FESTIVAL REVIEW: NOS Alive 2016

From the 7th – 9th July 2016, the music and arts festival NOS Alive in Lisbon, Portugal, celebrated its 10-year anniversary. With the beautiful weather and location, the festival has grown considerably over those 10 years, evolving into an event popular not just within Portugal but across Europe and the world. It now attracts both local and international visitors, as well as widely spread big and upcoming artists from a variety of musical genres. Having been fortunate enough to attend the festival this year, I had the opportunity to see headliners including Radiohead, The Chemical Brothers and Arcade Fire as well as other big names from a range of genres, such as; The 1975, Years and Years, Biffy Clyro, Two Door Cinema Club, Band of Horses, M83, Wolf Alice, Tame Impala, Foals, Pixies and Grimes. The list is endless and it was awesome!

As it was my first festival ever, I was a little anxious at the prospect of going to one abroad instead of remaining within the UK. However, following the three days I can confirm that the festival combined everything that I love about music in an environment that was both safe and organized but also just the greatest fun! From the moment you arrived following the 4pm opening, whether by car, train or bus from the local campsite, there was live music as well as people handing out lanyards and colorful cowboy hats, ready to greet you. Entering the festival area with the sea on one side and beautiful cultural landmarks on the other, it was evident that the light-up sign along the edge that said, “The Dream is Real” could not have been more accurate. From there, the music, starting officially at about 6pm on one of the three main stages (NOS, Heineken and Clubbing), continued non-stop through to the next morning’s sunrise.

With a line up that continues to get better every year, it was hard to pick just a few stand out performances. The Chemicals Brothers however, packed the main NOS stage, with the entire crowd hanging onto every beat of the intense bass, enjoying their endless drop teasing. The incredible light show and addition of two giant robots also helped to create an atmosphere of communal excitement. Two Door Cinema Club, who were very well received on the Heineken stage, also deserve a mention and were a personal favourite, with their ceaseless collection of indie rock hits that got the entire crowd jumping and dancing. It was this feeling of celebration and enjoyment that was evident in each crowd across the course of the festival and what really made the few days. With the range in age of the audiences, from the most adorable 6 year olds all the way up to seasoned festival veterans, the collections of friends and families were open, enthusiastic and respectful. Evident particularly, in the mosh pits of Foals and Biffy Clyro, the voluntary nakedness for the big screens during Tame Impala and the presenting of a bra to Father John Misty! As well as, of course, the non-stop insane dance moves throughout the nights.

The festival was also home to many independent food stands serving a range of items ranging from wraps to burgers, pasta, pizza, and churros. The bars set up around the arena also sold endless Heineken beer along with a mix of many other drinks and I feel the need to mention that the bathrooms were also surprisingly adequate! Overall, I have only positive things to say about my experience at NOS Alive 2016! With a capacity of only about 55,000, the festival combined the joys of being a part of an amazingly excited crowd whilst maintaining a community feel and intimacy with the artists. The line up speaks for itself and I know the festival will only continue to grow from here based on its past success. If you are at all interested in exploring alternatives to just UK festivals, NOS Alive is one of the firsts you should consider!

*For more info visit: http://nosalive.com/en/

LANDMARKS: "‘Cutting Strings' started as a simple idea with a line from Avengers…"

Landmarks


The alternative-rock band Landmarks, originating from Manchester, are in the run-up to releasing their third EP ‘In Spite Of It All’ – due to be released on the 12th of August. The group recently teased their fans with the unveiling of the single ‘Cutting Strings’ (video out now), which shows the transition from their early days of punk-pop.

Here’s the interview we had, introducing themselves, their music and their future goals…

Insanity Radio: When did you all first meet? What made you want to start a band?

Brad: Adam, Tom, and I played in a few local Manchester bands throughout the years and eventually joined together when each of them disbanded. We found Nic online when our original guitarist James McCormick left the band last year and he’s fit right in! He wants to be in a band for the exact same reasons as us; to create music which means something and makes people happy no matter what situation they find themselves in. All of us just love music and the feelings it can bring about, and we hope that passion is reflected in the songs we write.

