Jammin’ In July: My Musical Alphabet

Greetings readers,

Today I’m taking inspiration from fellow music-blogger Daria, from The Music Wonderland, who created her own musical alphabet. I thought it was a great way to share your favourite artists, so I asked if I could upload my own version and she said yes. So, I’ve combed my ITunes, album collection, and previous blogs to bring you my favourite artists for each letter of the alphabet – complete with some throwbacks in there too.

(There are a few gaps towards the end though, sorry!)

 

A – Against The Current

One of my favourite bands at the moment, New Yorkers Against The Current also dropped one of my favourite albums of 2016 with their debut release, ‘In Our Bones’. They have a lot of different elements to their sound, from danceable pop-driven tracks to dark, brooding rock vibes, which all combine to make something undeniably addictive.

To see my review of ATC’s debut album ‘In Our Bones’, click here.

 

B – Bring Me The Horizon

BMTH have been around since my early teens but, admittedly, I have only really gotten into their music recently. Whilst I liked the rough and raw screamo sound of previous releases, I couldn’t listen to it for too long; I couldn’t understand the lyrics, I couldn’t sing along, it just didn’t hit me in the same way that bands like Bullet For My Valentine did at the time, with their darkly twisted debut album ‘The Poison’. However, with their newest release ‘That’s The Spirit’ came a new sound that I’m totally into. Gone are the undecipherable lyrics and discordant arrangements, to be replaced by a melodic stadium-rock vibe. Their trademark ferocity is still there, but has evolved into something different – a change for the better in my opinion.

To see my review of Bring Me The Horizon’s newest release ‘That’s The Spirit’, click here.

 

C – Cassadee Pope

If you were into the pop-punk scene in early 2007 when the female fronted era exploded, then you may recognise ex Hey Monday front woman Cassadee Pope. Having been a fan of the band since their formation in 2008, I was crushed when they decided to go on hiatus with only one album to their name – 2008’s ‘Hold On Tight’. Following their short-lived time as a band, I was beyond intrigued when I found that Pope went on to become a contestant on The Voice USA; following her journey through the competition, which ultimately saw her crowned the winner. She has since released her debut album ‘Frame By Frame’, which reached #1 in the US Country music chart.

To see my article on Cassadee Pope following her win on The Voice USA, click here.

 

D – Demi Lovato

Quite simply, I absolutely adore Demi Lovato. From her musical ability and captivating power-house vocals, to her confidence to speak candidly about her personal struggles, I think that she is someone to be admired.

For more about why I like Demi Lovato, and why she is #1 on my ‘Top 10 Interview Wish-List, click here.

 

E – Ed Sheeran

Simply put? Ed Sheeran is amazing. I truly believe that he is one of the biggest icons of my generation. He has gone from strength to strength within the industry over the years, not just with his own albums but working behind the scenes on hits for other artists, including Justin Bieber, Major Lazer and One Direction. Everything he has done, to this day, has been absolute fire; with one chart hit after another. And, since the release of his newest album ‘Divide’, 2017 has so far been another massive year for our favourite red-head – already having made history by occupying both the #1 and #2 spot in the charts with ‘comeback’ singles ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’ respectively. He gets better and better with each album.

To see my review of ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’, click here.

 

F – Francheschi (Elissa)

I’ve been a fan of Elissa Franceschi’s music since my late teens. Introduced to her after she did guest vocals on You Me At Six track ‘Always Attract’, I then went on to check out her solo music – and fell in love. The soulful songstress has a beautifully delicate, yet powerful, quality to her vocals and her music is always mesmerising; full of honesty and overflowing with poignancy. She is currently on a musical hiatus, as she has been for the last few years, but there have been some little signs online that could hint at a possible return to music soon – here’s hoping! It’s been far too long.

To see my review of Elissa Franceschi’s EP ‘Devoid of Rue’, click here.

 

G – Green Day

One of my first favourite bands back when I first discovered rock music, Green Day were a huge part of the soundtrack to my early teens. Admittedly, I don’t listen to them nowadays, but there will always be a special place in my heart for them.

 

H – Hobbie Stuart

Honey-voiced heart-throb Hobbie Stuart, is a pop singer-songwriter and vlogger. Having built an online following via YouTube over the last six years, Stuart uploads both cover videos and original material to his channel. His smooth, r’n’b-tinged vocals seem to be able to wrap themselves around any song; leaving their own stamp on existing tracks and giving life to his own songs. Having seen him play a short set in Brighton, where he also turned on the town’s Christmas lights, it’s fair to say that he’s just as good live as he is on record – a rare quality nowadays. As well as his hypnotising vocals, Stewart’s hilariously candid personality also comes across in his vlogs, making them even more entertaining. You just can’t help but love him, really.

To check out my initial ‘One to Watch’ on Hobbie Stuart, click here.

For my live review of Stuart’s short set at Brighton’s Christmas light’s switch on, click here.

