Future Fires are an indie rock band from Birmingham who have been quietly plugging away in the underground scene for a while now whilst releasing banger after banger - much like their new tune "Midnight Sky" which outlines their unique sound so comprehensively that if the charts equated to real music then it would definitely be charting! Check out the guys as they usually play at The Sunflower Lounge and take a read of my full interview with them below...
Question. Hey guys, so how did Future Fires form? Future Fires: Your traditional fairy-tale story, girl imprisoned by dragon in the tallest tower, knight in shining armour....just kidding. Friends of friends, mutual interests and lots of beer turned into something beautiful.
Q. Where does the name Future Fires come from? FF: There's no symbolic meaning behind the words per se, but we wanted the sound of the name to reflect the kind of music we love as a band and the crowd-pleasing, energetic style of music we want to make.
Q. Who were your biggest inspirations for wanting to create music? FF: Individually our music taste is fairly eclectic, but collectively we definitely grew up with inspiration from a wealth of nineties rock and noughties indies bands, it's a sound we love and want to keep alive in 2018.
Q. You've just released 'Midnight Sky' how does that feel? FF: There's nothing cooler than bringing your music to life in a proper studio with the freedom to create a visual representation of the music you're so proud of. We're chuffed with the finished product - it makes the whole musical journey feel complete.
Q. How do you feel it compares to your previous releases? FF: It's a step up for sure, it's gained a lot more attention and has a more upbeat feel. Our debut single 'Far' will always have a special place in our hearts, as it was our first 'complete' song that we felt was worthy of playing live / recording.
Q. What are the thoughts and feelings behind the song?
FF: The lyrics are definitely open to interpretation and that reflects the direction we wanted to take with this song. As for thoughts of the actual song, we love it! It's extremely fun to play, full or energy and sounds wicked, especially live. It's a simple song but if it ain't broken...
Q. The Birmingham music scene is clearly the next big thing, what is it like to be a part of that growth and movement? FF: As locals, we have a lot of love for Birmingham, being part of the scene makes the city feel even more like home. Big things will be coming to Birmingham...
Q. How do you feel it is helping you being part of the Birmingham music scene? FF: It's brilliant for networking - we're lucky to live in a city with a buzzing music scene - we've gotten to meet and chat with so many ace bands. It's definitely useful for meeting like minded musicians who care about developing the scene.
Q. What is currently planned in the future for Future Fires? FF: We have a new release that we are currently finalising, hoping it will be out by the start of October, no video this time. And we will be heading back the studio after that to release one, maybe two more songs by the end of the year! Expect big things..
The Shakers make the perfect indie pop, their tunes emit a feeling of joy that is barely matched in the music world. Their tunes can be related to those of bands such as The Orielles or with the production of Jungle. The London-based 5-piece have been growing and growing at such a pace that it wouldn't be ridiculous to see them doing arena tours within the next few years! I had the chance to catch up with the band to chat about their incessantly catchy new single "Get Me Down" which will definitely get your toe tapping faster with every listen. Read the full interview below:
Question. Hey guys, How has it been releasing your new single, "Get Me Down", into the world? The Shakers: It has been amazing. This one has been a pretty long time in the making so not only is it really exciting to see people’s reactions to the song it has been a huge build up for us personally so it is awesome to see it out there and start getting some nice reactions.
Q. Post-release is there anything about the song you'd change? The Shakers: I don’t think so, regret leads to the dark side.
Q. I feel like it's a lot closer to rock than your previous releases, was this a conscious decision? The Shakers: We had a pretty different studio process this time around. This song is the first record that we recorded, mixed and produced on our own so it was always in the backs of our mind to do something that was pretty recognisable from here on out, whilst at the same time trying to capture the energy and elements of our live set.
Q. It's a personal favourite song of mine that you've released thus far, is it yours? The Shakers: For sure, although it always ends up that our newest song is always the favourite. Get Me Down has so many things in it that makes it stand out to us, but at the same time, we are already getting into the business end of our mixing our next single so I can already sense a new favourite coming hot on it’s heels
Q. How much do you feel that your music is evolving and developing whilst in the studio? The Shakers: This times around things changed a lot, and as a result I think our recorded sound is pretty different. We recorded the songs a little while ago and when we recorded Get Me Down we hadn’t really even finished the song, that way, when we started mixing in earnest we really were writing different parts as we needed them. It was a tricky process that took a while, but it was pretty exciting to be able to listen to what we had, and then
Q. A melting pot of genres is what makes your music so enticing to me, what do you think people enjoy most about your tunes? The Shakers: We try and keep an underlying groove on everything. If anyone has been to any of our live shows you’ll know that it involves a lot of dancing. This is important to us. We started off wanting to be a straight funk band, but with so many different influences for each band member it was always going to be moulded into something different. We just want to make good time music, whether that’s disco, rock, indie, or somewhere in between doesn’t matter, as long as it can help people enjoy themselves then we’re happy.
Q. "White Leather" was the first song of yours I heard, it's also your most listened on Spotify. What was it like to break through that 100K listen mark? The Shakers: It was a pretty special feeling really. We work pretty hard to keep the music going and to get it out to people, so to have a positive reaction and a figure to prove that people really are listening is awesome.
Q. Which song gets the best reaction at gigs? The Shakers: White Leather is our Mum’s favourite. It has a section that in the live set involves a lot of triangle, that bit always gets a good reaction. Quickly behind is probably the introduction that our friend Seb always gives before we come on stage. They are pretty spectacular to behold and always gets people going before the music. Seb is the man.
Q. It was also pressed onto vinyl by Hurd, how did that come about? The Shakers: We were in contact with Music Glue and they let us know about Hurd, we applied and ended up winning which was great. The whole company is amazing and we ended up being able to ship out some amazing pink records with some art prints and a little Shakers magazine along with them.
