Friday, 29 May 2015

Spotlight: Jack Garratt (29/05/15)


Jack Garratt is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and generally all round impressive musician. He grew up in a musical home in Buckinghamshire and has been writing songs since he was around 12, the first song he ever wrote even got him a place in the GB finals of Junior Eurovision Song Contest when he was 13. He's had a lot of backing from the likes of BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 1; in 2014, 'Worry' was selected as Zane Lowe's Next Hype Record and Jack was also named as Huw Stephen's Record of the Week. Now he's released his latest EP 'Synesthesiac' and a list of festival dates ahead of him, the only way is up! 

Synesthesiac EP Review:
The EP kicks off with 'Synesthesia Pt. 1', this track presents Jack's musicality with a mix of keys, synths and a gritty bass underlining it, contrasted with the second half of the track, which is stripped back, minimal and ends with stunnings sounds that I can't work out as vocals or not... - but this increases the enigma and atmosphere of the EP. 'The Love Your Given' follows on seamlessly continuing the atmosphere of the last track, it's a stunning song with beautiful lyrics sung brilliantly by Jack. It cuts and builds throughout the track and the middle section has elements reminiscent of artists like Flume but Jack manages to keep to the originality of his sound well. I think this is the stand out track to me on the EP as managing to summarise his sound well and I'm sure it would be incredible live. Next is 'Chemical', this song is accompanied with a music video on his VEVO channel. It's another track that summarises his sound really well, great vocals with brilliantly crafted music, including a section of jazzy piano and claps before building back up again to a gritty dance tone, perfect for a festival. The EP finishes on 'Lonesome Valley' which starts slowly and completely stripped back with only vocals growing, a beat added and then layered into a funky track with a chilled vibe to it. It's not my favourite but it does fit well on the EP and I think finishing with it makes 'The Love Your Given' and 'Chemical' stand out a little more than the others. 


See Jack Live:
30th May: The Independent, San Francisco, CA
31st May: Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA
1st June: Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA
6-7th June: Field Day 2015, London
26th June: OpenAir St. Gallen 2015, Switzerland
3-4th July: PITCH Festival 2015, Amsterdam
3-5th July: Barn on the Farm 2015, Gloucester
3-18th July: Montreaux Jazz Festival 2015, Switzerland

Jack Garratt's Links:

Check It Out!

Chart: Bad Blood - Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar
'Bad Blood' is the latest single from American singer/songwriter Taylor Swift and is taken from her fifth studio album '1989'. The single version was released on 17th May (2015) and features American hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar. It reached #1 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and has peaked at #4 in the UK Singles Chart so far. The music video is pretty impressive, with multiple stars making appearances, if you haven't got on the hype, now's your chance! 


Live Performance: Glitterball - Sigma ft. Ella Henderson
Sigma are an English drum and bass duo, Cameron Edwards and Joe Lenzie, originating from Leeds. They rose to 'fame' with their single 'Nobody To Love' and the follow up single 'Changing' which features Paloma Faith. This live performance is of 'Glitterball' - I think from their forthcoming album 'Life', live from Radio One's Big Weekend and features X Factor star Ella Henderson. 


Cover: Believe - Bryce Drew
This is the first of (fingers crossed) many brilliant covers from Bryce's Summer Cover Series. She is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter and after he transition to Nashville, she's getting back into posting and uploading. Here's her stunning cover of Mumford & Son's 'Believe' from their latest album 'Wilder Mind'. 


