Monday, 29 February 2016

Feature: The New Coast (29/02/16)


The New Coast is the moniker of East London duo, Nick Blythe and Chris Cheater. Born from an infatuation with American cinema and pop culture, they've created their own distinct style of pure indie pop. The duo have just released their debut single 'Lost In Your Love', co-produced by Scott Verrill (KYKO); it's a winning combination that is destined for success in 2016. The New Coast are the indie pop duo to watch this year!

General Questions:

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

N: It was from a really young age really. My cousin and I were asked to play at this party so we sat down and wrote a load of songs for it. They were all Blink-182 inspired. Of course. But I've been exposed to all kinds of music since I was young, especially artists like Roxy Music, Queen and Michael Jackson I think that's transcended quite heavily into our sound today. Music has always been a massive part of our lives, and will be forever we reckon.

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
C: I saw Kings of Leon at Isle Of Wight Festival in 2014. Everything about their performance and live sound gave me even more motivation to do what we are doing. I thought Caleb was looking at me, we definitely had a moment. With 80,000 people around me.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
N: We've been listening to a lot of Australian bands lately. We have a good friends in a band called Mansionair, from the Northern Beaches in Sydney. They are incredible. Also, Ghost Beach, Bad Suns, Frank Ocean, The Neighbourhood. We are also obsessed with US artist Johnny Rain. His lyrics and slow tempo are life. It's weird, because we will only listen to like three artists at a time and nothing else for a while. It's nice that way, because it impacts our music a lot.

3 Qs for The New Coast:

1. Which festival would you most like to perform at and who would you like to share the stage with and why?

C: I think I'd love to play Coachella standing next to Matt Healy instead of Nick. Reasoning being, he has better hair. But seriously, he looks like he'd be a lot of fun to gig with and party with.
N: Coachella would be one for sure. I would want to collaborate with Frank Ocean, that'd be insane.

2. Where do you look for inspiration and influences in the world?
N: We take inspiration from a small number of places that we know and take a lot of time in. We listen to lots of film scores, and take influence from the intense cinematic feel of soundtracks. I think the general imagery and cinematography of films make me want to write music. There is something about the energy between a visual and audio that is pretty inspiring. Both of us have an unhealthy obsession with Steve McQueen the director of Shame, Hunger and 12 Years A Slave, who's films have made us want to write songs with big emotional choruses. We both live in London, so it's sometimes nice to go back to where our families I've in Kent and take some time to look around and hear how quiet it is. That's really important when writing we think.

3. What process did you go through creating 'Lost In Your Love', was it a joint effort or did you have particular roles?
C: We write everything together... Either of us will go to each other with guitar riffs or vocal melodies. 'Lost In Your Love' was the first song we wrote purely for The New Coast, we started off using guitar loop pedals creating a 'loop'. We then added the chords and any extra riffs we had thought of. While this is all going on, Nick blared out vocal melodies, and then after a while it clicked to us, and that is how it became 'Lost In Your Love'.

Random Q:

You're stranded on an island, what three items would you choose to have with you?

C: Bieber, a keg of Bell's whiskey, My Sweet Prince (Nick)
N: Our manager James, Scott Verrill and three tickets home, thus leaving Chris on the island alone.

'Lost In Your Love' Review:
This is a fantastic debut track from The New Coast, it's infectious indie pop at it's best. 'Lost In Your Love' offers a steady, growing pace building into a catchy chorus, which seems impossible not to sing and tap along to. Memorable loops combined with hypnotic drumbeats and brilliant vocals too. If you like Prides, Amber Run or Eliza and The Bear, you're bound to fall in love with this track! 



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Friday, 26 February 2016

Feature: Molly Anna Band (26/02/16)


Molly Anna Band, a Sheffield based duo kicked off 2016 with their debut EP release at the end of last month. Molly Anna and Mike Hukins self-produced the 'Ghosts' EP and released the first single 'Villain' in October 2015 to raise funds and awareness for Samaritans, it proved popular and gained support from BBC Introducing. They've already headlined shows in Leeds, performed at Tramlines festival and taken part in an Arts Council funded concert, recognising the work of female composers. Now armed with a debut EP, two singles ('Villain' and 'The Gun') the rest of 2016 is going to be full of even bigger and better things for Molly Anna Band! 