Q. Are there any plans to release any more of your music onto vinyl in the near future? The Shakers: That would always be a lovely thing. Unfortunately it’s a pretty expensive thing to do off your own back, that’s why something like Hurd and Flying Vinyl is so great. If the opportunity is there it’s always something we’d do, but until then, we’ll continue to look for any opportunity we can to get The Shakers pressed to wax for less than the price of our rent...
Q. Which artists inspiring you the most at the minute? The Shakers: We’re into a heap of stuff at the moment, but as ever the most inspiring musicians are always our friends. ISLAND, Otzeki, Minke, Yukon, Margot, Sugardaddies and Kate Lomas are all totally smashing it at the moment and make some massive tunes.
Q. What lies in the future for The Shakers? The Shakers: Lot’s really, we have some new music coming out before the end of the year and a couple of exciting shows dotted around London on the horizon too. At the moment we’re just trying to keep things going and make as much music as possible, so that is the plan for now. The World is our lobster and it’s just a matter of opening the clam.
Q. Obviously, "Brother" is incredibly big at this point, what has it been like seeing the whole journey of the song from idea to nearly a million plays on Spotify alone? AP: It was such a surprise because I have never had that many streams before nor received such a reaction to a song I had written, it was completely heart warming and a turning point for me. Affirmation and confirmation that I must be doing something right, so a relief that the hard work is paying off!
Q. Your UK tour is not so far away, what are you looking forward to the most about getting back on stage? AP: Seeing the fans and being surrounded by that energy you can only get when on stage. It’s where I come alive! So much of what I do is based online and music gets made behind closed doors, so it’s the one time I’m face to face seeing the reaction and connecting with fans. Priceless!
Q. Are there any differences you've found when touring the UK in comparison to touring other countries? AP: I have been very lucky with being met with great support and kindness at the shows I have played, most of the time anyway! Haha. Germany though are up the top there, they’re so enthusiastic and engaging where as some cities you can get a sense that people are more reserved.
Q. Which venues/cities do you wish you could visit on the upcoming tour? AP: Oh there are so many! For future tours I would like to tour across Europe more extensively, Canada, Japan, Australia!
Q. What lies for you further in the future than the upcoming tour?
AP: I drop the new single ‘Peace’ on Oct 5th, then the EP comes shortly after and I head back to Germany. Then I’ll be back in the studio and touring the US next year and spending more time there. Lots to do and I can’t wait!
Goat Girl are a London based, alt-rock band who earlier this year released their self-titled debut album. Despite all of the singles being fantastic pieces that melded grunge, rock and a few other genres into the melting pot I found that the album never really resonated that deeply with me. Due to the singles though I'd already booked a ticket to see them, so I was excited to see how the album translated to the stage. That was until it was cancelled on the day of the event due to the drummer falling sick, this was in march and the day finally rolled around which they'd scheduled.
With their goat heads on poles on stage and the lighting of The Cookie it was a dreary affair, and the morbid sounds of Goat Girl's music added to the darkness of the atmosphere. It was as enticing as it was exciting to see a band that were so into their own image of dark music that it conveyed onto the stage. With their socially charged tracks and their ability to stir this atmosphere it made Goat Girl such a brilliant band to see live, but they may just be an acquired taste.
The Jacks are a rock 'n' roll band by their own accord, and they're very adamant about that. Whether they'll be the saviours of the genre remains to be seen but what we do know is that they're one of the most promising bands rising from over the Atlantic - in the UK we get very little rock from America but The Jacks blend a perfect mixture of British rock with their own American twist on it. Their single "Tonight" is a certified anthem in its own right which will have even the most miserable person tapping their foot. There is big things coming for these guys. Take a read of my interview with them below:
Question. Hey guys, how would you define your music? The Jacks: We like to think of our music as raw Rock n Roll with a modern spin. We are trying to create something that sounds timeless and unique at the same time.
Q. You've just released "Tonight", what are the thoughts and feelings behind that song? The Jacks: It was the first time that we worked with a producer during the recording of this song. It was a great experience working with the talented Chris Seefried, who really pushed us to expand on our song ideas. We ended up combining various sections of past songs creating “Tonight”. We feel the song captures our brit-rock guitar influence with the prominent riff in the verse and our raw energy in the chorus. We feel “Tonight” is an anthem that our listeners can relate to and sing back with us.
Q. There's so many influences on show in your music. But which band has influenced you the most? The Jacks: There are a lot of artists that have influenced our music, and certain artists influence us individually more than others. The Rolling Stones is probably the best band to sum up The Jacks biggest influence. The Stone’s music, attitude, energy, and swagger is something we all feel influences our music whether we are aware of it or not. We also love The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Oasis, The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant, and they are some of our biggest individual inspirations.
Q. What has been your biggest problem when writing and recording? The Jacks: When it comes to writing we always want to make sure a new song is going to hit hard live. We really focus on making sure the energy and momentum of each new idea carries over to our live show— many times we’ll test out new songs on a live crowd and use the live feedback to make necessary changes to the song. Sometimes this can take a little extra work tweaking songs which can be difficult, but overall we think it’s worth it. The biggest problem with recording can be trying to finish a song by a certain deadline — other than that we really enjoy tracking and our time in the studio.
Q. You're about to embark on a huge tour, how have you prepared yourselves for that? The Jacks: We’ve been busy rehearsing our show and our new songs, trying to make sure that we’ll have the best live show to share on the road. This is going to be our longest tour so far (43 days) so we’ve been trying to mentally prepare for being on the road for that long as well. We’ve never been to a lot of the places on the route, so we’re very excited to share our music across the country. We also had to take care of a lot of logistics as well, including getting a new van, finding places to stay along the route, and making sure we’ve packed everything we need. Overall we’re very excited for the next several weeks.
Q. What can fans expect from one of your shows? The Jacks: Every show we play we try to leave it all onstage. When we first started performing we thought that a good live show consisted of not making any mistakes while performing. We now know that a good live show consists of much more than being technically proficient live, but engaging with our crowd. We want our fans to feel as much involved in the show as we are. Hopefully our fans will leave feeling more connected with who we are and a memorable live experience.
