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
🙂

Advertisements

Tracks of the Month: January/February

Hello everyone,

It’s that time again… yes, it’s nearing the end of the month so as is tradition around here, I’m going to take you through the songs that have dominated my stereo/ITunes/headphones over these last few weeks. If you follow my blog regularly then you may’ve noticed that I didn’t do one of these last month, so this is going to be a culmination of my January and February favourites. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

 

Crutch – Set It Off

Taken from Set It Off’s latest studio album ‘Upside Down’, ‘Crutch’ is a pop-driven track with a gracefully explosive rock chorus. The song opens with a motif that sounds like it came straight out of a video game, with Cody Carson’s smoothly distinctive vocals not far behind, adding a soulful, almost, r’n’b tinge.

This is a definite example of the band’s sound taking on more of a lighter, pop vibe than their previous releases, however, it still retains that signature Set It Off sound. Personally, I love it. If there’s one thing I’m not too crazy on it would be the staccato video-gamey introduction, but I can look past that because the rest of the song is catchy as hell.

I’ve also been listening to some other tracks from ‘Upside Down’ including Jazzy, pop trackDiamond Girl’– which brings back a flavour of the orchestral sound from debut release ‘Cinematics’, with brass accents throughout and explosive, rock songWant’, which has more of a brooding, darker feel.

To see my review of the band’s previous album ‘Duality’, click here.

 

Lianne Kaye – Last Thing

This is getting to be quite a tradition around here isn’t it? Singer-songwriter, and YouTuber, Lianne Kaye was featured in my last ‘Tracks of the Month’ as well – and she’s back for very good reason. Kaye kicked off the year with a re-upload of her original song ‘Last Thing’, stating at the beginning of the video that the audio quality wasn’t the best in the previous one.

This new version of ‘Last Thing’ sees the ballad become very raw, consisting of just Kaye’s vocals accompanied by an electric guitar. The song opens with a beautifully delicate melody that flows into the verses. The chorus then amps up the power, both vocally and in the instrumental, with a chord pattern that lends itself to a very slight country/pop vibe. It’s an enchanting song about the to-and-fro of a turbulent break-up, of lost love and moving on – which I think everyone can relate to.
Vocally it doesn’t disappoint either, Kaye’s rich, strong tone sounding effortless and bold throughout. If you’ve read my other reviews you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Kaye’s music and, personally, I can’t wait to hear some more originals from her.

To see my review of the Kaye’s previous original song ‘You’, click here. And, to see my review of her officially released single ‘Clear’, click here.

 

You Me At Six – Take On The World

Now, I know I posted a review of You Me At Six’s newest album ‘Night People’ at the beginning of the month, but I had to include this song here because I’m absolutely in love with it. ‘Take On The World’ is a poignant ballad about being there for someone through the worst of times, letting them know that together you can take on the world.

From the first time I heard this song – and every time since – it never fails to give me goosebumps. As someone who has struggled with anxiety in the past, the lyrics and the overall message of the song really resonates with me and I know that if I ever find myself in that situation again, this is a song that I’ll put on and just imagine someone singing it to me.

I’m actually going to see You Me At Six on their upcoming April tour and, if you follow me on Twitter, you may’ve seen me say that if they play this song live there’s a massive chance I’ll be in tears. It just really hits home for me and it’s a beautiful song overall.

To see my recent review of You Me At Six’s newest studio album ‘Night People’, click here.

 

La La Land – City Of Stars

If you’ve not heard of the recently released movie ‘La La Land’, to you I ask, where have you been? The musical romantic-comedy drama – starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – was up for a record-breaking 14 nominations at this year’s Oscars, and it seems to be all anyone can talk about.

From my Twitter feed to Facebook, I kept seeing people sharing positive reviews of the film and its music – a couple of people I follow even posted covers of this very song. So, I decided to go and see what all the fuss was about – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Fair warning, if you’re not into musicals or anything overly lovey-dovey, then you’re probably not going to like this film. But, I really enjoyed it, and this song in particular has stuck with me since I watched it. ‘City Of Stars’ has that, kind of, classic vibe of old Hollywood movies but incorporates elements that work to bring it into the modern day. That charm, coupled with a catchy rhythm and heart-warming lyrics, will see you singing it for days afterwards – trust me.

 

Ruelle – Invincible

Ruelle is an electronic/pop artist from Nashville, that I discovered whilst binge-watching the Netflix original series ‘Shadowhunters’ – based on Cassandra Clare’s popular book series ‘The Mortal Instruments’. Ruelle lends quite a few of her songs to the show, including ‘Invincible’.