 

I – Issues

I discovered this metalcore six-piece after recommendation from a friend of mine, and I’m so glad I gave them a listen. Their thrashing yet melodic sound draws on a multitude of different genres, from heavy rock to electronic, and even some R&B. There is a brutal heaviness running through every track, which is lifted by honey-voiced vocalist Tyler Carter’s melodic tone as it drizzles over the gravelly sounds of Michael Bohn’s aggressive screams. This provides a great contrast and incorporating elements of other genres also brings something different to the table, keeping things interesting.

To see my introductory ‘One To Watch’ on Issues, click here.

 

J – Justin Timberlake

Sorry, I’m not sorry. Justin Timberlake is up there with some of the best male vocalists in the pop scene. From the curly-haired kid in boyband Nsync to the suave pin-up that girls fantasize over, JT and his music continue to stand the test of time – his smooth brand of r’n’b drenched pop still winning hearts, and awards, worldwide.

 

K – Kelly Clarkson

Again, another artist whose vocals continue to always cause a stir in the pop charts, fifteen years after she became the first ever winner of American Idol. Kelly Clarkson has an amazing voice; strong, bold and powerful, both on and off record. The majority of her music centres on themes such as heart-break, self-empowerment and independence, much of which really speaks to me. Her second studio album ‘Breakaway’ was a big part of the soundtrack to my early teens, with its pop-rock sound and dark undertones.

 

L – Luke Pickett

Luke Pickett is an artist that, I don’t think, gets as much recognition as he should. I discovered Pickett’s music 10 years ago, thanks to my friend using his track ‘Empty Corridors’ as her profile song on Myspace – remember those days?! I fell in love with it and soon became addicted to other songs such as ‘Going Down With This Ship’, ‘Dream Love Cure’ and ‘Cruel Love’. I even came close to interviewing him for this blog at the very beginning, after emailing his management, but somehow it fell through. I still go back and listen to those old songs from time to time, and I’m always keeping an eye on his new stuff. With his level of talent, impeccable, addictive vocals and ability to craft a captivating, poignant song, I can’t understand how he’s not a mainstream artist!

 

M – My Chemical Romance

The mouth-piece for an entire musical movement, and responsible for starting a conversation about the misunderstanding of subcultures, My Chemical Romance became the voice of a generation of misfit teens and in the process became revered; seen almost like heroes. Their music spoke to so many people (including myself) and created a community. Over the years, and the many colours/styles of Gerard Way’s hair, they created so many iconic moments that will always be remembered. I’m so glad I got to see them live before they split; it still hurts my heart a little that they’re not together anymore.

 

N – Nirvana

Another band that I, admittedly, don’t listen to anymore, but who influenced my music tastes back in the day. When I started listening to rock music in my mid-teens, Nirvana were a band that I inevitably came across; I say inevitably because you can’t have not heard of them if you’re into rock, I mean everybody knows who Kurt Cobain is, right? I loved the overall vibe of their music, (I used to be into the heavier stuff!) Kurt’s gruff and gravelly vocals, and I’ve always been interested in their/his compelling story. It’s not at all surprising to me that their music continues to influence musicians and have an effect on people, to this day.

 

O – Out Of Sight

Having disbanded quite a few years ago, you might think it’s weird that I chose to include pop-punk band Out Of Sight. However, after seeing them supporting You Me At Six live back in 2009, they were a band that left a lasting impression and I loved their music. Luckily, when I did work experience for Kerrang! that same year, I was given a copy of their demo CD by Katie P after I told her how much I liked them. To this day, I’m still so thankful to her for that because, if she hadn’t, their music would be 100% lost to me – and I’m so glad that it isn’t. I still listen to it from time to time and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

 

P – Panic! At The Disco

Another band that were a big part of the 2007 explosion of ‘emo’/pop-punk artists in the rock scene, you couldn’t not like Panic! At The Disco. Their single ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ is now a cult favourite among people of that era – there was a time when everyone was singing along to that chorus!. Over the years they’ve headlined the likes of Reading Festival and gained national airplay on Radio One, and continue to sell out arenas to this day.

 

Q – Queen

Not a band that I listen to regularly, but Queen is an absolute classic – there’s no doubt about it. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘I Want To Break Free’… everyone knows at least one of their songs, and they’re great to dance to!

 

R – Room 94

I discovered Room 94 thanks to Twitter back in 2012, and they quickly went on to become one of my favourite bands at the time. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you may know that I tried for an entire year to get an interview with the boys and, after meeting them at multiple shows, luckily got that chance at the Brighton date of their 2013 ‘Three Brothers and One Kit’ summer tour. It’s still one of the most fun interviews I’ve ever done and they’re really lovely and funny guys – I’d interview them again in a heartbeat!

To see my interview with Room 94, click here.

