Monday, 30 May 2016

Feature: Dance a la Plage (30/05/16)


Dance a la Plage formed in February 2011 after meeting on a music practise course at Leamington Spa College. Hailing from Banbury, Oxford, this alternative, indie pop four-piece are creating sound waves that need listening to. Slice (guitars/vocals), Harry (guitars/vocals), Sully (bass) and Howard (drums) have gained support from BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio, and even bigger things are to come! 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
Not old at all! We were about 8 or 9 when we started learning our instruments and we have always just been in bands growing up. Harry, Sully and Howard actually all went to Rock school so have been playing together for years and Slice joined them later when they met at college. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Ah man that's hard! There have been so many. Think it's got to be when we all went to watch Tower Of Power play at Koko, London. They were just SO damn good! We all walked away thinking 'fuck, we're doomed' haha. It definitely helped give us some direction and ideas in terms of our musicianship and live performance. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
We've actually jut made our own playlist - (here)
There's all sorts on it from the funkiest of shit like Maceo Parker, Luther Vandross and CHIC to artists like John Mayer, Michael Jackson and Biscuits & Gravy.

3 Qs for Dance a la Plage:

1. Why / how did your name, Dance a la Plage, come about?

We were sat in our local venue called Also Know As after a show one night. At this point we were called Midas Touch, but hated the name and wanted to change it to something with a mix of languages. Our friend who was studying languages was throwing a load of suggestion at us all night and after what turned into a pretty heavy night, Dance a la Plage was the only one we could actually remember in the morning.

2. If you could play a show anywhere, where would it be and why?

I think the dream would be to eventually headline a huge festival like Coachella or Glasto. Saying that, if money was no object we'd love to throw our own huge party on a beautiful beach abroad somewhere, fly everyone over, pay for their accommodation etc. Maybe the Caribbean or some other gorgeous country. Free drinks of course!

3. When creating '222', was it a collective effort or did you have specific roles within the group?
The songwriting process varies each time we write a new song. Sometimes it's based on a lyrical idea, sometimes it's a bass line or drumbeat. Sometimes it's just a drone noise of a keyboard. Most of the time though, and for 222, it was a guitar riff. We tend to write as a collective and just let each other do their own thing.

Random Q:


Who in the band is most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse?

Depends, are they brain eating zombies? If so, Harry, Sully and Howard are fine - too much weed. If they are just hungry zombies looking for the biggest meal let's just they aren't going for Harry, Sully or Howard first! Either way, I suppose Slice is fucked!

'222' Review:
'222' is a brilliant indie pop rock track, perfect for seeing the summer in with, anthemic choruses that should become everyone's soundtrack to BBQ season. Infectious riffs, melodies and bass lines and a rhythm that's impossible not to tap along to, you're gonna love this! 



Dance a la Plage's Links:

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Friday, 27 May 2016

What I'm Listening To... (27/05/16)

1. Kicks - Lauren Aquilina
This is the new single from Lauren Aquilina, and it's an upbeat tune! If this doesn't make it on to your summer playlists, then you're missing out! With an empowering message, catchy pop melody, it's a song that's bound to get stuck in your head, the video is pretty impressive too! Enjoy!



2. Paraesthesia - Signals.

I've only recently come across Signals. but I'm really enjoying their music, this is their most recent release. They've created a unique sound and make brilliant math pop tracks. I'm a bit gutted I didn't make their gig at Boileroom the other day, but I've been making up for it by having their songs on repeat.



3. Dangerous Woman - Eliza & The Bear

Eliza and the Bear recently headed into the Radio 1 Live Lounge and covered Ariana Grande's 'Dangerous Woman'. It's a pretty fab cover and I've consequently had the song stuck in my head a fair bit recently.



4. Grandma's Hands - Bill Withers

So this is a big throwback and one that nearly always gets played. The lyrics are beautiful and his vocals bring the soul to life. 'Grandma's Hands' is just a stunning song that I've loved for a very long time and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon.