The electronic track is delicately menacing, with its ‘you want a war? You don’t know what you’re asking for’ bridge, and beat-driven instrumental – like waiting for a storm to hit. However, this is lifted by Ruelle’s light, ethereal vocals, and addictively charmingly melodies which ensure the songs leave an impression  making you want to hear more. With its dramatic vibe, dark undercurrents and epic-sounding chorus, it’s not surprising that her work has been featured in multiple television shows and films, as it lends its self really well to cinematics. Currently working on her first full-length album, Ruelle is undoubtedly one to watch.

Honestly, I had such a hard time choosing which song to feature in this post; I also love the dreamy, romantic sound of ‘Storm’, the eerie but upbeat, danceable ‘Monsters’, and the swelling, epic-sounding theme to the Shadowhunters series: ‘This Is The Hunt’. (Click on each title to listen to them.)

 

Pvris – Eyelids

I’ve been meaning to check out American three-piece Pvris – or, Paris to you and me – for a while now, but this is actually another song that I discovered thanks to the ‘Shadowhunters’ Netflix series. Taken from the band’s debut album ‘White Noise’, ‘Eyelids’ is a beautifully haunting track.

Combining their electronic, pop/rock sound with a crashing, beat-heavy chorus, it works to create something dark and eerie, with Lynn Gunn’s delicately airy vocals lifting everything – also giving it a pretty and romantic vibe.

 

Another two songs I’ve been listening to a lot since their release in January, are ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’ by Ed Sheeran, marking the end of his musical hiatus, as well as his recent Live Lounge cover of Little Mix’s ‘Touch’. Click here to see my dual review of both ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’.

 

What songs have you been loving recently? I’m always on the hunt for new things to listen to so please feel free to let me know in a comment, and 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:

Facebook & Twitter

🙂

Artists I’d Like to See Live In 2017

Greetings readers,

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

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

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

 

The Summer Set

The Summer Set at the Electric Ballroom

The Summer Set at the Electric Ballroom

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

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

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

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

 

Set It Off

screenshots

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

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

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

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

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

 

Against The Current

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

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

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

 

You Me At Six

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

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

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

 

Ed Sheeran

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

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

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

 

Stevie P & Sketch

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Talia Mar

skins-elliott-photography-www-skinselliottphotography-com7

© Skins Elliott Photography

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Facebook & Twitter

🙂

Tracks of the Month: November

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all doing very well. I feel like I say this in every one of these posts but seriously, where has this year gone?! Christmas is just around the corner and the festive music is coming out in force. But, just before we welcome that, I’m going to talk you through the songs that I haven’t been able to get enough of these last few weeks. So, without further ado, let’s get into it…

 

The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey – Closer

After enjoying moderate chat success with their singles ‘#Selfie’, ‘Roses’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, The Chainsmokers dropped, arguably, their most successful song to date back in July this year. The American DJ Duo – made up of Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart – have teamed up with electro-pop singer-songwriter Halsey for ‘Closer’; a track which earned them their first number one single.

The song has an electronic/dance vibe, coupled with a synth-led chorus – lending to a very dreamy, summery feel. Taggart lends his vocals along with Halsey, and the two complement each other brilliantly. Taggart’s smooth and deep tone provides a great contrast to Halsey’s higher, powerhouse pipes, giving the track a sense of dimension, and creating a beautifully powerful effect overall.

On a personal level, this song has been my absolute jam lately. If you’re a regular reader around here, you may know that I got tattooed by Tattoo Fixers’ Sketch a few weeks ago – and this song was playing in the studio as I was getting ready to have it done. One of my first memories of the day was Sketch sitting down next to me singing along to the chorus just before we got started. So, this song will always remind me of getting tattooed that day, and how much fun it was!

 

Favourite lyrics:

“So, baby, pull me closer / in the backseat of your rover.”

 

 

Bring Me The Horizon – Oh No

Again, if you’ve read my blog before, then you may remember that I did a full album review of Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘That’s The Spirit’ at the beginning of the year. However, this is another song that will always remind me of when I got tattooed by Sketch recently, so I couldn’t not include it. My friend and I were sat in the front of the studio while Sketch was in the back drawing up the design and, all of a sudden, this song just started blaring out from the other room. Naturally, we had a bit of a sing along while we were waiting!

As I said in my previous review:

‘Album closer ‘Oh No’ brings back the dance-pop musicality, while contrastingly highlighting the darker subject of seeing the pitfalls of addiction through sober eyes. Overall ‘That’s The Spirit’ has quite a dark theme, highlighting internal struggle and showing a sense of emotional vulnerability. However, there are pockets of positivity in the form of empowering, sing-along choruses – and its Sykes spitting the lyrics with such an aggressive passion that really drives it home.’

