Friday, 29 January 2016

Feature: Evawolf (29/01/16)



Evawolf formed in London last year (2015) and consists of Joey (guitar), James (drums) and Natalie (violin). These East London newcomers create music combining rock, pop, soul and folk; their debut offering showcases this well, their first taster of music 'When The Truth Is Out'. We caught up with the trio for a Q&A... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how? 
Joey: I saw my first guitar in a charity shop window when I was eight years old, and was deeply envious that my Dad was able to play 'Smoke On The Water' on it. I vowed to learn, and I played along to old records until it made sense to start playing in bands. Learning that song is still on my to-do list, however... 
James: I was actually seven when I received my first drum kit. But didn't start getting into playing properly until I was around 12. My Dad is a drummer, so I would just watch him and try and recreate it on my own kit. 
Natalie: I've played piano and sung since I was super little but first picked up a violin when I was 7. I started playing in jazz band and orchestras and bluegrass festivals, so my sound is sort of a hybrid of the three. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Joey: Roy Orbison's Black and White Night is pretty special. His performance is both uplifting and melancholy, and he is accompanied by an all-star backing band, which features Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello, to name but a few. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Natalie: Father John Misty, Ryan Adam's 1989, Christine and the Queens, and Rhodes. 

3 Qs for Evawolf:

1. Why / how did you choose 'Evawolf' as your band name?
Joey: I saw Evawolf written in graffiti inside a WW2 bunker in Normandy, France. I was on a school trip at the time, and I don't know if that's exactly what it said, but it sounded really cool, and I always knew it would make a great folk rock band name. 

2. If you could invite three people, dead or alive, to a gig; who would you ask and why?
James: John Bonham, John Lennon and Noel Gallagher. All three have a great quality separate from their musicianship, which is the ability to see the humour in most things. Lennon and Gallagher would be a laugh on a night out and Bonham was a drinking machine who I could get drunk with and talk drums. 

3. What process did you go through creating 'When The Truth Is Out' and did it differ to other tracks from your debut EP?
Joey: 'When The Truth Is Out' is all about escapism; it's about dropping everything, getting away from the busy streets of the city, and pursuing a simpler life with the one you love. Our upcoming EP deals with similar themes; heartbreak, our accomplishments and regrets, and the way we perceive ourselves and others. 

Random Q:

Major or minor chords?
Definitely minor. 

'When The Truth Is Out' Review:
As the first track to be released from their debut EP, 'When The Truth Is Out' offers a fantastic taster of what's to come! It's a steady folk track with influences of rock and pop seeping through the gaps, it would be great to singalong to live - and just as great on your own at home at the top of your lungs. Harmonies, steady guitar, a detailed drum line and violin laying in between is simply stunning. Whilst slightly reminiscent of Noah and the Whale, we enjoyed this track as a unique sound and are looking forward to their next release already!



Evawolf's Links:

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

What I'm Listening To... (27/01/16)

The past couple of months I've been listening to a lot more chilled music, and that is definitely reflected in this month's 'What I'm Listening To...' I've also been revisiting some of my favourites from a while back, you'll pick up which those are, but I guess without further ado, here's some brilliant chilled tracks I want to share with you! 

1. Army - Ellie Goulding

I'm not the biggest fan of Ellie's new album, there's some good ones on there and I'm not disputing that she's a great artist, 'Delirious' just hasn't stuck out to me as much as her previous two did. However, the first time I heard this particular version of 'Army' I fell in love with it, it's just a beautiful song about friendship. 



2. Talk - Eliza and the Bear

Monday night (25th January), I went to these guys at The Boileroom and was not disappointed. We posted a spotlight on them and their latest single 'It Gets Cold' a couple of Fridays ago, and although that is a great track, I've had this one on repeat for quite some time. There's an acoustic version floating around, which is great too... 



3. Keeping Your Head Up - Birdy

As regular readers of Music In Time Blog may have realised near the end of last year, I had 'Let It All Go' by Rhodes and Birdy on repeat constantly. Now Birdy is back again, this time with 'Keeping Your Head Up', a subtly powerful and upbeat track, showing a different side to the lullabies and calming folk we've heard in the past... I'm excited for the next album! 



