Tracks of the Month: December

Hello everyone,

Now, as a rule I don’t usually upload these posts until later on in the month, nor do I generally do a Tracks of the Month in December as the airwaves are usually overtaken by Christmas songs. However, today I decided to squeeze it into my blogging schedule because I’ve been listening to these tracks non-stop recently.

One is edgy and aggressive, and the other is a delicate ballad, so they’re complete polar opposites – and undeniably a far cry from the seasonal ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas.’ 🙂

 

Bohnes – Middle Finger

After unveiling his solo project ‘Bohnes’ in 2015, ex-The Cab frontman Alex DeLeon has since dropped a couple of singles online to give audiences a glimpse of his newest venture. Premiered on YouTube almost a year ago, ‘Middle Finger’ is his second offering – and it’s a lot more ballsy than anything we’ve ever heard from him before.

Opening with an eerie two-note rhythm, the track has quite a dark, brooding theme running through it – as expected from its title. The verses carry on this simplistic accompaniment, which then allows the explosive chorus to take centre stage for maximum impact; with its swelling electro/hip-hop vibes and powerfully assertive lyrics, it hits you like a punch in the gut. DeLeon’s smooth and soulful vocals are stellar as always, further proving that he’s not one to be pigeon-holed into any genre.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t initially too keen on this song but, from time to time, the chorus would just pop into my head, so I decided to listen to it again and it’s grown on me in a big way. If there’s one thing that I’m still not the biggest fan of, it’s the recurring ‘la la la la’ refrain that crops up throughout but, with that being said, it’s not enough to put me off the song as a whole.

It’s intense, it’s aggressive and it’s totally badass. I love it and I’m intrigued to see/hear wear Bohnes is going to take this project in the future.

 

Favourite lyrics:

“I refuse to let you make me feel like I can’t fly / not only will I soar again, I’ll own the fuckin’ sky.”

“I’m done being your slave / my generation’s had enough / and you should be afraid”

“Ain’t got time for dying, I’m too busy diving / more than just surviving, heart is beating violent.”

 

I also did a, more in-depth, review of Bohnes’ debut single ‘Guns and Roses’, back when it released in November last year. If you want to check that one out too, click here.

 

 

Lianne Kaye – You

Following the release of her single ‘Clear’ this past July, singer-songwriter – and YouTuber – Lianne Kaye recently treated her vast online following to another original song. Unlike the electronic/pop-rock vibe of her previous offering, ‘You’ brings back the acoustic ballad sound that audiences are used to hearing from the 21 year old – albeit somewhat more refined.

The stripped back accompaniment really suits the romantic nature of the song and works to create something delicate and heartfelt. It also proves that there is beauty in simplicity; it doesn’t need gimmicks, it makes an impact as is. The love-song also showcases Kaye’s distinctively bold vocals brilliantly, with a sprinkling of higher notes throughout, adding dimension to the track.

Personally, I absolutely adore Kaye’s voice and I think that this song really captures her as an artist; I can’t wait to hear more originals from her. Listen to it once and you’ll find yourself wanting to hear it to again and again (and again, and again) trust me.


Favourite lyrics:

“Standing here without a guard / ‘coz you’re a light in the dark.”

“Nowhere left to run, ‘coz I’ll be here when all is done / if you ever need to hear something true, well all the cracks in the earth lead to you.”

If you’d also like to see my, more in-depth, review of Kaye’s previous single ‘Clear’, click here.

 

Another track that I’ve been listening to a lot over the last few weeks is, singer-songwriter – and beauty/lifestyle YouTuber – Talia Mar’s debut single ‘Stolen’. I haven’t included it in this post as I uploaded a review of it earlier in the month and didn’t want to repeat myself so, if you fancy having a read of that too, click here.

 

 

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, through the New Year and beyond, be sure to come and join me on:

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Artists You Should Know: The Cab (Music Is Love Throwback)

Hi everyone,

If you’ve ever come across my little corner of the internet before, then you’ll know that Las Vegas based rockers The Cab have been one of my favourite bands for years. I’ve posted numerous reviews of their music in the past, and I’ve met both Alex DeLeon and Alex Marshall; the former a number of times, which I have also relayed in blog posts.

