Album Review: The Golden Age of Not Even Trying – Dead!

“It’s punk, but it’s not just punk – there’s straight-up rock at times”

Guitar music certainly isn’t dead, as Dead! prove in their explosively charged debut album. It’s been a long-awaited album, not just for the band’s fans (of which I definitely count myself amongst the ranks of, and even more so after the release of their first full-length record) but for the band themselves as well. By all accounts it’s not been the easiest road for the band – in the announcement for their debut, they list ‘two guitarists, five drummers, four broken bones, two crushed wrists, a van wiped out by a truck’ as things they got through to reach the point they’re currently at, but they’ve shown themselves to be the epitome of what DIY is about, and produced an absolutely incredible debut record.

I first discovered Dead! when they were the support band for Blondie’s gig at the Roundhouse last year, and I instantly loved their music – it was exciting and something I knew I wanted to listen more to, and I’ve been waiting (not very) patiently for their debut album ever since, and it certainly did not disappoint. It’s punk, but it’s not just punk – there’s straight-up rock at times, riffs that resemble the best of ‘90s grunge, and even an almost indie feel in the case of the track ‘Jessica’. It’s a perfectly imperfect mix of styles, and ambitious though it might be, it certainly pays off and culminates in the band’s distinct sound, and what is already one of my favourite albums of 2018, even though we’re a mere 28 days into the year at the time of writing.

It’s difficult to pick the standout songs of the album, when every single track is as good or better than the next – the band self-released a number of singles before the album, and in all reality they could have released track from their debut album as a single because they genuinely are all that good. ‘Enough, Enough, Enough’ is definitely one of my favourites, with its heavy, driving riffs, as is ‘You’re So Cheap’, a song which although it starts off comparatively slower than a number of tracks on the album, ends up becoming something you instantly want to head-bang to. ‘A Conversation With Concrete’ also stands out and is one of my favourite tracks, which is a definite compliment when considering every song is a standout. The Golden Age of Not Even Trying is a superb debut album, and if it’s anything to go by, then Dead! have big things ahead of them.

Dead! play the 100 Club in London on the 1st February, tickets available from

Review by Phoebe Hagan

Concert Review: The Killers

“The Lads Are Back.”

Bright lights reminiscent of the Las Vegas strip beamed from the sold out O2 arena’s main stage. The Killers front man, Brandon Flowers, stepped out with his band mates and the 20,000 strong crowd went wild, hysteric screams filled the arena to welcome one of the biggest rock bands of the 21st century.

The dazzling backdrop was nostalgic of Glastonbury’s pyramid stage which baptised the boys to legendary status back in 2007, a stage shared with the likes of the Rolling Stones and David Bowie. The support act Juanita Stein didn’t particularly exceed expectations but eager fans lapped it up as they anticipated the stars of the night.

The first track ‘Wonderful, Wonderful’ and title of their 5th studio album which came out in September turned the viewers suspense into delight. Flowers had the entire arena hooked on his every word, charming and flamboyant he embodied the rock and roll front man that saw his rise to fame. Chic from head to toe; Ted Sablay who stepped in from Dave Keuning as lead guitarist on this tour seamlessly soloed over polished visuals. The band were on top form, not falling into the pretentious trap of only playing new material, they bellowed out nostalgic songs ‘Somebody told me’ and ‘Spaceman’ Intertwined with new material ‘The Man’ and ‘Life to Come’ seats were left empty as the crowd stood in apprehension for the next number.

Three female backing vocalists, each adorned in sequined floor length dresses captivated the left of the stage. A low intergalactic bass line absorbed the silence, a few teaser symph notes, and Drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr aptly placed at the top of a glistening staircase kicked off a drum beat that reverberated through the arena. Blue strobe lights met the electric guitar, smoke machines filled the stage; another classic ‘Smile like you mean it’ bought the term hysteria to a whole new level.

Energy went from high to higher ‘Mr. Brightside’ an anthem performed at every Killer’s gig saw Flowers return to stage in a head-to-toe gold sparkled suit oozing Vegas, baby. Entire generations of families, standing in seats not only for the encore but for the majority of the concert; The Killers rocked London like it was their home town.

