until They Got Popular...' (06/01/15)

This is a phrase I hear all too much, and unfortunately I said it about one band recently and regretted my choice of words instantly. It isn't really a fair comment to make to the band, artist or genre of music.

A lot of the time musicians that get popular are signed to 'major labels'. This tends to mean they are converted into a 'mainstream' act and their sound changes, sometimes for the better, other times for the worst. They often seem to disappear for months on end with no uploads or music, this will usually be because they are writing or recording for an album, unfortunately this can seem like forever, and a lot of people get forgotten about until they drop another album... 

First of all, artists/bands get popular, it's the process of progress in their career and you should be happy for them, they're getting to do something they love/are good at for a living. However, with this comes change, as they get bigger, their audience grows, meaning there's more people to connect and communicate with, more people to fall in love with them and more people to fall out with. 

Usually, artists will have a breakthrough with a single or a couple of tracks from an album/few EPs, meaning they will gain supporters that will have only heard those songs. This tends to bring a slight change in style, a signed record deal amongst other opportunities that could taint the original sound. Personally, I don't feel this is a bad thing, however, others do, and this is when the phrase 'I liked them until they got popular' is often used. 

Along with becoming popular can also bring traits that could be misinterpreted as being 'divaish', for example, selling meet and greet tickets at an inflated price, when once upon a time they would have been a free half hour after a gig, or not replying to comments or tweets as much as they used to. But when an artist/band becomes bigger it's not realistically possible, (although meet and greet ticket prices could be squashed). Intimate gigs might be cut by management, claiming the act 'too big for that now', which is unfortunate as this is usually how it all started. 

Then you have the select audience, who believe an artist/band can become too mainstream, and therefore not 'alternative' enough for them, which is fine, everyone has their own taste in music and if something is getting played 24/7 on the radio, you're ears are going to get a little sick of it. 

Most of the above mentioned reasonings for people to say 'I liked them until they got popular', aren't fair. You can't blame it on them becoming popular; they either changed their sound, or became too divaish etc. however, to the musicians, stay grounded and don't forget where it all started... 

Check It Out!

Chart: Night Changes - One Direction

This is the most recent single from popular boy band, One Direction. 'Night Changes' is the second single from their fourth studio album 'Four' and peaked at #7 in the UK Singles Chart, even though this single hasn't done as well as previous tracks, their album went in at #1 in the UK Albums Chart and the music video for the song has over 40 million views and they released a popular acoustic version too (which is pretty good!). 


Live Performance: Blame It On The Boogie - Ellie Goulding

So, in England (or at least our house) it's a tradition to watch Jools Holland's Hootenanny at New Year. This year, it all picked up a bit more again and there were lots of great performances, more of which you'll hear I'm sure... This is one of my favourites from the evening, Ellie Goulding singing a classic Jackson 5 track, which is still a party anthem now. Enjoy this one!! 


Cover: Castle On A Cloud - April & Myles

A favourite of Music In Time's, April and Myles, have started off the new year with a stunning cover of 'Castle On A Cloud', from one of the worlds most popular and most performed musicals, Les Misérables. I can't really say much else about this cover, they'll do the rest... :)


Soundcloud: Next Time Don't Forget - DJ Sabotage

Here's something a little different that I've heard about recently, a drum and bass track with a difference from a previous ACM student, it's got more of a melody to it than other d'n'b you hear and personally I really like it and hope you do too... 


Thanks for reading! 
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Friday, 2 January 2015

Sound of 2015. (02/01/15)

In this blog I will share 10 musicians/bands that I believe are going to blow up a little bit more in 2015, and these artists and bands are going to feature on my iPod for the next 12 months. I’ve also included 15 others at the end, which I felt really needed a mention too.

SOAK
Aged 18, Bridie Monds-Watson, can look back on her musical career and be proud already, but the future is also looking incredibly bright for her. Known musically as SOAK, she creates songs with honest lyrics and if I had to put her sound into a genre I’d say experimental folk. She recently released her single ‘B a noBody’, with Rough Trade, which has received radio play on BBC R1. SOAK also performed for Radio 1’s Piano Sessions at the end of last year, which has gained interest into her music. 2015 will see a debut album and hopefully some live dates.


Amber Run
Amber Run was formed at University of Nottingham by friends, Will Jones, Tom Sperring, Joe Keogh, Henry Wyeth and Felix Archer. The ‘alternative rock’ band released three EPs in 2014 and they are set to release their debut album via Sony Music sometime in 2015. They’ve toured with the likes of Kodaline and Lewis Watson, as well as playing a string of festivals and events such as Reading Festival, Standon Calling, Kendal Calling, Dot-to-Dot and Bushstock. These guys are definitely one to watch this year.