Q. What's the most Rock & Roll thing you guys have ever done? The Jacks: Long story short we invited everyone from our show at The Roxy to our Air BnB for an after party. The night consisted of a 500 person pool party.
Q. The Jacks are in such an exciting place at the moment, but what are your plans for the future? The Jacks: We want to spread more music to more fans. After this tour we are planning on being in the studio tracking our first full length album and hitting the road possibly in November and after the holidays.
kmmreviews.com | Thu, 06 Sep 2018 12:00:00 +0000
When I was younger it felt like the single was king, I'm sure it wasn't though. The charts felt like they meant more, there was some decent singles that soaked their way through into the top 40 every now and then and some of the pop was genuinely quite imaginative. Fast forward 10 years to 2018 though and it feels as though the charts are there to be reaped by the lowest denominator. Whether this is a question of streaming now being accounted for in the charts, or if it's just a mission to create a catchy tune with no sort of substance whatsoever.
I feel like the perfect example of this would be to look at Calvin Harris. A fair few years ago he was making some imaginative dance, plenty of it was critically acclaimed with tunes like "Acceptable In The 80's" - I never personally liked that but the idea behind it of infusing some elements of techno along with a tune that sounded like it was straight from the 80's. Then Calvin Harris started to hire people to feature on his songs and collaborate with other DJs and Producers to the extent where he has become just another run of the mill DJ. I find a lot of his music quite catchy and fun but there's no denying that he's just trying to appeal to as many people as possible and ensure that there's more than enough streams to get his single in the charts.
On the other hand though, as I've gotten older I've grown to appreciate more genres of music, I love listening to a whole album, soaking it up. Listening to an album gives me the idea and sense of a project as a whole. Sometimes you can hear a single and not enjoy it yet in the context of an album it just fits in so smoothly and perfectly. A perfect example of this is all the singles for Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, Maad City with the exception of Swimming Pools.
As a matter of fact, I actually enjoy albums more if I haven't listened to the singles. Take Slaves' new album Acts of Fear and Love as an example, loving the singles "Cut and Run", "Chokehold" and "Phot Opportunity" was more of a curse than a blessing because when you put the album on you're waiting for the singles because you already know and love them so it diminishes the listening experience - hence why it took me s long to get the review out for the album because I had to get past that.
Essentially, it all comes down to what sort of listener you are - some people may not be fazed by the singles they've already grown to love on the album and others may not ever bother to listen to singles. Let me know what you think...
Open Arms are an indie pop band based out of Birmingham that are currently unsigned, hell bent on doing everything on their own terms it really shines through in their music. Their tracks have the distinct tone of perfectionism, creating a sound that feels like the deepest depths of summer, the ultimate indie pop anthems. "Honey" is a personal favourite as it clearly portrays their individualism. I had the chance to chat with frontman Ben Farmer regarding their rise up until this point...
Question. Hey Ben, so what message do you feel that Open Arms are trying to portray? Open Arms: Hi Karl - I think our ethos as a band is to create music that can translate to a wide audience. We are a totally self made band so for us its really important that we create in a free way and our music is an embodiment of that.
Q. When going into the studio are you purposely trying to create a certain sound or do you let it naturally flow? OA: We don't tend to do the stereotypical studio session - we like to create our tracks on laptops and evolve them there before we take them into a studio environment which allows us to create a much purer and original sound
Q. Are there any problems you seem to always encounter when writing and recording? OA: If we sit down to write a record from scratch it doesn't tend to happen. Usually we accumulate ideas and experiment with them - sometimes it can take months before we finish a song and it goes through hundreds of changes but that's the benefit we have with the way we record and produce our own records on laptops.
Q. And how do you feel rising in the Birmingham music scene is helping you grow and develop? OA: I think if you're a grass roots band then you really have to get stuck in. We've been a band for 4 years now and we've covered the Birmingham scene inside and out. It offers a chance to see what life could be like in the future and to see how others react to your music and that's been vital to us in keeping us going.
Q. The Birmingham music scene is buzzing at the moment, why do you think that is? OA: I think there's a lot of other cities that get a staple credit for producing bands - Manchester and Liverpool for example. I don't think Birmingham has been given that chance to shine yet and bands like us are trying hard to change that and show that we matter. Q. "Honey" and "Telescope" are both very dreamy, sun-glazed indie pop. What are your thoughts and feelings behind those songs? OA: They represent our personal and professional lives. One thing I love about creating music is offering a Polaroid of an experience for us, but also music that can mean something to others in different ways. We knew we wanted to write music that matters to people and I think we achieved it in those songs.
Q. "Honey" is phenomenally well produced and written. What was the process of writing and recording that song in particular? OA: Thank you very much - it took about 9 months from its inception to becoming the track you can hear now. It started as most of our songs do with a lyrical idea and we wrote the music to suit the style of song we wanted and then wrote vocals for it. We were looking for a more abbrasive track that pulled from 80s guitar pop like INXS and modern indie music.
Q. And how do these songs transfer to live shows? OA: We always write with a performance state of mind. Playing live is so important to us and we don't want to write songs that we cant perform. We are always expanding our technology and possibilities to keep things fresh. You can tell hopefully when hearing our tracks that theres certain moments in the records that really are written for a crowd to join in with and that inclusion in our music is so important for us.
Q. How would you describe your live shows? OA: Energetic, unique, very visual and above all else - interactive. We pride ourselves on offering something to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Q. Has there ever been a gig in particular where you've thought to yourself "That was the best one we've ever done"? OA: It does happen but it tends to be for different reasons. We had a choir perform Telescope with us recently and that was very emotional - but we won a competition this year in Nottingham at a festival and I think that was the best show we've done so far. You could see everyone in the crowd totally understood who we were and what we were about and we got such a vibe from the audience - it was almost spiritual.