Back in 2009 fans created an anniversary known as ‘The Cab Day’ to honour the release of the band’s debut album ‘Whisper War’, and next week – April 29th to be exact – marks the eighth anniversary of that same release. Over the years the band have undergone multiple line-up changes (vocalist Alex DeLeon being the only original member of the band left) and they’ve practically been silent on the music front since dropping their most recent EP, ‘Lock Me Up’, back in 2014. DeLeon has since premiered a brand new solo project under the moniker Bohnes, and there is a massive-question mark over the current status of the band, with no official statement having been released.

However, founding member Cash Colligan has expressed, via social media, that he’d be interested in a ten year reunion featuring the original line-up. Being that I’m from the UK and I’ve not had the chance to see the band live because they’ve never done a European tour, I’m in full support of this idea; and if they could bring it overseas to give fans like me the opportunity, not to just see them but the original line-up, that would be the icing on the cake.

So, in honour of ‘The Cab Day 2016’, I thought I’d share with you a short piece that I wrote on the band back in 2012, around the release of their second album Symphony Soldier. Originally this article was to feature on my other website, Music Is Love, as part of a university project. Since graduating MIL isn’t something I’ve continued with, as I already had this blog for three years by that point, so I thought it’d be cool to share the pieces, on this site, from time to time.

Enjoy.

 

What’s not to love about this Las Vegas based five piece?
Seriously, let us know if you find anything.

the cab pr shots

“The reason we are a band is the fans,” say Las Vegas based band The Cab. “Without them, we’d be sitting on the couch playing songs for each other. We still can’t believe it when people get tattoos or write letters about how the songs have helped them through hard times. It’s very humbling.” The pop/rock five piece, hailing from Las Vegas are, vocalist Alex DeLeon, guitarist/keyboardist Alex Marshall, bassist Joey Thunder, Chantry Johnson also on guitar and drummer Dave Briggs, and they’ve had their fair share of ups and downs over the years, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and it seems as though these boys are testament to that.

In 2008 the band, then a different line-up, released their debut album Whisper War through record label Fuelled by Ramen. The album is full of killer tracks, addictive choruses and an upbeat vibe that is more fun than a bathtub full of chocolate. But despite the pop-punk sound that would’ve been a perfect fit for the market of the time, and some collaborations with some pretty high profile artists in the rock world, namely, label mate, Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump and Hey Monday’s Cassadee Pope, the record failed to propel the boys to the heights of bands like Paramore.

Sadly the album didn’t get the exposure it deserved and the Cab remained pretty under the radar. When it came to making a second album, the guys took their sweet time. After a three year wait, during which time they went through multiple line-up changes and parted ways with Fuelled by Ramen. Symphony Soldier is an undoubtedly exceptional album, made by a band who wouldn’t compromise their artistic integrity at any cost, they persevered and after signing to new label Z-Entertainment records, in 2012 second album Symphony Soldier was released in both, the US and the UK.

“In the US, we were blown away with the initial response. We didn’t know what to expect really.” Say the band, “It’s amazing that people in countries we haven’t had the chance to visit yet are so passionate about the music. It’s support like that, that keeps us going. ” And the boys like to thank the fans for that in any way they can, like including things in Symphony Soldier pre-order packages like phone calls and handwritten lyrics. Still The Cab, and just as addictive as Whisper War, Symphony Soldier has less of the Fall Out Boy/Panic! At The Disco-esque influence, but still retains everything we’ve come to associate with The Cab; the lyrics are still as honest and beautiful, the melodies are still as catchy and dance-able, but there is definitely an increased air of maturity that shows how much the boys have grown. The guys also got to work with some well known artists in the industry for this record, such as Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Bruno Mars, and Pete Wentz (Ex-Fall Out Boy) some of whom, members of the band cite as major influences.

the cab press shots

Since the release, the band have been working hard to get their foot firmly on the ladder; releasing music videos for their first two singles ‘Bad’ and ‘Endlessly’, gaining national airplay in America and more recently on UK’s Capital FM, and after an intimate gig on The London Eye for a selection of competition winners, caught the attention of tabloid newspaper The Sun.

And it doesn’t stop there, the guys supported Maroon 5 on their ‘Overexposed’ tour in 2012, and are hard at work recording, as yet untitled, album number three. So despite all their struggles it seems that things are finally picking up speed. “We have had our fair share of obstacles as a band, but giving up was never an option. We love what we do.” This is a band that has everything: the polished sound, the amazing, meaningful, honest lyrics, and everything fits together complimenting each other. Each member is amazingly skilled at what they do, and they’re really nice guys …so why wouldn’t we love them?