 

S – Set It Off

This Floridian foursome have been one of my favourite bands for a few years, after discovering them when I was invited to interview them at a show. I’d never listened to them, or seen them live, but their stage presence and show changed that irrevocably. So taken was I that I went straight to their merch desk after their set and bought their debut – and at the time, only – album ‘Cinematics’, which I listened to in its entirety for months. I’ve kept up to date with their releases ever since, and seen their sound evolve from dark and twisted orchestral pop-rock, to something lighter and increasingly pop-based, all whilst retaining that certain Set It Off something.

To see my review of Set It Off’s second album ‘Duality’ click here.
I’ve also done short reviews of a handful of their songs from newest album ‘Upside Down’. To see those, click here (Uncontainable), here (Something New) and here (Crutch).

 

T – The Summer Set

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you’ll know that The Summer Set are one of my Top 5 favourite bands ever! I try to see them live every time they come to the UK and each time is always more fun than the last; they never fail to put on an amazing show, it’s like a party that nobody wants to end. I love their unique brand of inspirational, poignant, summery, feel good pop-rock, made even more distinctive by Brian Dales’ original vocal tone. I’ve bought every album they’ve ever released and their music just gets better and better over the years. Their newest release ‘Stories For Monday’ was one of my top albums of last year and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next!

I’ve actually been lucky enough to chat to John Gomez, Jess Bowen and Brian Dales on separate occasions and they’re all lovely (the latter I even managed to interview before a show at Kingston Peel, despite him being a little worse for wear!)

To see my review of the band’s newest album ‘Stories For Monday’, click here.
And, to see my review of the last time I saw them live, at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms, click here.

U – —–

 

V – Versaemerge

Another great band that, sadly, aren’t together in this format currently, Versaemerge were part of the second wave of the pop-punk/emo scene. When the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco were established they paved the way for similar bands to breakout, one of them being Versaemerge. After being signed by the front-running label of the era, Fuelled By Ramen, Versaemerge released their debut – and sadly only – album ‘Fixed At Zero’. Over the years they battled a lot of obstacles, including significant line-up changes, as well as the long wait between releases. By the time a second album looked to be forming it came with a change of sound, gone was the dark melodic rock, in favour of an electronic vibe; times and the scene had changed. Shortly after, remaining members, Sierra Kusterbeck and Blake Harnage decided to reinvent themselves as Versa, an entirely new entity. However, the status of the band is unclear as no new material has been released, and vocalist Sierra now fronts new musical project ‘Neaux’. One thing’s for sure, I hope they revive Versa at some point because I’d be so sad if they just faded away.

As a female, Sierra was one of my main inspirations of that time, and while I was at university I was actually lucky enough to interview Blake Harnage for an article I was working on about fan-funding. To see that article, click here.

 

W – Waltzz

A young aspiring rapper that reached out to me for a review back in 2015, Waltzz is now a name that you’ll definitely be familiar with if you follow my blog regularly. Full of passion and unrivalled drive, Waltzz – real name Liam Stewart – is an artist that I really admire. From his music (and his passion for it) to the overall message he tries to convey, he is definitely worth checking out. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting him and he’s a really great, down to earth guy too – which is always a plus!

To see my review of Waltzz’s most recent single ‘I’m Alright’, click here.

 

X – —-

 

Y – You Me At Six

You Me At Six have been one of my favourite bands since I was seventeen and, now in my mid-twenties, they still are. Over the years I’ve seen them grow with their music and, in turn, I have grown up with it. So many of their songs serve as a reminder of many different events and happenings, and I have nothing but fond memories of seeing them live – all 10+ times! They have yet to make an album that I dislike, and my only hope is that they continue making music for a long time yet!

To read my review of You Me At Six’s latest album ‘Night People’, click here.

 

Z – —-

 

And there you have it – if you got this far, to you I give the biggest of high-fives. I hope that I inspired you to give some of these artists a try, if you’ve not heard of them. What did you think of my choices? If you’ve got any recommendations for the letters I missed feel free to let me know in a comment.

As always, thank you for reading! I’m uploading twice a week throughout July so, If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

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Artists I’d Like to See Live In 2017

Greetings readers,

It’s nearly the end of January; we’re a month into 2017 already! I hope you’ve all had a great start to the year and that you’re keeping up your new year’s resolutions (if you made any!)

If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you may remember that I did a post like this in 2015 as part of my ‘Journaling In January’ series, where I listed the artists I’d like to see that year, followed by a separate list compiling the artists I’d like to see again. I thought it’d be nice to make it an annual thing to see how my choices evolve, if any become staple and crop up more than once, and who I do actually manage to see live over the next 12 months.

I felt it unnecessary to split the list into two parts this time but, some of these artists I have seen before, so I’ll include links to any previous live reviews where applicable. So, before I ramble on too much, here are the artists I’d like to see live in 2017 – not in any particular order because trying to pick would take me far too long.