Review by: Nici Ridge

ALBUM REVIEW: Gumboot Soup – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

“Every song exemplifies an aspect of what makes King Gizzard and their sound so great”

Well, the psych-rock seven-piece from Melbourne, Australia, only went and did it didn’t they – they held fast to their promise, and released five albums in 2017. Yep, you read that correctly – the band released five full-length albums in one year, each with its own concept and unique sound, ranging from the psych-jazz collaboration with Mild High Club, Sketches of Brunswick East, to the dark and apocalyptic Murder of the Universe.

Gumboot Soup, released on New Year’s Eve, is unique out of the four as whilst the album does undoubtedly have some form of flow to it, it doesn’t have its own specific style – it’s a mix of songs that didn’t quite make it onto the previous four albums released earlier in the year. That isn’t to say that it isn’t an incredible album, however – the album is something of a greatest hits album for songs that haven’t actually been released yet. Every song exemplifies an aspect of what makes King Gizzard and their sound so great, and so unlike anything else around at the moment. These are not reject songs – they’re songs that just didn’t exactly fit the strong concept of the album they were originally intended to feature on, and it’s a testament to King Gizz’s commitment to creating high-quality concept albums and knowing their own music that they knew when to sacrifice songs from appearing on a record for the sake of the album as a whole.

The album never comes out and exactly says that it’s a miss-match of songs from the band’s previous albums, and guitarist and vocalist (also keyboardist, AND flute player) Stu Mackenzie has said that they had focussed more on the individual songs rather than an overall concept or theme or their latest album, but fans of the band can easily tell which album each song was supposed to have belonged to. Many of the songs have a sound reminiscent of the band’s third 2017 album, Sketches of Brunswick East – opening track ‘Beginner’s Luck’ is a blissed out, ‘70s psych folk/rock jam, with ‘Barefoot Desert’ very much leaning towards the jazz end of things. My favourite tracks from the album are those that share the sound of Murder of the Universe, King Gizz’s second album from last year and arguably the band’s most conceptual work, telling the story of the destruction of the universe by a vomiting robot in three defining chapters of the record. It’s my favourite out of all King Gizzard’s albums so it’s not really a surprise that ‘Greenhouse Heat Death’, ‘The Great Chain of Being’, and ‘All Is Known’ are my standout tracks from Gumboot Soup. They’re heavy and dirty and it’s alternative and psych rock at its absolute best.

Gumboot Soup was a hell of a way to end what was already a ridiculously strong and successful year for the band, and they certainly don’t look like they’ll be stopping anytime soon.

Review by: Phoebe Hagan

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW: “I Can’t Quit” – The Vaccines

The music team review the first song to be released off the Vaccines new album, Combat Sports, “I Can’t Quit”. The short, punchy and high energy song has made waves in the indie community but what does the music team think of it?

Libby – Very catchy and easy to listen to! Can’t say I understand the video entirely though

Jake – Another catchy classic from the Vaccines, hope the album is as good as this!

Nuray – it’s good, but not as tuneful as their other songs (sorry..)

Jamie – Catchy, singable, sure to be played a many a pre-drink

Ryan – Upbeat and catchy, a good song to walk to, I’m a fan

Eamonn – a nice stocking filler but nothing to write home about — the vocal ‘oohs’ in the chorus manage to come off as pretty and nostalgic rather than dated though, which is something

Pheobe – It’s very Vaccines-y, not my favourite of theirs but it’s very much in keeping with their style of indie music best played at festivals

Maddie – With such a catchy hook, you’re going to find yourself humming this around the house – definitely one for the waking up playlist!

Harry – The Vaccines always produce great music and this single is no exception. Excited for more!

Madeline – A classic Vaccines tune. Beautifully catchy and upbeat, with calmer interludes

Chloe – Having listened to the song “I Can’t Quit” by The Vaccines, I found myself swaying from side to side singing the ‘oohs’ from the chorus; it has that kind of effect

Looks like I Can’t Quit will be entering a lot of peoples playlists in the future. This is just what we think, go and have a listen to the track and see if you agree!

Concert Review: Sundara Karma

If you think guitar music is dead, think again, you obviously haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Sundara Karma live.