4. Years Years Bears - Dodie Clark & Tom Rosenthal

A musical dream team, Dodie Clark (doddleoddle) and Tom Rosenthal joined forces recently and their harmonies and lyrics fuse together to create this wonderful masterpiece (that has been played a few too many times at our desk in the past few weeks, but it really is a great song - enjoy! 



5. Numbers - Daughter

So, Daughter released their second album 'Not To Disappear' on 15th January, so it hasn't been out in the world for long, but I have definitely listened to it at least twice a day since then. If you like their previous stuff, you won't be let down by this release either, although I feel there's more of a beat running through this one, which is definitely not a bad thing in my books! 



6. Forgive Me - MAASAI

We featured MAASAI earlier this month and I really enjoyed listening to their album, 'Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange' so I've listened to it a few more times since then. I think 'Forgive Me' is my current favourite from the release, just some really good music. 



7. Weak - Wet

Wet were another (very) recent spotlighted band, after being sent their latest single I delved a little bit deeper back into some of their previous releases. I've lost count of the amount of times I've played the 'Live @ Electric Lady Studios' videos of 'Weak', 'Deadwater' and 'You're The Best', but this just beats the rest at the minute... (Their debut album is out on Friday - so if you like the sound of this be sure to go order it) 



8. Wrote It Down and Burned It - John Hiatt

Boxing Day (how was that over a month ago?) I went to our local pub and saw someone cover this and I'm not sure why but I came home and listened to the original and haven't really stopped listening since. 



9. Closer - Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon have been one of my favourite bands for quite some time, and I'm sure that will continue long into the future. I've been revisiting their older releases like 'Closer', 'Revelry', 'Radioactive' and 'Pyro' recently and slowly rekindling my love for their music. 



10. I Miss You - blink-182

Does this need an explanation? This gets played very loud in my car, with me singing along and people driving past giving me funny looks. :) 


I Miss You - blink-182 (link)

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Monday, 25 January 2016

Spotlight: Wet (25/01/16)


American trio, Wet, comprised of Kelly Zutrau, and multi-instrumentalists, Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow. They met through mutual friends as college students in New York City in 2007, after a few years of informal collaborations, they didn't declare their official music intentions until the summer of 2012. 
Their self-titled debut EP garnered industry-wide attention, their track 'It's All In Vain' soared to #1 on Hype Machine and gained a place in Spotify's Viral 50 chart. 'Weak' and 'Deadwater' made it into many 'Best / Favourite Songs of 2015' lists and after a hugely successful tour supporting Canadian singer / songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. they've announced their own Europe headline tour, which will follow the release of their eagerly anticipated debut album 'Don't You', set for release this Friday (29th January 2016). Wet are a trio to watch and listen out for this year... 

'All The Ways' Single Review:
This latest single to come from Wet's debut album is 'All The Ways', a light and ambient track. The synth pads and guitar works perfectly against, as well as alongside Zutrau's beautiful vocals. Holding an emotional and honest tone throughout the track lyrically and melodically. 'Deadwater' and 'Weak' are both stunning songs too, which have graced many playlists recently at Music In Time's desk. What I've heard so far from the album has been fantastic and beautifully crafted, so I'm super excited to hear more and fill in the gaps of the album... 


See Wet Live:
11th March: Paradiso Grote Zaal, Amsterdam
12th March: Studio 672, Studtgarten, Cologne
14th March: Kantine am Berghain, Berlin
16th March: Le Pop-Up du Label, Paris
18th March: Patterns, Brighton
19th March: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
21st March: Broadcast, Glasgow
22nd March: The Deaf Institute, Manchester
23rd March: Scala, London 

Wet's Links:

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Friday, 22 January 2016

Feature: Kieran Leonard (22/01/16)