Insanity Radio: So with the release of your new EP ‘In Spite of it All’ just around the corner, what’s your favourite song to play live?

Brad: I think we all really enjoy playing the EPs closing track ‘With Clarity’ live at the moment. It’s one of the most mature songs we’ve written to date and we’re all extremely proud of it, plus it allows us to release a lot of energy onstage as it’s one of our bouncier tracks to date. People seem to be enjoying it so far, so we’ll keep playing it until they look like they’re not having a good time!

Insanity Radio: Have any of your songs come, or been influenced, from singing in the shower?

Brad: I can honestly say that I write about 80% of lyrics while showering. It’s not ever something I really think about, a line will just come to me while washing my hair and before I know it, I’ve thought of a melody and I’m wailing as loud as I can – so long as there’s nobody else in the house.

Insanity Radio: With the teaser release of ‘Cutting Strings,’ is there a particular story to meaning behind the song?

Brad: ‘Cutting Strings’ started as a simple idea with a line from Avengers: Age of Ultron inspiring the chorus hook, and from there I started to develop a sort in my head of a relationship on the rocks, with the girl in question falling out of love with the man who’s perspective is heard in the song. I feel like there’s too many couples nowadays that expect the world from each other when really, we should step back and appreciate the little things that connect us. Some of it comes from personal experience, some of it is just part of a narrative I put together in my mind, but I think it’s something we can all empathise with at some point in our lives.

Insanity Radio: Your newer music seems to have evolved from ‘pop punk’ to ‘alt-rock.’ What was the reasoning behind this change?

Brad: This was something we discussed when Nic first joined the band and luckily, his taste in music is pretty much the exact same as ours! We never really felt like we fit in with the pop punk scene in the UK because many of our influences were outside of the genre, so we just started writing what we wanted to hear instead. Personally, I feel like this is the right direction for us and properly reflects our abilities as musicians.

Insanity Radio: For all the fans out there, are there any dates they should write down in their diaries of any upcoming shows?

July 29th – Deadbolt Relaunch @ the Ruby Lounge, Manchester

August 27th – Bear Wych Fest – Middlewich

September 25th – Retro Bar – Manchester supporting Beyond Zero

Insanity Radio: What song do you have on repeat at the moment?

Brad: I simply cannot get enough of ‘Your Deep Rest’ by The Hotelier right now. That whole album is just incredible, but that song in particular hits you right where it hurts, in ways that only a few bands are capable of. It’s utterly sincere and heartbreakingly honest. If you’ve never listened to The Hotelier, I wholeheartedly recommend you giving them a go. They are one of the few bands out there right now doing something both meaningful and original.

Insanity Radio: Are there any venues/festivals you would love to play at in the future?

Brad: It would be so cool if we could play Groezrock in Belgium! That’s one of those festivals that always seems to have such a cool selection of bands and fans. Also, the beer selection would be incredible.

Insanity Radio: Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start a band?

Brad: You’ve got to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. It sounds very cliche but you’ve really got to believe in the music that you make. Whenever you write a song you need to step back and ask yourself, “Is this the kind of music that I would want to listen to?” Hopefully the answer is a resounding “HELL YES”. That being said, don’t force it. You need to be enjoying the process of making music, as well as enjoying the music that you make. Being in a band is a long journey with no particular destination, so you need to make sure you enjoy the ride.

Insanity Radio: What’s the most bizarre thing to happen to you while you were onstage?

Brad: I guess I was technically offstage on this occasion… Stage-adjacent? Anyway, when I was in school, I was part of a talent show that the school held towards the end of the year. Just after I left the stage (having performed an excellent rendition of ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis – classic Manc lad), all of the teachers took to the stage for a surprise performance of their own. They did their version of Peter Kay’s ‘Is This The Way To Amarillo’ video which was, you know, cringey but fine. However, after realising that he was no longer being supervised by any adults, one kid decided to throw the pillow he was sat on at another kid. That other kid retaliated with his pillow, which missed and hit a third kid, who threw his pillow in return. In seconds, the entire room was filled with hundreds of flying pillows. People were getting hit in the face, lighting equipment was knocked over. It was like a soft, feathery Saving Private Ryan. The teachers didn’t know what to do and just carried on with their awkward dance number. Everyone was singing along “Is this the way to throw a pillow? Every night I’ve been throwing my pillow.” Chaos.

