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:

Facebook & Twitter
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Gabriella Lindley and Hobbie Stuart – Leave Me Lonely (Cover) Review

YouTube favourites Gabbie and Hobbie come together to treat viewers to another cover, this time of Ariana Grande’s ‘Leave Me Lonely’.

If you’re not familiar with the ‘YouTube community’, or you’ve never heard of Gabriella Lindley (AKA Velvet Gh0st) or Hobbie Stuart, then allow me to explain. The two are well known on YouTube, Lindley for her beauty tips and candid follow-me-around style videos, and Stuart for his music; including popular cover versions of mainstream hits. Their respective channels have gained both notable popularity in recent years, and the pair – who are also best friends off camera – have appeared in each other’s videos multiple times.

In mid-May Lindley premiered a cover of Ariana Grande’s ‘Leave Me Lonely’ – In which Stuart featured and produced the arrangement – on her YouTube channel, which has since received over 495,000 views.

Originally performed by pop princess Ariana Grande and industry icon Macy Gray, the track is taken from Grande’s newest album ‘Dangerous Woman’.

As soon as you hit play, this cover completely draws you in; the combination of the arrangement and backing vocal giving a somewhat haunting quality. Stuart’s slick, almost husky, tone drizzles over the lyrics and compliments Lindley’s soprano register brilliantly, adding dimension. Lindley’s delicately powerful vocals are absolutely mesmerizing as she glides through the song hitting every note beautifully; never over-singing and sounding effortlessly flawless throughout.

As die-hard fans will know though, this isn’t the first time the two have combined their musical talents; first coming together in April 2015 to collaborate on a cover of Ellie Goulding’s ‘Love Me Like You Do’. Over the years viewers have been made aware of Lindley’s fondness of singing but have only been given glimpses of her talent – until recently – something she attributes to her struggles with self-confidence. But, as this video shows, she has absolutely nothing to worry about. I for one really hope she continues to incorporate music into her YouTube content because I absolutely adore her voice.

If you like what you hear and you want to keep up to date with what Gabbie and Hobbie are up to, check out their channels below:

Gabriella:

YouTube (main)/ YouTube (vlogs)/ Twitter / Instagram

Hobbie:

YouTube / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

To check out my ‘One To Watch’ on Hobbie Stuart (in which I do a mini-review of their previous ‘Love Me Like You Do’ cover) click here.

To check out my review of Hobbie Stuart’s Christmas performance in Brighton where he turned on the town’s festive lights, click here.

 

And, for regular updates on my next posts come and join me on:

Twitter / Facebook

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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.

 

For regular updates come and join me on:

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Happy New Year. 2015: A Year in Reviews (and Here’s to 2016.)

Happy New Year everyone,

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that your New Year is off to a great start. After taking a little break from the internet over the festive season, I’m feeling revitalised, reenergised and ready to get back to blogging.

After not being as active on the blogging front during 2014 I feel as though I upped my game throughout 2015, and as a result I discovered some great new artists, and produced some of my favourite pieces that I’m really proud of. Among these is an article on E4’s hugely popular show ‘Tattoo Fixers,’ which I became a fan of after watching the first series. I really enjoyed writing the article, and apparently you guys enjoyed reading it too as it got 758 views from when it was first published in August, through to the end of the year, which is no mean feat.

Click the picture to see my review of E4’s Tattoo Fixers

Click the picture to see my review of E4’s Tattoo Fixers

Coming in at a close second was my September ‘Tracks of the Month,’ which featured songs from Stevie P and Sketch, as well as a band I discovered in Spain called Snowblind. This review was great to write as both tracks are full of such emotion and conviction that they left a lasting impact; making me just want to listen to them again (and again, and again.) This particular post went on to become the most viewed in a single day, gaining nearly 300 views, which I was chuffed with because I love both songs.