Singer/songwriter Kieran Leonard has recently returned with the release of his latest single 'The Greatest Show On Earth'; it began as an improvised idea and became a 15 minute, one take live recording. Previous releases have garnered a huge amount of support, his debut album 'Out Of Work Astronaut' was voted one of BBC's Albums of the Year in 2012, and the first single from his last album 'Underwood Milk', was picked as one of their 'Hottest Tracks'. He's since gone on to compose songs for 'Get Him To The Greek', the blockbuster starring Russel Brand, Kieran's shared stages with Bob Dylan, The Strokes and Beck and has toured with The Libertines and Ryan Adams. We caught up with him for one of our most creatively inspiring Q&As yet... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
Music was always present peripherally in my life, some of my earliest memories are sitting in the back of my Mum's car listening to The Beatles and Barry Manilow on the cassette player. I went on to become obsessed by one of those artists... 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Timely given the sad news recently, but it was when I was 13 my Mum sat me down and made me watch Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Palais, the Pennebaker film. From that point everything pretty much changed, there was a new element on my periodic table, it recontextualised what I thought music was or could be. And it was cool and scary, two attributes I continue to aspire to. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately? 
As usual I am listening to lots of old stuff really, Scott Walker has been on a bit, Iggy Pop (the Idiot record), Patti Smith is never far from my record player, with Bowie's latest release, I have been re-visiting the Berlin years and trying to de-code 'Blackstar', which is a beautiful and now very poignant record. 

3 Qs for Kieran:

1. Why do you think it's important to link the connection between art and music and how do you think that affected your decision to perform 'Greatest Show On Earth' the way you did at Newspeak House art gallery? 
To me they are a synergy, one and the same. Essentially the same practise in a different medium, all good music is art, and all good art is at heart informed by the same values as good music. Message, integrity, craft and vision. The gallery show at Newspeak House just seemed the perfect way to frame and explain the array of ideas in the song. It gave the a good space to exist in and allowed us to create a truly immersive and subversive experience. It was something I have always wanted to do in my music and 'The Greatest Show On Earth' seemed to be the perfect fit for attempting something like this. 

2. If you could write a theme for any TV show/film, which would you choose and why?
Columbo, or Luther, any of the really good detective shows, they are the only actual TV I watch, I am fascinated by the genre, the curious stories and odd personalities. 

3. What creative process did you go through writing 'Greatest Show On Earth' musically? 
That was quite a strange process and almost entirely unconscious, I pretty much made the song up on the spot the last night in the studio when we were cutting the new record. I had this simple verse chorus turn around, that the band just starting vamping on it. It was the final night of a very intense two weeks recording at the Kubrick estate... at around 10pm it suddenly started snowing outside and all these ideas started to come. They were things we had been talking about and considering over dinners and in-between takes all week and one just seemed to flow into the next, with the band just letting it happen musically. Thank goodness Nick the producer had had the foresight to switch the mics and hit record, as it only happened once and I am not sure it could ever have bee repeated in quite the same way. 

Random Q:

Most played song on your iPod? 
Currently 'Heroes D.Bowie. 

'Greatest Show On Earth' Review:
'The Greatest Show On Earth' is 14 and a bit minutes of pure art. Lyrically, it is incredibly thought-provoking and inspiring; a stream of consciousness and insightful commentary on society and how that affects our lives now. This wonderful combination of genres to create a fantastic sound, with stunning layers of blues / jazz fused energetic piano, bold guitar and a steady drum rhythm tie together brilliantly. Alongside this track is a perfectly timed music video, focusing on the words that Kieran speaks and sings with a slight humour but sincerity just pushes it together as his own masterpiece. 


Kieran's Links:

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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Feature: The Wild Wild (20/01/16)


The Wild Wild is a one man band; the brain child of Benjamin Dunn, who writes, plays and records all of the music on his own. After escaping Illinois and living freely along the beaches of California whilst searching for something more meaningful in his existence, which he found somewhere along the Californian coast where the calling for music awoke in him and hasn't left since. 'Sing' and 'Caspian' are the tracks that have been shared ahead of his debut LP 'Into The Sea, Into The Stars', set for release on 22nd January (2016)... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I come from a musical family. All our get-togethers always had live music and PBR, so I learned to play here and there growing up. It wasn't until I was about 15 that I got serious about writing and making music. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Hands down Arcade Fire. I've seen them many times and every time I leave wanting to either quit music or get better. I usually choose the latter. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Adele. All day. 

