NEW MUSIC: BEAM ME UP – DARLIA

Blackpool four-piece Darlia have recently released their latest single ‘Beam Me Up’, following their last single ‘Ballad of Black & White’.

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The song was produced by Darlia’s vocalist and main songwriter Nathan Day and Frank Colucci. ‘Beam Me Up’ is about the catharsis of song writing. Nathan states, “I wrote this song because I can’t afford a therapist. I’m lucky that writing songs is a legitimate coping mechanism”.

It is clear that ‘Beam Me Up’ is a method of self-expression and unearthing emotions, as lyrics such as “I’m a broken doll” imply.

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Nathan said, “I think no one wants to talk about how they feel cos they’re scared people will judge them. Sadly, that’s part of the f**king problem. I’m scared too, but this is what that songs about – so f**k it”.

It seems like ‘Beam Me Up’ is a cry for change, for us to acknowledge people are hurting and that we need to do something about it.

Ahead of their headline tour in October, they’ll be supporting ‘Twin Atlantic’ on their UK tour in May, and will also be playing a number of festivals including:

  • The Great Escape
  • Community Festival
  • Tenement Trail

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GIG REVIEW: Maxïmo Park // De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill-On-Sea

Another excellent live band, another gig in an obscure seaside town for me. I don’t know how I end up in these far flung parts of the country, but there I was. The venue itself was actually not too bad, although I’m never sitting down at a gig again (note to self, buy the tickets before all the standing sells out).

Although I arrived halfway through the support act, PINS, I was really impressed. I would recommend checking out these Manchester gals if you haven’t already. Everything from their gritty sound to their onstage look was a massive plus in my eyes.

With a band as energetic and lively as Maxïmo Park, it’s a real sense of pit envy when you watch everyone downstairs dancing along with Paul ‘Snakehips’ Smith to Our Velocity and Apply Some Pressure. However, the band themselves were big enough and loud enough to reach even us on the balcony. Old bangers, primarily from the first two albums, still gained the biggest reaction from the audience, especially The Coast Is Always Changing, but the new singles What Did We Do To You To Deserve This? and Risk To Exist, the first two songs of the set, still exploded onstage.

Rumour has it that Paul Smith, the lead singer, wears reinforced trousers onstage to stop them from splitting when he leaps up into the air. Whilst I have seen him do this before, this gig was leap-free, but no less exciting. As a frontman, it’s clear that he’s passionate about his music and his performance, as well as humble. Cracking jokes with the audience, dancing like there isn’t a hall full of people with their eyes only on him, and graciously thanking us for our support, Smith is a consistently brilliant frontman, a very key part of what makes Maxïmo Park a consistently brilliant live band.

Touring their new album, Risk To Exist, it’s clear that the band have gone in a much more political direction with their music, singing about the refugee crisis, inequality and the increasingly apparent right-wing agenda in global politics today. Although I wasn’t as familiar with the new album as I was with the first 4, hearing these new songs live really made me warm to them. I think the truest test of this came at the end of the encore, when the band finished with another new single Get High (No, I Don’t), a seemingly anti-drugs song. A square subject matter for a rock band? Perhaps. But whether you actually did get high before/after the gig or you’re teetotal, the whole audience lapped up this punchy track and continued their chants of “Maxïmo, Maxïmo” until well after the last chord.

PLAYLIST: Festival Season

So festival season is fast approaching with Download under a month away, and Glastonbury kicking off not too long after. Following on from these come the medium sized ones such as Truck Festival and Y Not, with the end of the season leaving the likes of Reading & Leeds and Bestival.

Festival Season is in my opinion the best time of year… we get to wind down to some of our favourite bands, crack open some bevs and spend some quality time with our pals. Whether you’re camping out for the weekend, or just going for a day, this playlist will be filled with some summery bangers to add to your festival playlist. Get your portable speakers ready.

1.Kids – MGMT

As a track I’ve always loved, this is an energetic tune which everyone knows – whether it be from FIFA 09, or from your mates sticking it on towards the end of a house party. Although it was released back in 2008, Kids will always be a timeless classic; sure to get you hyped for what the day holds.

2. T-Shirt Weather – Circa Waves

As cliche as this may seem, how could this track not be on this? Undoubtably Circa Waves’ biggest hit, it will forever bring me happy memories of my first festival experience, and all that came with it.

3. Lost on Me – Peace

Indie-rock quartet Peace have released plenty of catchy tunes to wind down to. Lost on Me is a funky track led by dreamy vocals and groovy instrumentals; perfect for the sunny evenings.