Insanity Radio: And lastly, originating from Manchester, are you Manchester United or Manchester City fans? (or neither!?)

Brad: We are 3/4 United fans and 1/4 not a football fan!


Check out the band on Spotify!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LandmarksBand/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LandmarksBand

 

STICKY BLOOD: "THE VISION IS STILL THE SAME AND IT'S MAKE GOOD MUSIC"

Sticky Blood


The production duo Sticky Blood, includes that of Arctic Monkeys original bass guitarist Andy Nicholson, and Jamie Shields. The two have moved away from their previous projects to produce music together, collaborating with vocalists such as Hekky and Ajay Carter, amongst others, in their quest to create new sounds. With a mix of electronic, hip-hop and grime, the pair seem to acquire multiple styles through each song they release, keeping listeners on their toes.

I got in contact with the duo, to ask them a little bit about their past, present and future…

Insanity Radio: Firstly, is there a backstory to the name ‘Sticky Blood’?

Well it all started when our friend who we nick-named Squidgy Black, was telling us how a certain drink made your blood sticky so we said it sounds like that would be his little brother.  It grew from there…

Insanity Radio: How did you two meet/decide to work together?

We met when we were both working with rappers who knew each other and started the Clubs and Spades project and made a album/mix tape and it just moved on from there really, before long we were sharing a studio and working with other artists and bands.

Insanity Radio: When did your love of producing start?

We both came from band backgrounds and played instruments and it only felt like a natural progression to move towards production. We are both fans of sounds and making all kinds of sounds and capturing things with a vibe and purpose.

Insanity Radio: What are your main influences – in terms of styles and vibes?

There are so many from uk grime to bands. We both like a lot of different styles of music. One day we will be listening to Wiley then Queens of the Stone Age then Dr Dre, so every day is different.

Insanity Radio: Andy, how has the move from being part of Arctic Monkeys to Sticky Blood been? How different is your vision for the material you wish to produce now?

The vision is still the same and it’s make good music. Thats it. Thats all it’s gonna be.

Insanity Radio: How was it to work with your collaborators, such as Hekky and AJay? How did you come to work with them? 

Jamie has been working with Hekky for years and Ajay was some one our manager put us on to. Both really easy to work with.   We just vibe and chat and let the artist Dj on iTunes for a little to see where there head is at.

Insanity Radio: What are you goals for the future? Or where do you see yourself in a few years, musically speaking? 

We are just going to continue to work on new music and with as many new artists as possible and grow and evolve

Insanity Radio: You seem to explore multiple different genres and sounds, keeping your listeners on their toes, would you agree? And if so, what’s your aim behind this?

Yeah that’s the aim and like we said its just because we are into so many different genres.

Insanity Radio: Lastly, is there any musician/singer who you hope or wish to work with?

Loads, mainly ones that have a very individual style and vibe such as Stormzy, Maverick Saber and Cas is dead.  The list is pretty endless.

(Interview conducted by Isobel Sheeran)


http://stickyblood.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StickyBloodUK

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/stickyblood

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StickyBlooduk/?fref=ts

THE SONS OF PITCHES TOUR

The Sons Of Pitches


The six-member British a-cappella group, The Sons of Pitches, first came onto the scene in 2010, performing whilst at University. Now six years on, they are a multi-award winning band, winning the BBC’s ‘The Naked Choir’  back in 2015. They have travelled all across the globe, touring across the USA and Asia, captivating their audiences with profound harmonies and complicated beatboxing. After their critically acclaimed, sold out tour, the group have announced their UK Tour Dates, with shows throughout November and December (2016) – before they head off again to countries like Canada, Germany and Spain.