But, being from the UK, the question on a lot of people’s lips is, are there any plans for a UK tour? “It’s been in the works for a long time, just need to have the right shows booked and make it all work. But it’s high on our priority. ” We’ll just have to keep everything crossed. But wherever you are in the world, if you can make it to a show I would. When asked what their live show is like, their cheeky reply will no doubt make you smile. “Joey may or may not be playing naked. You will just have to come and find out. ” So, that’s appreciative down-to-earth guys, amazing music and a possibly naked Joey Thunder… how can you resist that?

 

To see my review of The Cab’s most recent EP ‘Lock Me Up’, click here.

To see my interview with the band back in 2012 following the release of their second album ‘Symphony Soldier’, click here.

To see my ‘One to Watch’ on The Cab, click here.

To see my first ever (short) reviews of The Cab, click here.

To check out my countdown to the release of ‘Symphony Soldier’, known as ‘The Cab Week’, click here.

To check out my blog posts of the times I met Alex DeLeon and Alex Marshall, click here, here and here.

 

Happy The Cab Day 🙂

My Top 10 Interview Wish-List

Greetings readers,

Today’s post is one that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I originally planned to upload it as a video, but that proved to be a bit of a faff, so I decided to write it instead and…well, here we are.

I’ve always said that interviewing is my favourite aspect of what I do; it’s always exciting for me to interview an artist because I’m just little ol’ me who started a blog at university, I don’t have the added benefit of an established magazine behind me, it is just me. As a result, there are people I’d love to interview that I’ll probably never get the chance to, so I thought I’d compile a Top 10 wish-list of my dream interviewees.

Firstly though, I’d like to talk a bit about my interview style and what inspired my particular approach. The reason I interview anyone is because I admire their work, so when I get the opportunity to talk to an artist my goal is to make them feel as comfortable as possible. By doing this the interview becomes more conversational, which makes for a better experience; let’s face it, uber-formal, stilted interviews aren’t a comfortable watch, or read, and you’re less likely to get the best responses.

I watch a lot of interviews and the person that always sticks in my mind is Ellen DeGeneres. If you watch The Ellen Show, you’ll know that it looks like a hugely fun environment – from being in the audience to being a guest – and you can tell that there’s a genuine admiration or friendship between Ellen and the majority of her interviewees. The fact that the likes of Taylor Swift and Gwen Stefani have been on the show multiple times is testament to the warm and welcoming environment Ellen creates, and it always makes for a great watch. This down-to-earth, semi-informal, atmosphere is what I try to achieve with my own interviews.

‘So who’s in your Top 10?’ I hear you ask… continue reading to find out.

 

#1 Demi Lovato

I think Demi Lovato is an extremely inspiring young woman. I’ve reviewed many of her songs on this blog and I think, musically, she’s a powerhouse. Outside of her music, Lovato has been very vocal in regards to her struggles with mental health, including discovering she was bi-polar and conquering an eating disorder. She has since spoken out about the controversy’s that have surrounded her and has chosen to become a positive influence to others, stating that she wants to be the difference for people who think they have to look, or be, a certain way to be considered cool. I watched an MTV documentary on Lovato, ‘Staying Strong’, which gave an insight into her struggles and treatment, and it moved me to tears at points. I think often we forget that people in the public eye are just that – people, and it takes a strong person to be able to admit so publicly that they have done things they aren’t proud of, and change their ways. It’s for these reasons, and more, that I’d love to talk to Demi Lovato about her career, life, aspirations for the future and everything in between.

Click here to see my review of Lovato’s single ‘Confident.’

 

#2 Alex DeLeon

If you’ve read my blog before then you’ll definitely recognise this name. Alex DeLeon is the lead vocalist of The Cab – a band I was fortunate enough to interview back in 2012, via email, after contacting their manager. However, DeLeon has recently unveiled a brand new solo project under the moniker Bohnes. Having released a number of singles it’s clear that the singer’s newest venture is a world away from the pop-rock sounds of The Cab, favouring a more synth based, pop/dance sound. So, does this mean an uncertain future for the band? It’d be great to sit down with DeLeon to chat about this new project, the status of the band, and what he has coming up.

Click here to see my review of DeLeon’s debut single as Bohnes, ‘Guns and Roses.’