4. Waterfall – The Stone Roses

This is just another timeless classic which makes me quite nostalgic and happy from the opening riff. It’s a stellar hit that will be sure to get the vibes moving.

5. Something Good Can Work – Two Door Cinema Club

Two Door are set to perform at a number of festivals around the UK this year; they make for some classics hits to warm you up for the weekend. Something Good Can Work is one of many up-beat, vibrant tracks from TDCC to start your day off before you head to the arena.

6. She Changes the Weather – Swim Deep

As one of the slower tracks on the playlist, this classic guitar driven tune is so happy that it couldn’t not be on the playlist. My take on the track is that it’s about love, and spending time with someone and forgetting about the reality of everything. Not dissimilar to how festivals bring you away from the real world for a few days and often, you’ll find mates for life.

7. Your Soul – Coasts

If you’ve heard of Coasts before, it’s most likely from their biggest hit Oceans, but be assured there’s plenty more where that came from. The Bristol based indie-rock band make arena-ready tunes filled with surfy, summery riffs and rhythms; Your Soul is one. Check ’em out.

Other tracks include: Machu Picchu – The Strokes, Be Slowly – Jaws, Fire – Kasabian, Dreaming of You – The Coral, Limousine – Beach Baby

If you think there were more deserving of a mention, drop a comment below but listed are a selection picked from the playlist put together.

Listen to the full playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/emilyrobbinspugh/playlist/1AcQCau2b57A3la0NJG5Rs 

NEW MUSIC: BLUSH release single called Love Snob

BLUSH, a four piece band from Essex, are releasing their new single on Friday 12th May.  The track, named Love Snob, is upbeat and rocky and the band has been described as a mix between Bruno Mars and Blondie.

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BLUSH have said that they “wrote the entire song in one sitting just together as a band and didn’t leave the room until it was done” and it was “one of the most straightforward songs we have ever written”

Love Snob is a statement about the nature of intense relationships and their capacity to catapult you between euphoria and despair without any sense of control.” – A quote from the band.

A catchy chorus and lively rhythm is paired with lead singer, Ben’s, clear vocals that give off an edgy vibe.  Love Snob is the fourth single from BLUSH, with their other tracks Crying GlitterWRNG, and Daggers have caused the band to rise in popularity over the last few months. I’m sure that they will keep rising in popularity and are one to keep an eye out on!

Listen to Love Snob on Soundcloud and make sure you watch it’s music video (made by Foxglovv) over on YouTube.

Find the band on:

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Words by Jodie Aikman

 

LIVE REVIEW: The Kooks – O2 Academy Bournemouth

The Kooks are nearly at the end of their (completely sold out) ‘The Best Of’ tour, and I had the absolute pleasure of being able to see them in Bournemouth on May 6th. The well loved foursome have been playing all over the country this past month as they build up to the release of their new album ‘The Best Of… So Far’ on May 19th.

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The set featured all of The Kooks’ most loved songs; and the crowd were ecstatic for every song. The sold-out night had a mix of old favourites, B-Sides and even some new songs. I overheard one guy say “This song is such a banger!”, and his friend simply replied; “Mate, all their songs are bangers!”, which I think is a perfect description! Crowd favourites definitely included ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’, ‘Always Where I Need To Be’, and ‘Junk Of The Heart (Happy)’. I personally loved the acoustic song ‘Seaside’ because whilst listening to it – everyone singing and swaying along – I could see how much the audience loved the band. I think it portrayed what music is really about – building a relationship between fans and performers whilst delivering a message and the sense of unity.

High energy and groovy songs got the crowd dancing and the entire night was a really fun and happy experience. Nostalgia filled the air throughout, as fans heard their favourite songs from 10 years ago being performed, but it’s safe to say that those songs are probably still favourites to this day! The gig ended on arguably the bands’ most popular and well known song – ‘Naive’.

After 13 years of being a band, The Kooks have really sustained such a solid and great fan base, and there was a whole lot of love and appreciation in the 1800 capacity venue that night.

The Kooks have just announced that they will be going on tour again in November and December of 2017, and I highly recommend going to see them as it was a great experience! Tickets go on sale Friday 12th May.

Words by Jodie Aikman

THIS OLD DOG- Mac Demarco Review

Mac Demarco’s third album feels, at first listen, muted and a little safe. But when we compare it to his back catalogue, it is quite experimental. Most of the woozy guitar effects have been shown the door and Demarco has discovered how to communicate his distinctive “slacker rock” style in a more acoustic and chilled out way. Released on a beautiful sunny day here in Ireland, I welcomed this change as much as I did the weather! The album certainly did not disappoint from the excellent singles “My Old Man” and “This Old Dog” and there are stand out tracks studded all throughout. While the wavy psychedelic sounds on “2” and “Salad Days” are what made Mac Demarco unique, I think that “This Old Dog” is a healthy progression and displays a new side to the singer, showcasing his lyrical skills.