Click the picture to see my September ‘Tracks of the Month’

Click the picture to see my September ‘Tracks of the Month’

Another review I’m really happy with is my Snowblind album review; I was passed a copy of their debut offering while in Spain, and it’s fast become one of my favourite albums, as they have become one of my favourite bands. Their straight-up rock sound boasts beautiful melodies, addictive hooks and stunning vocals; captivating in every sense of the word. I personally think they need to get their music on ITunes so more people can hear it for themselves… so lads if you’re reading this, what’re you waiting for?

Click the picture to see my review of Snowblind’s self-titled album

Click the picture to see my review of Snowblind’s self-titled album

Alongside Snowblind, another artist that I came to be a fan of in 2015, is singer-songwriter and online vlogger, Hobbie Stuart. Stuart has been uploading cover videos, original tracks, and the occasional vlog, to his YouTube channel since 2010. Having amassed over 300,000 subscribers and an impressive 28 million views, the honey-voiced heart-throb also had the opportunity to light up his hometown in December, with an intimate performance before he turned on Brighton’s Christmas lights.

Click the picture to see my review of Hobbie Stuart’s performance in Brighton

Click the picture to see my review of Hobbie Stuart’s performance in Brighton

Now, if you’ve read my blog before then chances are you’ll be familiar with this next band, as they have featured quite heavily since I discovered them in late 2014. Alt-acoustic four piece Rogue Re Vera, are a band that I happened to stumble upon and quickly got into. Following my reviews of their music, they were kind enough to send me a ‘Rogue Re Vera Care Package’ consisting of a t-shirt, a copy of their debut EP, and a handwritten note from vocalist Brittany Brutality. That sort of thing has never happened before so it was a totally unexpected gesture, and I’m hugely grateful for it. It’s always exciting when a band/artist that I’ve written about takes the time to get in touch to say they appreciate what I’ve written, let alone sends me anything, so I never take it for granted.

Click the picture to see my review of Rogue Re Vera’s debut EP ‘Don’t Bet On It, Kid’

Click the picture to see my review of Rogue Re Vera’s debut EP ‘Don’t Bet On It, Kid’

Moving on from 2015 and going into the New Year, I’m looking forward to discovering even more new music and getting to work on reviews, as well as trying my hand at vlogging. I also hope to conduct more artist interviews (seeing as the last interview I did was with Set It Off’s Cody Carson back in 2013 *shocked face*) as that is one of my favourite aspects of what I do. As well as this I plan to finally finish my Throwback Thursday series that I started in 2013, charting the evolution of my music tastes, as that is something I’ve wanted to tackle for a while. I currently have a lot of posts in the works and I’m not short of ideas, so watch this space. 🙂

Click the picture to see my Q&A with Set It Off vocalist Cody Carson

Click the picture to see my Q&A with Set It Off vocalist Cody Carson

Finally, I’d just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has read my blog this year (or ever.) I know it sounds cliché, but it really does mean the world to me that people take the time to read and engage with what I’ve written, because this is what I’m passionate about and what I love, so I hope you stick around for more throughout 2016 – cheers!

Hobbie Stuart Illuminates Brighton

Singer-songwriter and Youtube sensation Hobbie Stuart lit up his hometown with an intimate performance on November 19th, and kicked off the festive season as he turned on Brighton’s Christmas lights.

The honey voiced heart-throb played a short set of largely popular covers, opening with Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’. Despite some initial technical issues, Stuart also treated the audience to flawless renditions of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ – the latter being a song he hadn’t attempted to cover before that evening. He cheekily stated he hoped it would go alright; he needn’t have worried. He also played Bieber’s ‘As Long As You Love Me’, after a request from fellow vloggers Lucy and Lydia who were also in the crowd.

Though the stand out moment of the night was his performance of delicately poignant original track, ‘Day One’. The crowd was almost silent throughout; the combination of the soft guitar and gentle vocals absolutely captivating from beginning to end, demonstrating his stellar song-writing ability.

Stuart ended the set with his version of Tracey Chapman’s classic, ‘Fast Car’, a cover he first uploaded to his YouTube channel four years ago, which has since amassed an impressive 1,467,293 views.