BMTH also released the official video for the song this month, and a rather bizarre one at that – if anyone knows what the weird trumpet playing thing is, please let me know!

Click here to read the full album review. 🙂

 

Favourite Lyrics:

“No we’re not on the level, you’re just off your face.”

“Don’t call it a party cause it never stops / now one is too many but it’s never enough.”

“You’re holding onto heaven but you’re hanging by a thread.”

 

 

Hinder – Lips of an Angel

This throwback of a song has been a major rediscovery for me this month. Released way back in 2009, ‘Lips Of An Angel’ was Hinder’s first major hit, reaching number one in multiple countries, and it’s not hard to figure out why.

Detailing the story of getting a phone-call from the ex that you never really got over, the rock ballad is captivating from beginning to end. Set to the sound of, ex-vocalist, Austin Winkler’s gruff and husky tone – with a sprinkling of higher notes during the chorus – the whole thing has a very brooding, poignant feel. I come back to this song every now and then, and every time I remember why I love it.

I stumbled across this track when I was flicking through the music channels back in the day, and I’m so glad I did because simply put, it’s flawless.

 

Favourite lyrics:

“Girl you make it hard to be faithful with the lips of an angel”

“My girl’s in the next room, Sometimes I wish she was you / I guess we never really moved on”

 

 

Set It Off – Something New 

Taken from Set It Off’s recently released third studio album ‘Upside Down’, ‘Something New’ marks the start of a new chapter for the band – as the title would suggest. Opening with a funky guitar-led pattern, and a super fun gang vocal refrain, the track is undeniably more pop-based than previous releases.

Sophomore offering ‘Duality’ showed the beginning of a transition into something more pop-based in certain numbers, but retained a darker, brooding vibe overall. Now, gone is the darkness and in its place is something full of optimism and light, set to Cody Carson’s smooth, distinctive vocals.

It’s jaunty, fun and will no doubt whip audiences into a frenzy – it always puts a smile on my face and makes me want to sing along. So, go on, “turn up the sound to Something New” – what’re you waiting for?


*
Released on October 7th, Set It Off’s newest album ‘Upside Down’ is now available to download through ITunes.

Click here to check out my review of the band’s previous album ‘Duality.’

 

Favourite lyrics:

“And if there’s one thing in my life, that I’ve been fighting day and night, well it’s the fear of changing nothing / So when I open up my eyes, and shake that worry from my mind, I checked the clock and it’s still running.”

“I think it, I say it, I write it, erase it, and break my back so I don’t let you down.”

 

Brit rockers You Me At Six have made an explosive comeback to the scene recently after going into hibernation while writing their hotly anticipated fifth album. They’ve dropped a few videos for various tracks from the upcoming new release, including title track ‘Night People‘, ‘Plus One’, ‘Give‘ and ‘Swear.’ I’ve been listening a lot to ‘Give’ and ‘Swear’ in particular, but I thought rather than write mini-reviews of both tracks, I’d just do a full album review when it’s released in January. 🙂

 

 

As always thank you for reading. I’ve been (trying to) blog every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during November as its ‘National Blog Posting Month’. To see all the the uploads throughout this month, click here.

To keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

Facebook  &  Twitter
🙂

Set It Off – Duality (Album Review) #FlashbackFriday

Orchestral pop-rockers Set It Off prove that their sound is anything but one dimensional with sophomore release Duality.

Duality album cover

Having released their debut album ‘Cinematics’ way back in 2012, pop-rockers Set It Off are back with their much anticipated follow-up. Unveiled in October 2014 – two years in the making – ‘Duality’ showcases the progression of the band’s sound, whilst still retaining the sense of theatricality and stylistic approach that is unique to the quartet (albeit a little more refined.)

Album opener ‘The Haunting’ jumps right in with quite a dark vibe, marrying elements of the band’s orchestral sound with an explosive, rock-driven chorus. The song also has a twisted fairytale-esque feel in the theatricality of the lyrics, not to mention bucket-loads of sassiness in Cody Carson’s distinctive vocals. This carries through in tracks such as ‘Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing’, featuring William Beckett, with its sneering “this is about you” intro and dark twist on classic nursery rhyme ‘Jack and Jill’.