Q. What lies in the future for Open Arms? OA: Who knows? Id like to be able to answer that but the past month alone has totally turned us upside down in the best way possible. What I do know is its going to be special.
kmmreviews.com | Tue, 04 Sep 2018 13:00:00 +0000
Laurel is a UK based singer who has been surrounding herself with buzz and excitement throughout the music blogger and indie scene for a while now. When it was announced she was to release her debut album a lot of people were excited for it, especially as it means that we finally get something tangible to resonate our excitement around her.
And Laurel did not disappoint, being an artist who makes a lot of her music in her bedroom or with her own found talent it's astounding to sit and listen to this album and realise that Laurel really is a musical genius with a fantastic voice. Her voice is so smooth and beautiful that it just glides over tracks and whilst sometime she struggles to really dominate the track because her voice isn't quite strong enough I actually really love that, because it's a representation of the openness and the rawness of her music.
The opener to the album really sets the tone. "Life Worth Living" is a wonderful song that oozes over the edges with smooth production along with Laurel's unique vocals taking a front step really hammering home her feelings and emotions throughout the song. And although I do like this song and the tone of it 'Dogviolet' never really steers away from it and experiments later on and whilst this does mean that the album can get a bit stale when listening to it all the way through it does mean that we get 12 potential singles all clashing with eachother trying to become the best song on the album.
Laurel is carving her name in the indie music scene and when she's finished I think it's going to remain there for a very long time.
kmmreviews.com | Mon, 03 Sep 2018 21:35:00 +0000
You know when someone else has cooked you dinner, it's nice that you don't get to cook for yourself for once. But you forgot to ask what they were making you, you trust that person to make something you like though, they know you very well so why would they ever do that? And when you get the dish the main part of the dish is breaded chicken - they've pulled through, of course they did. So you cut a big chunk of it off and slam it into your mouth doured in sauce of your choice only to have your tastebuds attacked with the taste of fish. Now there's nothing wrong with fish, but it's no chicken. That is what it's like to listen to this album.
There isn't particularly anything wrong with this album, the "Intro" builds up and "Kids" keeps you rising on the rollercoaster due to it's fun nature and the ability to sing along to it - I'm sure it will be a big hit at their future gigs. But the rollercoaster never drops, in fact it slowly declines as you're then thrown into an album that never changes pace, nor does it ever change it sound and if you're in the mod for some Kooks then this will probably tide you over. Frontman Luke Pritchard does his best to try and get his way through this album but despite his changes in tones and his vocal abilities that have improved over the years the album never rises from its slumber.
In many ways it's quite sad because last album 'Alive' seemed to point to the future for The Kooks as they took in aspects of dance music and hip hop beats to create power anthems that would fill the arena on their future tours - however it wasn't quite executed perfectly and people didn't really vibe with it. But that's lead them down a path that has tried to recapture the sound of Konk, which is actually one of my favourite Kooks albums but we don't need two of them do we.
"Chicken Bone" though. How was that song ever allowed to be made?
The Æther is a singer-songwriting super producer with heaps of talent that are put to use in a way that helps him bring in aspects of rock alongside hints of electronica with a slight of pop to liven the mood. What he does is so well is take the lo-fi sound that is so in right now and flips it so that it sounds as contemporary as ever and will help him to spread his music and gain fans across the board. The Æther's debut album was released a while back to high praise and I got to chat with him about the release of that project and what lies in the future...
Question. So your album has been out for a while now, how has the reaction been? The Æther: I'm grateful and overwhelmed at all the kind comments from people. I didn't want to make a big fuss and just hoped there would be a word of mouth type effect that would build organically. I want to go on a journey with my audience and feel a connection with people that will hopefully last for life.
Q. How does it feel putting so much work into a project, building it from the ground up and then letting the world see it? The Æther: It's quite surreal hearing the songs on radio or when I see people playing the vinyl. There are probably millions of alternate realities where I'm working in a record store but in this one I'm being sold in record stores! It may all end tomorrow and I would have only made the tiniest splash of one droplet of water in an ocean, but it's still exceeded my expectations as I don't really have any. I have no interest in becoming a massive mainstream artist, that was never the goal. I want to make music from the soul and I will continue to make music that I love no matter what happens.
Q. Does it feel like the music, in a sense, isn't owned by you anymore? The Æther: Yes that's probably right because I have let the music go out into the world to fend for itself. It's sometimes puzzling to know when a song is ‘finished’ enough to release, as there are so many layers you could add or roads you could go down. But at a certain point I intuitively know the track is ready. I am continually writing and recording music and this continued straight after the first LP was finished. I have already recorded a new EP and enough material for a second album or a run of singles. Not sure how it will play out but the way things are set up around me I am just focused on music & life. I work hard and enjoy the journey.
Q. How long have you been preparing for this album? The Æther: I started writing songs in college when I was 17. The album, to me, captures a moment in time and a stage in my life and listening back I think this is evident throughout. I spent the last few years working on my songwriting and production techniques so I have the ability to independently create records. This was always a huge aspiration of mine and I'm developing my techniques everyday. I have written a whole catalogue of different songs but as I grow older my taste in music evolves & changes naturally and as I learnt to play new instruments I have added to the sound. So there are some songs I started writing a few years ago and some songs I wrote a few weeks before the release. IDWD was written last of all.
Q. What was the hardest part of making the album? The Æther: Actually everything flowed really easily and naturally. Being a nurse or doctor or firefighter etc is hard work. Fighting in a war is hard. Making music is a privilege and I never forget that.
Q. Which song gave you the most trouble to complete? The Æther: Carefree was written and recorded during a tour of Zimbabwe where I was taking really powerful anti-malaria medication. The insert said that possible side effects included ‘losing touch with reality’ and basically I had an out of body experience. This was a very difficult time for me but I was able to channel that energy and create, in my opinion, a song that portrayed these feelings very accurately. It might of been a difficult time but you never know when inspiration is going to hit and thankfully in one of my darkest moments I was able to channel that energy into a song.