General Questions:

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

Mike: I first started playing the guitar when I was 12 because of bands like Sum 41 and Blink 182. My tastes have changed somewhat since then though :) The first band I was in was just me and a couple of friends bashing out a four power chord pattern for three minutes at a time with no drummer or musical awareness to speak of. It was nice.

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Mike: It's a tie. Tommy Emmanuel in Worcester 2007 was incredible. One man, several guitars and a glass of red wine for roughly three hours. You could hear a collective exhale from the audience at the end of each song when they remembered to breathe again. Either that or Bellowhead in Sheffield City Hall 2013. They got the entire room ignoring social etiquette and dancing in the aisles.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Mike: I've been listening to Kendrick Lamar, Punch Brothers and Snarky Puppy. But not together. That's get messy and sound bad.

3 Qs for Molly Anna Band:

1. Who influences you musically and what inspires you lyrically?

Molly: Lyrically, I tend to write introspectively - about feeling and experiences I've had. It's not always pretty!
Lots of people influence my music, from Lauryn Hill to the Offspring.
For 'Ghosts', I found The Weeknd and Smashing Pumpkins to be particularly inspiring.

2. Where in the world would you most like to tour and why?
Molly: I'd love to tour Australia and New Zealand, mostly because I've always wanted to visit there and it'd be a great excuse...

3. What is your favourite track from your EP 'Ghosts' and what process did you go through creating it?
Molly: It depends what mood I'm in! I guess I have a soft spot for 'Villain' as that's the track that started it all. It began, as many creative things do, at 2:30 in the morning, penning hundreds of versions of lyrics to a motif I came up with earlier that evening. I was feeling pretty blue so most of them were about blowing things up or burning things down. During the next week I arranged them into a narrative and then filled in the gaps with a chorus/middle eight. I enjoyed writing it so much that I decided to write more songs like it and create an EP!

Random Q:

Major or minor chords and why?

Mike: Minor chords. I think there's more harmonically interesting stuff you can do with them even within the confines of a regular major scale. Also I've liked far less songs I've written with major chords.

'Ghosts EP' Review:
This is a great debut release, with five tracks, all defining alternative music. Molly Anna Band's most recent single 'The Gun' opens the EP, it's beautifully emotive (much like the rest of the EP), and the layers gradually building all compliment each other so well. Their first single 'Villain' follows with a darker, atmospheric and more intense tone, with fuzzy guitars contrasted with clean piano and a steady rhythm. 'Til You Collapse' and 'Tonight' both strongly remind me of Alanis Morrisette, the first being darker, with a brilliant combination of guitars, again complimenting the piano and bass and lyrically, honest and emotive. Between those two is my personal favourite from the release, 'Horrorshow'; it's slower and steadier, with stunning piano and beautiful guitars being brought in too. Overall, a great EP with some well crafted tracks, if you like alternative music, with hints of rock, grunge and tiny bits of folk, this is a release for you! 



Molly Anna Band's Links:

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Rewind #7 (24/02/16)

1. Phase - Jack Garratt
One of our favourite spotlighted artists, Jack Garratt has had a very busy couple of months, and that is set to continue for the rest of the year too. Jack won Critic's Choice at Brit Awards 2016, BBC Sound Poll of 2016 and was on MTV's Brand New 2016 shortlist. He's just released his fantastic debut album 'Phase', which topped the Official UK Albums chart, beating the record-breaking Adele album, '25'. Now he's heading out on tours across the US, Canada, UK and Europe over the next three months and then is hitting festival season hard with slots already announced! Keep on keeping your eyes and ears on this guy, this album is definitely a favourite for this year.
'Phase' (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/phase-deluxe/id1046954979



2. Something New - ALXNDR

North East trio, ALXNDR, have just released a great new track, 'Something New' and have also announced nine date UK tour during April (dates and tickets here). The 90's infused alt. pop band's debut EP 'RWND' catapulted them into the iTunes and Hype Machine charts, and their latest video for 'Four A.M.' hit 25k view in less than 24 hours... 'Something New' is a brilliant track and summarises why these guys are gaining attention rapidly, they're an emerging band that are going places...



