Tag Archives: Music

In photos – The 1975 at the 02 Arena

2016 proved to be a remarkable year for The 1975. The Manchester indie rockers smashed last year, proving themselves to be one of the most current exciting forces in music around.

Beginning with the release of their second album ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet Unaware Of It’, the band now boast Brit Awards, Mercury Prize and NME nominations, as well as topping both The UK and US charts.

To top it all off, the band then embarked on a huge arena tour, selling out the 02 within just 3 hours! I was there to capture the event. (15th of December)

As a photographer, I tend to notice the things your usual concert goer wouldn’t see. The 1975’s visuals were a true work of art, the stage lit with an extravagant light show of skyscrapers and those now iconic ‘glowing rectangles’ hanging above. Matty himself was rocking a strange combination of a suit and slippers, wine glass in hand, creating a real spectacle of a show. Something truly eye-catching and memorable, a hint of edginess alongside an unforgettable performance, compromising odd dance moves with dark and atmospheric instrumentals.

The 02 was a truly beautiful night and emotion in the venue was clear. Fans cheering and crying, expressing a strong love towards the band and for music. Matty addressed a shroud hanging over many young people’s shoulders, delivering a powerful and motivating brexit speech which created a dynamic sense of unity throughout the venue. A night where everyone could feel accepted and as one.

To say that the band have had a successful past year may be somewhat of an understatement and I’m sure that we’re all looking forward to seeing where 2017 takes The 1975 next.

The band are playing a sell out show as part of BRITs week in aid of War Child at The Dome, Tufnell Park London on the 21st of February. More info can be found here: http://www.dometufnellpark.co.uk/all-events-1/2017/2/21/the-1975

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New Single: The Shimmer Band “Jacknife and The Death Call”

Another release from Bristol’s The Shimmer Band. These lads are very active around the country and are on a quick rise, Jacknife and The Death Call will add strings to their bow. It’s a good sample of their music to date, with Kasabian sounds throughout and a layered electric feel which runs behind echoed vocals.

Crashing drums make this track explode from the offset and they open up what is an interesting song title. I caught this band in Liverpool last year and they’re bound for good things in 2017.

Smoking Gun EP – Dead Natives

London four-piece DEAD NATIVES released their debut EP Smoking Gun in November 2015

Brought together through a love of psychedelia and grunge, with influences such as Nirvana, Arctic Monkeys and Joy Division… Dead Natives formed in the January of 2015, and their first EP is finally here.

Dead Naties pic emilys blog

The opener is the rather steady-paced and moody sounding track, Smoking Gun. Listening to the track you can certainly hear the Arctic Monkeys’ influence shining through. Next up is the much faster, filthier, Feel Alright. Filled to the brim with explosive guitar riffs, and hazy vocals, which complement each other perfectly.

The final track, In Spite of the Rain is both lyrically and vocally strong. This track certainly has a lazy feel to it, and I love the relaxing, chilled vibe it gives off. This is a good Friday night, belter of a song!

The band’s self-titled, follow up EP will be released on the 20th April 2016, with 4 tracks very similar to those from this EP, but also with a little difference. They’re also playing 4 gigs over the coming months:

  • 10th March – Fiddlers Elbow, Camden
  • 18th March – The Good Ship, Kilburn
  • 2nd April – Dovers Castle, Brighton

You can find the band on social media here:

Twitter

Facebook

Soundcloud

https://soundcloud.com/blacksailsclub/sets/smoking-gun-ep

Shut Me Out – The Clause

The Clause are a 4 piece indie rock band from Birmingham, made up of Pearce Mcmenamin, Niall Fennell, Jonny Fyfee and Liam Deakin.

Inspired by the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Kooks and Arctic Monkeys, they have developed a substantial following on Twitter, and in the last few days have released their debut single Shut Me Out which has sparked excitement throughout social media. The single gained over 1,000 listens on Soundcloud in just two days.

This track reminds me largely of Catfish & The Bottlemen, however certainly has an original sound to it, and fits right in with the indie rock scene at this moment in time. From the guitar playing, to the drumming, accompanied by the distinctive tone of the vocalist, it really is indie rock at its best!

The band have got two gigs coming up, one on February 6th at the 02 Academy Islington, and another on March 4th supporting The Taskers at The Rainbow in Birmingham.