YouTube: Bambu - Kojey Radical
Kojey Radical is a contemporary artist and spoken word Ghanian-Birtish poet. 'Bambu (I Don't Worry 'Bout Nothing)' is his first official release and follows last year's 'Dear Diary: Opium EP'. It's a hard-hitting and powerful track, as well as a visually engaging music video, he's getting bigger and better and I'm sure you will be hearing a lot more of him in the future. The single 'Bambu' is out on Monday (1st June) and is one I will definitely be adding to my collection! If you like what you hear/see, try catch him on the end of his UK tour (FB link to find more info here). 
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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

What I'm Listening To... (27/05/15)

The past couple of months have included a trip to see Amber Run headline Scala with Meadowlark and Rhodes supporting, revising for final exams and leaving full time education. There have been some chilled songs mixed in with throwbacks and then summer upbeat style tracks, probably one of the biggest mix of genres and a fairly big timeline skip this time round, so enjoy! 

1. 5AM - Amber Run
I've been following Amber Run for a while now and when they announced their debut album, I pre-ordered trusting that it would be just as good as their previous releases, and it was. Having also seen them live at the end of last month and seeing this song in particular performed with such emotion and rawness, it's been on repeat. Everything makes it such a stunning song and it was difficult to have dry eyes after their performance. 



2. Kings and Queens - Thirty Seconds To Mars
I've always been a strong listener of Thirty Seconds To Mars, in particular the 'This Is War' album, however, I hadn't listened to them in a while and after picking up Rocksound with the Worship and Tributes CD in, I fell back in love. You Me At Six covered it, and that (if you can find it anywhere) is really worth listening to but nothing beats this original. Jared Leto really is a musical genius. 


3. Worry - Jack Garratt
Another song I've had on repeat is 'Worry' by the incredibly talented Jack Garratt. I'm definitely excited about seeing him live at Barn on the Farm this year, should be a great show. It hasn't just been this song either, the majority of his songs are brilliantly crafted and layered ahhhh just have a listen, this is him performing at The Great Escape this year.  


4. Dial Tones - As It Is
As I mentioned in my last WILT post, I am and always have been really into pop punk music. As It Is are easily my favourite current pop punk band. This song is from their debut album 'Never Happy, Every After' and it often gets played pretty loud in my car, usually with me shouting along too. 


5.  Retrogade - James Blake
When I've been chilling in the evenings or attempting to sleep at 2am, James Blake has been my go-to. 'The Wilhelm Scream' helping with chilled evenings, 'Overgrown' helping with the latter and 'Retrogade' for the in-between moments. The whole of his 'Overgrown' album is brilliant and I'm looking forward to 'Radio Silence' his third album, hopefully being released at some point this year... 


6. Ironic - Alanis Morissette
One of the many throwback tracks I've been listening to is this golden song, when the chorus comes along, you have to singalong. I've been listening to Alanis Morissette so much I ended up getting the 'Jagged Little Pill' album yesterday, so I'll enjoy spending many hours listening to that. Oh and traffic when you're already late isn't ironic, it's just flipping annoying!


7. Fire - Natasha North
Another from my chilled/sleep playlist, mix Rae Morris, Lauren Aquilina and Meadowlark together and you'll get the wonderful sound of Natasha North. I've had this song stuck in my head a lot recently, humming it without even realising it half the time. It's a great song, with stunning vocals and  beautifully written lyrics and an overall brilliant sound. 


8. This Is Gallifrey/Vale Decum - Doctor Who
I'm a bit of a geek, I love Doctor Who. On Saturday, I went to the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular at Wembley Arena and it was incredible. To experience the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC National Chorus of Wales bringing Murray Gold's soundtracks to life, was brilliant. (The clip I've linked isn't from the tour, but it gives you a little idea of what it was like.) Some of the songs also help me during revision, so if you're stuck for music, there's a tip for you GCSE and A Level students! 


9. White Sky - Vampire Weekend
I've also revisited Vampire Weekend's 'Contra' album and consequently had it on repeat for the past couple of months. It's a really summery, upbeat album with generally brilliant songs on, there isn't one that I skip and the majority of them get me singing along or tapping my foot. This one in particular gets stuck in my head. 



10. Teenage Dirtbag - Wheatus
The other throwback tune for this post, is the classic 'Teenage Dirtbag', as last week was my last officially in full time education, our leavers video obviously included this song. I also got tickets to their 15th Anniversary Tour in October, so I'm really looking forward to that, even if it is a few months off! 