Rhodes
Rhodes had a pretty good 2014, releasing two EPs, re-releasing an EP and supporting London Grammar and Sam Smith, as well as completing his first UK headline tour, including three sold out gigs at London’s Sebright Arms. He also performed at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and at Glastonbury and I believe 2015 could be the year that Rhodes receives a bit more exposure, which would be totally deserved.


Frank Hamilton
Frank Hamilton kept pretty quiet throughout 2014, writing and recording. However, 2012 and 2013 were great for Frank, after his #OneSongAWeek project did really well in the album charts. #OneSongAWeek started Frank’s rise including support/collaborations with Ed SHeeran, Newton Faulkner, The Crimea, Lauren Aquilina, Mark Grist, Ryan Keen, Lyracis, Dion Dublin, just to name a few… I’ve heard some of Frank’s new music and it’s definitely something to be excited about, another album to look forward to in 2015!


Kwabs
After releasing cover versions of ‘Like A Star’ (Corinne Bailey Rae) and ‘The Wilhelm Scream’ (James Blake) that went viral in 2012, Kwabs signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records. The 24 year old soulful singer/songwriter released three EPs in 2014, and released a more-pop orientated single ‘Walk’, which is his best known release, charting high in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. 2015 is set to see a studio album from Kwabs, which should be a brilliant overall sound, if his EPs are anything to go by.


Circa Waves
Circa Waves, the British indie-rock band formed in 2013, is made up of Kieran Shudall, Sam Rourke, Sian Plummer and Joe Falconer. In February 2014, their second single ‘Stuck In My Teeth’ was played by Zane Lowe as his Hottest Record in the World. They opened the NME Awards Tour alongside Temples, Interpol and Royal Blood, as well as performing at loads of festivals, such as, Latitude, T in the Park, Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds, to name a few. They released their debut EP back in June and their debut album ‘Young Chasers’ is set for release on 30th March 2015, so keep your ears tuned for that!


George The Poet
George The Poet has brought something fresh to the music industry (hopefully allowing others, who do the same, to follow in his footsteps). He is a spoken word artist that offers social commentary through poetry with a hop hop vibe. In 2012 he was selected as the face of BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend, in 2013 he signed to Island Records, in 2014 he released ‘The Chicken and the Egg EP’ and was shortlisted for 2015 BRIT Awards Critic’s Choice and 2015 he is going to be big!


Saint Raymond
Callum Burrows, better known as Saint Raymond, is the upcoming indie singer/songwriter from Nottingham. He started off a few years ago playing small gigs, open mic nights and supporting other upcoming artists. In 2013 he gained popularity after releasing his debut EP ‘Escapade’ on Never Fade Records ( via Gabrielle Aplin), the EP did well in the iTunes album chart and lead to his song ‘Fall At Your Feet’ being promoted as iTunes Single of the Week. He has played Reading and Leeds Festival, he’s supported Haim and more recently Ed Sheeran. 2014 has been massive for Callum and 2015 is set to be even bigger. (Yet another debut album to look out for…)


Raury
After releasing his first independent album, Indigo Child, Raury started gaining attention of music listeners and a devoted group of supporters. Lorde asked him to contribute to the Hunger Games Mockingjay Pt. 1 soundtrack and he opened for Outkast at their homecoming show in September. 2015 is probably going to see Raury rise even highger, with a newly signed Columbia Records deal, it’d be good to get a major label release, he starting the year off well with a tour, so if you get the chance, go check him out.


Rae Morris
Rae Morris is one of the artists I’ve been listening to for the past three years and has only just started to get exposure and the following she deserves. After supporting Bombay Bicycle Club, Lianne Le Havas, Noah and the Whale and Tom Odell and releasing loads of brilliant EPs in the last few years, 2015 sees Rae release her debut album ‘Unguarded’ (26th January) via Atlantic Records and then go on a headline tour in February. It’s (hopefully) going to start well for Rae and the only way is up!


Ones To Watch:
Royal Blood (link)
George Ezra (link)
James Bay (link)
Fryars (link)
Wayward Daughter (link) (link #2)
Chasing Grace (link)
Years & Years (link)
Wolf Alice (link)
Ibeyi (link)
Ten Walls (link)
Catfish & The Bottlemen (link)
Ryn Weaver (link)
Shura (link)
Prides (link)
Slaves (links)

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