Check out the groups latest tour dates on their website:

http://www.thesonsofpitches.co.uk

Here is a link to their performance on The Naked Choir, performing ‘MMMBop in 10 genres’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQhW93kmcaU

ALBUM REVIEW: Tom Odell – 'Wrong Crowd'

Tom Odell’s ‘Wrong Crowd’ Album Review


There was a lot of excitement in the rise up to Tom Odell’s new album ‘Wrong Crowd’. Prior to the release, Tom teased his fans with the slow reveal of some of his albums’ hits, such as ‘Wrong Crowd’, ‘Here I am’, ‘Magnetised’ – songs which, like so many others, made me remember just how talented he is. His first debut album back in 2013, ‘Long Way Down’, made it into the Official Chart. In the interim, his few, but powerful tracks, have had a positive response from listeners.

Three years on, ’Wrong Crowd’, released on June 10th 2016, delivers a rather depressing set of songs of heartbreak and misery – yet its catchy rhythm and lyrics, makes you want to hear more. His influence of Elton John really shines through – powerful piano riffs and new percussion-based beats, brings a new vibe to his music – different from previous releases. This development has benefitted his material considerably, by creating something quite different from the usual chart numbers.

Odell’s sold-out shows, titled ‘No Bad Days Tour’, begun on the 20th of April 2016 in London, and he will continue to perform in multiple festivals this summer, such as ‘T In The Park’ in July.

The tracklist for Wrong Crowd is as follows:

1. Wrong Crowd
2. Magnetised
3. Concrete
4. Constellations
5. Sparrow
6. Still Getting Used to Being On My Own
7. Silhouette
8. Jealousy
9. Daddy
10. Here I Am
11. Somehow

(Listen/Buy on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon*)

Each song seems to give a different feel; some good in exploiting his incredible vocals, some more attributed for energetic live performances (which got him spotted in the first place). One of the great things about the new, innovative album, is that a large majority of the tracks are ‘hit-worthy’ – in that they become well-known, whether making it to the charts, or simply having air-time. I believe that in Odell not rushing into producing music for label requirements or financial reasons, instead, draws passion and a heart-felt approach into every word and the overall sound; really reflecting on his success and influence as a young artist.

Ever since he released his first album, he has been climbing up the ladder to recognition and success, and I will patiently sit in the corner waiting for his next release, as this album will adequately ‘feed my thirst’ of his music till the next album.

*Tickets and Merchandise available on his website: http://www.tomodell.com

ALBUM REVIEW: L33 – 'Karate'

 

We all know the feeling of “Release Day”, new material from your favorite artists!

L33’s Brand new LP titled Karate, released on the Eat Brain label, a leader in Neurofunk Drum & Bass. Other artists under the “Dark, Deep, Unfiltered & Unrestrained” label are: Agressor Bunx, Black Sun Empire, Mefjus, Mob Tactics, State of Mind and Teddy Killerz.”

This is one serious Label!

After Huge Success with the Sampler, L33 has Released all 15 New Tracks:

  1. ClubLife
  2. Electroshock
  3. Collide
  4. Grime All The Time
  5. Earthbound
  6. Creatures
  7. Drop It Down Low
  8. Karate
  9. Strange Things
  10. Disco Funk
  11. Once Again
  12. Zealot
  13. Razor Blade
  14. Stand Down Feat. Nuklear
  15. Blood Brain

After its Release, May 30th 2016 – “Exclusive to BeatPort” it has already reached #1 in the “BeatPort Drum & Bass Album Chart”. The 20 year old, Bulgarian DJ Known as L33 has worked with lots of big names like Andy C, DJ Hype & Dillinja and it shows.

Faultless production skill, #1 in beatport chart in just over a week.. This is one name to remember!

One of my favorite tracks from the LP is “Stand Down” it features a fellow Eat Brain Artist, Nuklear MC; he brings the track to life with a catchy vocal riff. Other huge tracks “Club Life”, “Grime All The Time”, “Blood Brain” and the rest of the LP has been created with filth In mind! Neurofunk at it finest! The dark nature of the tracks is what makes this LP so special, the sounds I could imagine at the end of the world…It reminds me of the first time I heard Pendulums “Hold Your Colour” album.