From the response the track has got already, I can tell it is going to be a big success, and The Clause are definitely a band you should listen out for!

 

My Universal Mode – Scarlett & Saffron

As some of you may know, I am always on the look out to discover new music. Last week, it was suggested I listen to indie rock, guitar driven trio Scarlett and Saffron – you can view their Soundcloud here. Consisting of Rob Boswell, Olly Croft and Louis Kershaw, they have played gigs up and down the country, and seem to have built up a large following of fans.

2 years ago the band uploaded Suffocate Me Softly Katy to their soundcloud, and now they’re back with a brand new EP, available to download from iTunes.

The bands EP ‘My Universal Mode’ consists of 3 fantastic tracks.


Pushrod is an absolutely top quality song, with likeness to some of Catfish and the Bottlemens music. Not only is the song upbeat and full of great guitar sounds, but it is also the sort of song I could imagine singing back to this band at one of their gigs.

Following on from Pushrod is 45, which unlike the first track, has a punchy start and no musical intro. It’s fast pace, vibrant energy, and melodic guitar riffs keep the listener interested and eager to hear more!

The final track Marfinkla, starts off slower than the previous two, the tempo builds up as the track goes on. With top guitar and drum playing throughout, this tune definitely keeps up the brilliant reputation this band has already earned.

If you have the opportunity, I would definitely recommend having a listen to this band. With their brand new single being released in March 2016,  and their following only growing, this is sure to be a big year for Scarlett and Saffron.

*They are also looking for slots in Liverpool & Manchester between March & May*

Looe Festival 2015

Hey Guys,  I spent last weekend at Looe Festival, which took place in Looe, Cornwall (if you hadn’t guessed)! In comparison to festivals such as Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds, Looe is rather small. It mostly shows local bands or ones that aren’t so well known, which is what I loved about it. There were however some acts that were pretty big, such as Johnny Marr, the guitarist from The Smiths!

The first act I really remember from Looe were called Oompah Brass. Oompah Brass are a band which play well known songs using brass instruments. They call themselves a ‘rock n roll Oompah band’. I will link you to them performing Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, at a different venue but they also performed this at Looe. If you ever happen to be somewhere they are, definitely take a look, even if it isn’t the sort of music you would usually listen to.(I will certainly listen to them again!)

I then went to see Raikes, who are a local band from a place called Liskeard, just up the road from Looe. Me and my friends had already heard of Raikes, and my friend even worked with them when she filmed a music video for them, so we went to see them to show support. They are quite an alternative/indie/folk band, and I quite enjoyed their set as this is kinda similar to what I listen to in my day to day life. If you are looking for something new to try and get into, I would definitely recommend taking a look at some of their stuff.

The last day of Looe was the one I was looking forward to the most, yes it was finally the day I would see Johnny Marr!

I started off my day seeing a band called King Creature, a metal and rock 4-piece from Cornwall. Again, they are not really the sort of music I would usually listen to, however I really genuinely enjoyed their set, and I even ended up buying their CD whilst I was there. One of the specific songs that springs to mind when I think of their set, is a song they performed called Power, so this is the song I am going to link you too. This video is of them performing at the Eden Project as a support act for Motorhead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4QVVgBCUHI

Next, I went to see a band called Calfari, and also ended up buying their CD at the end. Calfari are a 6 piece, Welsh country rock band. Most of their songs are Welsh, and therefore are sung in Welsh, however they had written one especially for Looe Festival, and it was in English! I was pleasantly surprised with their set, as I went there not really knowing what to expect from it. I usually enjoy knowing and understanding the lyrics to songs, but with this band I enjoyed it just as much without particularly having much of an idea of what the words meant. In fact the only idea the crowd were really given was “this song is called Rhydd, which in English means free” etc. You can find some of their music on their soundcloud which will be linked below, enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/calfariband

As the day went on, I was getting more excited for Johnny Marr, we made sure to get to the stage super early so we could get as close to the front as possible. Due to the fact we were there at around 18:00, and Johnny wasn’t on until 21:30, this meant there were going to be two more acts on before, and these were a band called ‘Ferocious Dog’, and another group called ‘Red Hot Chilli Pipers’. Yep, you heard right..Pipers!