 

The Summer Set

The Summer Set at the Electric Ballroom

The Summer Set at the Electric Ballroom

I included The Summer Set in last year’s ‘Band’s I’d Like to See’ post, and my reasons for featuring them haven’t changed much. I feel as though my previous explanation perfectly sums up why I want to continue to see them live when they visit the UK and why I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen them live to do the same. As I said in my previous review:

If you’ve read my blog before then this Arizona based quintet don’t really need any introduction, as you’ll know that I’ve seen them a fair few times already. And there is one very simple reason for that: They put on an awesome show. Every single time I’ve seen The Summer Set live it’s been an insanely fun pop/punk party that nobody wants to end. Their energy is infectious and their set electrifying; with plenty of opportunities to jump around like a loon, as well as poignant moments that you can’t help but get caught up in. One thing’s for sure, they put everything they have into that moment and it always makes for a killer performance.

I’ve previously seen The Summer Set live a number of times, whenever they do a UK tour I try to get tickets as their live show is always insane.

Click here to see my most recent live review of the band at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms, on the UK leg of their ‘Stories For Monday’ tour.
Click here to see my review of their newest album ‘Stories For Monday’.
Click here to see my live review of The Summer Set from back in 2014, with support from Paradise Fears & William Beckett.

 

Set It Off

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With Set It Off’s Cody Carson after their show at London’s Electric Ballroom

The last, and only, time I saw Set It Off was in 2013 when I got invited to interview them after their London show at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, supporting Aussie quintet Tonight Alive. Admittedly I hadn’t listened to their music before that night, so I was going in totally blind, and I wasn’t disappointed. After immediately buying their debut album ‘Cinematics’ from the merch table that night, Set It Off quickly became a firm favourite of mine.

Since then they’ve released follow-up record ‘Duality’, and their newest offering ‘Upside Down’ dropped in October this year. After following the progression of their albums over the years, it’s clear that their dark, orchestral pop-rock sound has evolved into something lighter and increasingly more pop-driven. Personally, I would like to see how that translates into their live set-up – as I know their performances to be quite chaotic and very befitting of a typical rock show – so it’d be interesting to see how this shift in genre correlates.

I’ve also included Set It Off in quite a few posts over the last year so, if you’re interested in those, please check them out if you’d like to:

Click here to see why I included the four-piece in my ‘Band’s I’d Like to See Again in 2015’.
Click here to see my review of the band’s sophomore album Duality.
Click here to see my Q&A with Set It Off’s Cody Carson at Camden’s Electric Ballroom.
Click here to see my review of the band’s debut album Cinematics.

 

Against The Current

I only got into Against The Current’s music in mid-2016, but I became a huge fan pretty quickly. I’d seen some of their cover videos on YouTube – often featuring other unsigned artists such as Alex Goot and Max – but I didn’t get around to listening to their original music until more recently. However, I’m so glad I did because I absolutely love it. I reviewed their debut studio album ‘In Our Bones’ as part of my ‘Jammin’ In July’ series, and as I said: ‘the band are quickly making a name for themselves and…look set to take the music world by storm’.

I’ve since seen a lot of live footage of the band (thanks to YouTube) and it looks as though they put on a great show full of energy and fun. Chrissy Costanza’s vocals also sound just as amazing live as they do on record, as evidenced by their unofficial video for ‘Young and Relentless’ – which sees them play their way through the busy streets of London – as well as the above video from A-Sides on YouTube. After missing them on their last visit to the UK in September 2016, I’m crossing my fingers that I can get tickets for their upcoming tour in March.

Click here to see my review of ATC’s debut album ‘In Our Bones’.
Click here to see my review of the band’s cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘I Really Really Like You’ featuring pop solo artist, Max.

 

You Me At Six

You Me At Six have been one of my favourite bands since I was 17 and, now in my mid 20’s, the amount of times I’ve seen them live is well into double figures – and for good reason. With headline shows at The 02 and Wembley Arena under their belts, as well as a whole host of others, the Brit rockers have come long way since their beginning in 2005.

Now they find themselves at the forefront of British rock music, gaining recognition from the mainstream, receiving airplay from the likes of Radio One and reaching number one in the mid-week charts. They never disappoint with their live show, it’s always a whirlwind of energy and fun, and I have nothing but fond memories of seeing them. The last time I saw them was in 2012 and I think that seriously needs to be rectified.

Click here to see my live review of the YMAS at London’s Brixton Academy, on the ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ tour in 2012.
Click here to see my review of the band’s most recent album ‘Cavalier Youth’.

 

Ed Sheeran

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, I’m guessing you know who Ed Sheeran is. Named the biggest selling artist of 2014 – scooping numerous awards and playing multiple sell-out shows at Wembley Arena – Sheeran took some time away from the limelight in 2016, using the year to work on new material and to re-charge.