3. Home EP - Lucy Spraggan

Since Lucy Spraggan's third album release last year, she's graced stages at festivals, toured the UK and now is back with her latest EP 'Home'. The release features three tracks 'Home', 'Yes, This One's For You' and 'Skylights', as well as a new version of the incredibly popular (and emotively brilliant) 'Tea and Toast' and explains the story behind the song too... It's a great four track EP and yet again showcases Lucy's songwriting and talent perfectly! 
'Home EP' (iTunes): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/home-ep/id1082376412



4. Burn It Down EP - Billy Lockett
We featured Billy and his title track from his (then) forthcoming EP 'Burn It Down', it's since been released and he's also announced a UK tour in March (dates and tickets here). It's another fantastic four track release, and is in line with his previous EPs if not surpassing them, he's a growing artist and I'm looking forward to a full album release in the future, however long away that is... 



5. Won't Let You Down - Orphan Colours

A name you might only recognise because of a very recent spotlight... However, previously featured Fred Abbott, best known for being a part of Noah and the Whale has joined London based supergroup, Orphan Colours. They're heading out on tour next week (dates and tickets here) and on Friday release their debut EP 'High Hopes' and this is the first single taken from it... 



6. Lost E - My Cruel Goro

This is the brand new video for My Cruel Goro's latest single 'Lost E'. The Icelandic - Italian alt-rock trio have released this noisy burst of energy as the first taster of their upcoming sophomore EP... It's also available as a free download here (but I'd be paying money for this brilliantly addictive track). Enjoy! 


7. James Bay
He's been nominated for four Brit Awards and we're supporting him to hopefully win all four... Good luck James!! 

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Monday, 22 February 2016

Spotlight: Orphan Colours (22/02/16)


Orphan Colours formed after the indefinite hiatus of UK alt. country outfit Ahab in 2013. Along with Ahab originator Dave Burn, songwriter Steven Llewelyn recruited Danny & The Champions of The World's Steve Brooks on drums, along with close friend Graham Knight on bass. The final piece of the puzzle came when a friend of Brookes introduced former Noah & The Whale guitarist Fred Abbott to Llewelyn. The London based supergroup are set to release their debut EP 'High Hopes' later this week (26th February 2016) and they're heading out on a UK tour next month (March '16)... 

'Won't Let You Down' Review:
This is the first taster of Orphan Colours' debut EP and it's a brilliant one to tease the release with. It's a classic rock track with hints of country; catchy chorus brilliant for singing along to (always a bonus at a live show), the guitars, bass and drums work perfectly alongside each other and compliment the vocals. It's clear these guys are enjoying this project and that really comes across in this track. Enjoy! 


See Orphan Colours Live:
1st March: Bodega, Nottingham
2nd March: The Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
4th March: The Borderline, London
5th March The Factory, Manchester
7th March: The Louisiana, Bristol

Orphan Colours' Links:

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Friday, 19 February 2016

Feature: Lissie (19/02/16)


Lissie is an Americn folk rock artist; she's been a notable name in the world of music for about eight years, after Lenny Kravitz invited her to be the opening act for his tour back in 2008. 2009 saw Lissie release her EP 'Why You Runnin'', early 2010 saw her tour the UK supporting singer/songwriter Joshua Radin. Lissie then signed with Columbia Records and released her debut album 'Catching A Tiger' in June 2010, the first single 'In Sleep' was selected as Track of the Day by Q and the second single, 'When I'm Alone' was later chosen by iTunes UK as their song of the year. Since then, Lissie has gained success through her brilliant covers of well known tracks, some being used on adverts and films, featured on Snow Patrol's 'Fallen Empires' album, appeared on Robbie Williams' track 'Take The Crown', released another album of her own 'Back To Forever' and has just released her third 'My Wild West'. We caught up with Lissie for a Q&A and had a listen to the new album... 

General Questions:

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

I started singing from a very young age and was always making up songs about my feelings! At age 5, I was in a group Christmas show and it was pretty clear that I LOVED performing for people. It's always been my comfort and passion.

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
I went to Lilith Fair in High School. I saw the Dixie Chicks perform and just felt so anxious and inspired, like I HAD to get up there and I HAD to do that with my life!

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
There's the band out of Minneapolis called The Pines! They are all Iowa guys and now that I've moved back and gotten turned on to them, I'm obsessed! Their music is this perfect uplifting yet melancholic soundtrack to my life of late! It's some lush gorgeous poetry!

3 Qs for Lissie:

1. 'My Wild West' is your third studio album, how much do you feel has changed between this release and your first, and do you think this album reflects those differences? 