An indie rock band originally from Reading, Sundara Karma released their debut album, Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect, at the beginning of 2017, following up from three successful EP releases. The October 5th gig at the o2 Academy Brixton was the biggest venue of the tour, and as lead singer and guitarist Oscar Pollock said whilst addressing the crowd, the biggest show the band have ever played.

Up first out of the two support acts was Willie J Healey, an indie guitarist, who released his debut album in August and whose blend of classic indie style guitar music, combined with some slightly rockier undertones in later songs, went down extremely well with the crowd. Following him was the Brighton band The Magic Gang, a band that was the perfect choice to support Sundara Karma – stylistically, the band produces music very much in the same vein to that of Sundara Karma, and the two bands share many of the same fans, evident by the mosh pit that sprung up during the first song of The Magic Gang’s set. The Magic Gang have been outspoken in previous interviews about wanting to bring the UK indie scene back, and after seeing them perform, it’s clear that they are incredibly intent on doing just that with their ear-catching and exciting music. They played a seven song set including crowd favourites ‘Lady, Please’ and ‘How Can I Compete,’ and are due to release their debut album sometime next year.

Prior to Sundara Karma taking the stage, what sounded like a ‘Nature Sounds for Sleep’ album was playing, creating a chill atmosphere in what was otherwise an incredibly excited crowd. The band opened with ‘Another Word For Beautiful,’ from their debut album, a song which was the perfect choice to follow the pre-set music, with its ambient opening and lead singer Oscar Pollock’s almost Bowie-esque vocals on this track. It only took the band six songs until Pollock jumped into the crowd to sing ‘Flame,’ an undoubted highlight of their set and a song that is, without question, one of the best indie songs I’ve heard in recent years. The crowd seemed to agree, and it was amazing to see a band that had such support from fans already, having only just released their debut album. Sundara Karma is comprised of lead singer and guitarist Pollock, bassist Dom Cordell, lead guitarist Ally Baty, and drummer Haydn Evans, who all seemed to be genuinely having the greatest time onstage, and truly relished being able to play their new album to their fans. The band have spoken previously about using literary and philosophical references within their songs, most notably in ‘Flame’ and ‘Loveblood,’ and this attention to detail could also be seen in their backdrop of three circles, recognisable for being used several times in various album and EP cover art. These were lit from behind, looking almost like an eclipse and adding an even more artsy vibe to the gig. Other notable songs were the upbeat and catchy ‘She Said,’ an indie classic if ever there was one, and the two encore songs, ‘Happy Family’ and ‘Explore.’ The band put on a truly fantastic show for their biggest one to date, and having gone to the gig already a fan, I came away an even bigger one, with a renewed faith in the current UK indie scene.

Review by: Phoebe Hagan


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:

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

Amazon MP3:

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.

#Woraklsweek Day 7 – "Chemin"



It’s the 7th and final day of ‪#‎Woraklsweek‬ so let’s end with a fantastic finish. Throughout the course of this week I have posted a different song by the amazingly talented French DJ, who as of yet has not even remotely gained the appreciation he deserves. Worakls specialises in Minimalist House and constructs some truly beautiful atmospheres for us to just melt away into. I really hope these songs have given you an awesome insight into his work and have opened your eyes to the possibilities of electronic music today.


Our final song is “Chemin”. I won’t say too much about how Worakls put this one together, as I’m sure you’re already aware of how beautiful Worakls weaves different melodic fragments in and out of focus, creating an amazingly mellow vibe to chill you out. What makes this song particularly amazing is the different pitched percussion instruments that are use to simulate the different noises that rain can create in a city. Hearing this song while out and about is definitely the best experience it can give you as it really makes you think about how different each and every sounds can appear to you if you give it the chance. The overtones are all there in our natural world and through this change in perception – as cheesy as this is going to sound – music really can be anywhere.


So one final time for this week, and hopefully in the future if you stumble across more of the genius of Worakls in your travels, I give you this parting gift: “Chemin.”


Adam Hitchen

#Woraklsweek Day 6 – "Porto"



Day 6 of ‪#‎Woraklsweek‬. Each day I’ll post a different song by the amazingly talented French DJ, who as of yet has not even remotely gained the appreciation he deserves. Worakls specialises in Minimalist House and constructs some truly beautiful atmospheres for us to just melt away into.


