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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One To Watch – Andy Jordan

If you’re a fan of Bafta-award winning TV show Made In Chelsea then chances are you already know who Andy Jordan is, but just in case you’re not up to speed, allow me to introduce you to this London-based acoustic singer/songwriter. Now before you roll your eyes and groan inwardly, take those preconceptions and throw them away – because in this case, you might be surprised.

True, I wasn’t aware of Jordan’s music career before it was brought to light on the show, but one day I stumbled across a video of him and country singer Fiona Culley covering Avicci’s ‘Wake Me Up’. As soon as I heard him sing I had a bit of a jaw-hitting-the-floor moment; I wasn’t expecting that.

 

His vocals are deep and soulful, with a smooth tone that’s like swimming in melted chocolate. There were some grey areas during the track, granted, but Jordan can certainly sing. I then came across another video of him – this time with X Factor USA contestant Jillian Jensen – covering John Newman’s ‘Love Me Again’. Sure enough the acoustic ballad-esque arrangement was stunning, and the vocals complimented each other beautifully.

 

I then decided to do a quick ITunes search to see if there were any tracks up for download that I could check out, and it was there that I came across Jordan’s debut single ‘A Whole Load Of Water’ – a track that would later premier on MIC – and its B-side ‘We Don’t Care.’

 

‘A Whole Load Of Water’ is acoustic and folky with an, almost, reggae-esque feel to it. The instrumental creates a chilled-out vibe, and the scat vocals peppered throughout give it a real carefree feel. Jordan has said previously that even he doesn’t really know what the song is about, but that seems to be where its beauty lies – it’s a song about being in a state of uncertainty and curiosity. “There’s a whole load of water, flowing through my brain/I don’t know where I’m going/it’s driving me insane.”

Since releasing the song back in 2013, Jordan has put out a host of other singles including the Ep’s title track and ‘Flirty’, as well as embarked on a summer tour during June through July 2014 – joined by pop/rock act Room 94 – which also coincided with the release of the EP on June 22nd.

 

During his time on the road he has performed at iconic venues in the city such as the 02 Islington Academy and London Scala.

Andy jordan 2015 tour poster

So, it would seem that Andy Jordan isn’t your average reality-star-turned-singer and, despite premiering his debut single on the show, has also said that he is happy for his career to grow organically – I’m excited to hear more from him.

Overall verdict: Great voice and a great sound, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out to see what else Jordan has lined up, and I’d love to check him out live to hear more from him and see what his stage presence is like and how he handles the crowd.

Keep up to date with all things Andy on:

Facebook

Twitter

NB: If you follow me on either Facebook or Twitter, you’ll know that this post has been a long time coming, but when Jordan first premiered his music on Made In Chelsea I didn’t want to immediately ‘jump on the bandwagon’ as I thought that could maybe detract from how good I feel his music is. Like when an artist suddenly gets really big and for a time it seems as though everyone is talking about them? I didn’t want this article to get lost in that sort of thing, which is why I refrained from posting it. However, I recently re-discovered ‘A Whole Load Of Water’, and was reminded why I liked it so much – I even included it in my 2015 summer playlist, and I was listening to it a lot while I was on holiday, so I thought now was a good a time as any to post it. 🙂

Summer Playlist 2015

Hola readers,

Thanks for stopping by. If you live in the UK, you may not know it at the moment, but we are in the throes of early summer (I just wish the weather would start playing ball!) The sun has been trying to sneak through the clouds over these past few weeks with some successful (like today), and not so successful, attempts. But being that I’m definitely more of a summer person, I’m getting pretty pumped for some sea, sunshine and hot weather, so I thought I’d share my summer playlist with you.

As a rule, in these ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ / playlist-type posts, I usually include the music video and offer a little review of why I’ve chosen to mention that particular song. However, I’m not going to do that today, simply because my ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ posts are usually a lot shorter and as this list is coming in at 21 picks, if I were to add explanations, this post would be in danger of going on a bit longer than people might prefer.