 

#3 Sketch & Stevie P

If you’re a fan of E4’s hugely popular TV show ‘Tattoo Fixers’ then you’ll already be familiar with half of this duo. Let’s be honest, I feel like I could talk to Sketch about tattooing (and a mutual love of Sloths) for ages, but outside of his work in tattooing, he also makes music. I first became aware of this after stumbling across a 30 second clip of a song called ‘I Walk With’, featuring Stevie P, that the tattooist shared on Twitter. With its heavy rock sound, complete with raw scream vocals, it came across as very Bring Me The Horizon-esque; I definitely wanted to hear the full track. Following this, the lads released a song called ‘Everything (Part 2)’, and what I was met with totally caught me off guard; it was rap, totally not what I was expecting. However, the song is undeniably beautiful, and you’d have to be made of stone not to be moved by it.

Five months on, the guys have yet to release a follow-up but have teased that new single ‘Street Lights’ is in the pipeline. Stevie has said via Twitter that the duo are currently facing ‘a few minor issues,’ and Sketch has also previously tweeted that he’s unable to release music at the moment, so there are obviously bigger things at play here. Having said that, it’d be great to chat to the pair about their music at some point and see what they have planned. I bet they’d be a really interesting pair to have a chat with too.

I’d also just like to say that I know ‘Tattoo Fixers’ has been getting a lot of negative press over the last few weeks, mainly over how the show is made, allegations of plagiarism concerning designs, and its implications on the tattooing industry as a whole. These aren’t things that I feel qualified to comment on, however, I can say that as a viewer I really enjoy the show and I like each of the artist’s different styles (I’ve actually emailed both Sketch and Alice about possibly getting pieces done by them.) Personally, I’d love to hang out on-set for a day to see for myself how things are done, so I could say from experience ‘this is what goes on’.

Click here to see my review of ‘Everything (Part 2)’.

 

#4 Vicky Pattison

I don’t know about you, but having never watched Geordie Shore, I had no idea who Vicky Pattison was until she appeared on last year’s ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.’ However, I see that as a good thing because I had no preconceived notions of her going in; as I’ve said elsewhere in this post, it’s all too easy to judge someone based on their media coverage. I thought she was absolutely brilliant, hilarious and a lovely, down-to-earth girl. She gave an interview on Loose Women following winning ‘I’m A Celeb’, and I was even more struck by how eloquent and candid she was. Again, it takes a strong person to hold their hands up and admit their wrong-doings and I have a lot of respect for her for doing that and changing her ways  – and with it the public’s perception of her. I think she’d be great fun to talk to about how she, and her career, have grown since Geordie Shore (and I daresay she’d be brilliant company on a night out as well!)

 

#5 Zoe Sugg & Gabriella Lindley

If you don’t know who Zoe Sugg and Gabriella Lindley (AKA Zoella and Velvet Gh0st) are, then to you I ask, where have you been? The two are huge hits on YouTube, with their beauty tips as well as follow-me-around style videos, having racked up millions of subscribers between them. One of the first videos I saw of Zoe’s was one about dealing with anxiety, and I had huge admiration for her taking on that subject because it takes guts to discuss that sort of thing so publicly. Similarly, Gabriella is also very candid and open about her struggles with the same issues, and knowing that both the girls suffer with anxiety is one of the reasons why I’d like to interview them together. I feel like they’d be more comfortable because they’d have each other for support, rather than it being a one-on-one situation which might make them feel more pressure – which totally isn’t what I’m going for. I watch both the girls’ videos regularly and I love their personalities and the way they come across onscreen, so it’d be awesome to chat to them about their internet presence and being in the public eye. Gabriella has also started posting covers among her video content, click here to check out my review of her most recent cover of Ariana Grande’s ‘Leave Me Lonely’, featuring fellow YouTuber Hobbie Stuart.

 

#6 Taylor Swift

As I said in my previous review of Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989: ‘whatever your opinion of the darling of pop music, you can’t deny that Taylor Swift is slaying the industry at the moment.’ From taking on the likes of Apple and Spotify, she seems to be everywhere. I’ve been a fan of Swift’s since the early days of ‘Love Story’ back in 2008, and since then we’ve seen her grow into the artist that she is today who looks set to take over the world. As with the majority of people in the public eye, everyone has an opinion on Swift, be it positive or negative there will always be one, and I think it would be great to be able to have an opinion based off of actual personal experience rather than media sensationalism.

Click here to see my review of Swift’s album ‘1989.’