After his performance, Stuart kick-started the festive season by turning on Brighton’s Christmas lights – after he remembered, that is. Amidst the excitement of the countdown, he momentarily forgot he needed to push the plunger for the lights to, well, light. Though, after self-consciously chuckling ‘what do I do?’, the local lad lit up the city centre.

Stuart also stuck around to meet everyone who wanted to say hello and grab a selfie; as soon as he left the stage the crowd surged in the direction he was headed, so it’s safe to say the demand was high. Unfortunately the sheer volume of people proved too much for me, so I’m a little bit gutted that I didn’t get to meet him, but I’m crossing every cross-able part of me that he’ll see this and hopefully I’ll get to interview him in the new year :).

Overall, it was a good night with a great turn out, and despite the teething problems it was a really enjoyable set – I just wished it lasted longer.

 

Check out my previous ‘One to Watch’ on Hobbie Stuart here, and to keep up to date check him out on:

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And to see more videos from the night, head on over to my YouTube channel. 🙂

Tracks of the Month: October

Greetings readers,

I can’t believe it’s nearing the end of October already! The jackets have come out, Halloween’s in a few days – it’s definitely not summer anymore. But let’s not dwell on the fact that the clouds are eclipsing the sun, and focus on the positives; one being that Christmas is just around the corner, and two being that, as it is the end of the month, I’m going to share with you the songs that have been dominating my earphones over the past few weeks.

In terms of genre it’s quite a mixed bag; including stripped back acoustic tracks from a popular actor/musician, to a mainstream metalcore band who have recently shifted in style in favour of a more alternative – and at times electronic – sound…

The Darling Buds – Waiting

If you’ve seen Tim Burton’s Sweeny Todd, then you may recognise this artist from the 2007 movie starring Johnny Depp. Jamie Campbell Bower – who starred as Anthony in the film – is also a musician. Previously in a band known as The Darling Buds, the foursome headlined London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on April 18th this year. The band recently underwent a name change following the departure of drummer Dan Smith; the three remaining members (Jamie, Tristan and Roland) stating that they wish to continue making music under a new name and new sound. Now under the moniker ‘Counterfeit’, the lads have an upcoming UK show at London’s 02 Islington Academy in December, as well as a European tour including cities such as Berlin and Milan.

This acoustic version of The Darling Buds’ track ‘Waiting’ was the first time I’d heard Bower’s musical talent (outside of the theatricality of Sweeny Todd,) and what I was met with was a beautiful melody, great vocals and an addictive chorus. Consisting solely of an acoustic guitar and Bower’s smooth vocals, the two work brilliantly together to create a track that is both catchy and captivating, with a hook that’s sure to get stuck in your head.

Another song I’ve also been listening to of theirs is ‘Better Man. Again, it’s a stripped back version made up of an acoustic guitar and Bower’s vocals, and much like ‘Waiting’ the combination of the elements at play culminate in something that’s absolutely charming to listen to. You can’t fault Bower’s vocals both as he flips between the lower and higher notes, hitting both perfectly, and I think both tracks demonstrate his ability to write a great song. I’d definitely be interested in seeing these guys live.

 

Bring Me The Horizon – Drown

A far cry from the days of their 2006 debut ‘Count Your Blessings’, ‘Drown’ see’s Bring Me The Horizon shift away from their metalcore roots in favour of a more melodic, almost cinematic, sound. But die-hard fans need not fear, the song still has their trademark aggressive sound complete with some gravelly, growl-like vocal tones from Mr. Sykes (but the upside is that you can actually understand it these days.)

Released last year originally as a stand-alone, a re-recorded version made its way onto the band’s most recent offering ‘That’s The Spirit’ – and I for one am glad it did. It’s an anthemic track, made to fill every corner of an arena; both the chorus and the swelling ‘you know that I can’t do this on my own’ chant possess a really captivating quality that is sure to get crowds screaming along in unison with their fists in the air.

 

Bring Me The Horizon – Throne

Contrastingly to ‘Drown’, ‘Throne’ features a more electronic rock sound. It opens with a synth-led pattern that wouldn’t be out of place in a club setting, but as the guitars and drums crash though it retains that BMTH sting. Things smooth out during the verses, and the change in dynamics works to ensure that the chorus really packs a punch.

