Wednesday, 30 November 2016

What I'm Listening To... (30/11/16)

1. Alaska - Maggie Rogers
Maggie Rogers is taking the world of music by storm and she's making it onto everyone's ones to watch list for 2017. Pharrell Williams has listened to this song and loved it, and so have millions of other people. Maggie manages to combine folk, electronica and R&B into a wonderful sound that's emotive whilst still getting people up to dance and lose themselves in the music. 'Dog Years' has followed since, and is another example of Maggie's fantastic musicianship - I'm looking forward to an EP or album in the near future, hopefully!



2. Honest - Joseph

I've been listening to my Joseph vinyl a lot recently, their release 'I'm Alone, No You're Not' was back in August, but not a day has gone by since where I haven't listened to at least one of their songs. The title of the album came from this song, 'Honest', and is one of my favourites from the release. It's raw, powerfully emotional and the harmonies bring the lyrics to life in such a strong way it's impossible not to be in awe. This particular performance of this song is my favourite, however, they did a Tiny Desk Concert recently and that is a must listen, the middle song of the session ('I Don't Mind') is my other favourite from my release, and can be found here: link.



3. Machines That Breathe - Be Charlotte

This was a random find on Spotify, and ever since it's been on repeat. Be Charlotte is an incredibly talented musician way beyond her years, innovative and creative and her songwriting, both musically and lyrically, is out of this world. With an upbeat and unique sound, I'm surprised more people haven't heard about Be Charlotte, I'm sure the new year and a new release might change that though...



4. Mountains (Acoustic) - Biffy Clyro

Here's a bit of a throwback... The return of Biffy Clyro and their new album 'Ellipsis' led to me listening to their old material too. In particular, an acoustic version of 'Mountains', this isn't the exact version (that can be found on iTunes and Spotify), but it holds the same principle. Whilst I love the passion that Biffy Clyro's recorded music has, the acoustic version was a little more fitting for the time of year and has been the soundtrack to many chilled evenings recently.



5. Formidable - The Big Moon

We had the pleasure of reviewing this wonderful band at their sold out headline show at Scala earlier this month and this song was one of the ones that stuck (alongside 'Bonfire'). It's a mellower and slower track to what we're used to from The Big Moon, obviously it still has a punchy rock throughout. They've just announced their debut album too, and now I can't wait for April 2017! 



6. Sleep On The Floor - The Lumineers

The Lumineers seem to be the band I always forget I love. I don't have any of their albums and I think I only own one of their singles (and that's 'Ho Hey'), but every time I listen to one of their songs I fall in love with it. This is my latest favourite from them - and it's probably one of my favourite tracks in general at the minute. It's a stunning song, lyrically and musically, and the music video encapsulates that perfectly - enjoy! 



7. Stranger - Amber Run

Amber Run are back! 'Stranger' is the second release from their second album 'For A Moment, I Was Lost'. I'm going to be honest and say that I struggled to get into 'Haze' (the first single), but this one has been on repeat, every day. Another song that's accompanied with a fantastic music video, adding to the overall concept that's being created for this forthcoming album - roll on 10th February! 



8. Miss You - Gabrielle Aplin

Gabrielle Aplin is also back! This is the title track and lead single from Gabrielle's forthcoming EP. Compared to her first debut album 'English Rain', it's a big step away from her original sound, however, looking at her second album it's only a small step further into the pop world. It's a catchy track that's infectiously upbeat and is impossible not to hum along to after one listen... 



9. yea, babe, no way - LANY

This song was a random Spotify / SoundCloud find, and boy am I glad! This is another track that has constantly been on repeat, it's the perfect mix of upbeat and chilled all at the same time. I don't know or understand how this song hasn't become one of those songs that everyone's heard, but give it some time and I reckon everyone will recognise LANY in one way or another - hopefully! 



10. Satisfied ft. Miguel & Queen Latifah - Sia

A weekend 'away' in London just over a week ago kicked off with this song and I haven't stopped listening since. I'm sure by now you've heard of Hamilton the musical - and if you haven't I'd suggest going and checking out the soundtrack in a minute... But first check out the mix of Sia, Queen Latifah and Miguel smashing 'Satisfied' for the 'Hamilton Mixtape' (basically the soundtrack covered by popular musicians - Kelly Clarkson's on there as well and it's brilliant... You'll be able to find it on Spotify or iTunes after a quick search - enjoy! 

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Monday, 28 November 2016

Feature: Bleached Bones (28/11/16)


Bleached Bones are brothers Zan (vocals, guitars, keys) and Jono Crabbe (synths and drums), and Rob Eatough (bass, keys). The Sheffield electronic three-piece have announced their debut single 'Modern Lovers' and are currently working on their debut EP as Bleached Bones...