 

#7 Ed Sheeran

There is one simple reason for this pick: I love Ed Sheeran. From his magnificent music to his endearingly down-to-earth nature, he comes across as a genuinely nice guy – and those are always the best kinds of people. He has said things in previous interviews that I whole-heartedly agree with, and his passion for what he does is undeniable. Sheeran is currently taking a break from social media, but has said that he’ll be back in the autumn with a brand-new album. It would be absolutely amazing to be one of the first to speak to him about his new music and what makes it “the best thing [he has] made thus far.”

Click here to see my review of Sheeran’s most recent album ‘X.’

 

#8 Simon Cowell

I know this will seem like a controversial choice, but that’s exactly my reasoning. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know who Simon Cowell is and, whether you love him or loathe him, everyone has their own opinion of the music mogul. It’s safe to say that the majority of these opinions will be based on media perception and what we read – unless you’re a close personal friend of Mr. Cowell that is. Personally, I like to judge people based on my own experience of them as opposed to hearsay, (remember the old saying ‘don’t believe everything you read’?) and I would just love the chance to talk to Simon Cowell about the industry, and discover for myself what the big man in music is actually like.

 

#9 Gerard Way

The My Chemical Romance frontman was a huge inspiration to me growing up, aside from the fact that I loved the band’s music, I watched a lot of interviews with Way and I was always struck by his way with words. He would always put his points across eloquently and with such honesty; which I think is what gained him the unwavering respect of a generation of music fans, including me. A lot of people took Way to their hearts and revered him, almost like a hero, and I am proud to say that I grew up in a time when the band existed. They had their fair share of negative attention, but I have nothing but fond memories of their music and being inspired by them. I’m so glad I got to see them live before they split; it’d be a dream come true to catch up with Gerard Way and chat about his career after MCR and what he is up to at the moment.

 

#10 You Me At Six

Again, my teenage self wouldn’t be happy if this Surrey-based quintet didn’t make an appearance. You Me At Six have been one of my favourite bands since I was 17 and, now in my 20s, I feel as though I’ve grown up with them and their music. They have yet to make an album that I dislike, and they always put on a killer live show; I’ve seen them play 10 times and the last time I went I felt like one of the oldest people in the room (long gone are the days of me wearing brightly coloured fishnets, a tutu and home-made t-shirts.) Being that YMAS are one of my longest standing favourite bands it’d be great to speak to them about their career to date, and what their next move is.

Click here to see my live review of You Me At Six at Brixton Academy.

 

And there you have it, there are some artists I’ve interviewed before that I’d love to follow-up with, but for this list I decided to just include those that I’d probably have no chance of ever interviewing.

Who would be your dream person to interview? Are there any from my list that you wouldn’t mind having a good ol’ chin-wag with? Feel free to let me know in a comment :).

 

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Top 6 Favourite Covers (Revisited)

Hola readers,

If you follow my blog regularly then you may remember that back in January 2015 I posted an article about my thoughts on cover versions, which then spurred me on to post my ‘Top 6 Favourite Covers’, as part of my ‘Journaling in January’ series. As I said in my previous ‘Top 6’, I’m a sucker for a really good cover; I love it when an artist can breathe new life into a song and transform it. It’s hard to take a track people already know and attempt to re-write people’s perceptions of it and make it good. It’s easy to make a bad cover, it’s harder to make one that rivals the original.

There are a lot of covers out there that I like, and lately I’ve come across some new ones that have become fast favorites, so I’ve decided to revisit my ‘Top 6 Favourite Covers.’ That isn’t to say this is a replacement for the old ‘Top 6’, it’s more of a part two, and who knows… maybe I’ll make it an annual thread.

*I’d just also like to point out that this list isn’t in any order of preference, I’ve ordered them starting with my newest discoveries charting down to ones I’ve liked for a while (which, in some cases, is years.)

 

#1 Hotline Bling/Can’t Feel My Face – Hobbie Stuart (Original by: Drake/The Weeknd)

I wrote a ‘One to Watch’ on singer-songwriter Hobbie Stuart back when I stumbled across his music online in December last year. Prominent in the current ‘YouTube community’, Stuart uses his channel to promote his music, uploading cover versions of popular chart hits. Among them is this alluring, acoustic mash-up of Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ and The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face.’

As I said in my previous review:

Stuart’s vocals are flawless as he moves between the smooth notes of his lower register into his beautifully captivating falsetto, the two tracks flowing together seamlessly as he segues from one to another like they were made that way… Stuart’s rendition also incorporates The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ – and the two work brilliantly together. The softly seductive combination of the melodic guitar and Stuart’s honey-voiced drizzle is mesmerising, giving a romantic vibe to the whole thing.’