In amongst the scathing sassiness, there are also lighter moments incorporated into the mix, with some tracks combining elements of other genres. For example, ‘Forever Stuck In Our Youth’, has much more of an overarching funky, pop feel. Opening with a jaunty bass pattern, coupled with Cody Carson’s soulful tone, it’s a definite party track with major hands-in-the-air vibes. Similarly, ‘Ancient History’ is also a fun pop-driven number, with a chorus that will no doubt inspire a mass clap-along from any crowd.

Likewise, ‘Tomorrow’ – featuring singer/songwriter Jason Lancaster – is passionate, anthemic, and thematically reminiscent of one of the band’s earlier songs, ‘Dream Catcher’. In addition, lead single ‘Why Worry’ also possesses an uplifting, cathartic quality. Kicking off with gang-vocal chants, the darker sounding verses are lifted by an eruptive, fun, singalong chorus; all the while detailing the pitfalls of anxiety and asking, ‘why worry at all?

Album closer ‘Miss Mysterious’ is, arguably, one of the most emotionally poignant tracks on the album. Beginning with a piano-led melody, the ballad also incorporates choir-esque vocals in the latter half – again lending to a theatrical feel – but never sounding overdone or cheesy. Referencing other song titles from the album within the closing lyrics, it wraps things up beautifully.

Overall, ‘Duality’ sees Set It Off growing and slowly moving away from the dark, orchestral rock days of ‘Cinematics’ but never straying too far from home; incorporating a number of different styles but always managing to retain that trademark Set It Off vibe which carries throughout the entire record. This is reflected in album title, ‘Duality’ as, as a whole, the record showcases the light and dark of their sound, demonstrating that Set It Off are anything but a pop-rock one trick pony.

 

Favourite tracks:

I’ve had this album for a while so my favourite ones have changed quite a lot, but honestly I love every song on this album!

 

Over the past few months, Set It Off have revealed that their ‘Duality’ era is over, and brand-new third album ‘Upside Down’ will be released on October 7th this year. Following this, the guys unveiled the album’s lead single ‘Uncontainable’, and second single ‘Something New’, in March and June respectively.

The guys are currently trekking around the US as part of the ‘Vans Warped Tour’, which they have played for the second year in a row – but this time on the main stage. They are a brilliant live band so I highly recommend catching their set, at some point, if you can.

To see my previous review of ‘Uncontainable’, click here.

 

As always, thank you for reading. To keep up to date with any upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

Facebook / Twitter

🙂

 

 

Tracks of the Month: April/May

Hola readers,

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog over the last month or so, but no more! :). As it’s the penultimate day of May, I’m going to talk (or write) you through the main songs that I’ve kept coming back to these past few weeks. So whatever you’re doing this – rather chilly – Bank Holiday Monday, put your feet up for five minutes, grab a hot chocolate and have a read.

 

Rogue Re Vera – Golden Deceiver

New Yorkers Rogue Re Vera premiered an acoustic version of their latest track, Golden Deceiver, on YouTube early last month. Featuring front-woman Brittany Brutality on vocals and guitar, and Kyle Tucci also on guitar and backing vocals, the song comprises of scathing lyrics set to a backdrop of beautiful melodies and an addictive singalong chorus. The gentle acoustic sound contrasts with rough-and-ready nature of Brit’s husky tone brilliantly, as well as the biting nature of the lyrics: “Take all of your over-dramatic lines/you’re not getting the leading role this time.” I love singing this around the house and I’m intrigued to hear what the full-band version of it sounds like too.

 

Set It Off – Uncontainable

Hot on the heels of their ‘Duality’ era, Set It Off are back with brand new single ‘Uncontainable’. Released on YouTube in late March this year, ‘Uncontainable’ is a taste of the new direction the band are heading in; away from the dark, orchestral-rock sound of their debut offering ‘Cinematics’, and further into a more R’n’B-based pop sound, similar to that of the title track from their most recent album. With the very inspirational and uplifting quality – coupled with a healthy dose of sass from vocalist Cody Carson – that we’ve come to expect from the band, the song showcases the evolution of their sound whilst retaining that something which is still very much Set It Off. Every time I hear this it puts a smile on my face and makes me want to dance/sing along – I’m excited to hear what more they have to come.

 

DNCE – Cake By The Ocean

American pop four-piece DNCE premiered their debut single back in September 2015 – so how it’s taken this long to end up in a ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ I don’t know. Made up of vocalist Joe Jonas, guitarist JinJoo Lee, bassist Cole Whittle and drummer Jack Lawless, the band formed in 2015 with ‘Cake By The Ocean’ serving as the lead release from their first EP ‘Swaay’, which followed shortly after. Opening with a funky guitar and bass rhythm, and a clap-along drum pattern set to Jonas’s smooth pop vocal, the song is upbeat and catchy with major summer vibes – I can’t believe it peaked at only #9 in the US Billboard chart.