What have you been listening to lately?

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Monday, 25 May 2015

Feature: The Griswolds (25/05/15)


The Griswolds are a four piece Australian indie pop band, consisting of Christopher Whitehall (vocals/guitar), Daniel Duque-Perez (guitar/synth), Tim John (bass) and Lachlan West (drums). Their debut album did really well in the US, charted in the iTunes Alternative Chart in the Top 5 and with six million streams worldwide so far. They've played shows with San Cisco, Last Dinosaurs and toured Australia to ever-increasing crowds. Having just played Dot to Dot Festival and Club NME and now they're releasing 'Be Impressive' their debut album today, so I caught up with Chris for a Q&A. 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I was five when my parents bought me a drum kit but I didn't start playing guitar and singing until I was 11. That's when I really fell in love with it. 

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you've been to?
Kanye West in New York City!! After he released Yeezus. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Wild Party, Walk The Moon, Urban Cone, Kendrick Lamar

3 Questions for The Griswolds:

1. Where would you most like to perform and why?
Wembley Stadium, it'll never happen but so many of my favourite bands have played that stage like Inxs, Queen and Metallica. 

2. What is your favourite track from your album 'Be Impressive' and why?
Probably '16 Years', I love the lyrical content and relate to that song a lot, it was the hardest song to write/compete as well so it's rewarding to hear it done and I'm really proud of it. 

3. When creating your album was it a collective effort or did you have specific roles within the process? 
Most of the writing is done by myself and Dan, we mix it up a lot when writing, no specific roles we just get together and write until we can write no more. 

Random Q:

A quote/lyric to live by?
Don't go chasing waterfalls. 

'Be Impressive' Album Review:
The album opens with the fast, catchy and upbeat song '16 Years' which was rightfully featured on Fifa 15 Soundtrack. Next is 'Right On Track', which I can imagine being really good live, it reminds me of Fun. but with no-auto tune and much better vocals. 'Beware The Dog' is one of my favourites from the album, a brilliant summer tune, with great guitar riffs, slightly reminiscent of Vampire Weekend. Their latest single 'If You Wanna Stay' is a definite for a festival set, creating a hyped atmosphere, the synths and bass work together in this one to underline the overall sound from the band. 'Down and Out' follows on well, with slower sections and a brilliant chorus, also loved the vocals/synths alongside the guitars. Starting with an innocent and meaningful tone, 'Be Impressive' carries a good message and a flipping good tune, which holds throughout the track. 'Live This Nightmare' seems to have a darker tone and grows into yet another great song. 'America' is yet another fantastically catchy summery track, with the vocals, synths, bass, guitar and drums all layered incredibly well. 'Thread The Needle' opens with strings, it's slower and highlights a more emotive tone, showing the versatility of the band, another favourite of mine. The penultimate track is 'Aurora Borealis' another catchy and overall brilliant track, especially love the instrumental sections in this song. Finishing on 'Not Ready Anymore', with an acoustic start and building layers to grow into a fantastic track, it finishes the album off on a high (and a loud singalong). 
Overall, it's a brilliant album, full of great guitars, brilliant beats and bass, superb synth and subtly stand-out vocals, the only negative might be that some of the tracks may seem similar to some people, but surely that just shows they've found their sound and they're building upon that incredibly well, I'm excited for their future! 


The Griswold's Links:


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Friday, 22 May 2015

Feature: Sal Vitro (22/05/15)


Having met on a modeling shoot in Dublin 2011, Josh Dunford, Owie Lumsden, Cuddy and Rourke Bradley joined powers and Sal Vitro was born. Touring extensively has honed the band into seasoned performers; they’ve joined Thin Lizzy on their farewell tour at a sold out Olympia Theatre, opened for Jeff Beck ad Richie Sambora and rocked out to audiences 10,000 strong for Stauts Quo. Now they’re ready to release their first single ‘Wear It Out’ on 25th May.