Q. Who were your biggest influences on this album? The Æther: I wanted to create something unique, different and that I could listen to endlessly. Something I hoped I could still be proud of in my later life so I didn't really have any influences in mind. Of course I am influenced by everything I hear whether it's watching Twin Peaks and Blade Runner or listening to my friends’ music. I found myself spinning Portishead & Nick Drake vinyl endlessly. I love all kinds of music from Warren G through to Sam Fender who is a fellow Geordie I hope to write & play with some time.
Q. What have you learned from this album that you are taking into the making of your second? The Æther: Everything and nothing in a weird way. My songwriting is evolving all the time and alongside this I am learning more and more about production. I really like artists like Jon Hopkins and his style of production, and want to learn Ableton and immerse myself in that production environment but also long to record an acoustic style album in Pro Tools with an invisible production style so it's just me, my Martin guitar and nice tube microphones.
Q. What are your immediate plans with your music? The Æther: I'm still in a writing and recording phase and have just finished an EP called A D D E N D A. It is a continuation along the same trajectory as the first album, but I have also recorded some singles that sound almost nothing like what has come before. I want to create different albums for different moods that we all feel and these singles form a kind of summer heatwave type collection in contrast to the more introspective autumn type debut album. I'll release the singles in the next few months over the British winter but I know it’s always summer somewhere! After that I'm planning on an unplugged guitar/voice type of album where it's just me, off the click and an analogue type of thing. Also really keen to work on soundtracks and collaborate with my friends.
I know how deeply personal music is too people as I feel that intensely myself but I'm not the type of artist to make one style of music with a limited mood palette. I'm on a journey and there are no limits or preconceptions. I'll follow my instincts and listen to my heart. I don't want to be tied down or have too many expectations holding me back or let anyone down that may have expectations. Listening to other artists music I wouldn't have made it through this insane world and I hope I can give something back, touch people & make their life cooler. Artists like The Smiths or Matt Corby have that effect on me, almost like a non-pharmaceutical medicine. If there was genre called musical reiki that's maybe the only genre I'd want to be filed under. No categories and no limits is the plan.
kmmreviews.com | Sat, 01 Sep 2018 11:00:00 +0000
IDLES are a post-punk group from Bristol that have rose to fame due to their brutally honest lyrics and surprisingly catchy tunes. Their debut album 'Brutalism' is quite possibly one of the greatest punk records of all time that combined elements of heavy rock with the witty lyricism that is only found in spoken word. They gained a huge cult following because of the record that has took them on a journey to selling out shows and making a lot of their records incredibly valuable.
The singles leading up to this album have resonated with a lot of people and have helped them lead an album campaign that is absolutely buzzing to the maximum. "Samaritans" is a song that resonated with me and a lot of other men as well as it deals with the toxic masculinity that is abundant in today's society and the whole idea of telling people to "man up". It's very clever because the way that Idles deal with their topics is to hit it head on without you realising.
"Great" deals with the whole idea of brexit and the absolute cataclysm it's going to be, and ultimately this is why people love this band! They make music that people can relate to and music that people can take in, make it their own and take their own meaning from these things - which ultimately is the main reason for music isn't it? To feel things whether it be hate, love, disappointment, joy etc... and Idles are perfect at that even taking on their own terrible circumstances to write about is heartbreaking to listen to but their optimism and outlook is so empowering. This is a must listen. Pure. Pure Genius.
The Lids are a 3 piece band based out of Leicester, leading a charge to destroy indie music and all of your pre conceptions surrounding it. Their previous single "Delectable" is one of the best underground rock anthems I've ever heard, perfectly catchy in its own right. But not only this, on the one opportunity I've had to see them live they commanded the stage, filled the room and made it shake. It's safe to say they are one of the most exciting new bands out there.
And here is their new single "I'm So Bleak" a perfect representation of everything that makes The Lids so engaging and exciting. The lyrics are perfectly relateable and the tune is the complete opposite, an over-joyous occasion, the difference between this song compared to their previous ones as well it just how polished and clean it is - this does take away from the rawness of their sound a little but but ultimately I think they're better off for it.
Question. “I'm So Bleak" feels like a perfection of your sound, how important is it to you to keep bettering yourself? The Lids: For us, I don’t think we will ever perfect a sound, nor would we want to, purely for the reason that we like to bring in different influences and styles to our music which makes it hard to perfect the sound. What this sort of mindset does give us is plenty of room to play around by writing songs with different sounds, whether we want to write a fairly simple and upbeat song like “I’m So Bleak”, or a more complex song with many more influences and sounds such as our previous release “delectable”. It’s nice to get the recognition and praise for our songs and this one in particular with you saying that we have ‘perfected our sound’, which is massive for us, but our sound is something that we’re hoping to always change, which will hopefully mean that people won’t just get used to one sound.
Q. What are the thoughts and feelings behind "I'm So Bleak"? The Lids: We love to play it live because it is a very raw song in terms of it being very basic, and the recording being pretty much the exact same as how we originally wrote the song to be, which is nice. We’re excited for the release of it too because, again, we feel like it is different to every other song that we have released which keeps things fresh and keeps every release exciting for us.
Q. The lyrics are quite dark, is that why you chose to have a lighter instrumental? The Lids: Usually when I write the lyrics, I just sort of go for what sounds good in the song rather than relating it something. This song was somewhat similar, but I wrote the lyrics with a certain awareness for the music. It’s a very upbeat song, and although the lyrics in the verses are quite dark, the chorus is more about having a mentality of not really caring about things and certain situations, and just trying to enjoy things and have a laugh even when stuff isn’t going your way.