The normal changes, I'm older hopefully wiser :) I'm an independent artist too so I just put whatever songs I wanted to on this album! No one had any say haha. There also wasn't any set timeline, schedule, budget etc. so I think this album happened in a much more natural and flowing that albums past! I'm very proud of my body of work to date for sure but this album feels like it made itself (which of course isn't totally true, I had a great producer(s) and players).
Another thing I see as being different while not intentional but indicative of where I'm at, there aren't really any romance / heartbreak songs. Well there's one. But most of the album is about me addressing my issues with myself and finding my place in the world. In that way I think it just displays another stage of life that comes after the 20s? For me at least.

2. Who would be your dream artist / band to collaborate with and why?
I'd love to write some songs with John Prine. He has this great way of making a statement about culture, politics, the environment etc... but weaved into a captivating narrative you really wanna listen and relate to! He uses humour and / or characters point of view to make something really be felt and not just conceptualised.

3. What process did you go through creating 'Don't You Give Up On Me', both musically and visually and did it differ to previous single releases? 

The writing of the song was similar to how I'd write any other tune. I wrote it with Martin Craft, who's become a great friend and collaborator of mine. Through noodling around, the melody came and then the chorus lyric, I feel like in the days that passed, more of the lyrics just flowed into my mind on their own! As I worked more on the album and later, in deciding to move, some of the lyrics really felt prophetic about where I was headed! And because a lot of this new album and song were created in the swirl of relocating, visually, it felt appropriate to shoot the video on my new land. One of the lines, "I left you on the coast for something only I can see" sums it all up!

Random Q:


Favourite season?

I love the autumn. I love when the leaves change, it cools and you start smelling people's fireplaces! My birthday is in November and it all kinda reminds me of being a kid! Going back to school, bonfires, apple harvest season!
That being said, I love summer, spring and fall too! Haha

'My Wild West' Review:
'My Wild West' is definitely a contender for my favourite albums of 2016; it's a perfect combination of all things country, folk and rock, the mixture of rockier tracks and slower country infused folk creates this wonderful 12-track release. 
Stripped back, piano led track 'Hollywood' is a beautiful song, both musically and lyrically; and that is a theme that runs throughout the album. Whilst 'Wild West' begins atmospheric and builds into a catchy chorus and overall fantastic song, perfect for a live set; the same goes for the lead single 'Don't Give Up On Me', one of my favourites from Lissie's latest release and once I'd heard it, I knew this album was something to get excited about. I haven't been disappointed at all; whilst there are upbeat songs to get you to sing along and tap your feet to. There are also steadier, atmospheric and more emotionally reflective songs too, easily a favourite song of mine in general at the minute 'Sun Keeps Risin'' and the darker tones of 'Stay'. I think 'Daughters' is also a song that has to be mentioned, an encouraging and empowering track, confronting one of many big topics in the world right now. This album is something for Lissie to be proud of, and I really hope it gains the success and support it truly deserves.



Lissie's Links:

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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Check It Out #15 (17/02/16)

1. Swings & Waterslides - Viola Beach
Viola Beach were an emerging indie pop band from Warrington, England. They sadly became well known after Kris (guitar, vocals), River (guitar), Tomas (bass), Jack (drums) and their manager Craig died in a car accident at the weekend (13th Feb '16). 2016 was set to be a big year for the band, with a support slot on tour with Blossoms, performing at SXSW, The Great Escape Festival, T in the Park after continuing support from BBC Introducing. Now a social media campaign initiated by fans to get this single to the top of the UK Singles Chart is proving popular, and we want you to join in too... They are currently #2... https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/swings-waterslides-single/id1029171223


2. Compass - Zella Day

I came across this song after seeing The Finest Hours trailer and thinking it was Lana Del Rey; turns out it was the fantastic Zella Day, an American singer/songwriter from Arizona. 'Compass' appears on Zella's second album 'Kicker' which was released in June last year (2015). I think it's a beautiful track, that deserves more attention than previously gained. 


3. Roses - Rossy

Rossy, who is best known for his work with hip-hop dup V1BE has just released an acoustic cover of 'Roses', originally released by The Chainsmokers in June 2015. It's an even more chilled out version to the previously electronically focused track, and one you'll want to sit back and listen to. Enjoy!! 