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
Josh: My Dad was a blues musician and I’m pretty sure he was blaring people like Junior Wells and Muddy Waters at me while I was still in the womb, doing his best to indoctrinate me. It worked!
There’s always been music in our house so I can’t remember exactly when I started, but I do know that at the age of 7 or 8 I had a life size poster of Michael Jackson in my bedroom and used to sing the ‘Bad’ album in it’s entirety… a bit creepy in retrospect.

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you’ve been to?
Owie: There’s a small independent festival in Ireland called KnockanStockan which in the last 6 years has expanded from just a few friends playing music together in a small pub in Dublin to a three day musical festival. It caters to over 100 acts and provides a great platform for unsigned bands to perform in front of a really enthusiastic and receptive audience.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Rourke: Hozier, probably the most creative current album I’ve heard in a long time. Also The Brothers Johnson, they’ve a cool 70s r’n’b funk sound that has influenced a lot of funk and hip hop bands.

3 Questions for Sal Vitro:

1. Who influences your music and what inspires your lyrics?
Josh: Like any band our influences are constantly changing and expanding. When we first started out bands like Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Stone Roses would have been massive influences. At the moments, acts like The Meters, Vulfpeck, Hozier and The New Mastersounds are really inspiring me personally. Lyrically, I guess a lot of the songs are about things in life that I feel should be different or things that put my nose out of joint. I draw a lot on the styles of people like Dr. Johnand Randy Newman who can write about really dark, morbid topics but present them in a lighthearted and even funny way.

2. One unforgettable moment whilst performing live?
Owie: Walking out onto the stage of the O2 Arena, Dublin to support Status Quo to an audience of 10,000, when a bloke in the front shouted “WHO THE F*CK ARE YOU???” just as we picked up our guitars! That was both nerve-racking and amusing at the same time.

3. When creating your single ‘Wear It Out’, was it a collective effort as a band or did you have specific roles?
Cuddy: ‘Wear It Out’ as you hear it now is a bit of a reincarnation of an older tune Josh and Owie had written before myself and Rourke came along (God bless that water cooler at the modeling agency’s office!) At that stage they already had the riff, vocals and melody down. When I first heard the original demo I could hear some funky drums working well with it. Rourke must have gotten the funk vibe as well with the bass line he came up with. At the time I was listening to a lot of hip hop, particularly for the sampled drum beats and there’s a little nod to NWA’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ in a place or two with the drums laid down on the track. It’s quite subtle so you’ll have to squint your ears to hear it… but it’s in there. After that it just took a bit of Martin Quinn’s magic at Jam Studios to reincarnate it into it’s current form.

Random Q:

Three likes and three dislikes?
Josh: I like the sound of freshly cut grass ;) and strongly dislike the other members of Sal Vitro.
Rourke: I dislike the fact that at 25 years of age, Cuddy’s not housebroken yet.
Cuddy: I just like holding hands with a girl!
Owie: I hate Rourke’s snoring and love the £4 ‘Co-op Chaos’ wine!

'Wear It Out' Single Review:
If you needed a catchy and funky tune for summer, this is it! With a fantastic riff that has been stuck in my head since I first heard the song, brilliant bass line and drum beats filling in the gaps between the great vocals and melodies. Listen to it once and end up having to listen to it a few more times... Enjoy! 


Sal Vitro's Links:
Website: www.salvitro.com

Check It Out!

Chart: Bills - LunchMoney Lewis
This is the debut single from American rapper LunchMoney Lewis, it was released on 5th February (2015) and was commercially successful in Oceania, peaking at #1 in the ARIA Singles Chart. It also reached the Top 10 ini the New Zealand Singles Chart and has also reached Top 10 status in Australia, Belgium and Scotland and has so far reached #2 in the UK Singles Chart. 