5. Hello Hello - Lewis Watson

I'm on a huge Lewis Watson hype at the minute, spending most of my 'down' time listening to basically all of his discography, from his first EP right up to his recent singles taken from his forthcoming album, which I'm really excited to hear! It's looking (and sounding) like it's going to be one of the best singer/songwriter releases of the year.



6. Liquorice - Alice Jemima
I saw Alice support Martin Luke Brown last year and have been waiting for a new release from her ever since. Now Alice has released this brilliant new single and she's getting support from BBC Introducing and others. It's a catchy pop tune that's been stuck in my head for a while now - enjoy!



7. Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz

Another throwback in the way of some monkeys. 'Demon Days' is probably still up there on my list of all time favourite albums, and whilst this track isn't on that album, it's still from the brilliant band that created it. It's one of those that you can't not sing along to...



8. Tilikum - Benjamin Francis Leftwich

When I heard Benjamin was making it back into the world of music after a tough couple of years. This is the first song to be taken from his forthcoming album 'After The Rain'. This is a beautiful music video that accompanies an equally beautiful song...



9. Reckless - Gareth Emery ft. Wayward Daughter

I'm not usually a huge fan of electronic dance music, but as we're slowly coming into summer, this track has made it onto my playlists and I've been listening to it a fair bit. I've also been listening to some of the other tracks from Gareth Emery's new album, featuring Janet Devlin, Joseph, Lawson and others, and it's a great collection of songs.



10. Soon Soon - Tom Rosenthal

As some of you may (or may not) know, Tom Rosenthal is probably up there as one of my favourite singer/songwriters, he's a bit of a genius. I always enjoy his creative lyrics, songs and the accompanying music videos, I'm sure you will too! 



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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Review: Me and The Moon (Single Launch @ The Boileroom, Guildford) (24/05/16)

On Tuesday, I finally had a reason to venture back to my favourite venue, The Boileroom, and it was a great excuse too! Me and The Moon had their single launch for 'The Light' and it was a brilliant evening of local, live music. 

Will Rowe-Parr kicked the night off with his smooth vocals and his original songs from his forthcoming EP. Managing to combine blues, indie pop and acoustic rock into a wonderful unique sound, alternating between acoustic and electric throughout the set. 

Five piece indie rock band, China Bears, were next to the stage, creating a full sound including tight harmonies, infectious electric guitars, groovy bass lines and steady rhythms. Reminiscent of Noah and The Whale and Saint Raymond, varying paces of songs, and sleepy soundscapes, high energy riffs with complimenting vocals carrying the melodies throughout. 

Beach For Tigers were the one act I hadn't come across before, and I was excited to hear what they had to offer - and wasn't let down. They're a five-piece psychedelic rock band, with wonderfully ethereal guitars, strong and funky bass lines, more tight harmonies and a trumpet shining throughout. They pull elements from so many genres into psychedelic rock and each of their songs and have created a signature sound, whilst not being too similar within the set list. I was a big fan. 


Then Me and The Moon headed on stage. They brought in a large and enthusiastic crowd that filled out The Boileroom. They kicked off their set perfectly with 'Hold On', taken from their debut EP, with their trademark sound of compelling guitar riffs, strong bass and rhythms, and of course strong vocals. It got the audience singing along to the chorus, and warmed them up for the rest of the set. 
They played a few new songs, 'Against The Tide' is a brilliant track, again with infectious guitars and strong lead vocals, backed by Johnny, highlighting the song's lyrics. 'Blind' started more stripped back, with Tamara-Jane on acoustic guitar, building into stuttered layers and a drum beat that's impossible not to clap along to. 'Daydreaming' is very folky, holding a steady rhythm throughout and growing into yet another catchy chorus; cutting to a guitar solo courtesy of Johnny and gradually building the layers back up into a fantastic song. Yet another song full of fantastic harmonies and getting the crowd clapping along again. 
After a few thank you's to the people who made their new single and accompanying music video possible, they introduced 'The Light'. This single is a brilliant follow up from their previous, 'Run With Wolves'. Starting stripped back and jumping into indie pop at it's best, memorable riffs and melodies, and empowering vocals, showcasing their range and harmonies as a band. 