Q. What was the hardest thing about making this track? The Lids: Making This track wasn’t particularly hard just for the reason that when we wrote it, like I mentioned earlier, it felt very organic and easy to write. I suppose the hardest thing was trying not to over-do the recording by adding things in that didn’t need to be added in. We wanted to keep it very natural and raw, and I feel like we managed to achieve that.
kmmreviews.com | Thu, 30 Aug 2018 10:44:00 +0000
Norwegian R&B singer-songwriter super talent Jarle Bernhoft is back with his fourth album, this time with The Fashion Bruises to provide their capabilities as the band around him. The grammy nominated singer has always had a knack for creating the kind of music that you sit and listen to and it just puts you in a great mood - this album is no exception.
Taking all of the best elements of an R&B album Bernhoft then creates an album that is infused with pop melodies and choruses so catchy you'll wonder how the grammys have ever escaped him. And those choruses are what makes the album that much sweeter raising it from a run-of-the-mill album into one that really showcases talent and expertise.
The album is centered around reconnecting humanity and learning to reconnect with ourselves and the people around us. This topic is a tough one because people don't like to be preached to, especially in ways that completely deters them from their current life - Jarle stays away from this. Instead he builds a world with his wonderful singing voice that really comes to the forefront on the track "California" where his isolated vocals at the beginning harmonise with The Fashion Blues so well that you forget to listen to the actual lyrics of the song.
And whilst I hate to pick one of my favourite songs on albums as singles - it's just not the done thing - I do feel that "Humanoid" really is the best track on the album and I'll tell you why. It mixes in elements of funk, pop, R&B and a little disco to create a melting pot that is brimming with joy and a tune that you just can't stop bobbing your head along to.
What lets this album down though is the continuity of the record, each song passing into one another feels a little disjointed sometimes and thus feels like a collection of singles rather than one complete project. Depending on the listener this could be classed as a good thing, I personally sometimes like listening to albums that aren't as fluid as other projects but I do feel like it could hinder the replayability of the album.
kmmreviews.com | Wed, 29 Aug 2018 15:00:00 +0000
As I suggested in an earlier post I was watching a bag of 93 CDs on Gumtree which was £20. I collected them today…
I find it hard to accept sometimes that these little silver marvels of modern technology are now classed as a throw away item, especially after seeing them revolutionise music back in the 80’s and how they effectively ‘killed’ vinyl before its astonishing return of the last couple of years. The 16-year-old version of me with my Sentra music system would have killed to get his hands on a big bag of CD’s for £20! So, to the point, did this gamble pay off?
Let’s look at the split.
There was, as predicted, a lot of rubbish in here with a fair share of Now music and similar which is going straight to the charity shop along with some Vandross and similar which I have no interest in. However, there is a selection of fine music that is worth a listen, in fact whist typing this I am listening to a very fine album by The Twang called’ Love it when I feel like this’ n ever heard this before and it effectively cost me 21p. 21p to hear a selection of music I have never heard before isn’t bad is it?
After a sort and a second sort and a final sort I have split the haul and I will be keeping 60 of the CD’s for my collection. They vary quite a bit but there are some little gems in there which I will cover later. My wife grabbed 8 various artist CD’s for her car and KMMR grabbed 2 CD’s for his exclusive CD collection (he is the biggest vinyl junkie ever and CD is a strange concept to him). So that means 70 CD’s have been absorbed into the household music selection. I don’t think this was too bad considering I had no idea what I was buying…
So, I will list the best of the lot and see if it was worth it.
The Killers – Sam’s Town
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – By The Way & Greatest Hits
Stereophonics – Performance & Cocktails
The Magic Numbers - S/T
The Fratellis – Costello Music
Gorillaz – Demon Days
Oasis – Heathen Chemistry and Don’t Believe The Truth
The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free
Keane – Hopes and Fears
The Verve – Urban Hymns
Kaiser Chiefs – Yours Truly, Angry Mob
Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
Feeder – The Singles
Coldplay – X & Y
Obviously, there are more but I reckon that little lot adds up to more than £20’s worth of entertainment?
I am really pleased with this haul and I know people will say they are ‘only CD’s’ (Editors Note: They are only CDs) but I have just increased my music collection by a margin and that cannot be a bad thing. Also, as a bonus they are all in perfect condition. A result I feel!
Now back onto Gumtree (and others) to see what else I can find!
kmmreviews.com | Sun, 26 Aug 2018 17:28:00 +0000
Did you know that 65% of UK homes contain at least one magnolia wall? I bet you didn't.
Slaves return with their third album, their last record "Take Control" is a self-confessed misfire - but I was a big fan of that album, it was a little bit heavier than their previous effort and yet I felt that it was more self-controlled and I felt that it was more "Slaves-y". I can understand Isaac and Laurie's concerns with that album though because in their own words it felt "Like a mixtape" because they just threw everything they'd made on it. Hence why "Acts of Fear and Love" sits at just 9 tracks refined to the extreme.
The first single from the album, "Cut and Run", is going to be a future cult classic and it's already a fan favourite with thanks to the dance. Not only this but I feel like no one ever acknowledges the recorder in the chorus - completely and utterly out of tune and yet horrendously loveable. The album opens with "The Lives They Wish They Had" which throws out the assumptions they were making a slower album and goes in heavy from the start and whilst it does slow down after this they just had to let you know that they still have the fire in them. "The Lives They Wish They Had" attacks the modern culture of social media and envy until Isaac gets so angry in the last 30 seconds of the song that he just starts screaming.
The album really peaks when it slows down though, showing the softer side of Isaac and Laurie and exemplifying Isaac has a really nice voice. "Photo Opportunity" is phenomenal, a peak into the life of someone in the public eye who doesn't always have enough time to take pictures with you, it edges on punk in the chorus as the drums kick in - not to mention it's an absolute beauty to see live. And "Daddy" is a song filled with anger without showing any of it.