4. Lay Down - Lail Arad
Singer/songwriter Lail Arad has announced the release of her second album 'The Onion' and brilliant new single 'Lay Down', through The Vinyl Factory. 'The Onion' is the follow up to London-born Lail's 2011 debut 'Someone New' and has been preluded by a run of teaser tracks. 'When We Grow Up', 'Milo' and '1934 (A Song For Leonard Cohen)' - which together gained radio support from the likes of BBC 6Music, Radio X and BBC Radio 2; be ready for this release on 15th April! 


5. Fast Car - Jonas Blue ft. Dakota

'Fast Car' is the debut single by British producer Jonas Blue featuring singer Dakota. This tropical house cover of Tracy Chapman's hit track from 1988, peaked at #2 in the UK Singles Chart meaning it charted higher than the original; as well as gaining a Top 10 place in 10 countries charts overall. 


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Monday, 15 February 2016

Feature: Art Block (15/02/16)


Art Block is a singer/songwriter from East London; creating alternative rock / indie music and gigging locally. His forthcoming EP 'Borderline' - produced by BBC Radio award-wining musicians, Ben Walker, from Folkroom Records - will be released on 4th March 2016. So we caught up with Art for a quick Q&A and listen of the title track 'Borderline'... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I wrote my first song at 15. Inspired by Pet Shop Boys lol

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Neil Young at Hyde Park or Roger Waters performing The Wall at The O2. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
A lot of unsigned artists on SoundCloud you've probably never heard of. I love Sophie Jamieson and her 'Where EP', which still resonates today. 

3 Qs for Art:

1. Which band / artist would you most like to collaborate with and why?
I've always wanted to collaborate with Ben Walker, who is an extremely talented folk musician and I was lucky enough to do so on the Borderline EP. 

2. Where do you gain inspiration and influences from whilst writing?
Usually SoundCloud - it's a mine of undiscovered talent. I'm also inspired daily by the amazing world around us. Living in London is good for that! 

3. Which track are you most excited for people to heard from your forthcoming EP 'Borderline' and why? 
'Breaking Point' as it is so different from my previous songs. It has an electronic experimental aspect to it. Ben Walker's guitar playing is phenomenal. 

Random Q:

Favourite lyric?
'Where the old Thames does flow...' - from The Verve's 'History'. 

'Borderline' Review:
The long but intricate guitars throughout, work perfectly alongside the haunting, echoing vocals and steady beat, creating a beautiful harmonious song. It fits into the genre perfectly, the only negative not being able to hear the well crafted lyrics clearer; but a great title track to welcome the rest of the EP with... 


Art Block's Links:

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Friday, 12 February 2016

Feature: Dave Hanson (12/02/16)


Former lead guitarist and songwriter for the well known band, The Dunwells, Dave Hanson is embarking on a new adventure into the unknown. He enjoyed great success with The Dunwells, who in the past toured with Mumford & Sons, Sheryl Crow and Amos Lee, performed on 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno and gained a number of US Top 40 singles. Dave's already proved himself on the band circuit, now he's set out to do the same thing as a solo artist and begins with the release of a new EP and lead single 'Blind Faith'... 

General Questions:

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

I picked up a guitar at age eight. I must admit I was inspired by the movie Back To The Future - and can remember thinking if I could just learn to play the intro to 'Johnny B Goode', I would be the coolest kid in school!

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Marty McFly? Ha no - but seriously - when I was 16 years old I got to see a show featuring Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker and ZZ Top. That was pretty inspiring for a young kid obsessed by blues and rock music to see all those legends jamming together!

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I'm really digging the latest Gary Clark Jr. album. I love his diversity of styles and distinctive guitar tone. I'm also a big fan of a band called the Sheepdogs. They've got a cool Levon Helm vibe going on.

3 Qs for Dave:

1. What has been the highlight of your musical career so far and why has it stuck with you?

Performing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, performing a song that I'd written was pretty special - knowing that 8 million people were hearing my music and seeing my play my guitar is definitely a highlight!

2. After enjoying success with The Dunwells, do you miss being in a band and what is the main thing you've found surprisingly easy / difficult going solo?
Well I have my own band now, and there's a couple of girls in it - which is refreshing after being stuck with a bunch of blokes for so long!