3 Qs for The Wild Wild:

1. If you could collaborate with anyone, who would you choose and why?
Max Martin. 

2. Where do you hope to be with your music in three years time? 
I hope to be lucky enough to keep doing what I'm doing, to keep writing stuff that I and everyone else dig. In the meantime, I'm stoked for everyone to hear all the music I've been creating for years that's slowly popping out. 

3. What track are you most excited for people to hear from your forthcoming debut LP and why?
I feel like 'When We Were Young' is a song that kinda just has the magic. Stoked for people to hear it. 

Random Q:

Three songs for a road trip?
Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard - Paul Simmons
Keep The Car Running - Arcade Fire
Anything by The Cars. 

'Sing' Review:
The skipping guitar riffs and equally upbeat drum line together offer a sun kissed song; this is a brilliant indie / electro pop track that screams fun. A perfect combination of Friendly Fire, Walk The Moon and The Wild Wild's own unique addition to the genre. If this single is anything to go by, the rest of the album is set to be pretty good, and one you're definitely going to want to sing-a-long and dance to...



The Wild Wild's Links:
'Into The Sea, Into The Stars' (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/into-the-sea-into-the-stars

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Monday, 18 January 2016

Feature: Jamie Beau (18/01/16)


Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer, Jamie Beau released his alt-folk debut album, 'Tales of the Earth, Tales of the Sea...' early last month (December '15). The album is a creation of a two year journey that saw him share stages with The Magic Numbers, Dan Reed and Amy Wadge (co-writer for Ed Sheeran); as well as being featured by BBC Introducing and appearances at several festivals. He's got a show at Kontra Roots Club (Kettering) on 22nd January (2016) and is definitely one to watch for this year...

General Questions:

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

I was around seven, I started learning classical / flamenco guitar with my Dad, then I stopped for a little while and restarted in my early teens. That's where I started taking it more seriously anyway and ended up in some alt / grunge / indie bands at the time.

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
I'd have to say Thomas Leeb playing at the London Acoustic Guitar Show in 2012. It was that performance that reignited my interest in music and gave the epiphany moment that started me on my current musical journey.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Guy Garvey's album is really good. I've been listening to a lot of Ed Harcourts back cat of late too. Philip Henry and Hannah Martin's Mynd is a brilliant folk album. The more heavy stuff like Lower Than Atlantis, Marmosets & Royal Blood.

3 Qs for Jamie:

1. Which three countries would you like to tour most and why?

Japan - I'd love to experience the culture and see the country, I think they've got an incredible music scene that gets completely bypassed by Western music listeners.
Iceland - I simply love that country, my wife and I went there a year ago and it felt like I was home. The landscape is incredible, but the thing I dig the most are the people we met! Great sense of humour. Oh and they've got a ridiculously good music scene for such a small nation.
Brazil - My Dad was a merchant sailor and he speaks so highly of South America so I'd love to go there and tour one day. Again, there's some fantastic music coming out of Brazil at the moment.

2. What inspires your lyrics and who influences your sound?
Lyrically it's always about personal reflection - I got told once that "you should always write of what you know" and that has stuck with me.
My sound influence comes from all sorts of places. I got told that it sounds like Guy Garvey and Jeffy Buckley's DNA got mixed. Which was obviously an incredible compliment as they're huge influences on me. The John Butler trio are probably the closest thing I draw influence from, but probably a bit more British and miserable haha! Definitely Ben Howard too.

3. Which track on your album 'Tales of the Earth, Tales of the Sea...' stands out to you as your favourite and why?
My favourite track changes from listen to listen, overall though it is probably 'Prayer of the Drunk'. It's about a pep talk that a friend of mine gave me when I was going through a really very crappy time. My friend Steve turned up to my house, looked and me and without me saying a word he said "Get your coat, we're going out and until the sun is up we're drinking whiskey, until the bar is running dry we're drinking whiskey and until we both throw up we're drinking whiskey." And that was exactly what was needed, he just knew. So really, the song is as much a drinking song as it is about true friendship, and that's why I love that track.