After catching his stunning live performances at The BBC Music Awards and The Brits, to name a few, and having watched his live DVD ‘Jumpers For Goalposts’, I’d love to experience his live show. He’s one of the few mainstream artists I’d pay good money to go and see.

Click here to see my dual review of Sheeran’s newest singles ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’.
Click here to see my album review of his previous offering ‘X’.
Click here to find out why I also included Sheeran in my ‘Artist’s I’d Like to See in 2015’.

 

Stevie P & Sketch

A video still from Stevie P & Sketch’s debut offering ‘Everything (Pt 2)’

Again, if you’re familiar with my little corner of the internet, then this rap/rock duo should need absolutely no introduction as I feel like I’ve been banging on about them over the course of this year. Stevie P and Sketch (the latter of whom you may also recognise from E4’s Tattoo Fixers) have dropped some great tracks this year including, beaut rap ballad ‘Street Lights’ and abruptly raw number ‘Nightmares’.

I have absolutely no idea if the guys are planning on – or even able to – fit any live performances into their busy schedules but I’d love to see it happen, mainly for the fact that they never cease to surprise me. Each time they unveil a new track they seem to add in new elements that leave you wondering what else they’re going to work into their sound, almost drip feeding it to us. As a result it definitely makes you want to hear more to see where they’re going to take it next.

As well as wanting to hear more of their stuff, I’d also like to see their on-stage personas for myself and how that correlates with the music (if you’ve seen any of their music videos you’ll know what I mean.) I just think it’d be interesting, in the best possible sense, and you’d get to hear some great music – bonus.

As I said before, I’ve featured the guys in a few previous blog posts so, if you’re interested in those, please see the list below and have a read if you’d like to.

Click here for my review of Sketch and Stevie P’s debut track ‘Everything Part 2’.
click here to see my review of their follow-up single ‘Street Lights’.
click here to find out why the duo are #3 on my ‘Top 10 Interviews Wish List’.
click here to read my original article on ‘Tattoo Fixers’.
click here for my follow-up article on spin-off show, ‘Tattoo Fixers On Holiday’.
And, if you’re interested, click here to check out my blog about getting tattooed by Sketch at his studio in November last year.

 

Talia Mar

skins-elliott-photography-www-skinselliottphotography-com7

© Skins Elliott Photography

I became aware of singer-songwriter – and beauty/lifestyle vlogger – Talia Mar’s music when I saw her perform at a showcase event I went to back in November, known as ‘Musique LDN’. Because of the sheer volume of names on the bill each act only played 2-3 songs each, so it was a bit difficult to get a proper feel for the artists, however, I was immediately struck by Talia’s performance and really enjoyed her set on the day.

Since then I’ve checked out (and totally fell in love with) her debut release ‘Stolen’, which is entirely self-produced. I also did a review of the song in early December, and gave it an honourable mention in my ‘Tracks of the Month’. I’d love to see Talia Mar live because she has a great voice, to hear more of her material, and to just get more of a feel for who she is as an artist.

Click here to see my review of the ‘Musique’ event where I saw Talia Mar perform.
Click here to see my review of her debut offering, ‘Stolen’.

 

And that’s about it. Are there any bands/artists that you’d love to see this year? Who are your absolute staples that you know are sure to put on an amazing show every time? Feel free to let me know in a comment 🙂 .

 

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, be sure to come and join me on:

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My Top 7 Songs of 2016

I’m baaaa-aaaack!

Hi everyone, if you saw my previous post (‘My Top Albums of 2016’) then you’ll have already got the gist of what this post is going to be. However, if you haven’t seen it, basically as it’s the start of a New Year I’m picking out my ‘best bits’ from the year before and sharing them with you. I’ve done a ‘Top Albums’ list in some form for the last few years, but I thought it’d be interesting to introduce a ‘Top Songs’ compilation also, almost as a follow up to my regular ‘Tracks of the Month’ segment – a ‘Tracks of the Year’ if you will.

I’ve gone through my previous posts and picked out my favourite of favourites for this, including singles from the beginning of 2016 right up until the end. As such, I have reviewed all but two of these tracks previously so these won’t be traditional reviews of the music its self but rather, me explaining why I like them – of course with a link to the previous articles.

*In order of release date, from earliest to latest in the year.

 

The Summer Set – Figure Me Out

Released in January 2016, ‘Figure Me Out’ is an elegantly explosive anthem perfect to start the New Year with. A song about losing your way and striving to find it again, it’s full of inspiring, uplifting vibes and shows that everybody has ups and downs no matter who you are. But, don’t let it get you down because you will eventually figure it out. The band certainly did, after initially breaking up in 2015, but luckily they rose from the ashes of what was, coming back stronger and better than ever before – and so can you. ‘Figure Me Out’ is a song that just makes you sit up straight, hold your head high and think ‘yeah I can do this’. 2017…bring it on.


To see my previous full review of the lead single from the band’s newest full-length release ‘Stories For Monday’, click here.