3. What is your current favourite track from your EP 'Blind Faith' and why does it stand out to you over the others? 
I love the title track 'Blind Faith'. It has this really cool laid back groove, which was recorded with my co-producer Daniel Woodward playing 'Hand, Foot & Leather Jacket'. It's lyrics have a poignant meaning to me as they were written at a time in my life where I was at a crossroads - should I go solo or disappear into insignificance?!

Random Q:

If you could see anyone perform live, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

I would love to see Jimi Hendrix play - for me he will always be the master of the electric guitar.

'Blind Faith' Review:
This track is a classic old school country blues song, it's catchy and easy to singalong to, with the conventional harmony lines for the genre throughout, honky tonk piano and fantastic hook creating a feel good track that'll make you want to clap and dance along in the summer (or if you're in England, in the rain pretending there's sun around...)


Dave's Links:

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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Check It Out #14 (10/02/16)

1. Maybe We're Home - Lewis Watson
Lewis Watson is back a year and a half after the release of his debut album 'The Morning', he has returned with a fantastic track, with a fuller sound 'Maybe We're Home' is continuing the usual Lewis Watson lyrics and melodies but seems a bit more upbeat and with thicker instrumental layers. This is the first taster from his next album, and it's creating quite a big hype around the artist, he's currently supporting Gabrielle Aplin on her tour and we reckon is set for a pretty big summer and second half of the year too. 



2. Left Hand Free - Wyvern Lingo
Wyvern Lingo are a three-piece from County Wicklow, Ireland; Karen Cowley (vocals, keyboards), Caoimhe Barry (vocals, drums) and Saorise Duane (vocals, guitar). A week ago I went and saw Hozier on his tour at O2 Academy Brixton, and Wyvern Lingo were his support, and ever since I've had them on repeat. This cover stood out in particular and they performed some of their fantastic tracks from their forthcoming EP too... Enjoy! 


3. Catapult - Jack Savoretti
'Catapult' is the most recent single taken from singer / songwriter, Jack Savoretti's re-released fourth studio album, 'Written In Scars'. The album made it to #7 in the UK Albums Chart and has gained a fair amount of support too. This is a stunning song accompanied by a beautifully simplistic video, it's one to turn up loud and just take in. 



4. 7 Years - Lukas Graham

This track peaked at #1 in the UK Singles Chart and is taken from Lukas Graham's second studio album 'Lukas Graham (Blue Album). The Danish soul / pop band released the track last year (2015) in September and it's gone on to reach #1 in 15 countries including the UK Singles Chart. It's a fantastic track and as it's success shows a very popular one. 



5. Take What I Can Get - Slowlights
Another band I came across supporting at a gig, this time it's Slowlights, saw these guys support Eliza and the Bear at The Boileroom, Guildford. They're like an younger, 'indier' Coldplay. They're at the beginning of their musical career as a band, but they're a promising group and I'm really looking forward to hearing whatever they have to offer next! 


Take What I Can Get - Slowlights (link)

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Monday, 8 February 2016

Spotlight: Ardyn (08/02/16)


Ardyn is the moniker of young British brother and sister, Rob and Katy Pearson. The duo, born and raised in Gloucestershire, released their debut EP 'The Universe' in November 2015, which garnered growing attention and support. They've now unveiled their latest track, 'The Garden', taken from the previously released EP, and are also heading out to do some headline shows around the UK in March and headlining Moth Club in Hackney (London) in April...

'The Universe' EP Review:
If you enjoy listening to musicians like Rae Morris, Kate Bush or Florence Welch, you'll love Ardyn and if you enjoy anything that stands out amongst other music and is generally brilliant - this duo is for your ears! This EP is melodic and beautiful throughout but also upbeat and pop-like at times. Mixing genres and styles amongst each track; a wonderful combination of percussion, piano and stunning vocals across all four tracks. Their latest track 'The Garden' is probably my favourite track from the release, it's smooth and focuses on piano and the emotive lyrics intertwining creating a floating and light track but a heavier meaning. Overall, a great EP and the start of huge things for this duo I believe - Ardyn are definitely the duo to watch this year! 