With that being said, I might offer a few sentences here and there, and if I’ve featured the track before I’ll be sure to link it so you can read my review if you’d like to. Just know that all the songs in this list scream summer to me whenever I hear them; whether that be just chilling on warm days, evenings out with friends or a BBQ or bonfire night on the beach. So, without any more rambling from me, let’s get into it:

 

#1 Robin Schulz ft. Jasmine Thompson – Sun Goes Down

This track is definitely my current favourite – the combination of the beat, voice and lyrics give it major summer night out vibes. I can’t stop listening to it at the moment.

 

#2 The Pierces – Kings

To see my review of this track, click here.

 

#3 Young Kato – Drink, Dance, Play

To see my review of this track, click here.

 

#4 Daft Punk – Get Lucky

The soundtrack to summer 2014 – I couldn’t not include this! To see my review of this track, click here.

 

#5 Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding – I Need Your Love

To see my review of this track, click here.

 

#6 Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne – Rather Be

To see my review of this track, click here.

 

#7 Charli XCX – Boom Clap

 

#8 Walk the Moon – Shut Up and Dance

I became aware of this song a few weeks back and, I don’t want to say too much about it because I plan to include it in my June ‘Tracks Of The Month’, but it’s a whirlwind of synths and major dancing vibes that is no doubt going to be huge on the festival circuit this year.

 

#9 Bruno Mars ft. Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk

I feel like this track fits with almost any occasion really, but the 80’s, Prince-esque sound makes it a perfect summer jam. To see my previous review, click here.

 

#10 Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks

The dreamy kind of quality at play here is just perfect for this time of year.

 

#11 Mike Posner – Cooler Than Me

 

#12 Cee Lo Green – Forget You

This song is just fun to belt out in the majority of situations, driving along singing this at the top of your lungs in the car with friends is always a sure-fire way to have some laughs.

 

#13 The Cab – Stand Up

 

#14 The Summer Set – Lightning In a Bottle

Ok so, it took me so damn long to narrow it down to just one offering from this pop/rock five-piece. You can’t go far wrong with this band (if their name didn’t already give it away) in terms of summer vibes. ‘Someone Like You’ would also work well, as would ‘Boomerang’, ‘Young’, ‘Chelsea’…I just gravitated more towards this one because, I feel that the picture painted in the lyrics could describe a summer evenings antics.

 

#15 Robbie Coles – Hey Summer

The title says it all really. To see my review of this track, click here.

 

#16 Room 94 – Chasing the Summer

Again: the title, the lyrics – great summer anthem. To see my previous review of this song, click here.

 

#17 Parachute – She (For Liz)

 

#18 Feeder – Buck Rogers

Major festival vibes.

 

#19 Blake Shelton ft. The Pistol Annies and Friends – Boys Round Here

The country lilt to this track makes it a great choice to blast in the sun.

 

#20 Andy Jordan – A Whole Lot of Water

Again, not going to say too much about this one right now as I have a ‘One To Watch’ on Andy Jordan planned for… the future. But there’s a real, almost, reggae-esque feel to this song. The acoustic instrumental also creates quite a chilled-out vibe which I think is perfect for a lazy day on the beach, and a great fit for the season.

 

#21 Pharrell Williams – Happy

Again, I feel like this song was the soundtrack to last summer. I think it’s amazing no matter what time of year it is, but everything about it just lends its self perfectly to this time of year (because sunshine just makes everyone that bit happier!) To see my previous review, click here.

If you got this far, thank you for reading and I hope I’ve got you a bit more psyched for summer. Now I put it to you, what do you think of my choices? Do you think there are any other songs I should’ve included? Let me know!

Journaling In January: Room 94 Review

Hi everyone,

If you’ve read my blog before then you may already recognise this Hertfordshire based four-piece but, just in case you don’t, you can watch my interview with the guys here to get up to speed.

The pop-rockers are currently hard at work on self-titled album #2, following last year’s debut full-length, ‘No Strings Attached’. They have recently premiered three tracks online, and so far they’re sounding pretty different to the likes of their more pop-driven songs like Superstar.