 

Against The Current – Forget me now

Now, I just want you to appreciate how hard it was for me to pick between the band’s singles ‘Forget Me Now’ and ‘Wasteland.’ I honestly almost couldn’t choose between these two, so much so that I nearly didn’t include either of them! ‘Wasteland’ has more of an eerie, haunting vibe, while ‘Forget Me Now’ is more upbeat and pop-rock based. But, I settled on ‘Forget Me Now’ simply because I can personally identify with more of the lyrics and every time I hear it, it makes me want to dance around my bedroom – I reckon it’d be great to see live.


To see my previous review of the ATC’s addictive debut album ‘In Our Bones’, click here.

 

Stevie P & Sketch – Street Lights

This song may just be my favourite of favourites. Released mid-way through the year, ‘Street Lights’ is a poignant rap ballad with a beautifully sombre melody and an absolutely stunning chorus. As well as this, the candid lyrics are poignant and powerful, and the passionate delivery undoubtedly packs a punch. Stevie P & Sketch’s vocals are on-point throughout and complement each other brilliantly. Personally, I think switching up the vocals from rapping to singing during the chorus is a surprise of the best kind, the harmonies interspersed throughout creating a somewhat haunting effect. If you’ve been following my blog a while then you’ll know that I absolutely love these guys; I’ve done reviews of all their tracks to date. However, this one made it into the list as, as a whole it is undeniably captivating; I fall in love all over again every time I hear it.

To see my previous full review of stunning track ‘Streetlights’, click here.

 

The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey – Closer

The song that earned The Chainsmokers their first number one single, ‘Closer’ is a great summer anthem. The EDM track comprises of a very synth-led chorus – lending to a very dreamy, summery feel. Taggart and Halsey’s vocals work really well together, adding dimension and creating a beautifully powerful effect. I love the instrumental rise and falls in this song and I just think it’s perfect to blast in the car with the windows down.

To see my previous full review of summer anthem ‘Closer’, click here.

 

James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go

One of the biggest, and best comebacks of 2016 was that of 2012 X Factor winner, James Arthur. After taking a break from the scene after a string of controversies, and a battle with his mental health, Arthur made a return to music at the tail end of last year with emotional love-song ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’. I absolutely love this song, and I’m not the only one, as the guitar-led ballad held the #1 spot for four consecutive weeks. His newest album ‘Back From The Edge’ then also went on to earn Arthur his first #1 album, showing that he has firmly won his way back into the hearts of millions – including mine.

To see my previous full review of Arthur’s #1 single ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, click here.

 

Little Mix – Shout Out to my Ex

Little Mix have turned up the heat with their newest album, and they certainly aren’t pulling any punches with this empowering break-up anthem. It’s fun, sassy, sexy and full of attitude. It’s also ridiculously catchy and, not to mention, a massive middle-finger to that ex – I’m sure we’ve all got someone we’d like to sing this to! Who needs a man? (or woman!)

To see my previous full review of sassy break-up anthem ‘Shout Out to My Ex’, click here.

 

Give –  You Me At Six

Seeing 2016 out in style is a band that have been one of my favourites for the last eight years. Brit rockers You Me At Six recently released their hotly anticipated fifth album ‘Night People’, but premiered this track – along with a host of others – back in November last year. The song has a beautiful melody, an explosive chorus and hugely relatable lyrics, set to Josh Francheschi’s unique tone; delicate throughout the verses, turning husky and powerful during the chorus. ‘Give’ is definitely one of my favourites from the new album.

Watch this space for a full album review of You Me At Six’s fifth studio album ‘Night People’ – released on Jan 6th 2017.

 

What were your top songs of last year? Are there any that you think I definitely should’ve included, or any that I shouldn’t have? I’m always on the look-out for new music, so feel free to let me know in a comment 🙂 .

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, be sure to come and join me on:

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My Top Album Picks of 2016

Hello everyone,

If you’re a regular reader around here you may have seen that for the last few years I’ve posted a ‘Top Albums’ list at the beginning of each year to, kind of, round-up the previous one and let you know which releases stayed as firm favourites long after the reviews went up. So, today I thought I’d share my ‘Top Album Picks of 2016’ with you.

The eagle-eyed among you may also have noticed that I uploaded reviews of the following albums already, each of them having been released earlier in the year. To that end, in the interest of not wanting to repeat myself, I’ve included snippets of my previous reviews with a link to the full articles if you’d like to check them out.

Enjoy, and if you’ve heard either of these albums feel free to let me know what you think of them.

 

The Summer Set – Stories For Monday

the summer set stories for monday 2016

Almost a full three years after the release of their most successful album to date, pop-rockers The Summer Set are back, with an offering that looks set to see them continue their ‘Legendary’ high to even bigger and better places. Released on April 1st, ‘Stories For Monday’ is the album that almost wasn’t – with details emerging that the band initially ‘broke-up’ in September 2015 – luckily though, they pulled through, and are back stronger and better than ever before…

To see the full review, click here.