Every time I hear this cover I’m struck by how beautiful it is. From the delicate instrumental to Stuart’s amazing, angelic vocals, it completely turns the original on its head and opens it up to a whole new genre… and I actually prefer it.

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

 

#2 Yellow – The Summer Set (Original by: Coldplay)

The last time I caught Arizona-based pop-rockers The Summer Set live in London, they played this cover of ‘Yellow’. Beforehand, frontman Brian Dales explained to the crowd that during the tour, he and bandmate Stephen Gomez came up with the idea that every night they would play a song by a band from the city they were in, so every night was a little bit different. Dales went on to say that ‘Yellow’ was one of his favourite songs ever, and being that Coldplay hail from just outside of the city, that was the song they played.

I love Dales’ vocals on this song and the stripped-back, acoustic arrangement really heightens the romantic nature of the lyrics, making it all the more poignant; hearing the entire audience sing along in unison was enough to give you chills. I’m not such a fan of the original, but this version made me fall in love with the song.

 

#3 I Really Like You – Chrissy Costanza and MAX (Original by: Carly Rae Jepsen)

Again, this is another cover that I have reviewed previously in a ‘Tracks of the Month’ post. However, I couldn’t not include it because I really, really like this one (see what I did there?)

‘Originally by Carly Rae Jepsen, this version incorporates a pop-rock sound with a heavier drum beat and an altogether more edgy vibe. It’s also been turned into a duet, with vocals by Against The Current’s Chrissy Costanza and pop solo artist MAX. Chrissy’s vocals are bold and powerful – while still being able to hit higher notes beautifully – and MAX has a deep and husky tone, with a smooth and down-right mesmerising higher range. This, together with the rock accompaniment, makes the song a bit more interesting and gives it a fierce, explosive quality that demands your attention – and holds it.’

Both Costanza and Max have also posted other cover versions to their respective YouTube channels, as well as collaborating with other musicians. Chrissy Costanza has also lent her voice to some others that I really enjoy, including Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’, The 1975’s ‘Chocolate’, One Republic’s ‘Counting Stars’ (a collaboration with Alex Goot and Kurt Schnider,) and a pop-rock version of ‘Uptown Funk’ that I included in my last ‘Top 6 Covers’  with Set It Off’s Cody Carson and Dan Clermont.

 

#4 Grenade – Cody Carson (Original by: Bruno Mars)

Speaking of Cody Carson…before/as well as being Set It Off’s frontman, he also started his career posting videos on YouTube. After putting videos up sporadically for the last nine years, Carson recently uploaded a video entitled ‘Welcome to CCTV’ (we’re assuming that means Cody Carson TV – we hope he’s not going all Big Brother on us!) and implied that he will be posting a lot more material to his channel, including covers.

When I first started listening to Set It Off, I fell in love with Carson’s voice and I was eager to hear more from him, so when I found his online material it was a given that I’d check some of them out. It was here that I found his cover of Bruno Mars’ ‘Grenade’.

Armed with an acoustic guitar and his expressive powerhouse pipes, Carson performs the song with such theatricality and passion that you’d think it was his song. Low notes? High notes? Projection? Carson takes it all in his stride and still manages to inject a little of his trademark sass; his facial expressions as he sings ‘you’ll smile in my face then rip the breaks out my car’, make me chuckle every time.

 

#5 We Found Love – Alex DeLeon and Brian Dales (Original by: Rhianna)

Back in 2012 The Cab and The Summer Set embarked on a co-headlining tour around North America (let’s not talk about the fact they didn’t make it to the UK.) During the tour, vocalists Alex DeLeon and Brian Dales would do meet and greets with fans, where they would play a few acoustic songs and hold an informal Q & A. This cover comes from one of those instances, and people were kind enough to upload their videos to YouTube so others could discover it for themselves.

Stripping away the dance-pop vibe of the original, this acoustic cover is miles away from the heavily produced sound we’re used to hearing from this track. The delicate instrumental gives the whole thing a softer sound, and compliments the romance illustrated in the lyrics. DeLeon takes the lead with his smooth and soulful, Timberlake-esque pipes, slipping in and out of his higher range flawlessly. Dales’ then harmonises with DeLeon during the chorus – their voices blending together beautifully – and his distinctive tone ensures a brilliantly unique sound throughout the second verse. It’s true the guys are amazing separately, and together it only gets better. I’m hoping they’ll release a song together at some point – if the result is anything like this I’d be all over it.