They did a fierce cover of 'Til The End' by Lucy Rose,  Me and The Moon-ed it (and yes that's definitely a thing!) Producing a beautiful electronic soundscape that broke up their set of originals nicely. Another song from their debut EP 'Been A While' graced our ears, with a moodier tone, incredible instrumental breakdown and Johnny smashing it on guitar (again). They treated us to another new track, 'Get Away', which has a rockier intro, stunning group vocals, and a memorable melody. 
Greeted with chants of 'one more song', Me and The Moon (obviously) closed with their title track from their previous release, 'Run With Wolves'. As it's their most known song, everyone was either singing, humming or clapping along, which left it stuck in my head for a fair few hours afterwards - it's still there, 24 hours later... 
Overall, a fantastic evening, Me and The Moon did a fantastic job of creating a high energy performance on stage and atmosphere throughout the venue that brought their music to life. It's not often you can go to a gig now and have a quiet(ish) audience, but it was obvious that everyone was there to enjoy listening to and seeing them live, which shows how talented Alex, Johnny and Tamara-Jane really are! If you get a chance to see them live anytime soon, take it up, you won't be disappointed! 


Monday, 23 May 2016

Feature: Youngsmith (23/05/16)


Brisbane's Youngsmith has been making his own music for ten years, having played both in a band as a solo artist, he has produced several EPs, had his work featured and played on national radio and surfing documents in other countries like Germany and the US. However, releasing his first single 'Wither' just last year he appears as a new name in the world of music. Now he's releasing his second single 'Red' and heading out on a national tour in support of the track... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I was 20. I had a major knee operation and was learning to walk again and I picked up my Dad's old guitar (he had got it when he was about 20). It'd never really been played but he kept it and it had three strings. I taught myself from there really... 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen? 
I've seen a lot of famous bands but you kind of know what you're going to get going in a lot of the time. I'm a sucker for an open mic night myself. I find that really inspiring because you've got someone up there who's totally inexperienced pouring their heart out. Sure it's not all good, but quite often there's some really magical stuff that comes out when it's someone's first time up on stage. To me, that's inspiring. It takes guts to expose yourself like that. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I'm stuck in the 80s and 90s at the moment. I've been listening to bootlegs and demos from Pearl Jam, AC/DC and Soundgarden on Spotify lately. Things like unused tracks and demos from PJ's Ten and AC/DCs Bonfire Box (a live album from the late 70s). I love listening to early recordings / early demos of famous bands that I know and love. I like to hear where the sound came from as a basic recording (without all the bells and whistles put it in production / mixing). 

3 Qs for Youngsmith:

1. You're heading on tour in July / August, but which is your dream venue to play and why?
My dream venue is probably The Tivoli in Brisbane at this point. I've played just about every other venue Brisbane has to offer now and that's the one that stands out for me because it's so local and unique. It's old school cool with pink carpet, and cool balconies and feels like something out of The Great Gatsby. 
It has a capacity of about 5,000 but it still feels intimate somehow. Getting complete silence during a song with just me and my guitar is something I secretly fantasise about. 

2. Where do you find you gain the majority of your influences from, both lyrically and musically?
I grew up listening to the music my older brothers listened to. All the 90s grunge bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden as well as stuff like Neil Young and Queen. I always found I related to the music during that time that had emotionally charged lyrics. Some of that music got me through my teens. 