The Mysterious Darkness, draws me closer like a Black hole. Mind blowing sounds whirling around like asteroids lose in space, colliding at every drop, releasing vast amounts of energy that dispersers in the emptiness that is space…

Or as L33 put it:

“Night has fallen, the threat of extinction riding on the edge of its transition. Decaying and contorted faces of the undead leer from the shadows, twisted limbs reaching from the darkness towards the eternal signal – driven to crush its subversive broadcast and extinguish the final beacon. A single being stands in their way – the strongest of his kind, the last of a genetic line extending into a derelict past with an imperative to preserve the future. An arsenal of sonic weaponry residing within the lines of his palms, drawn forth through the ancient forms manifested by long-dead masters. His swift movement amongst the shuffling army is efficient – acute strikes snap limbs, raw concentrated power crushes bone, low-frequency techniques leaving little behind from the weight of brutal molecular disruption. With the rising of the sun, only he remains – the broken dead lying scattered and without motion – the focused power of his fighting form has prevailed… the signal is preserved.”

Review by Tom Dawes

*Album Review Show  – Saturday 18th June – Live on the Drum & Bass Session with Dawesy

– 6-8pm Insanity radio, Tunein radio – Online – App – 103.2FM –

ONE SENTENCE REVIEWS: PROSE – 'Future'

This week’s One Sentence Review comes from the breakthrough Manchester trio PROSE, with their song ‘Future’. They create a new subgenre, merging hip-hop with energetic guitar playing and garage-style beats. Here are what some of the Music Team, here at Insanity Radio, thought…

Desmond Francisco – “Really not my genre, it has guitar in it.”

Izzy Sheeran – “Fell in love with this song instantly, perfect upbeat song to start the summer.”

Halina Hayre – “Kind of typical nothing new in terms of music, but catchy song – singing is abit irritating.”

Georgia Johnson – “Nice intro and groove to the verses, but disappointed by the crazy chorus beat.”

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Netsky – '3'

Originally published on inthemeantime.me.uk

When it comes to the drum and bass scene, the first artist that usually comes to mind for me is either Sigma or Netsky. But as this title suggests, this is not a review of Sigma, today I’ve decided to review the highly anticipated third album by Netsky.

For me, I only got to know about Netsky after the start of the new year when I heard ‘Rio’ which features Digital Farm Animals. The chilled out vibes and the slower tempo, combined with the DnB made for a quaint mix which I personally liked, a lot. It was not until I discovered ‘Work It Out’ which also featured Digital Farm Animals, that I actually became a fan of his music. It was certainly a departure from my usual tropical house and cheese vibe, but I liked it.

Three Tracklist:

  1. Thunder feat. Emeli Sande
  2. Work it Out feat. Digital Farm Animals
  3. Rio feat. Digital Farm Animals
  4. Leave it Alone feat. Saint Raymond
  5. Who Knows feat. Paije
  6. Go 2
  7. High Alert feat. Sara Hartman
  8. TNT feat. Dave 1 from Chromeo
  9. Stay Up With Me feat. Arlissa
  10. Forget What You Look Like feat. Lowell
  11. Bird of Paradise
  12. Jauz X Netsky – Higher

I’ll try not to talk about every song..

To kick things off, Netsky partners up with Emeli Sande to produce ‘Thunder’. Starting with a string based instrumental introduction, it was an immediate cue for me to continue listening. In fact it became one of my favourite songs on the entire album. Emeli’s vocals were perfect for this song. I was glad to see that ‘Work it Out’ and ‘Rio’ were on this album because they were the first songs that made me a fan and so to see them on his third studio album made smile. ‘Leave it Alone’ was an interesting song which I found to be very funky in its approach. The backing vocals reminded me of ‘Higher’ by Sigma, but when the beat came in after the intro, I knew I’d like this song, and it certainly did not disappoint. But what surprised me the most was the next song. ‘Who Knows’ was certainly a surprising package. The mellow vibes along with the combination of string instruments and Paije’s vocals (which reminded me of John Newman) made for a beautiful song. ‘TNT’ was a departure from Netsky’s usual vibe. It was funky, it was something that I really got into. I think the vocals by Chromeo assisted in adding a certain degree of funkiness. No complaints though, I really like Chromeo as an artist and so to see them back is a welcome thing to see.

