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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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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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? 🙂

Tracks of the Month: June

Greetings readers,

It’s the end of June already! We’re officially over halfway through 2016 (does a perfect impression of the shocked emoji after coming to that realisation.) I can’t believe how quickly this year is whizzing by; we’re already in the middle of Summer – though it feels like should remind the weather gods of this fact – and it seems like we haven’t been out of jumpers and winter jackets for five minutes… because in truth, we haven’t.

But, aside from this runaway train of a year and the non-existent British summer, as it is the end of the month I’m going to be sharing with you the songs that I’ve been listening to non-stop these past few weeks. Enjoy!

 

The LaFontaines – Pon de Floor

I’ve been obsessed with this song ever since I saw The LaFontaines supporting The Summer Set on the UK leg of their ‘Stories For Monday’ tour. This stylish remix of Major Lazer’s ‘Pon de Floor’, seamlessly blends the band’s Scottish-tinged rap/rock with the dance style chorus – getting the crowd jumping along like crazed Jack-in-a-boxes. It’s such a fun song to dance to and I’m surprised the guys are yet to release their version of this track (because they definitely need to!)

PS. I love vocalist Kerr Okan’s ‘Yeah, man’ at the end of this video :).

 

The LaFontaines – Shark in the Water

Another one from The LaFontaines that I’ve been listening to is ‘Shark in the Water’; again, a re-worked cover, this time of Indie/pop singer-songwriter VV Brown’s track of the same name. Opening with the insanely addictive sing-along hook – which will for sure have crowd’s screaming along with their hands in the air – the song instantly has an entirely different and darker feel. The addition of Ker Okan’s almost aggressive, yet tuneful, Scottish rap vocals also set it apart from the original, so much so that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was entirely their song from the off.

 

Ariana Grande – Leave Me Lonely

I’ve never really listened to any of Ariana Grande’s music before, so I didn’t actually know of this song until I listened to a cover version posted online by popular beauty vlogger Gabriella Lindley (AKA Velvet Gh0st,) featuring fellow YouTuber/musician Hobbie Stuart. I thought I’d listen to both versions to compare the two, as I really loved the cover, and ‘pleasantly surprised’ doesn’t even cover my reaction. Taken from Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’ album, released in May this year, the almost-ballad also features vocals from household name Macy Gray. The darker, brooding nature of the song is different to anything we’ve heard from Grande so far (that I’m aware of) and arguably is the most real; it has a much more relatable feel rather than something that’s drowned in a danceable beat. The uncluttered instrumental is a great fit for the tone of the song and also shifts all focus onto Grande’s truly stellar, R’n’B-tinged, powerhouse vocals. It makes me want to listen to the rest of the album to see if the other tracks are as great as this one.

 

Against The Current – Chasing Ghosts

I’ve fallen in love with pop/rock band Against The Current this month! ‘Chasing Ghosts’, taken from their recently released debut album ‘In Our Bones’, shows a softer side to the band that fans haven’t really seen previously. The ethereal-sounding ballad feels very intimate from the get-go; combining subdued verses with a crashing chorus and emotionally honest lyrics. Chrissy Costanza’s vocals are mesmerising; her powerful, almost husky, tone captivating – and keeping – your attention throughout. Definitely one of my favourite songs on the album.

 

Against The Current – Blood Like Gasoline

Another one from ATC but, contrastingly to ‘Chasing Ghosts’, ‘Blood Like Gasoline’ has a much darker rock sound coupled with a heavier, explosive chorus. Again, Chrissy Costanza’s captivating vocals tie everything together as she hits every note flawlessly; the scattering of higher notes in certain places creating a beautiful effect.

 

As always thank you for reading and I hope that I inspired you to give these tracks a listen if you hadn’t heard of them before (or even if you have!) I usually post blogs once a week so, if you like what I’ve written and want to keep up to date, feel free to come and join me on:

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