“My Old Man” and “This Old Dog” start the album on an upbeat tone musically, really displaying the acoustic theme that links up with the rest of the tracks. Lyrically, the themes are positive. We see pearls of wisdom being shared and it’s clear that Demarco is being reflective of his personal life and relationships and has been able to channel this reflection through his lyrics.

Moving on to “Baby You’re Out” which combines satisfying chord changes with slightly goofy vocals. This third song is packed full of energy and fun and contrasts slightly with our next song “For The First Time”. This track slows us down a bit, and is more in keeping with his older stuff, reintroducing that jangling keyboard that’s so easy on the ear.

“One Another” takes us back in the time machine and induces 60’s style finger-snapping and toe-tapping on every back beat. “Still Beating” would be my personal favourite track as it marks the turning point for the tone of the album. The lyrics are more tinged with sadness and again we have another delicious, tingling chord progression to add to the collection.

Our shortest track, “Sister”, is just over a minute long but offers a lot from Demarco in the vocal department. There’s a more raspy quality introduced to his voice that really drives the emotional theme of the song. “Dreams From Yesterday” uses tropical percussion and wavy keyboard sounds to create a very chilled atmosphere that reminded me slightly of elevator music. Each to their own I suppose?

We have a new range of instrumental work in “A Wolf Who Wears Sheep’s Clothing” with some deeper drum beats and a surprise harmonica. Mac is really demonstrating his own musical ability here as well as slightly venturing outside his genre into a more country rock/ Bruce Springsteen vibe.

Our next two tracks are very typical of Demarco and are probably the least exciting of the album. It is as if he gave up on being experimental or was afraid of people’s reaction to the change in his music and so threw in “One More Love Song”and “On The Level” as consolation prizes. We’ve got lyrically beautiful songs here that are obstructed by his usual clattering keyboard notes and glimmering guitar work.

“Moonlight on the River” is a dark and complex song but is easy on the ears at the same time with its swirling, almost liquid like synth lines. It would have been a better way to play out the album over “Watching Him Fade Away” in my opinion as it would leave us with a malevolent twist and cacophony that would contrast nicely with the rest of the album. “Watching Him Fade Away” is another lyrical gem and definitely deserves a place on the album, perhaps not as thematic a final song as “Moonlight” would be however.

Mac Demarco has produced an excellent body of work and contrary to popular opinion, I enjoy the change in his work. I admire an artist who can take their work and twist it around to suit their creative thoughts at that period of time. “This Old Dog” could be a permanent change or a once off experiment, either way it is a very complete and polished album that I took pleasure in listening to. Props to you Mac.

Listen to the album on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/6XzoFb3hP14jVQeCMRdVJR

Thanks for reading and bye for now!

Anna

In Conversation With Brownbear

We spoke to the lead singer of Brownbear, Matthew Hickman, about Michael Jackson, musical influences and what we can expect from their debut album. We also previewed their upcoming single ‘Covers,’ due out on Friday.

Brownbear have used the past few years to gain valuable experience by touring with rock royalty; releasing a string of singles and of course performing to crowds at their own sell out gigs.

After a yearlong break, the boys hit the studio to record their long awaited debut album. A record that lead singer, Matthew Hickman, says he has “a lot of faith in.”

“We didn’t make an album full of singles, we made an album which is a collection of songs that, if you will, have a common theme. All the songs make sense to each other; they’re all related in a way. It all sounds right.”

Brownbears’ philosophy of ‘if it doesn’t fit then it’s not going in’ is taken very seriously. Proof of that lies solely in the confirmation that their first ever, and arguably most famous, single ‘Dead or Alive’ won’t be included in the album. Matthew said:

“People who have seen us live will recognize some of the songs (in the album). But, ‘Dead or Alive’ isn’t in there. My view is, we did it as our first single and it stood itself. To redo it for the album would mean changing it for the sake of it.”

“Two mistakes bands make all the time is: trying to do a song over and over again and ruining it; and secondly, not believing in their new material.”

“Dead or Alive had completely different production to what the album has, so I feel like it’d be a bit like saying ‘oh we don’t trust in our new songs.’ I can only hope that folk will look through iTunes or Spotify when the album is out and find ‘Dead or Alive’ and think; what’s this. We’re still going to play it live obviously; you’ll still hear it at our shows.”