Random Q:

If you could open a venue anywhere, where would it be, what would it be called and what would the opening night entail?

Blimey... It'd be called 'Whiskey n Tunes' in Reykjavik, Iceland. Surprise surprise, it'd be a whiskey and live music bar with as many nice malts as I could get my hands on, and the opening night rule is for each song the band plays everyone in the venue has to drink a whiskey, band, staff and customers included... That'd be a messy bar but awesome.

'Tales of the Earth, Tales of the Sea' Album Review:
This album is a fantastic collection of tracks, for listeners of Newton Faulkner, Ben Howard, Mumford & Sons and more...
 'Pope' opens the release with stripped back percussion, growing with guitars and a brilliant contrast of grit to heartfelt vocals. 'Prayer Of The Drunk' is very much a drinking song, upbeat and easy to pick up and sing-a-long to... The alternative rock infused sound of 'Had Enough (Little Sentinels)' offers a true rough and gritty rock edge to the album. 'Nightlight & Hindsight (The Fugitive)' follows as an incredibly honest and beautifully emotive song, reflected in guitar and growing with drums throughout into a brilliant instrumental and harmonised section to end the track.
'Glue' is another emotive track, with keys and harmonies added to the layers. Jamie's percussive guitar playing in - my favourite track from the album - 'Risen From The Sea' and 'Back Home' is reminiscent of John Smith and the adopted style of Ben Howard. Both honest tracks and alternative folk at its best.
'Raise The Dead' has a rock infused sound, a longer track but has so much to offer and doesn't get boring like some can. 'Catherine, John and Michael' is a darker, more atmospheric track with stunning melodic vocals over the top. 'The Cycle' is a funk infused folk track, with gritty guitars and rock elements, I can imagine it being incredible live, allowing the audience to really get involved. The album closes with 'Of The Cruel', headed by classical guitar, a beautiful, powerful and equally haunting track to close this wonderful release with.



Jamie's Links:
'Tales of the Earth, Tales of the Sea...' (Bandcamp): https://jamiebeau.bandcamp.com/album/tales-of-the-earth...

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Friday, 15 January 2016

Spotlight: Eliza and the Bear (15/01/16)


Eliza and the Bear are the Essex quintet to watch this year; as James Kellegher (vocals), Callie Noakes (keyboard), Martin Dukelow (guitar), Chris Brand (bass) and Paul Jackson (drums) tour the UK and release their eponymous debut album - set for release on 8th April (2016). 
Starting as a hobby with no intention of releasing records and no wish to play gigs; the band have grown from making music just for fun, to performing on festival stages and their singles being synced everywhere from a Masterchef final, the BBC's Olympics coverage, to a cider advert and a daytime TV gardening show they'd rather not discuss... Whether you know it or not, you've heard their music... 

'It Gets Cold' Single Review:
This is the second single to be taken from their debut album, and it's fantastic. It stands true to Eliza and the Bear's indie pop / rock sound and shouts fun, from the track, to the music video, to every time I've seen them perform it live. It's infectious energy and upbeat forces you to sing along and tap along to the drums. All the layers come together to create an incredible sound, a perfect single and I'm very ready for their album, just got a few months to wait, so to fill that time I'll be seeing them on their tour!


See Eliza & The Bear Live:
19th January: Arts Centre, Colchester
20th January: Portland Arms, Cambridge
21st January: Waterfront, Norwich
22nd January: Roadmenders, Northampton
23rd January: The Horn, St. Albans
25th January: Boileroom, Guildford
26th January: Forum, Tunbridge Wells
28th January: Joiners, Southampton
29th January: Moles, Bath
30th January: The Bullingdon, Oxford
1st February: Mangos, Falmouth
2nd February: Cavern, Exeter
3rd February: Clwb lfor Bach, Cardiff
4th February: Guildhall, Gloucester
5th February: Sugarmill, Stoke
6th February: The Live Rooms, Chester
8th February: Bodega, Nottingham
9th February: Studio 2, Liverpool
10th February: Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
11th February: Electric Circus, Edinburgh
12th February: The Georgian Theatre, Stockton
13th February: Fruit, Hull
15th February: Duchess, York
16th February: Plug, Sheffield
18th February: Scholar Bar, Leicester
19th February: Also Known As, Banbury

Eliza & The Bear's Links:

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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Check It Out #12 (13/01/16)

1. Heroes - David Bowie
Following the sad news on Monday, I felt it only right to kick this week's check it out with a classic from David Bowie. I decided on 'Heroes' as it captures his sound and all that he stands for pretty perfectly. Although at the time of its release, the song didn't gain huge popularity in the UK or US, it finally peaked at #1 in the UK Singles Chart, and is now the second most covered Bowie song, behind 'Rebel Rebel'.