Musically, the first sneak peak Dirty Dancing is the darkest, and possibly heaviest, song the boys have ever written. It starts off with a pop-driven sound that’s slightly reminiscent of Lawson’s Broken Hearted. This allows the grittier, rockier chorus to crash through with maximum impact, creating a vibe that carries throughout the rest of the track. It also showcases the facets of Kieran Lemon’s vocals, incorporating some pretty great falsetto snippets that act as a contrast to his lower range.

Similarly, belated Christmas present Keep Your Hands Off My Chick – unveiled via social media on Boxing Day – harks back to the days of their ‘Loud Noises’ era, albeit with some other things added into the mix. There are some shoutier vocals from Lemon, giving the whole thing a punk rock edge. Likewise, their newest offering – lead single So What – is very reminiscent of that era, from the defiance in the lyrics, to the stylishly almost discordant guitar riffs.

It could be said then that Room 94 are going back to their roots somewhat with this new rock-driven sound. What do you think? Do you like this new punk-esque side to the band? Which musical style of theirs do you prefer? Feel free to let me know in a comment. 🙂 

Journaling In January: Top 5 Bands I’d Love to See Again in 2015.

Hi readers *waves enthusiastically*,

I hope you all had a great weekend. I’m back again for another ‘Journaling In January’ post, and this one kind of follows on from the last in that, I posted my ‘Top 5 Artists I’d Love to See in 2015’, and whilst compiling that list I realised there were some bands I’d already seen that I still wanted to include. For that reason I decided to do two lists; one for artists I haven’t seen and one for those I’d like to see again.

So here is part two: My Top 5 Bands I’d love to See Again in 2015.

 

#1 Set It Off

With vocalist Cody Carson. Click here to read the Q&A

With vocalist Cody Carson. Click here to read the Q&A

 

I had never seen Set It Off live until I got invited to interview them at their London show at Camden’s Electric Ballroom in October 2013. I hadn’t heard any of their music before that night so I was going in totally blind. But, what I was met with was one of the best shows I’ve been to in my whole life.

Despite not really having any expectations, and not knowing every song by heart, that show really got to me, and it was their presence onstage that made me run to the merch desk to buy their album as soon as they’d finished playing. There were moments of both chaos and poignancy – particularly when vocalist Cody Carson spoke about the community an audience makes, and had us scream the words ‘I am not alone’ back at him, before launching into their track Dreamcatcher – but overall, it was insanely fun.

The guys will be back over here in February as part of the Rise of the Runaways Euro tour, and I can’t wait to hear some tracks from their newest release Duality, as well as old favourites – now I can sing along to every word.

 

#2 The Summer Set

The Summer Set at the Electric Ballroom

The Summer Set at the Electric Ballroom

 

If you’ve read my blog before then this Arizona based quintet don’t really need any introduction, as you’ll know that I’ve seen them a fair few times already. And there is one very simple reason for that: They put on an awesome show.

Every single time I’ve seen The Summer Set live it’s been an insanely fun pop/punk party that nobody wants to end. Their energy is infectious and their set electrifying; with plenty of opportunities to jump around like a loon, as well as poignant moments that you can’t help but get caught up in. One thing’s for sure, they put everything they have into that moment and it always makes for a killer performance.

 

#3 Room 94

Vocalist Kieran Lemon

Vocalist Kieran Lemon

 

I always look forward to seeing this cheeky Hertfordshire based foursome; they’re an absolute blast. These lads are young, carefree and all about the fun. I often feel like one of the oldest people in the audience, the majority being young teenagers, but it’s always a great time. The set is always full of blistering tracks and crowd pleasers that whip the gathering into a frenzy – and rightfully so.

Their personalities also shine through when they indulge in on-stage banter with each other and the audience, usually commanding us to tease bassist Kit Tanton, or by sharing anecdotes. For instance, singer Kieran Lemon once mused on how it’s easy for boys to have a sneaky wee in a bottle during a long drive on the motorway, and decided that he had figured out the solution for girls: Pringle pots, yes Pringle pots. “I’m not really sure where you’re going with this”, laughed guitarist Sean Lemon. But nobody really minded.