So Ferocious Dog, another band I had heard stuff about but I had never actually seen- I would like to point out that a lot of these bands play at Looe every year, and therefore there were others who had heard of them. They’re a modern folk band from Nottingham, and again, are not usually something I would choose to listen to, but I ended up watching them and they did not disappoint! They interacted really well with the crowd, and the lead singer even had a Mohawk, and I got a selfie with him, so I can’t really complain can I? One of the songs I particularly enjoyed was one called Criminal Justice, you can find this and many more of their songs on their Soundcloud

 https://soundcloud.com/ferociousdog

The time is 20:45 on Sunday the 20th of September, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers are about to come on stage, and I am really excited! I had heard so many good things about this band from Scotland, who mix traditional scottish music, with famous pop/rock anthems, which they call ‘bagrock’. A couple I met at the festival, had even travelled all the way from Southampton just to be able to see them again, after seeing them perform at Looe in 2014! Their song choices were absolutely fantastic, they played the likes of Don’t Stop Believing, We Will Rock You, and even Avicii’s Wake Me Up, which they also performed to mark the beginning of Radio 1s Big Weekend. I had high expectations after being told so much about them, and they certainly did not disappoint. In fact, I would say they were one of the highlights of my weekend. Below you can find the link to them performing Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. 

Legendary guitarist from The Smiths Johnny Marr was headlining the stage on Sunday evening (if you hadn’t guessed), an absolutely fantastic end to the weekend. Almost 28 years since the Smiths split, and Johnny Marr has still got it! He came on stage wearing a dazzling red shirt and black jeans (including the traditional Smiths’ flowers in his pocket). He performed some of my favourites from his solo career, including Candidate, Generate! Generate! – of which he had the crowd shouting the words back at him- and New Town Velocity. However, not only was his set filled with many of his solo hits, but also included some of The Smiths’ absolute classics which many of the crowd knew every word to. The crowd erupted when they heard the unmistakable intro of Bigmouth Strikes Again. Looking around, you could feel the emotion. His performance of There is a Light That Never Goes Out was both moving and uplifting. But would you expect any less from This Charming Man?

Johnny Marr,  you rock! 

Festival Essentials

Hey guys,

On Monday I got back from camping at my first festival, Reading! I bought my ticket last October so had been looking forward to this for around 10 months, and when it finally came I was super happy! I will talk about the main things I would recommend if you are planning on going to a festival and camping.

Firstly, I would definitely recommend buying an Early Bird Ticket if you can, this means you arrive one day earlier than everyone else, meaning there is more choice on where you can camp, the queues aren’t as long, and it gives you more time to get to know your surroundings. (Especially if it is your first time)

Secondly, pack lightly! I got dropped off to the festival this year, and the drop off point is around a 45 minute walk to the actual festival, meaning you have to carry everything with you to the festival, and then at the end of the weekend you have to carry it back. (Unless of course, you decide to leave your tent etc). I would also say, taking a stove/something to cook on, is not absolutely essential. There are plenty of food stalls around, and despite them being rather expensive, it is easier to buy food there than leave the arena every evening just to cook yourself a meal.

But, what food should you take? – I would say simply take things like cereal bars, long lasting milk, crisps, sweets, tinned fruit, and then of course you want drinks such as bottled water (which can also come in handy for brushing your teeth), and alcohol!

Other essentials for camping at a festival would be –

  • Wet Wipes – Most people only use festival showers once during the time they’re there (if at all), so these will come in handy to make sure you stay as “clean” as possible.
  • Toilet Roll – and lots of it! The toilets in the campsites don’t provide you with toilet roll unless you speak to the manager of the camp, so taking your own would be highly recommended. Especially considering you will be needing it to clean the toilet seats before using them.
  • Hand Sanitiser – Again, I would say bring lots of it! I took around 3 bottles and used it all up when I was there. Even in the arena toilets where there are soap dispensers, they often run out so I would recommend you provide it yourself.
  • Dry Shampoo – This will be your absolute saviour! Everyone hates having greasy hair, right? But if you take dry shampoo this won’t be so much of a problem.

I hope some of this has provided you with some information on what you should bring to a festival, more than anything I would definitely recommend going to a festival, as once you’ve been you will definitely want to go again!