 

#6 Heartbreak Girl – Robbie Coles (Original by: Five Seconds of Summer)

I wrote a ‘One to Watch’ post on ex-Show It Off member Robbie Coles, way back in 2013 when he premiered his first original single, ‘Hey Summer’, on YouTube. However, the first time I ever heard from him sing was when I found this acoustic cover of Five Seconds of Summer’s ‘Heartbreak Girl.’

Accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, the singer-songwriter turns his talents to this rendition of the pop-rock track; with a voice not unlike Sleeping With Sirens’ frontman Kellin Quinn. The result? an insanely addictive cover – one listen is never enough.

To check out my previous ‘One to Watch’ on Robbie Coles, click here.

 

And there you have it. If you made it this far, thank you for reading my ‘Top 6 Covers’ revisited – did you like any of the covers I’ve chosen? Are there any covers you think I should check out? Feel free to let me know in a comment. 🙂

If you’d like to get up to speed on my previous ‘Top 6 Favourite Covers’, click here. Or, if you’re interested on my views regarding cover versions, click here.

 

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Bohnes – Guns and Roses (single review)

The Cab frontman Alex DeLeon steps out alone with new solo project ‘Bohnes’.

The Cab frontman Alex DeLeon unveiled the debut single from his new solo project, ‘Bohnes’, on Friday November 13th. Following the 2014 release of The Cab’s ‘Lock Me Up’ EP, ‘Guns and Roses’ is the first glimpse of the singer’s newest venture.

A world away from the pop/rock we’re used to from The Cab, ‘Guns and Roses’ favours a more synth based, pop/dance sound – giving it a slight 80’s flavour – with a club-worthy chorus that has major chart potential. Contrasting with the accompaniment, there are some darker undertones to the lyrics, giving the whole thing an overall edgier feel. Bohnes’ vocals are flawless as always, his soulful tone flitting between his smooth lower register and mesmerising falsetto, hitting both effortlessly.

It’s understandable that DeLeon chose to release this as a separate entity to The Cab, as it is so different, so if you’re hankering for anything that sounds like the band’s previous releases, you won’t find it here – but ‘Guns and Roses’ is proof that that needn’t be a bad thing. If this is any indication of what’s to come, I can’t wait to see what else Bohnes has in store.

Final verdict:

On first listen I wasn’t sure what to make of this track (I think in part because I’m such a big fan of DeLeon’s work in The Cab) but it has really grown on me. With a somewhat dark and edgy feel, and a chorus that’ll get stuck in your head for days, I could definitely see this getting airtime on MTV. If you go into it expecting The Cab, it may leave you cold, but if you give it a fair shot and take it for what it is without comparing it to what came before, you can’t go far wrong. I for one really like it.

Journaling In January: Cover Versions – What Do You Think?

Hi readers,

Today’s ‘Journaling In January’ post is going to be a bit more of an informal one. I’ve done a lot of reviews this week so, as it’s the weekend, I decided that I just wanted to sit down and write a conversational blog about something that has been on my mind for a while – covers.

I always find myself drawn to cover versions of songs if it’s one that I know; they interest me in terms of similarities and differences, and overall artistic interpretation. However, I was talking to a friend of mine a while back who told me that he dislikes covers, because the whole reason he likes the music that he likes is because of the artist: the one who wrote the track and sings it – never mind that the majority of the time the artist and the songwriter are not the same person, but I’m getting off-piste here.

I’ve included a few covers in my posts recently, and I find that sometimes hearing a different version can really change your opinion on a song; can hit you in such a way that the original perhaps didn’t, increasing the poignancy and resonating with something in you, or you might just prefer the way it sounds.
For instance, I wouldn’t call myself a Drake fan – that’s not to say I have anything against his music, it’s just not really my thing – however, I found this cover of his track Find Your Love on YouTube, sang by The Cab frontman Alex DeLeon and the voice of VERSA, Sierra Kusterbeck.

 

The footage – from a fan meet-up in Milan – sees the duo perform a stripped back version of the track accompanied by a single acoustic guitar, and I just fell in love with that spin on the song. The simple arrangement pushes the lyrics to the forefront of attention and the vocal harmonies highlight the emotion in the track. Hearing this cover resulted in me really liking a song that I, personally, wouldn’t have thought twice about otherwise.