For the band, new material is everything. Matthew told how he has become a keen experimentalist of performing new songs at gigs, especially after a solo tour supporting ‘The View’s’ Kyle Falcnor:

“When you’ve got a new song and you think ‘is it any good,’ the best way to judge that is to go up and play it in front of the crowd with just you and the guitar.”

“The Kyle (Falcnor) tour showed me which songs work and which don’t, by the end I was able to adjust my set to suit. If you play a new song off the cuff and the crowd go wild then you’re on to a winner cause that’s up against more established tunes.”

The lessons learned from that solo experience differed from the lessons the band learned when touring with bigger teams, like the tour with the Libertines. Matt said:

“Different tours teach you different things. Big tours, like the Libertines, taught us a lot about being professional. And then the Kyle tour obviously I learned a lot about playing in front of intimate crowds and reading the room, connecting with an audience. I had the best time on that tour because I had so many people that I’d just chat to after shows and getting to find out what they liked about the show if they enjoyed it.”

One of the new songs the band will be eager to play is ‘Covers,’ the first single off the album. It’s a very upbeat and catchy tune that has the classic Brownbear acoustics; however, it also boasts sobering lyrics that describe the mental unrest of a cheated boyfriend. The combination strangely works well, you’ll be humming ‘and I pull back the covers…’ in your sleep.

Thankfully the lyrics of ‘pull back the covers’ is just a metaphor for the suspected cheating, Matt joked that he didn’t literally catch anyone red handed:

“At the time I was with a girl and we were slowly deteriorating and I was beginning to think she might even be seeing someone else, just a pure gut feeling. I didn’t literally pull back the covers, thank God, that would be like something from a gruesome horror film.”

“The song actually started because I was singing the chorus in the car and sometimes as a writer you think of a line, I was singing like ‘cover and lovers,’ it sort of developed from that.”

Brownbear have developed an alternative acoustic/folk rock vibe over the past few years, something, which Matthew agrees, are the bands “own distinctive sound.” Yet the music Matt grew up listening to is a complete different shade of music to what he plays:

“I grew up very much a student of rock music, I love the Foo Fighters, Metallica and bands like that. I used to kick about with the black sweatbands on and that. But I’m not very metal orientated as a writer, when I began writing songs; they just didn’t come out like that.”

“I also love Michael Jackson, especially the ‘Thriller’ album. That album broke boundaries; it went so much further than the music. It was the first time an African American had been listed on TV; he broke down that relevance for everyone. At the time he had the dark skin and the Afro, I can relate to that part.”

“I think great records have more than just the music. People never really know where to place our music and I think that’s a good thing.”

As for now, Brownbear admitted you’d find a different type of music on his playlist:

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar at the moment, and Alicia Keys new album. Both of those have total jazz vibes between them that’s what’s catching my ears I think.”

Transpiring through a range of genres whilst retaining a core Brownbear sound seems to be essential for the band. Matthew told how there’s a song on the album which has a “tip of the hat to mow town,” a genre which he admits is “his thing.” He also told how we could expect a bit of country in there as well:

“We had a guitar player play as a guest in a few songs who used to play in a band called ‘Whiteout’- they were pretty big in the Britpop era. He’s an amazing country player and he did this cool country riff over one of the songs. It just sounded right, man, so we were like ‘let’s just do it.’”

The album is sure to please ears of all music backgrounds and will be available sometime in early autumn. As for the new single, Covers, that comes out on Friday (5th of May). Something that we recommend you definitely check out.

Be sure to keep updated with the band through social media.

Twitter: brownbearband

Facebook: brownbearofficial

Photography: Murray McMillan 

Follow me on twitter: @bdoncook

NEW MUSIC: Overtime EP – Idle Noise

Idle Noise are one of many exciting new groups emerging from the Midlands music scene after the release of their debut EP 18 in 2016. A year on and they’ve returned, with a second EP, Overtime, which undoubtably lives up to their first and creates a sound many of us are familiar with; polished off with it’s own unique edge.

Rooftops sets the EP off as an authentic track giving off a garage kinda vibe as it intensifies. It combines dynamic riffs and percussion with appealing, slightly husky lead vocals which are delivered with ease.

Entourage is the second on the EP which the band tell us “depicts the story of a man who’s blinded by infatuation with his lover.” despite her being disloyal, uncaring and the fact she’s “been with your friends.” The track is powerfully composed throughout from the vocals to the guitars, suitably paired with the redolent message behind the lyrics.

Fortune highlights the bands ability to perform a variety of sounds. It’s an acoustic tune which gives listeners an insight into their slightly gloomier side.