Saturday is a day for a samba, so I thought I’d go with something with a bit of a Spanish flavour for today’s track: “Porto“.


The track is centred entirely around layering different acoustic guitar parts while sticking to the tried and tested house beat. The assymetrical phrasing of the melody helps to keep the track fresh (along with each new musical layer) and works over the slow, trance-like chord movement that borrows from Spanish folk songs to bring a typical flavour of Flamenco music into your dose of electronica.


Once again, the name of the game is subtlety and reflectiveness – and the tune is one of the best Worakls has produced. Ladies, gentlemen and people of fluid or non-specified gender, I present to you “Porto“.


~ Adam Hitchen

Album Review – "Lady Sings The Blues", Rebecca Ferguson



As the weather is slowly (very slowly) getting warmer, and the days are getting longer, and balmy, lazy afternoons are once again in sight, what better way to chill out and melt into relaxation than by listening to the languid, soothing tones of Rebecca Ferguson? Her brand-new album is called Lady Sings the Blues, and is a fitting tribute to the legendary era of Swing and Jazz. The influences of Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, and Amy Winehouse are clear, although Rebecca’s distinctive tone manages to leave her own individual stamp on the songs.


The tracks themselves vary in tone within the genre: from the upbeat and joyful ‘Get Happy’ (if you deny clicking your fingers along to that one then I don’t believe you), to the melancholic yet romantic ‘Embraceable You’. My personal favourites of the album are ‘That Old Devil Called Love’ and the wonderful ‘Summertime’, both classic songs that Rebecca does sweet justice to. If you have a penchant for the old-era vintage swing blues, then this collection is the ideal soundtrack to your afternoon of lazing in an armchair or snuggling up with that special someone. The perfect accompaniment to a smooth red wine, or a glass of G&T with cucumber.


~ Eleanor Goodman

#Woraklsweek Day 5 – "Soleil de Plomb"


Day 5 of ‪#‎Woraklsweek‬. Each day I’ll post a different song by the amazingly talented French DJ, who as of yet has not even remotely gained the appreciation he deserves. Worakls specialises in Minimalist House and constructs some truly beautiful atmospheres for us to just melt away into.


Today was supposed to be a solar eclipse apparently… as you would expect, this would usually entail a sun shining very brightly on a warm day. Wrong. Oh well, as Worakls’ song “Soleil de Plomb” will help to bring the sun to you! (For those who aren’t aware, “Soleil de Plomb” translates as a sun shining beautifully).


Today’s track creates a beautiful blend of piano melodies and standard house music conventions – a fuzzy, distorted bassline, vocal-like hits and a building drumline that helps the track become something truly special.


Once again, the name of the game in this song is layers – each musical layer is beautifully interwoven with the others to create a specific atmosphere. In the case of “Soleil de Plomb”, the mood that Worakls has gone for is an uplifting sense of energy, while remaining within the relaxing minimalist house vibe that he often creates.


At this stage, I’ll stop my incoherent babbling of music jargon and let you guys make your own minds up!


~ Adam Hitchen

#Woraklsweek Day 4 – "Elea"

Day 4 of ‪#‎Woraklsweek‬. Each day I’ll post a different song by the amazingly talented French DJ, who as of yet has not even remotely gained the appreciation he deserves. Worakls specialises in Minimalist House and constructs some truly beautiful atmospheres for us to just melt away into.


Thursday can be dramatic for many reasons. For some reason Thursdays just seem to be filled with action and stress – possibly because we know the weekend’s just around the corner but it’s not quite tangible at this point.


For this reason, I’ve selected Elea. It’s a slight change of pace, with more driving cinematic strings as the central theme, kicking in from the very beginning and filling you with a sense of urgency before the house beat and chilling electronics kick in. There’s a definite sense of loss and thoughtfulness in this record, with the vocal-like drone in the background and the minor key in the bell sounds and heavily edited marimba melodies. When the strings come back they cement the sense of time running out – just as you would expect from a film score.


The overall effect can be slightly overwhelming at times when you feel like there’s just too much to do, but the orchestration works absolutely perfectly in proving that Worakls isn’t afraid to tackle very difficult instrumentation and work outside of his comfort zone to bring you a class A record. Hit it up.


~ Adam Hitchen