Live Performance: Don't Wanna Fight - Alabama Shakes
'Don't Wanna Fight' was written and performed here by American 'rock' band Alabama Shakes. The song was released as the lead single from their second studio album 'Sound & Colour'. It gives a taste of the different genres the band dip into on their latest album and it's a generally brilliant soulful song. 


Cover: Wildest Moments - Ben Howard
As a nod to Fearne Cotton leaving Radio 1 today, I felt it would be wrong not to use a live lounge cover and who better to finish off Fearne's stint as Live Lounge presenter than Ben Howard; a king of covering songs and making them his own. 'Wildest Moments', originally by  British artist Jessie Ware for her debut studio album 'Devotion' released back in 2012. Even though it didn't reach Top 10 in the singles chart, it received positive responses and critical acclaim. Enjoy!! 


Soundcloud: No Ringer - Grounders
'Creating a collection of dense and intricate pop music under the gauzy veil of psychedelia and lo-fi pop'; Grounder (Andrew Davis, Daniel Buskeikin, Mike Searle and Evan Lewis) are set to release their first full-length album this summer and this is the first single 'No Ringer'. These guys are a band to watch (and listen to a lot...)


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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Feature: Mia and the Moon (19/05/15)


Sister duo, Laura and Mary-Anne, make up Mia and the Moon. Mary-Anne’s own songs ‘Solitary Confinement’ and ‘Scenario’ reached the top ten dance chart through Radio 1 airplay and Laura performed worldwide onboard cruise ships, yachts, for hotels and was a guest vocalist at the 2011 New Orleans Jazz Festival. The duo walked from X Factor in 2012 and officially launched in the same year. The past three years have seen them rejects labels, record their debut album and now they’re ready to release it on 30th May. I caught up with Laura ahead of their ‘Fall Awake’ album release for a Q&A.

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I remember trekking around bluegrass festivals as toddlers with our parents who are musical. We used to get bored though, so would walk people’s dogs for a pound but then started hearing and copying harmonies for the first time. Our Dad played with Dolly Parton, Mum is a songwriter and Step Dad ran the ‘Acme Band’ since the 60’s so they’re able to guide and help us, which is great!

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you’ve been to?
I wasn’t there in person but I watched Liane Carroll perform Tom Wait’s ‘Picture In A Frame’ at the Brecon Jazz Festival and she just blew me away. No fancy techno gadgets, just her voice with piano, bass, drums. The instrumentation was so minimal and I realised how stylishly instruments can be used in arrangements and how free the voice could be. I worked so hard on my vocals after watching that – practicing every day! You can catch the moments she’s to another place in her mind while performing and it’s beautiful.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I am a ‘situational listener’, so John Mayer’s live album is always on when getting ready for a gig! The energy and great grooves get me going! Sarah Mclachlan when I’m in the bath, I have Alanis Morissette’s live album on in the car at the mo and if we’re chilling out in the evening I love London Grammar ‘If You Wait’ or something folky like Nathaniel Rateliff.

3 Questions for Mia and the Moon:

1. Do you regret walking from X Factor and why was it important to you to walk when you did?
No regrets at all! We love it. Although I did go out of tune on the bit they showed – (I was so nervous). So I hope I get to redeem myself on TV one day! The first rounds were amazing fun and we were on cloud nine but then at bootcamp the atmosphere changed and it was like working as an extra for 12 hours a day. Then they asked to stage fights for the cameras but not film the big jam we organised and stuff like that so literally on the last day before judges houses we packed our things and bolted – I remember producers chased us down the street shouting ‘you’re making the biggest mistake of your lives’… time will tell… When we got home we thought we’d try and make an album by ourselves instead so we’re very proud and almost protective of it! And can’t believe it’s finally finished!