3. What process did you go through creating 'Red' and how much did it differ to your previous release, 'Wither'?
'Red' was an easy song to write, I wrote it in about half an hour. It came to me pretty much completely written in my head. Sometimes songs come to me fully fleshed out, other times I have to rewrite them a bit and trial them at live gigs. 
Getting it down recording was a little more difficult though, because I'm not a huge fan of songs that follow the usual structure and I wanted to have a change in the chorus by the end. I wanted the song to start like a Vance Joy or Mumford & Sons track, but end as a more anthem rock n roll track while carrying the same vocal melody. 
I started recording 'Red' with drum loops and bass and built up layer upon layer from there, breaking down each part as I went. The process was a bit different from 'Wither' (which is pretty simple and was recorded live - for the most part). 

Random Q:

Three things you can't live without?
My cattledog Hudson, my guitar and sugar... 

'Red' Review:
This is a Simon & Garfunkel-esque track, holding a similar style of songwriting and narrative, however it's a soul infused folk/rock song, full to the brim of feelings, that resonate with the listener. Youngsmith's powerful, slightly rugged vocals bring the track to life and lead the steadily growing guitar and percussion throughout. If you like Bon Iver, Jake Isaac or Matt Corby - this is a song for you! 


Youngsmith's Links:

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Friday, 20 May 2016

Spotlight: Samuel Jack (20/05/16)


Samuel Jack has announced the release of his debut EP 'Live From My Caravan', and it will be released on June 17th. Born in London, before moving to Johannesburg at the age of 12, he's now settled in Dorset, writing and recording in a caravan (where he lives). Last Year Samuel Jack opened The Avalon Stage at Glastonbury festival and has been wowing audiences at a string of private clubs in LA and London. Recently championed by BBC Introducing and having shared the stage this past few months with established artists like Grand Master Flash and Izzy Bizu, Samuel Jack is one to watch! 

'Let It All Out' Review:
Samuel Jack has created a beautifully heartwarming and soulful song, acoustic music at it's best. This track is full of life, with emotive lyrics showing his skill for storytelling, which are brought to life by his rugged vocals. His lifetime influences of blues, Motown, soul and roots shine through this song, a wonderful track that paves the way for the rest of Samuel Jack's introductory acoustic EP. 


See Samuel Live:
26th May: The Bedford, London
29th May: Innocent Unplugged Festival
16th June: Aloft, London Excel
2nd July: Cheese & Grain Festival, Frome
15th July: Larmer Tree Festival
21st July: Surya, London (co-headline with Beth Rowley)

Samuel's Links:

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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Check It Out #20 (18/05/16)

1. Born Too Loose - Leo Skywell
Gothenburg, Sweden, native Leo Skywell made his debut as a solo artist in 2015 with 'Leisure/Desperation'. He then went on tour through the vast country, wrote new material and then joined forces with Kristian Anttila. A few months into 2016, we're approaching his debut EP, 'Time Will Darken It' (27th May), and this is his new single. 



2. Auxiliary Love - 5 Dollar Shakes

Irish indie rockers 5 Dollar Shakes, have just released their latest single from their recently released EP 'Come & See Enough To Stay'. The young five piece have a similar sound to Frightened Rabbit, Biffy Clyro and Wolf Alive, tense rhythms, guitar switching from shimmering to savage and anthem choruses... 



3. Sommer - AyOwA

AyOwA is Danish duo, Nicolai Kornerup and Hannah Schneider. Recorded in a suburb basement in Copenhagen, during a summer that never really started, but left the duo experimenting over a modular synth and some old reel-to-reels, they wrote 'Sommer', in a dark, electronic melancholic rush of happiness... 



4. Found - Seramic

Seramic returns with brand new track, 'Found', and is the title track from his debut EP. It's a soulful, energy-filled track that is getting a lot of support nationwide, and for obvious reasons - it's a great song! Seramic will also be playing his first headline London show at The Waiting on 21st June, so if you like what you hear - be sure to grab a ticket! (here)



5. Runner - My Heart The Brave

This is My Heart The Brave's first release since his 2014 critically acclaimed debut EP, bringing together contrasting elements from techno, alternative pop, as well as a background as a classical pianist. My Heart The Brave is the brainchild of Danish producer and songwriter Caspar Hesselager, if you like Elliott Smith, Empire of the Sun, and Royksopp, you'll like this track! 