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I’ve got an older brother (who is one third of Bleached Bones) so I’ve grown up listening to what he has been listening to from an early age. But I probably got involved in the idea of writing music when I was about 12 when I think I was handed down an old Yamaha electric guitar from the brother. I remember I wanted to learn how to play Territorial Pissing and I think that got me into guitar. Now I think of it, I wanted to learn all the bad names.. Rape Me was another early favourite of mine. Odd... 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
I think I change my mind on this every day but I will stand by the one that comes to mind first which is Nine Inch Nails at Leeds Festival in 2007 I think? Can’t remember. I just remember it being really intimidating and I like that. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I actually make myself seasonal Spotify playlists so let me see what I currently have in ‘Autumn/Winter’. Not entered the full on ‘Winter’ playlist just yet. So, there is a bit of Kenton Slash Demon, some Jesper Ryom, Kiasmos. I’ve actually been listening to a lot of my friends band called Retro Kid from Copenhagen. They are yet to launch but I think they’re going to be great.

3 Qs for Bleached Bones:

1. Where do you hope ‘Bleached Bones’ will be in the next year?
Honestly, I’d just like to have a really fun run at playing some shows and getting music out in any way or form. We’ve all been involved in so many different musical projects over the past decade but this one feels like it actually has legs in it.

2. Who influences you musically and what influences you lyrically?
Funnily enough my good friend Finn commented recently on how much I sing about the idea of religion, so I guess that would have to be a big influence of mine. I’m not religious in any way but it intrigues me, amongst other things. Musically, I’m influenced by all sorts of electronic stuff. I’m a really big fan of When Saints Go Machine, their sessions blow me away. But I think Jono could answer this question better, he’s a bit of a musical wizard... 

3. What process did you go through creating ‘Modern Lovers’, was it a collective effort or did you each have specific roles within the group?
I usually become a bit of a recluse when I write music so I hide away until an idea is ready to introduce to the others but Modern Lovers was completely a collective process. Our old band had not long ended and I was really struggling to write anything so we all chipped in. It did establish the sound of Bleached Bones in a way though. 

Random Q:

Three things you can’t live without?
Leicester City Football Club (Rob would say Blackburn Rovers). 
Vegemite. Yes, Vegemite, not Marmite.
And cats, obviously. 

'Modern Lovers' Review:
Reminiscent of 80s dark pop, this is an ethereal track, with a steady intense beat, layered synths and vocals creating a dreamy, ambient soundscape. Bleached Bones have managed to create a unique haunting sound whilst still merging their influences into a wonderful concept that's almost hypnotic from start to finish. Their debut EP is something to be excited about, especially if this single is anything to go by! 


Bleached Bones' Links:

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Friday, 25 November 2016

Spotlight: Passport To Stockholm (25/11/16)


Passport To Stockholm return with a new sound, a new line up and a brand new single, 'Shooting Stars'. Since the release of last summer's debut EP 'All At Once' the band have been touring heavily, and their track 'Better Days' made it into the Top 10 most viral UK Spotify list. Barny (vocals), Telmo (guitars), and Henri (synths/beats) have recently reached 1 million streams on Spotify, as well as countless BBC Introducing 'track of the day' spots, and have just finished a 10 date UK tour supporting Canadian artist Ben Caplan. 

'Shooting Stars' Review:
'Shooting Stars' is definitely a step in a different direction for Passport To Stockholm, but a refreshing one. It's got a heavier focus on electronica and carries a little more punch than previous songs, this is indie pop at it's best. This song pushes Passport To Stockholm up there with the likes of Walking On Cars and The Tin Pigeons, and deserve to be soaring up the charts. 'Shooting Stars' has a bigger sound and I can only imagine what their live presence and evolved into now - it was incredible before, it's only going to be getting even better from here on out. I'm already looking forward to their next release, if this is anything to go by, it's definitely something to get excited about! 


Passport To Stockholm's Links:

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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Check It Out #29 (23/11/16)

1. Blinded By You - Matt Sellors

Matt is well-known for previously fronting Bristol-based band, Yes Sir Boss, and sharing stages with multiple award winning artists Joss Stone, Cee Lo Green, Madness and Paloma Faith to name a few. He's now launched a solo career and has been tipped as one to watch from the likes of BBC Introducing. 'Blinded By You' is his debut single and is upbeat, honest and filled with warm vocals and lovely melodies combining to create Matt's wonderful sound. It feels like a festival song, if you've been to a festival, I think (and hope) you'll know what I mean... 



