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 https://www.theinternetisdead.co.uk/tour.

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: Nina Nesbitt

The Garage venue in London was full of Nina Nesbitt’s fans on the 20th November. I found a place to stand among the crowd and managed to catch the last couple of songs from support act Goody Grace. His song ‘Pretend’ began with acoustic guitar finger picking and the opening lyrics ‘f*** you’ which juxtaposed the delightful intro. The song’s lyrics were clever and insightful, accompanied by the acoustic guitar; it was a very good first impression of Goody. For the final song of his set he played ‘Two Shots’ which had a completely different vibe to ‘Pretend’; evident of Goody’s diversity. To the steady beat he had the crowd swaying with two fingers in the air as he sung the lyrics ‘I just took two shots’ hyping up the audience for Nina’s set.

A stage adorned with lotus flowers, the fans and hipsters out in their masses, The Garage was ready for Nina Nesbitt. She started with one of her recent releases ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ before saying she was going to throw it back to 2012. All the fans knew what was coming, if the room wasn’t already exciting, the tension just built. We weren’t disappointed. Picking up her guitar she strummed the riffs of her first release, beloved by her fans ‘Apple Tree.’ I first heard this song when it was released, and I was 14, 5 years on I was singing the lyrics and dancing along with the rest of the audience, loving it. She then cleverly transitioned ‘Apple Tree’ into ‘Stay Out’ which calls out people on a night out ‘stay out and see through my eyes’ her clever lyrics exposing fake people ‘they think they’re from the sixties, but they were born in 1991’.

I always appreciate a bit of chat and banter from the performer, Nina got the audience to sing along (although I’m quite sure they would have without invitation), and admitted her new album, which is out early next year, is yet unnamed and has the working title NN2. By the end of the night fans were cheering ‘NN2!’, perhaps the name will stick? She played a few new songs from the album too, my favourite of which was ‘Colder.’ This song captivated the audience. Where we had been swaying and singing along Nina now held the audience on her every word with the beautiful melody and lyrics of her new song.

Her gig was diverse. She moved from old songs to recent releases and even to new songs. Many of her lyrics are, and she admitted it, about relationships, many about heartbreak or moving on. This had the potential to bring down the mood but each of her songs take a different view point and this diversity kept it upbeat. About one of her more upbeat songs ‘Chewing Gum’, she said she wrote it when she was single ‘which was fun.’ To contrast she played ‘Ontario’, written from inspiration from a letter she received from a fan and instantly wrote the song. It’s about when you start liking someone and then find out they already have someone she explained.

She was so involved in creating the music on stage, swapping instruments each song, even mid-way through jumping from a drum pad to piano. It seemed like she really enjoyed herself on stage and the audience loved it.

 

ONE SENTENCE REVIEW: ‘Spent the Day in Bed’- Morrissey

The music team review Morrissey’s single ‘Spent the Day in Bed’ from his new album ‘Low in High School.’ The track’s lyrics encourage listeners to stay in bed backed by electric piano and synths. Does our music team think Morrissey has another hit on his hands? Find out below…

Laura: It sounds like a parody of Morrissey, but I kinda want it as my alarm ringtone.

Molly: Sounds like Morrissey’s auditioning for Lazy Town.

Phoebe: I wasn’t sure if I liked it the first time I listened to it, so I listened to it again and realised I really hate it.

Emmanuel: Hey at least I have a new ringtone for my nokia phone.

Todd: Spent three minutes in hell.

Joe: Moz it’s time to stop.

Mitch: It just didn’t need to exist.

Jamie: Feels like a ringtone you’d bluetooth your friends on the bus in 2008.

Harry: I wanted to turn it off about quarter of the way through but other people were listening to it.

Ryan: It’s like when you were 8 and tried to use nokia’s ringtone maker.

 

It would seem not. This is just what we think, go and have a listen to the track to 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

Interview – Dan Croll

With his new album ‘Emerging Adulthood,’ released on 21st July, I had the privilege of having a phone interview with Dan Croll to talk about the release of the album and his most recent single Bad Boy, inspired by the common phase of wanting to be a bad boy but it ‘just never worked out.’ We talked inspirations, processes, his ‘organic, alternative angle’ of pop and how music wasn’t always his plan.

Your new album is released in 3 days, how are you feeling about it?

I think… all of the emotions. I’m very proud of it, I’m very excited about getting it out, quite nervous about it too, but yeah I think mainly just excited though.

What can we expect from your album?

I think, compared to the first album, it’s a lot more straight to the point, I think it’s a bit more immediate. The way that it was recorded was kind of like a high intensity environment so I think that comes across in the album quite a bit as well.

Your album is called ‘Emerging Adulthood,’ does that name give us a suggestion of the themes of the songs or anything like that?

Yeah, well the name came from a book that I was reading, I guess it was kind of like a research paper almost, where it was talking about people who, are now more than ever they’ve got an endless amount of opportunities, unlimited resources, and people leave college or university and now they can do whatever they want; they can talk to people on the other side of the world, they can travel, and technology is so much more accessible. I think that’s really exciting for some people, but I think other people find it quite overwhelming, I think I maybe found it a little bit overwhelming too. So I think the album is about assessing options and trying to find the right route to take and trying to find a bit of confidence.

Did you feel like that when you left university?