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Monday, 16 May 2016

Feature: Lauren Ray (16/05/16)


Following the release of her debut EP last year, British singer/songwriter, Lauren Ray has recently released her new single 'Drive' taken from her forthcoming debut album, 'We Will Need Courage' - out on July 1st (2016). Whilst holding down a full time job in the music industry by day, Lauren has spent the last few years performing and writing in her spare time, building a fan base in London, LA, Nashville and even further afield...

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I have been singing since a young age, getting involved in school choirs, concerts and musicals wherever I could. My first taste of the music industry world (in the smallest of ways) was when I was part of the BBC children's choir that sang with Martine McCutcheon for the 1999 Children In Need charity single 'Love Me'. That was a great experience as we got to record the single, be part of the video and perform live on the show. I didn't start songwriting and working towards my own music until I was a teenager but by then I knew this is what I wanted to do. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
I went to see Emilie Nicolas perform at the intimate St Pancras Old Church venue last year and it was incredibly inspiring. The intimate setting along with her raw lyrics and strong ethereal vocals was really amazing but of course nothing beats seeing a legend like Stevie Wonder and (I'm not ashamed to say it Celine Dion) perform live where they have hit after hit and their energy and vocals are spot on throughout is really something to be in awe of. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
At the moment I am listening to The Lumineers, KWABS, Jhene Aiko, Courtney Barnett, Honne and so many other great artists. 

3 Qs for Lauren:

1. Which three countries would you most like to tour and why?
1. America because I listen to so many amazing artists from the US and whenever I am over there I always feel so inspired to create - I think it's the space. 
2. Malaysia because a friend of mine has been living there for a while and has convinced me that all the music she hears in coffee shops and various places is in the same smooth adult contemporary genre that my music is in... plus it's a gorgeous place so it would be a great place to tour. 
3. Australia because I've been dying to go back since I travelled there 10 years ago. Plus so many of my friends now live there or are from there so I could combine touring with travelling and with seeing good friends all the way along the coast. 

2. Who have been your biggest influences musically and what have been your biggest inspirations lyrically?
Musically I can't think of one stand-along influence because I listen to so much music I imagine it all seeps in. I would say listening to artists like John Mayer, Carole King, Amos Lee, Laura Marling and Norah Jones have influenced my overall pop-country blend. 
My songs are grounded more in fact than in fiction so it is my own real stories and the stories of my close friends and family that have inspired my lyrically. 

3. What process did you go through creating 'Drive', and how did it differ from other tracks on your forthcoming debut album?
Each track on my album, whilst having the same producer and musicians, were all approached differently to a certain extent. The producer and I discussed what feel we wanted each song to have and with 'Drive' we just knew it was always going to be the more laid back track just because of the lyrics and message. 

Random Q:

A lyric / quote you live by?
If the person you are speaking to is saying no, you are just speaking to the wrong person'.
I have no idea where I heard this but it has helped me over the years because pursuing a career in the music industry can be full of no's - but that just makes finding the person(s) who are saying yes that much more rewarding. 

'Drive' Review:
'Drive' is a soulful, smooth and steady track, combining pop and country elements to create a chilled summer song. Lauren's gracious vocals glide over the piano and guitar led track, this sets the tone for the rest of the album teased with other single 'Come To Me'. It's clear Lauren has her own sound yet still ventures within that, I'm excited to hear more from the forthcoming album! 