Whilst looking for music, I’ve been gathering lots of songs which I’ve found to be chilled in its approach, and I found a new songs to add to my list in ‘Who Knows’ and ‘Bird of Paradise’. In ‘Bird of Paradise’, the beautiful mixture of ambient noises, string instruments and piano, juxtaposed with the drum and bass beat makes for a wonderful combination.

‘Go 2’ showed promise. I could just about grasp a beat to the song. But it’s not something that I would say I enjoyed. Instead lets just say that it left me confused. Some songs that didn’t seem to hit the right chord with me were ‘Stay Up With Me’ and ‘Forget What you Look Like’. With these though, they’re not necessarily bad songs. They are in fact pretty good. They have the standard vibe that you would expect of a DnB-based album. However, I feel this is one occasion where releasing instrumental versions first followed by the release of the versions with vocals as ‘remixes’ might have made me enjoy it a lot more. I can certainly get into those songs, I just think I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more if it had been released as an original mix and a separate vocal remix. Something that is commonplace in the music industry, especially when it comes to EDM.

The Verdict..

The verdict from me personally is generally positive. I’ve criticised a few songs (sort of). Just like most EDM these days, there has been a shift in what can be considered ‘mainstream’. I’ve seen DnB evolve with that shift. From liquid DnB to just full on dirty DnB, you will always find something that you will enjoy. The thing I saw with Netsky was that there weren’t moments when the quality of the album peaked or troughed. Instead, it remained consistent. His style always shone through which is what we generally expect. We want more, but we want their type of more. The only gripes I had were based on my own confusion or what I would consider to be a better way to release the tracks. This certainly does not mean that it was flawless, but putting all my little gripes to one side, I will put my hands up and say that I loved this album.

ALBUM REVIEW: Boys Noize – 'Mayday'

Most people are unaware of Germany’s big techno scene and thus, are probably also unaware of Alex Ridha, aka Boys Noize. The Berlin-based producer started out in 2007 with his album Oi Oi Oi, ruthlessly banging brute electro beats in German club kids’ ears. By now, Boys Noize is among the most well-known techno DJs in the world, having collaborated with Skrillex as a duo called Dogblood, and played in sold out venues like Fabric. Boys Noize introduced me to techno with his 2009 club-tune ‘Jeffer’ and soon I found myself on my first ever rave with Boys Noize headlining. That’s why Boys Noize holds a special nostalgic feeling for me and it worried me when new song ‘Starchild’, featuring lyrics by singer Poliça, was released 2 months ago on his YouTube channel.

The first released song from his new album Mayday sounded more like Disclosure and other commercialised electronic music in the charts (not that I don’t like Disclosure, but in my opinion techno should feature less lyrics and more hard bass). But my anxiety that another of my favourite electronic artists had turned mainstream was unfounded and I was positively surprised to find that Mayday opens with 3 really convincing tracks. All of them are dark and vicious tracks a la Boys Noize style, that belong perfectly into a sweaty, flickering underground club, clanking the bass between the crowd. I can’t deny that the next song ‘Rock the Bells’ is captivating, but sampling Run DMC’s ‘Peter Piper’? Missy Elliot already did that back in 2002, so I immediately had the word unoriginal in my mind.