A personal favourite on the album though is the album closer and it's namesake, "Acts of Fear and Love" a tune that reminds me very heavily of the late Ian Dury and his son Baxter. Slaves do have a knack for closing their albums with touches of sheer genius as "Sugar Coated Bitter Truth" showed on "Are You Satisfied?".
kmmreviews.com | Sat, 25 Aug 2018 16:02:00 +0000
Artists like Ted Russet don't come along very often, a rare breed of singer-songwriters who utilise every inch of their own talent without the interruption of outside forces. We saw this years ago with Ed Sheeran and now he's selling out stadiums - people love a natural talent. Ted has only released two songs so far, and yet you can have hours of fun with them, both joyous occasions in their own right with "Crazy Perfect" forming an open love letter to Ted's girlfriend after a night out and "Gold Dust" becoming an empowering anthem that can lift anyone out of their current blues. Find out what Ted had to say about his music below... Question. Hi Ted, what are the thoughts and feelings behind latest single 'Crazy Perfect'?
Ted Russet: I really enjoyed the process behind writing and recording Crazy Perfect as it is about my incredible girlfriend. As cheesy as this may sound I don't often write love songs but I finally bit the bullet and try to put a little bit of a different spin on the idea of love songs by adding our personal experiences in the beginning of our relationship into the song.
Q. The cheesy chips line is kind of gross but it's such a perfect representation of a budding relationship. How did that idea and lyrics come about?
TR: haha thanks, this idea stemmed from me being woken up at early hours in the morning when my girlfriend came in from a night out with her girls. She tried to be sweet and give me a kiss but as the line says I could taste her recently eaten cheesy chips on her lips.
Q. The single cover is perfectly representative as well. How did you manage to get such a brilliant cover?
TR: I'm a bg fan of a band called Foxe and found out that their artwork was done by their drummer Mat Turrell and got in contact with him. He was up to the challenge and after a brief brainstorm we both agreed on the idea and he took it from there. Probably my favourite artwork I have had so far.
Q. Who have you always looked to for inspiration?
TR: Musically I'm a big fan of John Mayer and anything that makes me go "what the hell is that" either because the song is great or the sounds are unusual. Artistically I love 80's music and the way they presented their music with strong melodies and messages so im a big fan of that era.
Q. Your songwriting feels very personal, do you strive to create that?
TR: Yeah I definitely want every song to be a reflection of either me or an experience I have had. that way It feels like I have a high to sing it you know? like I wouldn't be able to write a song about heartbreak if I never had my heartbroken cause I wouldn't truly know what I was talking about.
Q. What made you write 'Gold Dust'?
TR: The true story behind why the song is written still remains a mystery to anyone who has asked and I think its one of those experiences that I'm going to have to keep secret, at least for now.
Q. The song explores acceptance and negativity - is this something that it important to you and the music you create?
TR: Yeah definitely. In the end no one has a clue what the hell they are doing and the best way to help each other through it is to embrace and encourage each other through it. With this project I want to push as much positivity as possible an only have feel good vibes. Q. What can we expect from your upcoming live shows?
TR: Dancing, singing and hopefully a lot of happy people having a great time.
Q. How has it changed your life stepping into the music industry and releasing music?
TR: I though that it would be this massive deal, little did I know the second you pick up a guitar or stand on stage you're in the industry. Its not hard to be a part of but its hard to hit the top of and I would say it's definitely easier to settle into a career elsewhere but no way near as fun. Nothing beats playing a show or writing a song with your mates or just losing yourself at a really great gig.
Q. What do you feel has helped you the most at getting people to hear your music?
TR: Being honest in song writing and not being a d*ck. if you have good music people will listen to it and will definitely want to encourage it. Q. What advice would you give to people who are planning to start make music?
TR: Be honest, respect everyone, have fun and try as many musical ideas as possible.
kmmreviews.com | Fri, 24 Aug 2018 11:15:00 +0000
I've come to be a big fan of The Sunset Beach Hut since their debut single release in february. They've already shown that they can produce a wide spectrum of music. This new single is further proof of that, and whilst those debut singles were rougher around the edges, this one is so polished and so well made that it feels as though they've gone to amateur to pro in about 6 months. When you see a band come a long this far in such a short space it is a stark representation of how immensely talented they are.
Upside-Down opens with a driving bassline - reminiscent of gargantuan indie legends The Smiths before a guitar opens with a sound so catchy it will rattle around your head for days. And then Aphra's vocals kick in and this is the strongest she's sounded yet, she takes over the track entirely and drives the song a long very well. She really exemplifies the strength of her voice throughout this as well. As a side note - I love the single cover of this track as well, would love to see that on the cover of a 7" vinyl single.
kmmreviews.com | Thu, 23 Aug 2018 13:00:00 +0000
Our Girl are a three piece from Brighton in the UK. A band that caught my eye when I saw them supporting Marika Hackman and I was sure I recognised the singer... Of course I did it's Soph Nathan from The Big Moon! How Soph manages to sort her schedule out is beyond my logistical thinking - and to refer to Our Girl as a side project would be misrepresenting their hunger, drive and sheer talent. But where Our Girl really shines for me is Josh Tyler's bass work - it's absolutely sublime and I find it very hard to even look past it on this album because it entices me with every listen.
But once you break out of the grasp you have Lauren Wilson's drumming to contend with which drives the songs along at such a pace that you never have time to stop and look around. And then there's the layers and layers of guitars - it hurts to think of how long has been spent ensuring that this album is sonically so perfect.
The album opens with their self-titled tune "Our Girl" which was one of the first songs the band ever played together so to see this put at the forefront of their debut album brings their journey to a perfect circle - oh yeah, it's also one of the finest songs I've ever heard in my life. The slow guitar build up sets the tone and then they obliterate that tone and it builds into this wonderfully melodic song that is quite simply delightful. I could say that this is one of Soph's finest vocal performances on the album as well but I'd be lying because her vocals are perfect across the board.