Apple Music

As you probably know, Apple have recently laid down the gauntlet to Spotify and other music streaming services, with Apple Music. On this app you can download any music you want onto your phone. I don’t know about you, but I jumped at the chance to get my 3 month free trial on this app. What stuck out to me was the fact you could immediately turn off the ‘automatic renewal’ of it, meaning you wouldn’t even have to worry about it in 3 months time, unless you want to continue your membership.

It allows you to explore new music for free, and perhaps even rediscover old artists that you haven’t listened to in a while. This is possible with the ‘For You’ section of it. It also has ready made playlists for activities such as working out, chilling out and even for holidaying. 

There is a  ‘follow’ option, where you can follow and connect with your favourite artists. This means you will see when artists are releasing new content, where to get tickets for their tours, or even simply just see what they have been doing with their day.

For me, Apple Music has allowed me to discover artists that are going to be at a festival I will be attending in August this year, discover other bands/artists of the genres I like, and allowed me to listen more to the sorts of genres I wouldn’t have even considered listening to a few weeks ago. Some of the tracks I have found include:

1. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

Released: 1967

Possibly being one of Van Morrison’s most well known songs worldwide, this song is an absolute classic. Listening to it is a big nostalgia trip for me, because it’s been in my life since virtually the day I was born.

2. Hollywood (feat. Penguin Prison) – RAC

Released: 2012

This song is new to me, I came across this track listening to the ‘alternative’ radio on apple music. I had never really listened to this before, so hearing this song then made me have a look at the full album, Strangers which was released in 2014. This band are an electronic genre which is something I would never usually listen to, so it was nice to discover something different to listen to.

3. James Bay – If You Ever Want To Be In Love

Released: 2015

James Bay has probably been the Sam Smith of 2015. He has released big hits such as Let it Go and Hold Back the River, and his fanbase is ever increasing. Over the year he has played festivals such as Glastonbury, Radio 1s Big Weekend and even T in the Park.

As for the song, I discovered this track after downloading the full album Chaos and the Calm on Apple Music. Unlike Let it Go which is quite slow and calming, If You Ever Want To Be In Love gives across an almost rock feel. Although this isn’t one of the major tracks off the album, it definitely fits well amongst other tracks included, and in some ways after listening to this album, I believe it could be seen that James Bay has really done something for everyone.

After they released the iPhone, apple knocked many dominant mobile phone companies around at the time completely out of the industry, and they’re now one of the leading mobile phone companies in the world. Will Apple Music do the same? Or is £9.99 a month still too much for people to be paying when it’s available for free if you really want to get it?

The Balcony – Catfish and the Bottlemen

Release Date: 12th September 2014

Rating: 8/10

Let’s go way back to August 2013, Catfish and the Bottlemen were seen performing on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds festival. Almost 2 years on and they’re still growing, playing at numerous festivals in the upcoming weeks, having a sold out UK tour, and apparently also having lots more content which they are planning on releasing in the coming months.

Influenced by the likes of The Beatles and Oasis, Catfish and the Bottlemen are a four piece, fronted by Van McCann, formed in Llandudno in 2007. Their debut album ‘The Balcony’, was released in September 2014, and reached number 10 in the UK charts.

Homesick, their first single was released in 2013. It was written by Van, evidently talking about the strain of being away from his girlfriend whilst he was touring.  Then there is ‘Kathleen’, inevitably the bands most popular/well known song, hitting number 11 in the UK Indie Chart. The band also have become close friends with actor Ewan McGregor, he featured in the music video for ‘Hourglass’ another of the 11 songs on this album, it’s one of the slower more acoustic ones.  ‘The Balcony’ also consists of other songs such as ’26’, ‘fallout’ and ‘Rango’ which was written about Van trying to win back an ex-girlfriend, are we seeing a trend here? Many of the songs were written when Van was still in his teens. Van has even said many of the songs on the album are ‘from all over the place really’.

The song ‘Kathleen’ uses lyrics such as “I gotta give it to you, you give me problems when you are not in the mood.”, the lyrics in ‘Homesick’ include, “I said, ‘i’m only looking out for you,’ she said, ‘it’s obvious that’s a lie'”. These are all lyrics you can almost hear the large crowds at their concerts singing along with. Catfish and the Bottlemen have evidently written lyrics that an audience will love, and also enable them relate to the mood of which the band are portraying especially when performing them live.