2. Old Satellites - hd hausman
'Old Satellites' is the first track on hd hausman's debut album 'Wring the Moisture from the Surf'. They've created a fantastic seven track release full of folk infused soundscapes, which are easy to lose yourself in and escape to... Enjoy!


3. Flora - Beaty Heart

South London trio, Beaty Heart, have announced the release of their new single 'Flora', set for impact on 26th February (2016), as well as a headline show at Electrowerkz, London on Wednesday 13th April (tickets). These guys are a band to keep your eyes on and your ears tuned in for this year... 


4. The Best You Ever Had - Teddybears ft. Gorilla Zoe

The multi-award winning Teddybears have reopened the door to mid-90s electronica with their new single 'The Best You Ever Had'. Having previously worked with the likes of Cee Lo Green, Sia, Iggy Pop and Ellie Goulding, they've now teamed up with US rapper, Gorilla Zoe, to create this fantastic track...


5. The Gun - Molly Anna

'The Gun' is the follow up single to 'Villain', which was released in October 2015to raise funds and awareness for Samaritans. Molly Anna will be releasing their self-produced debut EP 'Ghosts' on 30th January (2016), but until then enjoy their latest single from the EP, a beautiful, hauntingly honest and emotive track...

The Gun - Molly Anna (link)

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Monday, 11 January 2016

Feature: MAASAI (11/01/16)


MAASAI are Stockholm-based duo, Dominique Teymouri and Zackarias Ekelund. They met each other between music projects and soon realised they should join forces. They released two tracks, 'The Healer' and 'Forgive Me', giving their captive audience something to hold on to while waiting for their debut album. The follow up track 'Collide' was then announced as the lead track from the album, 'Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange' and has gone on to be released and gain support from their supporters, press and anyone else who listens. We caught up with Dominique and Zackarias for a Q&A... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
Z: I started playing drums at the music school when I was about 8 years old. Before that I was drumming on everything I could get a hold on, buckets, pans and sometimes even my smaller brothers. 
D: It's very cliché, but I've been singing ever since I can remember. I think I was about five years old when my parents bought me a little toy synth. One that synth I wrote my first tunes and melodies. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
D: Björk at the Hollywood Bowl. 
Z: It must have been when I saw Sting live. I had a front row seat and the gig was just pure magic. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Z: Multi-Love by Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Just a great album in my opinion. 
D: Kelela!

3 Qs for MAASAI:

1. Which three countries would you most like to tour and why?
1. Japan - It has beautiful nature surroundings, and the sushi of course! 
2. US - The American music scene is huge and embraces all sorts of genres. 
3. Australia - Sunshine! 

2. How / why did your name 'MAASAI' come about?
For us MAASAI is a metaphor for solidarity. We wanted to choose a name that represents our values. 

3. What track from your debut album 'Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange', means the most to you and why?
D: Every track on the album has it's own story and mean just as much to me as the other so I can't pick only one. 
Z: Lighthouse - It's heavy like bricks, and also very fun playing live. 

Random Q:

If you could go to the moon, which song would you play first and why?
Z: I would probably do the moon walk straight up. It's so hard to sing without oxygen! 
D: Haha, I would probably by instinct sing the Frank Sinatra versions of Fly Me To The Moon. 

'Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange' Album Review:
'Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange' is one of my favourite albums I've listened to in the past few months. Starting with an intense and atmospheric soundscape, 'Nairobi', offers an instrumental intro to the release. 'Forgive Me' follows on perfectly, contrasting the slow, smooth strings and vocals against the skipping keys and upbeat drums, making it stand out as a highlight of mine from the album. The lead track, 'Collide', is another favourite of mine, it's both lyrically and musically powerful and is a track I'd happily play over and over again. 
'Memories' is another memorable and wonderfully melodic song, with the drums highlighted throughout. Whilst listening to 'Haunted' I could understand why people have been saying MAASAI's music echoes the likes of Sia and Florence + The Machine, again the drums are positioned perfectly and work together brilliantly with the other layers in the track. Another stand out track for me is 'I.D.S.H' starting with steel drums and growing into a fantastically frantic instrumentation with the intensity of Dominique's vocals laying over the top. 'Grow' shows a slightly slower and emotive side to MAASAI, however the song still grows into one of their uniquely fierce choruses. The album closes with 'The Healer' and 'Devil's Dance', both brilliant tracks and slowly fading the album out, ending with 'Lighthouse', slower again and stripped back a little more compared to the others. 
Overall, a fantastic album, that I've had on repeat since the release. This fantastic duo deserve to go far, and I'm sure (and hope) this isn't the last you'll hear of Dominique and Zackarias... 


MAASAI's Links:
'Feeling Blue, Seeing Orange' (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/feeling-blue-seeing-orange

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Friday, 8 January 2016

Spotlight: Luke Rathborne (08/01/16)


Luke Rathborne is back following up on the promise of his debut LP 'SOFT'; which gained over 3 million streams on Spotify, Radio 1 airplay from Zane Lowe and glowing press acclaim. The New York City based artist now releases 'Losing It' as the first single from his forthcoming full length LP, 'AGAIN', set for release in March (2016). Rathborne's also announced a co-headline tour with Captured Track's Alex Caldner across the USA this Spring, with UK dates to be announced, we'll keep you posted!

'Losing It' Single Review:
'Losing It' is a fantastic track, with elements of 70's pop crossed with modern melodic guitars, brilliant bass and drums tight and steadily adding to the track with percussion in the chorus too. It's an upbeat and infectious track with mesmerising keys and spacious synths and vocals smoothly washing together to create an incredible sound. 


Luke's USA Tour:
8th March: Great Scott - Boston, MA*
9th March: Elvis Guesthouse - NYC*
10th March: DC9 - Washington DC*
12th March: Savannah Stopover Festival - Savannah
14th March: Gasa Gasa - New Orleans*
15th - 18th March: SXSW (TBA)
21st March: Valley of the Vapors Festival - Hot Springs, AR
24th March: Lowbrow Palace - El Paso, TX*
25th March: Valley Bar - Phoenix, AZ*
26th March: Hideout - San Diego, CA*
28th March: Continental Room - Fullerton, CA*
29th March: Club Bahia - Los Angeles, CA*
30th March: The Rickshaw Stop - San Francisco, CA*
1st April: Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR*
2nd April: Barboza - Seattle, WA*
3rd April: Cobalt - Vancouver, BC*
5th April: Kilby Court - Salt Lake City*
6th April: Larimer Lounge - Denver, CO*
(* - w/ Alex Caldner)


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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Check It Out #11 (06/01/16)

1. Ocean - Patrik Jakubowski
Patrik Jakubowski, member of Swedish 'grunge' band, Riddarna, went solo last year with his debut EP 'Ocean' and this is the title track. This a beautiful release, with the wonderful connection between music and video. The track holds a brilliant calmness, thanks to the acoustic guitar underlying Patrik's vocals, which add a powerful and emotive element to the song, a true song for the sea.



2. Adventure Of A Lifetime - Coldplay
British band Coldplay returned at the end of last year with some brilliant new music. 'Adventure Of A Lifetime' was released on 6th November (2015) as the lead single from their seventh studio album, 'A Head Full Of Dreams'. So far, it's peaked at #7 in the UK Singles Chart (and unfortunately don't think it'll be getting any higher), but it's currently one of my favourites from the charts.



3. Up Up And Away - Newton Faulkner
This is the latest video from Newton Faulkner's fifth studio album, Human Love,. 'Up Up And Away' follows the first release from the album, a cover of Major Lazer's 'Get Free' and is a fantastically energising track. The album as a whole is great, showing Newton's skill as a guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and all-round musician.