‘Euphoria’ and ‘2 Live’ both feature memorable melodies, but the songs take too much time to actually start and I was immensely annoyed by the added pop lyrics as the track would have worked better on its own. After this point the album comes to a long haul, because nothing really seems to happen. The tracks are not distinctively weak, but quiet repetitive and similar sounding. The next-to-last song ‘Hardkotzen’ I had to skip, because it was simply inaudible and gave me horrible headaches, which I guess because of the song title, was Boys Noize’s intention (‘Hardkotzen’ translated means ‘Vomiting harshly’).  The last track ‘Birthday’ stands out because of its rap lines by Hudson Mohawke und Spank Rock and bubblegum-pop beats, which is why at the end I’m still not sure if I really liked the song or absolutely hate it.

Whereas the album started out by surprising me with confetti tracks, Mayday dropped in the middle because of solid, but not really grandiose and innovative tracks, that are too repetitive. Boys Noize is missing something in these new tracks, most notably the spirit and ambition from his previous work.

Review by Carolin Wolfsdorf

 

GIG REVIEW: Majid Jordan @ Heaven Club, 30/05/16

Canadian R&B duo Majid Jordan started their European tour with a sold out event at the popular night club Heaven in London, in which they showed how amazing they were in both their performance and crow pleasing aura. This was clearly shown in their ability to keep fans moving, cheering and active for the time they were on stage (even with a range of female clothing being launched at them, much to this reporter’s surprise.)

Perhaps the most interesting factor of the event was the musical duo taking musical cues not just from the R&B scene but elements from trance, soul and reggae. With a hint of newretrowave design (with regards to the background), it created a very unique musical backdrop that plays to the strengths of Jordan Ullman’s producing skills and Majid Al Maskati’s lyrical skill. As such, there was an interesting mix of some very different style of music, along with Majid’s ability to keep the crowd active throughout the performance. This not just with the skill of the crowd singing, but also by their willingness to record the event, clap when required and even request an encore to end the night.

Perhaps the only flaw I could have is that at certain points Majid seemed to a bit reserved, but this may have been due to technical difficulties or just nerves for this first night on his European tour. However, these were minor issues that would not significantly take away from an amazing event showcasing perhaps some of the most interesting musicians to come out of the R&B scene for some time. The next stop on their tour is Manchester on the 31st of May, followed by Paris on the 2nd. Nevertheless, if this show was any indication of the duo’s skill then the following events will only get better and could truly bring an interesting and unique style of R&B.

Review by Syed Aadil Ali

Cloud Nine – A Review

The long awaited album by Kygo is here! After an original release date of 12th February 2016, Kygo has made us wait for 3 months to finalise something that was apparently 99% done. Technically, it was the longest February on record by Kygo standards. That being said, I was excited to see what he could offer.

After the initial excitement provided by his remix of I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, and the success of his original song, called Firestone, I was eager to see what he could offer. He’s been drip feeding us his songs for a long time now and his tracks make another appearance in the album.

 

Cloud Nine Tracklist (Requires Spotify):

1. Intro
2. Stole The Show feat. Parson James
3. Fiction feat. Tom Odell
4. Raging feat. Kodaline
5. Firestone feat. Conrad Sewell
6. Happy Birthday feat. John Legend
7. I’m In Love feat. James Vincent McMorrow
8. Oasis feat. Foxes
9. Not Alone feat. Rhodes
10. Serious feat. Matt Corby
11. Stay feat. Maty Noyes
12. Nothing Left feat. Will Heard
13. Fragile feat. Labrinth
14. Carry Me feat. Julia Michaels
15. For What It’s Worth feat. Angus & Julia Stone

Other notable tracks that aren’t on the album are:

Firestone (Live Acoustic Version)
Firestone (Fireworks Version)
Stole the Show (Acoustic Version)

Listen/Buy it here

iTunes: https://goo.gl/6WGv6E
Amazon MP3: https://goo.gl/b5mfL9
Spotify: https://goo.gl/yosHPi

The first impressions that I got from this album is that there are some tracks that seemed a bit half baked. Overall the album was very good. He is consistent in the type of vibe that he wants to produce. The introduction to the album is very chilled and opens beautifully into one of my personal favourites, Stole the Show. It’s not to say that all the songs were pleasing to the ear. Some tracks I personally thought sounded a bit out of place. In an area where Kygo seems to want to establish himself as a Tropical House music producer, some songs just seemed to be there for the sake of being there. But then again, this album (within Insanity, at any rate) has had overall critical acclaim despite the few bugbears that exist within its track listing. Songs like ‘I’m in Love’ (Track 7), is a personal pet hate of mine. It’s just annoying and very whiney.