Yeah, I think I felt it then because music was such a new thing for me. I’ve always kind of felt a little bit on the back-foot, a little bit amateur because my close friends and then other artists and bands you know a lot of them have been doing this since like ‘oh I’ve been playing guitar and writing songs since I was eight,’ whereas for me I was seventeen/ eighteen and I went straight into a music institute and then before long was out of the music institute and into the industry and so it’s very new. Also after the first album I kind of hit a few personal hurdles and so I was assessing whether I could do another album, and how I should do it, and where I should go and stuff like that so I had a lot of moments where I felt like that.

Music wasn’t always your plan then?

No music was quite a late plan for me. My main focus was sport, was rugby, and I was playing that all of my life up until about seventeen when I broke my leg and it all ended quite abruptly and couldn’t really get back into it and yeah so I was like well I do a bit of music so I guess I’ll go for that.

So what was the first song you ever wrote?

The first song I ever wrote was a song called ‘Marion’ which I think is on Youtube somewhere, but yeah that’s the first track I wrote.

Was that when you were at uni?

Ah no that was when I was about eighteen, seventeen/ eighteen.

When did you start writing this album?

I wrote it not long after we finished the first album, so maybe it was 2015 maybe, so I’ve had it for a while, I just hit a few hurdles along the way which really delayed it, and so yeah it’s quite strange to think that actually I wrote it quite a long time ago. I definitely want to do a third album a lot quicker.

What’s your song writing process?

My process I think is maybe a little bit different to others, I think a lot of people tend to write lyrics first, or a melody, stuff like that but I actually always start with the rhythm, with the drums. I find it really hard to work on songs if I don’t feel like they’ve got a strong foundation so I’ll usually spend a lot of time trying to find the right tempo, the right beat, the right drums, percussion, stuff like that, and then I’ll build it from the ground up rather than the top down.

How would you describe your music to someone who might not have heard it before?

Ummmm… pop haha. It’s quite simply pop but I think from more of a kind of organic, alternative angle than what’s in the Top 20.

What were your inspirations music wise?

My inspiration mainly came from my mum who played a lot of big song writers, I think mainly American song writers strangely, a lot of Paul Simon, Burt Bacharach, Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, and then others like ABBA and people like that, the big ones.

What are you listening to right now?

At the moment I’ve been listening to The Lemon Twigs, Bedouine umm yeah I think that’s it. I’ve been so buried up to my neck in my own music that I’m not listening to a great deal of new stuff at the moment.

So your single ‘Bad Boy’ has already been released, where did the inspiration for that come from?

Once I’d done the album I was reflecting a lot on moments leading up to now and there’s a phase that I think is quite common with a lot of people, where they kind of have this rebellious phase. I think mine and my friends were around high school where it’s a common phase of either you want to go out with a bad boy/ bad girl or you wanted to be the bad boy/ bad girl, the stereotypical American High School kind of bad boy. But it just never worked out. And the song is just about being confident in your own skin and not needing to do that.

The music video for that, and you’ve also released a couple of other videos for tracks off your new album, who comes up with the ideas for your music videos?

Most of them have been me, with a couple of exceptions, I always like to be as involved as possible with music videos but at the same time things just get so busy that you’ve got to just hand it over to someone else.

They’re all so interesting though as well, like the ones from your last album, with the green screen for ‘In/Out’

Yeah haha that was a pretty low budget video.

It was great, I like that one a lot! Do you enjoy making them?

Truthfully? Not particularly. They’re really tough things to do you know? You wanna get your message across, you wanna get everything across in the right way but there’s so many ways to do it and yeah it’s quite a stressful thing that I don’t particularly look forward to music videos that often, but usually once they’re done and they’re out I feel a lot more confident about them.

Since your first album do you think your style has changed?

I think so, I think it’s stepped away a little bit from the more acoustic to the more electronic, but I think just the process in the production has changed the most. That first album was recorded in an old school gym with just me and my mates, begged and borrowed equipment and I guess a little bit DIY, but a very fun way of doing it. But then the second album has gone the complete opposite way where it’s been just me writing it all and I play all the instruments on the album and we recorded it in a very clean, polished, professional studio in Atlanta, and so it’s been quite a different process, but I kind of like that, I wanted to go the opposite way for this one.

Did you enjoy one process more than the other?

I think equally because they’re both just very different and hopefully the next one will be different as well, I think I’m quite… I don’t know what the word… I guess impatient or I guess I kind of bore easily so I want things to continuously change as much as possible, so it’s all exciting.

Are you looking forward to touring your new album?

Yes, really excited to get back out on the road! Especially we’ve got an American tour coming up in September and then we’re looking at a European and UK tour after that, so yeah I’m really looking forward to that.

Do you have a most memorable moment from one of your gigs?

Ah they’re all pretty memorable, there’s a lot of amazing venues out there and the fans a lot of them stay, but a lot of them are new as well and yeah just all really cool.

Dan’s album is released on the 21st July (THIS FRIDAY!!) so get excited and find it on Spotify, iTunes and www.dancroll.com 

 

QUARTERLIGHTS: LIVE ACOUSTIC SESSION

QUARTERLIGHTS


Quarterlights, the rock/pop band, who formed at Royal Holloway back in 2013, recently released their EP ‘The Real Life’. The band consists of Ollie Clark  (Vocals, Piano, Saxophone, Violin), Tom Molloy (Lead Guitar), Andrew Skipper  (Bass Guitar) and Luke Beasley  (Drums). 

They came to the studio for a chat and live, acoustic session – follow the link to listen to the show (in two parts)…

PART I

PART II


Interview conducted by: Isobel Sheeran and Halina Hayre

‘The Real Life’:

Itunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-real-life-ep/id1155073513

Spotify – spotify:artist:3S4hlPFZxiNsOA1QOQVnsJ

 

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/

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: 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.