4. Domino - Hozier
Hozier joined a mixed line up on Jools Holland's Hootenanny at New Years; amongst the songs he performed, he included a brilliant cover of 'Domino', the hit song written by Van Morrison. The original was released in 1970 as the first of three singles from his fourth album 'His Band and The Street Choir'. It reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, surpassing his signature song 'Brown Eyed Girl', which had charted at #10 in the same year. Enjoy!



5. Star Wars Ultimate Piano Medley - Sonya Belousova
Star Wars has taken over the world yet again in recent months, and don't worry there will be no spoilers in this post for those of you who still haven't managed to see it. Instead here's a fantastic medley from the soundtracks of Stars Wars played on varying designs of pianos (my personal favourite is the R2-D2 one...), enjoy all 10 minutes of this wonderful piece!



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Monday, 4 January 2016

Feature: ALXNDR (04/01/16)


Newcastle's favourite 90's infused alternative pop band, ALXNDR, ended 2015 with their debut EP release, a tweak in their name and line up. The North-East (UK) three-piece have embarked on multiple headline tours featuring sold out shows, and have just announced they'll be back on the road in April 2016 for their biggest headline tour to date! ALXNDR have received a large amount of regional radio support and national TV exposure, as well as continuous support from BBC Introducing, including a live session. We caught up with Anth Snowdon (vocalist) for a Q&A about all things music... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
We met each other at college a few years back and have been tight friends ever since! We created and performed music together for a while until we decided to form ALXNDR and give it a real shot, but it's been a blast ever since! 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen? 
I was really impressed with the Florence and The Machine show this year, she had an incredible live presence. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
The new Kendrick Lamar album is phenomenal, can't stop spinning that. 

3 Qs for ALXNDR:

1. Your band and EP name exclude vowels, what have you got against them haha?
It all started with the abbreviation for our name to be honest. We liked the idea of personifying the band name as one person to represent the three of us. We liked 'Alexander' as a strong name, after messing around with logo ideas we came to an agreement on the abbreviation. We thought it would be a little more unique and people wouldn't have such a hard time finding us online! 
Following suit with the first EP we settled on RWND, Rewind, there are so many reasons for the title. One being that we've released all tracks consecutively through the year. All of the other reasons are embedded in the nostalgic elements within our music on the EP, so it seemed fitting. 

2. If you could invite any three people, dead or alive, to one of your gigs; who would you ask and why?
Tupac and Biggie so I can ask them what the fuck happened! 

3. When writing your single 'You&Me', was it a collaborative effort or did you have specific roles within the band?
All of our writing is always a collaborative effort between the three of us, it always has been. We work so well together as a group and we just click when songwriting. We produce all of our tracks currently which makes writing even more fun for us. 

Random Q:

Ideal Friday night?
Play a show for sure. 

'RWND' EP Review:
This EP is a fantastically unique but typically alternative pop five track EP. For people who like The 1975, Saint Raymond and Wolf Choir, with elements of their sounds reminiscent in ALXNDR's tracks, especially the upbeat track of the release 'Four AM' (which is also one of my favourites from 'RWND'). 'Drive' opens the EP with a steady intro, catchy lyrics, with synths and layered vocals creating a brilliant track. The building of layers in 'The Pick Up' shows the skill the band have has musicians and holds an infectious element of 'the 90's'. 'Gemini' has a great chorus that would be perfect to sing along to live at one of their gigs, and the EP closes with their latest single 'YOU&ME'. It's has an atmospheric soundscape underlying the track throughout, which adds a wonderfully unique twist on the current usual alternative genre. 


See ALXNDR Live:
13th April: The Garage, London
14th April: O2  Academy 3, Birmingham
15th April: O2 Academy 2, Leicester
16th April: O2 Academy 2, Oxford
19th April: O2 Academy 3, Liverpool
20th April: O2 ABC2, Glasgow 
21st April: O2 Academy 2, Sheffield
22nd April: O2 Academy 2, Newcastle

ALXNDR's Links:

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