 

Against The Current – In Our Bones

ATC In Our Bones album cover

Two years after the release of their breakthrough EP ‘Infinity’, New Yorkers Against The Current have finally unveiled their debut full-length offering ‘In Our Bones’. Having begun their career online – posting both covers and original material on YouTube – the band are quickly making a name for themselves.

And, rightfully so; with tours with All Time Low and Set It Off under their belts, a headlining world tour to their name, and not to mention taking the stage at this year’s Vans Warped Tour alongside the likes of Issues, Mayday Parade and New Found Glory. The band – made up of frontwoman Chrissy Costanza, lead guitarist Dan Gow, and drummer/keyboardist Will Ferri – look set to take the music world by storm…

To see the full review, click here.

 

I know this list isn’t as long as previous years but, we’re going for quality over quantity :). What albums have you been loving this year? Let me know in a comment if you think there are any that I should check out.

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, be sure to come and join me on:

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🙂

Happy New Year 2016 (and Here’s to 2017!)

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas, and that 2017 got off to a great start whatever it is you got up to – whether that was downing shots in the pub or cosied up in front of the TV. As has come to be tradition around here, I wanted my first blog of 2017 to look back on the previous year, talk you through the highlights and give some much-deserved thanks.

If you’ve been around here for the last couple of years then you’ll know that I totally re-designed the blog at the beginning of 2016. After starting this site back in 2010 it had become increasingly apparent that it was showing its age and in desperate need of a face-lift. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out – it’s undoubtedly a massive improvement!

Speaking of behind-the-scenes type things, we managed to hit over 5,500 views last year, with an average of 400-500 hits a month. Considering that it was on (just over) 3,500 in 2015 – with an average of approximately 2,000 over previous years – it totally blows my mind. To have grown by that many views – for someone who just sits in her bedroom and writes about things she’s passionate about – is an amazing feeling. Another thing that I’m always indescribably thankful for, is when an artist I’ve written about shares my work.

alex-marshall-blog-love

Click here to see some of the really lovely things people have said about my work.

As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I never expect – just because I’ve written about someone – that they’re going to share it with their followers in any way, so it’s always really flattering when it happens. Throughout 2016 my work was liked, read and shared by artists that I have great admiration and respect for, as well as people who have read and found something they like in it. That never goes unappreciated – after all, there wouldn’t be much point to me writing this blog if no one was reading it!

On that note, I’m beyond proud of all the posts that I uploaded last year. I remember when I interviewed Brian Dales (The Summer Set) back in 2012, he said “the more you practice your craft, the better you get at it”, and that is something that really resonated with me. When I set up this blog it was as a requirement for a university project, so priority-wise it always came second to something, whether that was my degree or a full-time job. However, over the last 2 years I’ve really focused a lot of my time and energy on writing and I think that shows, both in my skills as a journalist, and the amount of views this blog has gotten over the last 12 months.

However, whilst I feel like I’ve really honed my skills as a writer and I’m happy with my current style, that is by no means saying that everything I do is perfect – it isn’t – and that there isn’t always more to learn and improve on – there is.

My Top 5 most viewed posts this year

My Top 5 most viewed posts last year

I also saw some great artists live last year, including The Summer Set – on the UK leg of their ‘Stories For Monday tour’ – and Waltzz, the latter of whom approached me to possibly review some of his music at the beginning of the year. Following that, and also meeting up with him at a music showcase event in November, we’re now on each other’s Christmas card lists!

As well as that, I also reviewed Costa-Blanca based band Snowblind when they came over for a UK tour in the spring. Subsequently my review was then published in Spanish/English magazine ‘QR’. This was a huge achievement, and very flattering, for me as it’s not every day that I’m approached to have my work published. Seeing it in print was such a surreal feeling; I love how it came out.

Snowblind review in QR

Snowblind review in QR

There were also some amazing releases from some fantastic artists including, The Summer Set, Against The Current, rap/rock duo Stevie P and Sketch, and former member of The Cab Alex Marshall, who dropped his debut solo single during the summer. I won’t go into that in too much detail though because I have my ‘Top Songs of 2016’ coming in the next few weeks, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that.

Going forward into 2017, I’d like to incorporate more of my interests into this platform that aren’t necessarily music based but more lifestyle. Over the course of last year I wrote about non-music related subjects and they seemed to be really well received. I opened up about my disability ahead of The Paralympics – something I’d never thought I’d do but I’m proud of all the same. And, I wrote a follow-up to my Tattoo Fixers article about the ‘On Holiday’ spin-off of the show. If you’ve started following my blog recently then you’ll also know that I actually got a piece done by Tattoo Fixers’ very own Sketch, at his South-east London studio Reppin Ink in November. Having wanted a piece done by him for a few years (not to mention being a big fan of his music) that was a major highlight of the year. It was a really fun experience, and he’s one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people you could ever hope to meet.