See Lauren Live:
21st May: The Book Cafe, Derby (UK)
22nd May: Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham (UK)
3rd June: Acoustic Festival of Britain, Uttoxeter (UK)
8th July: Cornbury Music Festival, Chipping Norton (UK)

Lauren's Links:

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Friday, 13 May 2016

Feature: Joy Oladokun (13/05/16)


LA-based singer / songwriter, Joy Oladokun, has been writing and playing guitar for a while, however, it wasn't until 2015 that Joy took the plunge and decided to record her debut EP 'Cathedrals', leading to Joy's first ever solo concert of original music, singing songs and telling stories for over two hours to an audience of 60+ crammed into her living room. Deciding to then stay in LA after performing several more shows and working as a background vocalist for other artists, she went full time with her music. Joy then managed to raise $30,000 in a Kickstarter campaign for the funding and marketing of her first full-length release, 'Carry', which is out now! 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I was 10 years old when I started playing the guitar. I had seen a Tracy Chapman video on TV and it was the first time I remember seeing someone who looks like me playing the guitar. It changed my life.

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Hmm that's a difficult question. I find myself inspired by a lot of the musical performances I watch. I think there is something in general that is so inspiring about being brave enough to stand up on a stage and share your heart with a room full of people.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I'm on a big folk / country kick so Chris Stapleton, Johnny Cash, Noah Gundersen.

3 Qs for Joy:

1. What process did you go through creating 'Shelter' and how much did it differ to your other tracks on your debut album 'Carry'?

'Shelter' came out of a moment of frustration during the production process. It is the only song that was kind of reverse engineered - meaning that I felt it was something that I needed to hear, rather than something I wanted to say. I just needed to remember that there were people cheering me on, and I had to choose to receive it. The other songs were me needing to say something / get something off of my chest.

2. If you could invite any three people to one of your gigs, who would you ask and why?
Ooooo. I think Lenny Kravitz, 'cause I'd love to work with him! I can't really think of anyone else. This may seem lame, but two of my close friends. I really do feel more comfortable when I know people in the room.

3. You've said each song from 'Carry' stemmed from a lesson you've learnt, or are still learning; but which song / lesson have you found to be the most important or meaningful?
'Poison' by far. The hardest lesson I've had to learn is that sometimes loving someone means realising that you aren't the best for them and letting them go. That's a song that is still so sensitive to perform and I wrote it almost a year ago.

Random Q:

Three things you can't live without?

1. eggs
2. good friends
3. a nice jacket. I wear them often. Even when it's hot.

'Shelter' Review:
'Shelter' is a beautiful, soulful and emotive, piano and vocal led song. The drums and electric guitar build up and breakdown adds layers and depth to the track, alongside powerful and raw vocals throughout. The warmth behind the song really shines through and this is a theme that runs from the first note of Joy's album 'Carry', right to the last. I'm really excited about this release and the future of Joy's music. Easily on my list of favourite tracks from 2016. 



Joy's Links:

'Carry' (album): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/carry/id1109368744
'Shelter' (single): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/shelter-single/id1097109276
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyoladokunmusic/?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joyoladokun
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/joyoladokun

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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Check It Out #19 (11/05/16)

1. Skin - Carmody
London based singer/songwriter, Carmody, released her debut solo offering taken from her self-titled EP. Having previously worked alongside Tom Misch, Carmody has now started a solo project, releasing enchanting songs with stripped back vocals. If you like Birdy, Billie Marten and Rae Morris, you're bound to love Carmody!



2. Don't You Cry For Me - Cobi
Previously fronting the Boston-based indie band, Gentleman Hall, Cobi decided to release music as a solo artist in 2014. Since then, he's only released two single, 'Walking Through Fire' and 'First Snow', but now he's back with a third! It's a deep, dark song but Cobi's vocals are soulful and emotive bringing the raw and honest lyrics to life. It's a beautiful song and one I'm sure you're going to enjoy... 


3. Constant Crush - VÉRITÉ
VÉRITÉ has just released her latest EP 'Living', which follows up two previous EPs, 'Echo' and 'Sentiment'. 'Constant Crush' is the lead single from the 'Living' EP and is already becoming a popular new track. Alternative pop at it's best, this song is full of electronic and synthed layers, with VÉRITÉ's vocals gliding over the top. 