Following on from this, title track Overtime closes the EP, leaving us wanting to hear more. With riffs comparable to the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen Overtime gives off an anthemic vibe highlighting the band’s talent to write tunes which could one day fill arenas.

With many of their lyrics tending to be an “Outsiders perspective of a people living in a dream world of life and not necessarily accepting reality.” and “Relationships that are just a mess instead of success.” after just a couple of listens it became evident that this band write tunes that will be somewhat relevant to the situations of many.

If you’re into bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen, Courteeners, Circa Waves, and other indie-rock sounds from the noughties, sink your ears into this.

Overtime EP is available to listen to on iTunes/Apple Music, Spotify & Soundcloud.

Idle Noise are currently booking gigs following the release so keep up to date across social media:

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NEW MUSIC: Debut Release For Student Band ‘The Gallery’

Wakefield five-piece ‘The Gallery’ have just released their infectious double A side debut single today, featuring the tracks Daddy’s Car and Go Twice, showing their musical clout already by tackling different sounds in each track.

For the die-hard indie kids who like their music with a side of twangly guitars and Arctic Monkeys-style lyrics circa Whatever People Say I Am…, Daddy’s Car is the track for you: fresh, witty, Northern; all the things guaranteed to cement you a place on people’s playlists! Being an A level student myself, the lyrics are super relatable, as I’m sure we’ve all come across people just like the subject of the song, who act like they own everything, but still end up with “F all A*s”.

As for Go Twice, this is a grittier tune, with heavier guitars, a killer intro and angsty vocals, but still carrying the same recognisable sound (quite the feat to establish in a mere two tracks). For a band of 18 year-olds, the tune of this, well, tune sounds like the sort of thing you’d hear on a track made by people with double their musical experience: it has the quality of a sort of instant classic, an unforgettable guitar sound that you swear you’ve heard before, it’s that catchy.

However, for such an up-and-coming band, they’ve already supported the likes of Pretty Vicious, Clay, The Academic and October Drift and they’re adding onto to their live gigging experience with sets at Live at Leeds and Tramlines Festival. I would say, watch this space.

Click below to follow the band on their social media:

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INTRODUCING: Ivory Wave

Brummie lads Ivory Wave are set to release their next single Separate Beat on 1st May, with it already receiving airtime on BBC Introducing West Midlands. They recently played their first London gig and 2017 is looking to be a huge year for them; with this being their 3rd single release since forming, and it could be their best yet.

We chatted with frontman George ahead of the release to find out more.

Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your roles in the band?

We’re Ivory Wave from Birmingham, I’m George the singer, Luke plays bass, Connor plays guitar, Seb plays drums and Rob plays synths and keys.

You’ve recently played your first London gig, is there anywhere new you’d like to play in the next few months?

Yeah London was maaad, We’d really love to play Brighton as we know there’s a great musical heritage there Also I’d love to play the Thekla in Bristol as the venues actually on a ship. That just seems like a mad place to play to me.

How has your local music scene helped you with getting to where you are now?

The scenes always been great for us, it’s the same great group of people that go to all the gigs in the city It’s like one big family really

So your new track comes out on May 1st, could you give us an idea of the sort of sound you went for?

It’s the cross between indie guitar driven music and the dance music that we’ve been striving to recreate for a while now. I definitely feel like this is our best track to date that we can proudly say ‘this sounds like ivory wave’ and nothing else.

Who helped you produce the track?

Matt Terry from Vada Studios produced the track for us, he’s worked with the likes of The Enemy and newer bands such as White Room and Cupids.

Can we expect an EP from you guys anytime soon?

Yes that’s definitely in the pipeline for us in the near future!

How did you guys all meet?

Luke and Connor knew each other from playing in bands a few years back. I met Luke by playing in a band in Brum but me and him always talked about creating a band that bridges the gap between the genres of hip hop, dance music and guitar music so after a few months me and him wrote a few demos and Ivory Wave was born. I knew Seb through college and I used to work with Rob’s brother and he heard me talking about wanting a keyboard player in my band and passed me on to Rob.

Have any artists or tracks been influencing you guys lately?

Me and Luke really like the white room at the moment, we also really like the new track by Franko Fraize ‘lines’.

What would be your dream gig lineup?

Kasabian, NWA, Real lies

Where would you like to be as a band in 18 months time?

Who knows what time will bring for us, it’s definitely all up for us at the Minute with all the gigs we’re playing, it’s really exciting for us.

Who would you say is the funniest in the band?

Luke, the kids a nutcase

Describe your sound in a few words!

Groove groove groove!!

Cheers guys! Best of luck with the release.

Separate Beat will be released on May 1st, to keep up to date, follow them on social media:

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