Click here to see the blog post all about my tattoo experience with Sketch

Click here to see the blog post all about my tattoo experience with Sketch

I’d also like to make these lifestyle posts a bit chattier; I’m thinking of posting one a week and calling it ‘Chatty Tuesday’ or something. I also hope to make my ‘Book Club’ reviews more regular again, and perhaps even do a ‘YouTuber of the Month’ segment; I have a lot of ideas. As I’m getting older I just want to widen the scope a bit, while also making sure that the blog remains very music-based. As such, I met and discovered some amazing talent last year, so I hope to get some interviews in the pipeline too.

With that being said, I also want to remember to live in the moment and spend time with family and friends. This means that I’m not going to try and review everything anymore, but instead focus on the music/things that I 100% love and have a strong desire to promote. So, if you’ve ever sent me something to review and I haven’t got back to you, I’m sorry but I am just one person, it’s a busy life and I can’t do everything – as I’m sure you can understand.

However, thank you for your support over the years and I hope that you’ll continue on this journey with me throughout 2017 – let’s make it a great one!

 

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts this year, be sure to come and join me on:

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Against The Current – In Our Bones (Album Review)

The young and relentless three-piece prove they’ve got too big for the cage they’ve been locked up in, with debut album ‘In Our Bones’.

ATC In Our Bones album cover

Two years after the release of their breakthrough EP ‘Infinity’, New Yorkers Against The Current have finally unveiled their debut full-length offering ‘In Our Bones’. Having begun their career online –posting both covers and original material on YouTube – the band are quickly making a name for themselves.

And, rightfully so; with tours with All Time Low and Set It Off under their belts, a headlining world tour to their name, and not to mention taking the stage at this year’s Vans Warped Tour alongside the likes of Issues, Mayday Parade and New Found Glory. The band – made up of frontwoman Chrissy Costanza, lead guitarist Dan Gow, and drummer/keyboardist Will Ferri – look set to take the music world by storm.

Released on May 20th, ‘In Our Bones’ is ATC’s first release with record label Fueled By Ramen – home to the likes of Paramore and Panic! At The Disco – after being signed in 2015. Explosive album opener ‘Running With The Wild Things’ kick-starts proceedings and sets the tone for the record; this is a band that won’t be held down. This dark and brooding rock vibe is carried through tracks like ‘Blood Like Gasoline’ and the creepily atmospheric ‘Wasteland’.

Alongside this, there is also a strong pop element in the mix, demonstrated in addictively upbeat numbers ‘Forget Me Now’ and ‘Runaway.’ Acoustic title track ‘In Our Bones’, shows another side to the band’s sound; stripping everything back and letting the music speak for its self. Similarly, there is something beautiful to be found in slower songs such as, haunting ballad ‘Chasing Ghosts’, the inspirational ‘Brighter’, and album closer ‘Demons’ – where, arguably, some of the most standout moments lie.

Overall, ‘In Our Bones’ incorporates a mixture of sounds and vibes, giving a taste of the different facets of Against The Current’s sound. Having said that, everything flows and there are no eyebrow raising moments. This is a brilliant debut full of stellar tracks showcasing what the band are capable of, and I suspect we haven’t heard the best of them yet. “I bet you won’t forget me now”? Couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

Favourite Tracks:
Forget Me Now
Chasing Ghosts
Wasteland
Blood Like Gasoline
Roses

‘In Our Bones’ is one of my favourite albums at the moment; I’ve been listening to it non-stop and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s partial to a bit of pop-rock with strong female vocals.
To see my previous single reviews of ‘Chasing Ghosts’ and ‘Blood Like Gasoline’, click here.
To see my previous review of the band’s cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s sophomore hit ‘I Really Like You’, featuring singer-songwriter Max, click here.

 

As always, thank you for reading, I’m blogging every Monday and Thursday throughout July. To keep up to date with my upcoming posts, come and join me on Facebook & Twitter, and to see what else is coming up throughout the rest of this month, click here.

‘Jammin’ In July’ Is Back!

Hola readers,

This month I’ve decided to bring back a monthly thread that I started last year, known as ‘Jammin’ In July’. Throughout the next four weeks I’ll be posting blogs on Mondays and Thursdays, ending with (hopefully) 8 uploads.

Summer is a great time for music, with all the summer festivals and tours, so I thought it’d be fitting to bring back this series. Organised as ever, I’ve planned all the blog posts already including: album reviews, single reviews, and maybe even some vlogs ;). See the full list below.

(As the posts go live I’ll add the hyperlinks so you can just click on each entry to see it.)

 

COMING UP:

To keep up to date feel free to come and join me on Facebook and Twitter, I’ll be back on Monday with my overview of TV musical drama Nashville. See you there? 🙂