See Ardyn Live:
4th March: Also Known As, Banbury
9th March: The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool 
12th March: Headrow House, Leeds
31st March: Bungalows and Bears, Sheffield
19th April: Moth Club, London

Ardyn's Links:

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Friday, 5 February 2016

Feature: Tom Speight (05/02/16)


Londoner, Tom Speight, has now released his latest EP 'Little Love', and is also set to release his debut album later this year. Tom's previously enjoyed prominent success with his 2010 debut EP 'Willow Tree', though was forced to take time out due to medical issues, however his welcome return will see him collaborate with The Staves, Denai Moore, Clean Cut Kid and Benjamin Francis Leftwich. He's landed support slots for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Jake Bugg, Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes in the past and is now returning to perform extensively around the UK alongside Turin Brakes throughout February and March...

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I first started writing songs around the age 12 - it's been an infectious bug ever since! I don't really remember how it happened, it was just all I ever wanted to do. I have fond memories of listening to cassettes in my Mums car on repeat. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
That's such a tough question... What comes to mind first though is seeing Damien Rice just after his first album came out at Brixton Academy. The dynamics of his songs and the chemistry between him and Lisa Hannifin has influenced my music ever since. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
My top three records from last year were Sufjan Stevens, Tobias Jesso Jr. and the Ryan Adams live album. They just never seem to leave my record player. 

3 Qs for Tom:

1. You've supported some fantastic musicians in the past, but who would be your dream artist / band to tour with and why?
I would love to share a stage with Elton John. I think musically it would work and he seems like a lot of fun plus he is a legend! 

2. What process did you go through creating your single 'Little Love' musically?
I wanted to write a song that represented a period of my life I wanted to say goodbye to... It felt like a reward for going through something quite difficult, if that makes sense when I finally finished that song. 

3. Which is your favourite track from your EP 'Little Love' and why does it stand out to you?
My favourite at the moment is 'Something To Say' because it's probably the most positive song on the EP. I'm also really proud of 'Little Love' and the reaction it's getting. 

Random Q:

If you could invent a chocolate bar, what would you call it and what would the main ingredients be?
Peanut butter all day! Everyday! As for chocolate bar names... Dr Nut? I'll stick to music I think! 

'Little Love' EP Review:
Tom has created a perfectly crafted EP. 'Little Love' opens the release up on a steady track that grows into a catchy chorus, leaving me tapping my toes throughout. 'If I Belong' is stunningly emotive and honest, with harmonious vocals working incredibly well alongside the guitar. I found 'Something To Say' was very typical of the singer/songwriter genre, reminiscent of early Lewis Watson (definitely not a bad thing), and was pleased when Tom's songwriting ability shone through and push it outside of the norm. The EP closes with 'Green Eyes', another beautiful track with layered vocals and guitar complimenting each other and wonderful builds.
Overall, a fantastic EP, perfect to relaxing to in front of a fire or a sunset and really listening to and taking in, Tom's ability to create a narrative throughout a song and contrasting tracks with slower and steadier tones to upbeat, memorable melodies, but managing to incorporate honest and emotive lyrics to all. 


Tom's Links:

See Tom Live (supporting Turin Brakes):
18th February: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
19th February: Guildhall, Gloucester
20th February: Union Chapel, London
21st February: Open, Norwich
22nd February: Pavillion Arts Centre, Buxton
24th February: The Brook, Southampton
25th February: Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter
26th February: Cheese & Grain, Frome
27th February: Pontardawe Arts Centre
29th February: Thekla, Bristol
1st March: The Stables, Milton Keynes
2nd March: Concorde 2, Brighton
3rd March: Colchester Arts Centres
5th March: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
6th March: The Duchess, York
7th March: The Junction, Cambridge
8th March: Glee Club, Birmingham
10th March: The Ruby Lounge, Manchester
11th March: Le Belle Angele, Edinburgh
12th March: The Cluny, Newcastle
13th March: The Live Rooms, Chester

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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Check It Out #13 (03/02/16)

1. Revolution - Novah
Swedish based group, Novah return with their latest single 'Revolution'. After releasing 'Robot', a track that received international support, last year; they immediately started focusing their minds on a debut EP 'Alaska', set for release this spring. Enjoy this beautifully atmospheric track, one of my favourite current indie rock tracks out there!


2. Dogs - Bird Dog
This is the latest track to be released from emerging LA-based band Bird Dog's debut EP 'Misty Shrub', which has recently been released. Maxim (vocals, guitar), Tyler (guitar, vocals), Eric (bass, vocals), Colton (percussion, keys, vocals) and Justin (drums) are currently supporting Ryan Bingham on tour, and have announced performances at SXSW sonf Bottle Rock Festival in the next few months. A big year for Bird Dog! 