That being said, the tracks are overall very very good! The combination of interesting mixes and artists, he has produced an album which has risen to the top of my most played on Spotify. Notable mentions include the collaboration that Kygo did with Foxes to produce Oasis (Track 8). It is a fantastic song which utilises all aspects of Foxes’ vocal talents. Carry Me has a lot of similarities with Avicii’s Broken Arrows, but he’s using a winning formula to produce something that was pleasing on the ear and (dare I say it), better than the original. Give them a listen and you will see the similarities.

In the end, this is just my personal thoughts, but overall I feel this is a very strong debut album by Kygo.

GIG REVIEW: Transviolet @ Boston Music Rooms, 18/05/16

2016 has been a ludicrously exciting year for new music, and one of the bands at the very forefront of that are Transviolet. Having only released four songs to the world so far, they’ve already attracted an ever-expanding hardcore fanbase, many of whom were won over on their recent tour with Twenty One Pilots. As brilliant as their debut self-titled EP was, there’s no acid test quite like your first UK headline tour. Insanity caught Transviolet at a sold out show at London’s Boston Music Rooms, and they certainly did not disappoint.

Before that, though, the capacity crowd got a more than welcome taster of the talents of London’s own Miamigo. Drawing elements from The 1975 and The Killers and throwing them into a blender with 80s new wave textures and an intangible additional spice, the four-piece were consistently impressive over the course of their 30 minutes on stage. If anything, the set got better as it went on, building from fun electro-indie that entertained, but rarely excited, into more unusual sounds. The bluesy strut of “Forever” was particularly striking, with a chorus that shifted time signature so effortlessly it was barely noticeable. Ending their set with the intriguingly left-field minimalism of “Hard to Love”, Miamigo made more than a few friends among Transviolet’s fans.

If the ecstasy among many of those fans when the headliners took the stage is anything to go by, then they won’t be in venues as intimate as the Boston Music Rooms for long. “Bloodstream” is a genius choice of opener; the dark, pulsating synths of its recorded version bolstered live by heavier guitars and bass. Transviolet’s music as a whole is meatier and more “rock” in a live environment, and all four of the band members throw themselves into every crescendo without slipping out of the tight structure of the songs. Many good bands are full of energy, but great ones are made up of characters. Vocalist Sarah McTaggart is a captivating presence, assuming the role of mesmeric rock star but ensuring the focus is always on her chameleonic, stunning voice.

What’s also very reassuring about the band’s live performance is that they are very much a band, rather than a vehicle for their singer, and each musician plays an integral role in how the songs are recreated live, whether it’s Judah McCarthy’s varied guitar lines, the pumping bass undercurrent from Mike Panek or the great balance between sampled and full-on rock drums provided by Jon Garcia. Those songs are, without fail, excellent. Inevitably it’s the already released tracks that get the biggest reactions, but unreleased gems like the dreamy “Astronaut” make the imminent prospect of a full-length Transviolet album tantalising. “New Bohemia” is predictably rousing, while it’s obvious why “Night Vision” is almost unanimously designated the band’s favourite song to perform live, as its chorus hits harder and soars higher each time it bursts out of the speakers. The best is left until last, an encore performance of “Girls Your Age” that perfectly captures the dark electronic magic of its recorded version and sends the crowd home very happy indeed.

Transviolet’s show proves not only that they can recreate their songs in a live environment to a standard that equals, and at times even betters, the EP performances, but also that they have a catalogue of material at least as good that’s ready to be unleashed on the world. The band return to the UK this summer for the Reading & Leeds festivals, and if you happen to be going then they’re a part of the lineup you do not want to miss.

Review by Michael Bird

Check out our interview of Transviolet here. The band’s self-titled EP is out now.