4. Crawl - Live//Learn
Live//Learn are Bedfordshire based, four-piece, bringing a new breed of cutting edge alternative music. Having formed at the end of 2014, after shedding the juvenile constraints of their previous band Poolside Dive, they set out with one less guitar and for the first time, a producer. This shows in their new tracks being released and show an exciting new twist on alternative music. 


5. Waiting For You To Run - Georgia Reed
'Waiting For You To Run' is the debut single from Perth's Georgia Reed. Georgia's no stranger to her city, having an extensive live music apprenticeship of Perth's bars and basements, and in 2015 appearing on billboards around WA as a face of The Bigger Picture Campaign. This is a brilliant fierce and intense track, if you like Florence and the Machine and Lana Del Rey, this one's definitely for you! 


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Monday, 9 May 2016

Spotlight: Twin Peaks (09/05/16)


Twin Peaks are Caddie Lake James, Clay Frankel, Connor Brodner, Jack Dolan and Colin Croom. In the three years since dropping out of college to support their debut album 'Sunken', the band have covered a lot of ground. They've been playing to growing crowds, performing to masses at festivals in the US and Europe, including Pitchfork, Lollapalooza, Reading & Leeds, and Roskilde. Now they're back with their third record 'Down In Heaven', setting out to reflect on how far they've come and how much of life is left... 

'Butterfly' Review:
A gritty, dark, dance track hidden behind the 'indie rock' title, these guys have made this song so much more. With electric guitars skipping over the steady bass line, and rumbling and at times glistening drums. An infectious melody that's impossible to avoid dancing along to, this track leads the way for the rest of their album, each of the 13 songs has something different to offer. 


Twin Peaks' Links:

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Friday, 6 May 2016

Feature: The Virginmarys (06/05/16)



Hailing from Macclesfield, England, The Virginmarys are a three-piece rock band, consisting of Ally Dickaty (guiatar/vocals), Danny Dolan (drums) and Matt Rose (bass/vocals). They formed back in 2009 and have since toured as support to the likes of Eagles of Death Metal, Queens of the Stone Age and We Are Scientists, as well as playing their own headline gigs throughout UK, Europe, US and Japan. They released their debut album ‘King Of Conflict’ in 2013 and are now back with their latest album ‘Divides’…

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
Matt: I've been fortunate enough to always have instruments around me pretty much from day one, so it's all my life. I had piano lessons as a kid but soon got bored. I started playing guitar at about 10-11 and that's when I started taking it seriously. It was the only thing I wanted to do and I took it round everywhere with me. I'm sure I annoyed a lot of people with that!

Danny: I grew up surrounded by drum kits from the age of seven because my Dad had always wanted to be a drummer himself and never got the opportunity and I guess he wanted me to be a drummer because of that? Anyways, I was never interested and used to bug him to get me guitar lessons which he refused... after he sold the drum kits at age 13 I think... I fell on my head and the lightbulb turned o and I went back to my Dad and said 'Dad... I want to play the drums'... Haha! When I see it written out like this it kinda reminds me of the Star Wars plot haha... Well... If Luke went bad I guess?! #darksidedrums :)

Ally: I started learning guitar when I was 11 I think. I'm a leftie but there was an old battered acoustic around the house that I learnt on so I've always stuck with playing right handed. As for getting in bands, I played in a couple in school and then pretty much dropped any further education when I met Dan as we just focused on playing music.

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen? 
Matt: I got to see Bjork a few years back and she's just incredible. The show, the music, everything about it was inspiring. I also got to see the Beastie Boys when I was younger and that was a pretty phenomenal experience too. And also when I’ve been to see DJ’s play. The way that a great DJ can have the crowd in the palm of their hand and completely control the mood of the room when they drop into a certain tune and the atmosphere that creates. It’s proper spine tingling stuff! I’m sure there’re others but right now, they’re the ones that come to mind.
 