3. Nightcall - LCV Kin Choir
Kin Choir is 'London Contemporary Voices' louder, lairier little sister', born in Autumn 2014. They've hosted major concerts and projects at venues including Somerset House, Trafalgar House and Kensington Gardens. Here they are with a beautiful live cover of London Grammar's 'Nightcall' with echoing harmonies reminiscent of Enya, a stunning solo from Corinne Shields and the introduction of beats from BeatFox leads into a powerful section too. Enjoy!! 


4. Mystery and Wonder - Blitzen Trapper
Portland, Oregon rock quintet Blitzen Trapper are back with a new three-track EP 'Mystery and Wonder' and a Europe tour this month (Feb' 2016). The EP features the band's own version of traditional tune 'I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow', which they were asked to record specifically for US TV show Fargo. The lead track is a catchy tune, perfectly crafted and a wonderful showcase of not only the bands music but for the rest of the genre too! 


5. Heard Good Things - Julian Taylor Band
Julian Taylor Band, a Canadian group, continue their mission aiming to contextualise soul music not as another genre defined by racial precedent or sound requirements but as a medium that speaks to the soul. The new music video for 'Heard Good Things' was shot in one take and features cameos from some of Toronto's finest artists; Thompson Thompson Egbo Egbo, Jordan Alexander and Ross Hayes Citrullo from The Commoners. Kick back, tap your feet and enjoy these infectious funky guitar riffs and beats. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

Feature: Blaue Blume (01/02/16)


Blaue Blume are a Danish four-piece, comprised of Jonas Smith (vocals), Søren Buhl (drums), Robert Buhl (guitar) and Peter Bøgvad (bass). They released their debut EP, 'Beau and Lorette' in June 2014, which received great reviews and a lot of radio airplay in Denmark, Germany, the UK and France. The single 'On New Years Eve' was named best debut track by Fake DIY and featured in The Line Of Best Fit's Top 50. They've also played several festivals and sold out shows across Europe. We caught up with Jonas for a Q&A about the band, their latest release and of course other things music... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
Music has always been a huge part of our individual lives. We all come from families engaged with music, so growing up without it was inevitable. As a band we've existed for approximately six to seven years. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
We have all seen a Danish performer called Nils Grondahl, several times. He is really something to witness. Very loud, very dark and very beautiful. A lot of artistic performances whether they are musical or not, can be musically inspiring. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I listen to Brian Eno a lot these days, especially one record called 'The Pearl' which is a collaboration with a guy called Harold Budd. Ambient music in general is a very interesting and undiscovered genre for me. 

3 Qs for Blaue Blume:

1. Why / how did you choose your name 'Blaue Blume'?
It sounded beautiful and ugly at the same time which is the contrast we would like our music to represent or express in some way. We were very drawn by the fact that it was in another language than English or our own. It seems foreign and therefore very much alive every time we pronounce it. Also no other band had taken it... That might be the primary reason why we chose it. 

2. Which track from your debut album 'Syzygy' are you most excited for people to hear? 
That's pretty hard to say. It's like choosing between your kids. I guess I would really like for people to hear the record from beginning to end maybe even read the lyrics simultaneously. It is really, from our perspective, thought of as a whole. 

3. What process did you go through creating 'Sky', was it a collaborative effort or did you all have specific roles within the band?
Well we all have different roles in the band but I guess we try to find the same thought when making music. Everything we've created together so far, including 'Sky', is an attempt of expressing the same idea. More practically, and less analysing, we were having fun jamming. 

Random Q:

If you could play a show anywhere, where would it be and why?
We have this insane dream of playing Carnegie Hall one day. Some of our absolute favourite live recordings were made there. Check out 'Nina Simone Live at Carnegie Hall'! We often put that on before going on stage ourselves. 

'Sky' Review:
'Sky' is an atmospheric and haunting track; with beautifully chilling vocals from Jonas leading the way and the steady drums and bass lines rising and falling with the track, as well as the intricacy of each instrumental, specifically guitar throughout too. Continuously contrasting, with light and floaty sections and rising into a dark and intense second half of the track. Powerful and poetic, an all-round beautifully crafted song, a fantastic start to their debut album 'Syzygy'. 


Blaue Blume's Links:

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