 

Also in May…

Throughout the last two months I’ve also been listening a lot to Set It Off’s ‘Duality’ album, as well as The Summer Set’s newest offering ‘Stories for Monday.’ However, seeing as my favourite tracks from both albums change all the time, I’ve decided not to include them here and to instead do full reviews of both in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for those!

 

To keep follow the blog and keep up to date with my posts, feel free to come and join me on:

Facebook   &   Twitter

🙂

Tracks of the Month: March

Hello everyone,

Another month over, Easter has come and gone, and it seems like only yesterday I was seeing memes circulating on Facebook saying ‘how is it March already?!’. But, just before we welcome April (and with it hopefully some spring sunshine,) as is tradition around here, I’m going to share my favourite songs of the month with you.

One is a pop-rock track with a killer chorus and mass-singalong vibes, one is synthy and romantic, and the other is a beautifully emotional ballad that I’ve absolutely fallen head-over-heels for.

I’d also just like to mention here, that while I was writing this post I realised I’d also included both of these artists in my last ‘Tracks of the Month’. It wasn’t an intentional move, I’ve just been listening to these songs non-stop – that must say something about the artists’ music though, eh?

 

The Summer Set – Missin’ You

Hot on the heels of their debut single ‘Figure Me Out’, pop-rock quintet The Summer Set wasted no time in dropping another killer song from their upcoming album, ‘Stories For Monday’. Despite its love-sick-esque title, that couldn’t be further from the truth as, ‘Missin’ You’ captures that very freeing feeling of letting go and moving on after a relationship has turned sour; “since you’ve been gone I’m living more than ever/since you’ve been gone I’ve never felt so alive.” Set to the tone of singer Brian Dales’ distinctive vocals, the song is packed with positive vibes; it’s sassy, uplifting, empowering and never fails to make me smile…”hell yeah, alright, I ain’t missing you.”

 

The Summer Set – Jean Jacket

Another song of The Summer Set’s I’ve been listening to a lot is ‘Jean Jacket’. Premiered on March 17th, the track is very synth-driven and romantic, with its chorus line “coz when I put on my Jean Jacket, I still think about you.” Brian’s unique vocals are tight as ever as he flits between lower and higher notes effortlessly, and coupled with the melody, the two combine to produce a beautiful song packed with emotion, which really tells a story. I also recently found an acoustic version online, and they absolutely slay it. The stripped back arrangement gives a much more intimate feel, and the backing vocals from both John Gomez and Jess Bowen are even more pronounced, the harmonies sounding great together.

The band recently made the full album available to stream so if, like me, you can’t wait until April 1st for the release, you can already have a cheeky listen. Be sure to catch The Summer Set on the ‘Stories for Monday’ tour, starting in the US in April, before hitting the UK in May. For full tour dates click here.

Click here to see my review of the band’s previous single, ‘Figure Me Out.’

 

Demi Lovato – Stone Cold

Demi Lovato released the video for her latest single Stone Cold in late February, and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. Lovato has said she is ‘very proud’ of the third single from her album ‘Confident’ – and she has every right to be. Unlike her previous singles from the album, ‘Stone Cold’ is a beautifully poignant ballad about seeing someone you love with someone else. The piano-led track also includes swelling strings and soft, choir-esque backing vocals; an arrangement that really compliments Lovato’s powerhouse pipes.

The vocals overflow with raw emotion, giving a deep rooted honesty to the track which comes across even more so when performed live, further showcasing the full extent of Lovato’s ability to captivate a crowd with her stellar vocals; a quality people may not have recognised before. One thing’s for sure, if I ever hear anyone try to write her off as ‘just another Disney girl’, I’ll happily point them in the direction of this song.

In addition to ‘Stone Cold’, I’ve also been spinning the title track from her album ‘Confident’ (click here to see my previous review) as well as lead single, ‘Cool For The Summer.’

 

I’ve also been listening to Set It Off’s album ‘Duality’ a lot lately (having received it for Christmas after not being able to get my hands on a physical copy,) so a full review of that will be coming soon.

 

So, there you have it. What do you think of the songs included in this post? If there are any you haven’t heard, I hope I inspired you to give them a listen. What songs left a lasting impression on you this past month? I love discovering new music so Feel free to let me know in a comment :).

For regular updates come and join me on:

Facebook  &  Twitter

🙂