 

#4 You Me At Six

You Me At Six at the Astoria in 2008

You Me At Six at the Astoria in 2008

 

I’ve been a fan of You Me At Six since I was seventeen and in that time I’ve seen them grow up, as people and as artists. I have seen them live 10 times – the first in 2008 and the last in 2011 – and the Surrey quintet have come a long way since their beginning in 2005. With five studio albums and a headline show at Wembley arena among their achievements, they now find themselves at the forefront of British rock music, gaining airplay on mainstream radio stations such as Radio One and reaching number one in the mid-week charts.

The underdog heroes never disappoint with their live show; as evidenced in how many times I’ve seen them. They are always full of energy and fun, and I think after 3 years it’s been long enough since I’ve seen them do their thing.

 

#5 William Beckett

Click here to see the review

William Beckett at Islington Academy. Click here to see the review

 

I saw ex- The Academy Is, frontman turned solo artist supporting The Summer Set last April. I’d always know of William Beckett – he was a prominent pin up in Kerrang! once upon a time – and I liked the odd track from the Academy Is, but in truth for the most part I was, like with Set It Off, going in blind. And again, I wasn’t disappointed.

His set was full of addictive tracks including Compromising meCracks In The Ceiling and Pick Up The Phone; the audience screaming along at every given opportunity.  He was also joined onstage by The Summer Set’s Brian Dales for a beautifully haunting performance of Just You Wait; a track Beckett penned for his sister in light of her struggles with depression and anxiety. I would assume a longer set would be even better and I wouldn’t say no to a repeat performance.

 

If you got this far, well done and thanks for reading, coming up on ‘Journaling in January’ tomorrow is a brand new ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ – see you then?

Happy New Year: Thank You’s and Here’s To 2014!

Hey everyone,

Here’s another slightly overdue blog post for you. Again, ideally I wanted to get this posted on New Year’s Day but things just got away from me. But, as it is the new year I just wanted to take a moment to talk about my highlights of 2013 and say thank you to the people who made those experiences possible.

In all honesty blogging took a backseat this year, I was in my last year of university and so all my time and energy was focused on that. January to February saw me working on my dissertation, and February through to April I was working on my final major project (which I’ll talk a bit about later in this post.) I graduated from university in June and by the end of May right through to the beginning of September I was enjoying some long overdue chill-out time, without the little voice in my head saying ‘you should be doing this, you should be doing that’, so as a result I didn’t post as much this year.

However, during the summer and at the tail end of this year, I’ve done some things and had some great opportunities that I’m really thankful  for.

I went to some amazing gigs, particularly The Summer Set on their first ever UK headlining tour in May, Room 94 on their sell-out UK tour in April, and Set It Off during their stint supporting Aussie Pop/rockers Tonight Alive in October.

These gigs were all standout to me for a host of different reasons, which I can’t really explain fully because it’s more to do with the experience and the atmosphere, and it’s hard to convey how being in a live environment truly feels unless you’ve experienced it. The excitement, the anticipation, the mutual appreciation and – as cheesy as it sounds – the love in the room.

The Summer Set always deliver a knockout show and it was their first ever UK headliner. The crowd lapped it up and the atmosphere in the room was nothing short of electric. It was one big party no body wanted to end.

Click to see the review

Click to see the review

Likewise with Room 94, their shows are always bursting with energy and fun, but it was Set It Off that caught me completely off guard. Like I said in my ‘Top 3 Albums of 2013’, I’d never listened to them before so I didn’t really have any expectations going into this show. But OH. MY. GOSH, it completely knocked me for six. Their live show was/is immense, energetic as hell, chaotic and really fun!
At shows I’m not usually in the crowd or the pit, and in this instance I was. It was really great to be in the thick of it and see everyone around you – as well as the people onstage – really feeling it.