2. Fading Away - Adam Naas
'Fading Away' is the first song from French buzz act, Adam Naas, he played London Jazz Festival supporting St. Germain earlier this month and has some exciting things in the pipeline... His self-titled debut EP features four incredibly soulful tracks. His lyrics are incredibly honest and his sound is melancholic and nostalgic, keep an eye on Adam, you'll be seeing him again! 


3. Need Somebody - Parlour Tricks
Parlour Tricks have released their final EP, consisting of six brilliant tracks. The New York band have announced they've broken up and this will be their last release as life has taken over for many of the members. 'Need Somebody' is full of infectious melodies, powerful beats and underlying emotionally flooded lyrics. 


4. Dime - Leo Napier
Raekwon (Wu-Tang Clan) collaborator, Leo Napier, releases his debut single, and it's a catchy one! After contributing several songs to projects by Griz and Gramatik, Napier emerged from the New York electronic music scene, and now the London based soul singer is ready to step into the spotlight with the release of his debut 'Dime'. Get ready for catchy, smooth and funky music... 


5. Teacher - Amongster
Amongster released his debut album 'Trust Yourself To The Water' in a sold-out AB in Brussels - Belgium's most renowned venue last month. His music is a wonderful mix of indie, electronica and pop; with a beat that will stick in your head, infectious melodies, it's an overall great song. Enjoy! 


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Monday, 21 November 2016

Feature: Jake Houlsby (21/11/16)


Jake Houlsby is a singer/songwriter from Newcastle, UK and has been described by BBC 6Music's Lauren Laverne as 'sublime'. Since releasing his debut EP 'Yannina' in 2015, Houlsby has also been championed by Tom Robinson and played with artists such as Gaz Coombes, The Lone Bellow and Paper Aeroplanes. Now he's announced his brand new single 'Bloom' - the much anticipated follow up to 'Carousel' - will be released on 25th November, so we caught up with him for a quick Q&A... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I was 10 when I started playing the guitar. I picked it up because my older brother had and he was my hero, as all older brothers are!

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you’ve ever seen?
Recently it would be Tallest Man On Earth at The Royal Albert Hall, which was incredible. I also saw a band called Satellite Party about 8 years ago, which has had a lasting impression on me.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Lots of Sufjan Stevens. I’ve also been listening to Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor’ this week and have never enjoyed it more.

3 Qs for Jake:

1.You’re currently out performing around the UK, but which three venues would you most like to perform at and why?
I’d like to perform at The Royal Albert Hall in UK, Dalhalla in Sweden and The Great American Music Hall in USA. They’re all amazing venues and it would be so surreal to play to a packed out audience there.

2. Who influences you musically and what inspires you lyrically?
Musically, I’d say I’m most inspired by Nick Drake and Sufjan Stevens (yes, I’m a Sufjan fanboy). Lyrically, I’d say Leonard Cohen is my master.

3. What process did you go through creating ‘Bloom’ and how did it differ to the B-side ‘Circus Child’?
I wrote Bloom a couple of years ago but the writing was forced and the song didn’t feel like ‘me’. I loved the lyrics and some of the melody so, last January, I revisited it and rewrote it. I felt like the song was trying to be something it wasn’t, so I took a lot away from it and that’s why it’s fairly understated. An overcooked song is worse than an undercooked song so you’ve got to be careful. With Circus Child, I more or less wrote the guitar part and melody one evening and all the lyrics the next evening. Songs like that only work when they come naturally and I was lucky enough to get the whole thing in one go on this occasion!

Random Q:

If you were to invite any three people round for dinner, who would you invite and what would you cook (or order in)?
If I were allowed to pick people that are dead, I’d invite Sufjan Stevens, Leonard Cohen and Claude Debussy and cook them enchiladas or lasagne cause they’re the only two things I can really cook.

'Bloom' Review:
'Bloom' is a stunning song, with intricate guitar and warm vocals, reminiscent of the soft voices of Chris Martin and Sufjan Stevens. It's the perfect autumnal track, encapsulating a blissful atmosphere throughout. This single is slower and feels more stripped back than some of Jake's previous releases, but still holds his sound well and shows that he's a skilled musician and songwriter. Jake's vocals bring his lyrics to life and manage to paint a picture alongside the, at times, spine-tingling soundscape. An inspiring release and I'm really looking forward to hearing more from Jake!


See Jake Live:
24th November: The General Wolfe, Penrith
25th November: The Source, Carlisle
26th November: The Mining Institute, Newcastle

Jake's Links:

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