2. What three countries would you most like to tour and why?
I used to sing on cruise ships so have been lucky enough to travel to some freeking amazing places! Def. love to go back to New Orleans, USA! It’s like no where else on earth! We’d love to do an official tour of Europe – people stream us in Sweden/Germany/Spain so would be lovely to go there! And just for personal preference I’ll say Bali! Can you even tour to Bali? Not sure, but it looks beaut!

3. What process did you through creating and recording your debut album?
Honestly… Probably 300 more than we needed to! Neil Segrott; our producer has been an absolute star! He’s like Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid. He’s given us room to learn and stretch our producing wings while guiding and also knowing a hell of a lot more than us about how to record. Some of the tracks are from way back when Mary-Anne started writing like ‘Fall Awake’ and ‘Beautiful Burden’ then others like ‘Moira Clara’ and ‘Seldom See Ya’ were written as the album was being recorded. We wanted to stay true to the individual characters of the songs, for example ‘Mr Sophisticated’ has a live jazz trio of the recording, empty life is about being raw and alone so Maryanne just sat with a guitar – no reverb or anything on the voice, then you have something like hey pretty thing which is a bit gospel/feel good – so we have church organs, choir – it was all soooo much fun!!

Random Q:

Whose record collection would you most like to listen to and why?
Yours! Anyone that does a blog in music is going to have a pretty sick record collection!! Hopefully Mia and the Moon will make the cut!! Haha

'Fall Awake' Album Review:
The album opens with the title track 'Fall Awake', it introduces the listener perfectly and summarises their music incredibly well. It has a subtly soulful feel to it, with honest lyrics and beautiful vocals accompanied by the piano. The album follows on with 'Midnight In London' a more mellow bluesy track, painting the perfect picture of London at midnight. Similarly, the track 'Mr Sophisticated', later on in the album, holds a bluesy tone, but with a contrasting upbeat piano. 'Seldom, See Ya' is the third track on the album and offers a happier, upbeat tone reminding me of Sara Bareilles or Lenka. 'Moira Clara', 'Hey Pretty Thing', 'Moments' and 'River' hold the middle of the album (unlike some albums, which is pleasant), highlighting to me that all their songs are generally great songs. All differing slightly, whether that be because of guitar or piano, all with emotive and honestly written lyrics, stunning vocals and especially 'River' being a subtly powerful song. The album continues with 'Beautiful Burden', a slow and emotive track, with strings, piano and guitar accompanied with stunning vocals reminding me of Christina Perri. 'Snow' is the penultimate song, a little more 'folk pop' compared to others on the album, but still continues with vocals and layers that are incredibly easy to listen to. Closing the album with 'Empty Life of a Rich Man' finishes it off perfectly, it's a relaxing song reflecting their songwriting ability really well. 
Overall, it's a brilliant album, that I could easily sit on a beach, in a field, or in a warm room with a fire on, on a record and just sitting and listening to from start to end. I really liked their characterisation throughout the songs too, allowing a mix of genres to influence their songs but still showcasing their lyrics sung with their incredibly smooth vocals and harmonies. Also, as I was listening to it, I was thinking how it would make a good soundtrack, to which kind of story, you can answer when you listen to it... It's definitely a debut album for the duo to be proud of and I can't wait to hear and see what they have to offer in the future!


Live Dates:
30th May: ALBUM LAUNCH, The Green Place in Sileby, Leicester (TICKETS)
7th June: The Bierkeller, Leeds
11th June: The Bierkeller, Manchester
12th June: Rose & Crown, MOLD
15th June: Mr. Wolfs, Bristol
20th June: Foxton Locks Festival
23rd June: Maltcross, Nottingham
27th June: The Blacksmiths, Loughborough
30th June: Arts Centre, Stamford
3rd July: Golden Horse, Northampton
23rd July: St. Pauls Church, Croydon, London
25th July: Walkabout (Tramlines), Sheffield
1st August: Moggies for Doggies @ The Mount, Brigg

Mia and the Moon's Links:
'Fall Awake' (order): (available 30th May) http://www.miaandthemoon.com/shop/4584126061

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