The show its self was very theatrical, and the music lends its self to that 100%. There were also some memorable moments that have stayed with me. For instance, before playing their song ‘Dream Catcher’, vocalist Cody Carson gave this really heartfelt and inspirational speech before asking the audience to shout ‘I am not alone’. This intro and the audience’s reaction, the feeling in the room during that moment, had me in tears. This is a band that I would tell everyone to go and see for themselves, because it is truly something to be experienced. Now whenever I listen to the album it takes me back to that night, how much fun I had, and it always puts a huge smile on my face.

I also got to do a quick interview with Cody that night, and he was such a sweetheart about it considering that we had to stand outside the venue in the cold. Despite that, it was a lot of fun, he was really down-to-earth and easy to talk to, and we laughed pretty much the entire time. I really hope that I get to speak to him, and Set It Off, again in the future.

screenshots

Click to see our interview

Speaking of interviews, after a year of trying, I finally got to interview pop/rock party animals Room 94. Yes, it took a year of tweeting, emailing, I even chatted to, singer, Kieran Lemon about it being a possibility when I met them at shows. But you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed…. And at long last my persistence paid off and I finally got through to management.

Despite some initial confusion when I turned up, everything was fine, and it was probably the most fun I’ve had doing an interview to date. The lads are such characters and they were really lovely. The whole thing was pretty hilarious really, I’d interview them again in a heartbeat.

Click to see the interview

Click to see the interview

Aside from this, I also created a start-up online magazine called ‘Music Is Love’ as part of my final major project for university. I’m not going to go into detail about the site because I’ve talked about it in the past, but I did want to mention it because in doing so I got to talk to some artists that I really admire. Some that I’ve spoken to before, like Elissa Franceschi, and others that I haven’t, like Austin Nivarel and Versaemerge’s Blake Harnage.

I also had the freedom – and time – to come up with, research, and write some interesting features that engaged me as a writer and put me in touch with certain people who I now consider friends. Such as, the breakdown of the divide between the artist and the audience, and the decline of the live music scene. (click to see each article.)  Even though it was a lot of work, I’m very pleased with the website and proud of how it turned out.

So really, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who was involved in any way, whether it be the band members themselves, the managers or the PR reps. Particularly, in regards to interviews because without people agreeing to do interviews, or agreeing to let me interview their artists I wouldn’t get to do it, and the fact that I do means a lot to me because this is what I love. So thank you.

I want to get back into the habit of blogging, at least, twice a week in 2014 and catch up on the ideas for posts that I have accumulating in a list on my desktop. I’ll be doing a few more discussion type blogs as well, because writing reviews and interviews can get tiring when you’re constantly re-drafting and trying to make sure everything is polished and professional. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit down and say what’s on your mind. That being said, I also want to start writing more features because it’s something new to get your teeth into, and I enjoyed doing them for Music Is Love because it got me talking to different people and doing something a little different.

Also, I want to continue and complete my weekly ‘Throwback Thursday’ series that I started back in August, charting the evolution of my music taste. I started it with the intention to post every Thursday in the hope that it would get me blogging more regularly again, but things just got in the way. As I said, I’ve got a lot of ideas for posts backed up on my computer so I don’t know when I’ll pick this back up, but I will.

So there we have it. If you’ve made it this far, well done. 🙂 I know this blog was quite long and rambly but I don’t get to say a proper thank you often, and seeing as it’s the new year I thought it was fitting to do so, and to show that I don’t take these opportunities for granted.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have a fantastic 2014. 🙂

Tracks I’m Loving

Hey everyone,

Thanks for stopping by. First thing’s first, I hope you all had a great Christmas and Boxing day, and were able to spend it with the people that mean most to you.

I thought about doing a post before Christmas thanking everyone – whether it be readers, managers, PR reps, or band members – for allowing me to do interviews or giving me positive feedback on reviews, supporting my blog throughout the year and allowing me to do what I love. However, I thought it would make more sense for me to do that closer to new year, so I can go into the new year with that.