Danny: Radiohead’s Glastonbury headline show. I remember being stone cold sober (which is incredibly odd for me) and I’d never seen them live but it was the most calculated, precise and well executed show I’ve ever seen. They came on to ‘There, There’ and ended with ‘Street Spirit’. A band at the top of their craft and they knew it… and you could tell they knew it!!! The bar was set that day I think and I was like ‘Shit… that’s the level?!’ Pretty sure I ended up going back to my tent and getting completely wasted after that… but don’t remember any of that bit… good times J

Ally: Probably seeing the Flaming Lips at Reading Festival around the time Soft Bulletin came out. It changed everything in my head. They sounded so massive and it was such a show. They are incredibly sincere with the audience, it really feels like you’re part of something. It blew my mind.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Matt: I’ve been listening a lot to a band who are the same management company as us called Slothrust. When we were last in America we were fortunate to catch them live and they were ace.


Danny: Actually been listening a lot to Foals which is really odd for me because I’m not entirely sure I like it?! Also Wolf Alice… I definitely do like it J and The Kills new stuff… which I really think I’m gonna love! Oh and Damien Jurado!!! J

Ally: PJ Harvey’s new album, The Hope Six Demolotion Project. It’s a great album. Run The Jewels, both albums. Social Distortion.

3 Qs for The Virginmarys:

1. Which three countries would you most like to tour and why?
Matt: Brazil, New Zealand and Canada. They’re just places that have always appealed to me.

Danny: Australia, Russia and Cuba… I think they just sound like cool places to play.

Ally: We’re very lucky that we’ve got to visit so much of the world already through touring, but…
Canada is a place I’ve wanted to see since I was a kid but have never been. Something I can’t explain draws me to it. China, always wanted to go, I’d love to experience the culture and food, meet the people and visit a lot of the remaining huge parts of history. Australia, I’ve always thought that we’d go down really well in Australia and I hear so many good reports about it from friends who had moved out there.

2. Who and what have you found has influenced you to make music?
Matt: It’s always my friends and family that influence me.

Danny: Humans that make me question things and look at life in different way than I would.

Ally: Apart from having always listened to a broad range of stuff, my environment always influences me and what’s going on inside of me. Divides is very much influenced by the world as I see it in 2016, what I’m seeing, feeling and experiencing.

3. What process did you go through creating ‘For You My Love’ and how much did it differ from your other tracks on ‘Divides’?
Matt: Ally?

Danny: I seem to remember we changed the tempo quite a lot before we settled on one that felt right… and I spent probably more time with Gil Norton (producer) re-arranging the drum patterns for this than any others…

Ally: It originally started as a slow acoustic song I was writing as the rain hammered down around Christmas. I kept playing with it every time I picked up the guitar as I loved the melody but gave it more a galloping and urgent feel and then developed a chorus for it. As soon as we started playing and jamming it out as a band I got a really good feeling from it. It was a similar process to how we worked on the other songs with Gil, moving things about, cutting parts, changing rhythms. For overdubs I love playing around with harmonies and layers that add something different. We also beefed it up with a few piano notes.

Random Q:

Ideal Friday night?
Matt: Couple of pints and a night in watching a film and having a curry. Very rock’n’roll hey!

Danny: Music, Drink + Friends… and maybe a Jack Nicholson movie J

Ally: Headlining a huge festival. If not… I love writing, seeing my family, getting lost and disappearing.

'Motherless Land' Review:
'Motherless Land' is one of the lead tracks from The Virginmary's latest album 'Divides'. A high energy song with strong vocals leading the way, the breaks and builds allow the structure to carry the song along. It's a brilliant rock track, layered up with fantastic guitars, a neat bass line underlining the  stuttered and at times thrashing drums. It's got a catchy melody and chorus, that's bound to get everyone singing along, and I'm sure it'd create a great atmosphere live. 


The Virginmarys' Links:

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