Tyrants is the final song on the album, and they have clearly put their all into this track. Not only is it the last song, but it is also the longest of all 11 tracks on the album at a length of 4 minutes and 41 seconds. It starts off quite slowly and then gets louder with the use of guitars and banging of drums, giving the song a dramatic opening. The song gets  increasingly  louder and more intense over the duration, until the end when it just completely cuts off. This leaves you wanting more, and I certainly can’t wait to hear more from this band.

The Resurgence of Vinyl

In 2014 the sales of vinyl hit an 18 year high, and sales were predicted to rise again by a massive 70% in 2015. Predictions were correct, and this was made particularly clear in April 2015, when it was announced there would be an official vinyl chart.

In the 1990s, swathes of people sacrificially got rid of their vinyl records and turntables, instead replacing them with booooring old CDs and CD players. Over 20 years on and we are now able to digitally download music off websites such as iTunes, Spotify, and even Amazon!

Even in the last 10 years, technology has come miles, and even still, is evolving. This meant that the likelihood of vinyl ever coming back into fashion, seemed worlds away from happening, but the record buying public clearly had other ideas.

Before 1898, the only music that had really existed was sheet music, but vinyl came around because people wanted a way they could listen to music that was pre-recorded. The 78 RPM 10-inch record, only able to hold around 3 minutes of music on each side, was the first to come about for around the first 50 years. After, in 1948, came the 33 (LP) – introduced by Columbia Records, and able to hold around 60 minutes of music altogether. These were popular up until 1990 when CDs became popular enough to take over. Finally, came the 45. This was made to hold singles, such as Michael Jacksons Thriller, the best-selling single of the 80s, with 37 weeks at number 1.

Since the rise in vinyl sales, bands such as Oasis and The Smiths have even re-mastered their albums, and re-released them on vinyl. Furthermore, new bands such as Catfish and The Bottlemen, Royal Blood and Arctic Monkeys have been releasing their albums on vinyl as well as on CD, as they’re aware that people enjoy listening to music in different ways.

Arctic Monkeys’ AM (released in 2013) is the best-selling vinyl album of the decade, while Bowie’s Life on Mars is the best-selling single. The fact AM is number one for this decade just goes to show that vinyl is making its comeback, because the fan base of Arctic Monkeys are primarily the younger generation.

I was born in the late 90s, which meant I grew up through the 2000s, listening to CDs rather than vinyl. Over the last few years my love for music has grown, and the thought of listening to an album on vinyl appeals to me far more than listening to a CD. I got my first turntable in March 2014, and I now have a collection of over 60 vinyls, and have since bought an even better turntable. I have a mixture of original vinyl such as Elvis Presley, Carole King, and Fleetwood Mac.

I also buy new vinyl such as Definitely Maybe (re-mastered) by Oasis, and Chasing Yesterday by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The old ones in comparison to the new ones sound far more crackly, however neither mean the music sound as digital as a CD or iPod would.

I asked a number of people what they found appealing about listening to vinyl. The general consensus was that they liked the crackly, old, vintage sound. I gathered some quotes from people which you can see below:

“Just the vintage aspect. It’s kinda like a blast from the past. Additionally, most vinyl are of the genre of music i enjoy. Additionally, vinyls are collectable.” (16, Plymouth)

“I like that I can see them spinning and it feels more satisfying to listen to them after putting them on the player, they are bigger and I can appreciate the album layout more when they are big. They make the music seem less digital and more real” (18, Plymouth)

“The general look and sound of a vinyl is so much more authentic than a CD, gives the music a much more personal feel” (22, Plymouth)

As you can see from these comments, younger people predominantly listen to vinyl because they like the look and how a vinyl sounds, they also like that they are vintage which fits in with the sorts of things people enjoy in the day and age we live in.

Vinyl is making a massive comeback. Many people, even from the younger generation are beginning to realise the beauty of vinyl, and how accessible it actually is. Stores such as HMV and Urban Outfitters are getting more and more vinyl in their store, while charity shops, car boot sales, and websites such as eBay are constantly selling on second hand vinyl, which is even more popular than it would’ve been even 2 years  ago.