I also always like to compare different versions, as I find it interesting how different artists can have such a different take on the same song. I often find myself wondering things like, ‘will they pull it off?’ ‘Will it stand against the original?’ ‘How will they incorporate their sound and put their slant on it?’…this can also make me slightly apprehensive as sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Though, you can be pleasantly surprised if you open yourself up to it and give something a chance; some of my most loved songs are cover versions (see my latest ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ for proof of that.) Having said that, there are some fantastic artists out there that I don’t think people should cover, purely because the originals are so good that it would be hard for anyone to even come close.

I could go on talking about this all day, and I guess there’s not much of a definitive conclusion to come to, or a concrete ‘point’ to be made with this discussion of mine, I just find it interesting as to what draws people to certain types of music and I think I found what my friend said a bit bizarre because personally, I love hearing different versions of songs. Sometimes the strangest combinations of an artist and a particular song – that you wouldn’t dream go together – can produce something great, maybe even turn you on to a song you never thought you’d like, if you give it the chance.

There are so many covers out there that I like – that may not be wildly different from their original counterparts – but turn a song on its head and give it that little something different. What is your opinion on covers? Are there any particular covers that have stood out to you? Do you think there are certain artists that just shouldn’t be covered?

As always thank you for reading this, slightly rambly, ‘Journaling In January’ post – I hope you enjoyed it. Writing this actually got me thinking about some of the fantastic covers that I love, and listen to on a regular basis, so if you’d be interested in me posting a list of my top covers (like I did with my ‘Top 5 Artists I’d Love to See in 2015) let me know. I’ll be back on Monday.

The Cab – Lock Me Up EP

Las Vegas based rockers show a new side to the band with newest offering
Lock Me Up.

The Cab lock me up EP cover

 

Almost a full three years after the release of second album Symphony Soldier, The Cab have finally given us a taste of what’s to come with, as yet untitled, album #3. Released on April 29th, no doubt to coincide with popular fan trend ‘The Cab Day’, Lock Me Up is a five track EP that has shed the Fall Out Boy-esque rock sound that was evident in Whisper War and, admittedly less so, in Symphony Soldier to make way for a more pop/R’n’B sound.

Title track and EP opener Lock Me Up is a ferocious sounding stomper of a track complete with an insanely addictive chorus and mad sing-along vibes. Flirtatious upbeat dance track Moon would suit being blasted at full volume in a night club, if given half the chance, at times sounding very reminiscent of Maroon 5’s Lucky Strike.

Numbers slows things down in the form of a smooth pop/R’n’B ballad that would sit comfortably with Justin Timberlake’s earlier solo material. This track also demonstrates just how far Alex Deleon has progressed as a vocalist; the honey-voiced drizzle of his smooth, soulful tone giving the song major Top 40 potential. Stand Up oozes more of a Hip-Hop sound and, again, see’s Alex channelling his inner JT with some rap-style vocals.

Closing track These Are The Lies is another R’n’B, almost, ballad with a funky, electronic club-worthy chorus that is hands-in-the-air good, and again shows off DeLeon’s flawless pipes as well as his ability to pen great lyrics.

So it’s safe to say that The Cab from back in the day is gone; you almost have to keep reminding yourself that it is in fact the same band – by name at least. There have been some significant line-up changes over the years, and the recent departure of original member Alex Marshall makes vocalist Alex DeLeon the only founding member left.

It’s slowly been drip-fed to us that the band have been heading down a different path musically, with Alex DeLeon hinting at the changes on Twitter over the past few months, and this EP is the closest they’ve currently got to something that could potentially land in the top 40.

So if you’re clutching to the memories of the early Fall Out Boy/Panic! At The Disco-esque sounds of Whisper War this is likely to be a bit of a shock to the system, however, if you’ve grown up listening to them and have followed the band’s journey over the years it’s likely that this progression makes a bit more sense. After all, as you grow and change as a person so does your music taste and, in turn, the music you put out.

The overall vibe and lyrics are still the inspiring kind we know and love The Cab for, it’s just set to a different musical backdrop. Admittedly it leaves something to be desired, but taking into account that the full album is yet to come it could be argued that this is to be expected.

Overall verdict: Due to the change in musical direction it does take a few listens to properly get into, but once you do you’ll love it. Can’t wait to hear the full album. 🙂

Favourite tracks:

  • Lock Me Up (Check out the official lyric video here.)
  • Moon