With lyrics like “you can throw me to the wolves, tomorrow I will come back leader of the whole pack,” the chorus is an empowering one, and it’s Sykes spitting the lyrics with such an aggressive passion that really drives it home.

 

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Costa Blanca-based rock band Snowblind, and Brit singer/songwriter Hobbie Stuart this month; both of which I have reviewed previously.

Click here to see my review of Snowblind’s Track ‘Memories’ (as featured in last month’s ‘Track’s I’m Loving’.) A full review of the band’s debut album is on its way.

Click here to see my most recent post, a ‘One To Watch’ on singer-songwriter and vlogger Hobbie Stuart.

 

What songs have you been listening to this month? Do you like any of the ones that I’ve included? If there are any that you’ve never come across I hope I at least inspired you to give them a listen, and I hope you enjoyed reading 🙂

One To Watch: Hobbie Stuart

Never heard of Hobbie Stuart? – looks like I got here just in time then. Hailing from the English seaside town of Brighton, Stuart is a pop singer-songwriter and online vlogger.

hobbie stuart hotline bling screen shot

Since 2010 Stuart has been uploading cover videos, original tracks, and the occasional vlog to his YouTube channel. Throughout the years he has amassed over 300,000 subscribers, racked up an impressive 28 million views, gained over 150 thousand Facebook likes and 104 thousand Twitter followers – and it’s easy to see (or hear) why.

Alongside his few follow-me-around style videos, Stuart predominantly uses his channel to promote his music – posting cover versions of popular tracks. He frequently records mash-ups of chart hits, and they’re always done with such finesse and fluidity that you start to think they actually belong together. For instance, one of the first covers I heard from him was his version of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Sing’ and Disclosure’s ‘Latch’.

Accompanied by nothing more than a delicate acoustic guitar, 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.

As well as pop, Stuart has also been known to put his stamp on R’n’B songs from the likes of Rhianna, Wiz Khalifa and Drake – including this acoustic version of ‘Hotline Bling’.

Originally by Drake, Stuart’s rendition also incorporates The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ – and again, 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.

Stuart has also collaborated with fellow YouTuber, and close friend, Gabriella Lindley (AKA Velvet Gh0st) on a cover of Ellie Goulding’s ‘Love Me Like You Do’, in a recent duet featured on her channel.

Lindley’s strong soprano sound acts as a contrast to Stuart’s bold lower register, and the two complement each other brilliantly, combining to produce some stunning harmonies throughout. The melody also changes slightly, to include a surprise snippet of another popular love-song, and the stripped-back arrangement intensifies the vocals and allows the song to really make an impact.

Stuart has also shared a selection of his own material on YouTube, including demos as well as fully produced tracks like ‘Day One’.

This romantically poignant ballad demonstrates, not only Stuart’s stellar vocals, but his ability to pen a chart-worthy song. It really makes you question why he is not a widely recognised artist because personally, I could definitely hear this on the radio.

In addition to his online content, Stuart has also embarked on a number of tours during his career – most recently in March this year – hitting cities like London, Manchester, Dublin, Glasgow and even Paris.

March 2015 tour poster

So if you’re interest has been piqued and you’re now wondering where you can get your mitts on some of Stuart’s music, you’re in luck. You can pick up his 2013 single ‘Still Here’, and five track EP of the same name, on ITunes – and there could soon be a new release on the horizon. Stuart teased in a recent vlog that he’s currently working on an EP, as well as new song ‘Someone To Love You’, both of which should appear in a few months. (Excited face!)

Overall verdict:

Personally I’m loving Stuart’s music at the moment, I think he has an incredible voice, and I love the stripped-back acoustic sound. I’m really enjoying listening to what he currently has online, and I’d be really interested in seeing him live to hear some more of his original material.

Favourite Tracks:

Day One

Hotline Bling cover

Latch/Sing cover

If you want to keep up to date with everything Hobbie’s up to with his music and vlogs, check him out on:

YouTube      Twitter       Instagram      Facebook      Soundcloud