So, for now I’m just posting a ‘Tracks I’m loving’ with my most recent picks that I constantly have on repeat right now, aside from Xmas favourites like Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Michael Buble’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home.) 😉


You Me At Six – Fresh Start Fever

 

The lads from Surrey are back with the fiery second single from their highly anticipated fourth album, Cavalier Youth.

Musically, Fresh Start Fever is very in-keeping with previous single Lived A Lie, in that it strays further away from the carefree pop/punk sound that we first fell in love with, and into the more mature pop/rock territory of previous album Sinners Never Sleep. The lyrics also seem to somewhat reflect this transition, “Everybody loves the original, everybody’s got time to be cynical.”

The verses have a very dark and tense quality, giving the chorus even more of an eruptive feel, relieving the pent-up aggression and injecting some positivity into the song. “Welcome to the future, dream a little bigger.” It’s a track that has plenty of fire in its belly and will not be deterred, it’s a fresh start fever.

From the pop/rock sounds of YMAS to hip-hop…

 

Jurassic Five ft. Nelly Furtado – Thin Line

 

So, I’m pretty sure we all have that one friend of the opposite sex that we get on really well with, yet everyone else can’t wrap their heads around the fact that you’re not together. You might joke around and have a bit of playful banter back and forth but that’s all it is, yet no matter how many times you say that you’re just friends people just don’t get it.  Well that’s pretty much where my liking of this song comes from.

It flows really well and it’s really easy to listen to, with a steady beat that gives the track some bounce. Nelly Furtado’s vocals give it a lighter, more melodic feel against the deeper male rap-style voices, and it’s got some great lyrics, “my pen drips as I scribble my thoughts on thin strips, of emotion.”

Even if you’re not the biggest hip-hop fan, I’d say give this song a listen, it may surprise you.

 

Demi Lovato – Neon lights

 

I love me some Demi Lovato, and this track is no exception. Her newest single Neon Lights is an up-tempo dance track that see’s her treading new ground, moving away from pop music and into ‘club banger’ territory, with electro-pop, dance and EDM influences.

The track has a great beat and the chorus has a synth based rhythm that I dare you to stand still to. Lovato’s vocals are stellar as always and also see her pushing boundaries as she belts the chorus’, and it works.

It’s fun, and infectious…I can’t get enough at the moment.

 

Room 94 – When I Was A Teenager

 

Hertfordshire based pop/rockers Room 94 are at it again. Their newest single from upcoming debut album No Strings Attached is – in true Room 94 style – fun, bursting with youthful energy, and just a little bit cheeky.

The track opens with a lilting riff that will instantly make you think of summer holidays and hot days chilling by the pool, and the lyrics tell playful tales of carefree mischief. “All I wanted was a fake ID, so I could drink beer with my KFC.” The chorus kicks things up a notch as it slams through, full of typical teenage defiance, “don’t tell me to sort it out like I’m 33, ‘coz I had life all figured out when I was 16.”

It’s full of attitude which could see it become a teenage anthem, and while it admittedly may not be their best song, it’s definitely fun, and Room 94 are all about partying and having a good time.

 

Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball

 

I know this is going to be a controversial choice but I like it. When most people think of Wrecking Ball they think of the music video, am I right? I’ll admit that the nature of the music video was a bit much, like ‘was that really necessary?’, but I feel like the controversial content of the video has completely overshadowed the song its self.

At its core it’s a beautifully poignant power ballad about trying to hold onto someone. Now, I don’t know if I’m biased because I can hugely relate to the song lyrically, but I feel like there’s now a preconception of Miley Cyrus whereby people may not like her behaviour so they’ll immediately write off her music as well. But if you can get past who’s singing it, the story of the song is heart-wrenching and extremely relatable.

If you don’t like the song that’s fair enough, but I sometimes think that lyrically it’s been overlooked because, I personally think it’s stunning.

 

Ed Sheeran – Give Me Love

 

Do I even need to explain this? It’s beautiful. Simple as.

UP NEXT:

  • My top 3 albums of 2013
  • New Year Thank you’s 🙂