"Being Around" is a personal favourite on the album and it's definitely the catchiest. A lot more fleshed out and better produced than when we all first heard it on the Normally EP - but it remains true to it's orginal sound and has only built on that and expanded so that it's stadium ready. And that's something I've noticed about this album in the hundreds of times I've listened to it since its release - this is the sound of a band so confident in their own sound and so comfortable making the music that they are. And this is no more evident than in the song "In My Head" where towards the end of the song it begins to get quicker and quicker.
Words can't describe the genius of this album. You just need to go and listen to it.
kmmreviews.com | Wed, 22 Aug 2018 19:11:00 +0000
What a strange reaction to a seemingly innocent post.
I tweeted that I was really enjoying CDs at the moment and the ease of use compared to vinyl. I don’t think this is a revolutionary statement, but I touched a nerve with the vinyl obsessives.
Before I delve further, let me explain my situation. I mainly work from my man cave that provides me with a good place to write, read, store stuff or just look into space. Whilst I am in there I listen to music. Now as you would imagine the internet reception is a touch iffy as its at the bottom of my garden and the router is at the front of the house. Contrary to BT’s outrageous claims and terrible adverts the internet is a bit patchy, and often non-existent. So, to stream music I must use my phone and its lovely 4G. This works well but I burn through my data allocation quickly; so its either boom or bust there as well. This leaves my superb music system and stack of vinyl and CDs. I tend to ignore the radio because I am sick to death of the news and weather constantly being told.
I have no doubt that vinyl is better. Its sound is better, and it just feels and looks nicer, I am a vinyl fan. However, when it comes to just putting on some music you have chosen yourself and playing it in the background nothing beats CDs or streaming. Now as I have said I can’t really stream so I need my CD collection. Also, I have noticed a nice little shift in the industry again. I recently went to a superb concert by the brilliant Deaf Havana. It was a small gig at Rough Trade in Nottingham which required the purchasing of the album to get your ticket. No problem I ordered the CD as I know it will get played more. I picked it up on the day and it’s a fantastic box set which supports an equally brilliant album (‘Rituals’ listen to it now!). It felt like real effort had gone into the package and it is now signed and has pride of place in my collection (of course KMMR bought the Vinyl…)(Editors Note: Of course I did because I couldn't care less about CDs).
So, perhaps the shift is happening, and CD’s are getting better packaging and getting away from the plastic case with an inlay that’s printed in miniature? I hope so.
Back to the point...
If I am writing I like to sit at the computer with a drink and get into the ‘zone’. This is impossible when listening to most vinyl LPs as every time I get going the bloody thing finishes and I must get up and turn it over! Also, I invariably get distracted by the cover or my collection and either sit reading the bloody cover for the umpteenth time or rearrange my vinyl yet again. This stops me doing the very thing I started out to do and kills the rare opportunity I get to spend some time on my next book (yes there will be one eventually…). If I put a CD on, then the whole album is available, and I can restart the thing with the remote without hardly lifting my hands from the keyboard! Hey presto an answer!
Plus, as a bonus I have started digging through my old, discarded CD collection and finding some forgotten gems which I don’t have on vinyl.
Then there’s the cost. A few years back I bought the entire Arcade Fire back catalogue on CD for less than £40, there is no way I could do that on vinyl.
Finally, I have just been alerted to a post on Gumtree where a person is selling their entire CD collection for £20. Sure, there will be some crap in there, but I might just go for it and see what happens! If I am successful I will do a post to let you know how it went…
In conclusion CDs are easier for me most of the time but I still love my Vinyl collection.
So, for the time being, in the man cave if nowhere else in the world, CDs rule.
I think it's way too premature to start banding around they are one of the greats. For example, with the amount of time and music that he's been around for it would have more substance to claim that Arctic Monkeys are one of the greatest of all time - which you can't really state until they've either disbanded or been around long enough to see the change their music caused. I'm personally a fan of Joey Bada$$ but to state that he's a goat at this stage of his career is ridiculous.
I challenge you on these 4 singles, because I refuse to believe that much good music ever came from Maroon 5. I will concede that "She Will Be Loved" was a banger in its day and "Moves Like Jagger" was a big song in its day. But the only song of theirs that I've ever actually liked is "Sugar" other than that it's just forgettable bubblegum pop.
Whilst Kanye is my favourite artist of all time I do find it ridiculous that people say things like this. Because music is so subjective that you can only ever claim who your favourite band is. So to promote Kanye West to this standard would undermine people like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Biggie, Nirvana and whomever your favourite artist is.
Once again, music is too subjective to promote this. HOWEVER, I don't think this is could ever be the case, broadway is over the top and yet very catchy - it does have that going for it. However, the artistic creativity of bands such as Alt-J or the way Kanye produces a track does more to add to the world of music than broadway music ever has. It isn't respected by a lot of music fans and critics a like and there's a reason for that, it's not very personal to the singer and stands to have little meaning outside of the story it is encapsulated within.
undoubtedly the truth.
I thought this was a kind of ridiculous opinion at first, until I thought that no one has ever come close to even copying his style of music and guitar playing. The way he utilises his guitar to create a myriad of sounds that I never even thought were possible is crazy - there's a reason that people always call upon him to feature on their tracks.
!!RIDICULOUS OPINION ALERT!!
Seriously though, this is laughable. Let's just take ONE of Jay-Z's albums - The Blueprint - one of the greatest albums ever to be made. This album alone changed the face of rap music throughout the noughties, taking on a style of bragadocious rap that utilised their power and money rather than their upbringing. Jay-Z went on to make more classics including Reasonable Doubt, The Black Album, American Gangster and to be honest I think 4:44 is a damn fine piece of work. So. WRONG.
Erm. This is a tough one because whilst I feel that he is one of the most influential rappers I'm not sure that he is top of that list. For example all the things I just said about Jay-Z, Drake has taken on the burden of being the biggest rapper of this generation which simultaneously brings with it the amount of influence he has on the new school. Kanye's 808's & Heartbreaks influenced Drake massively though and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is arguably one of the greatest rap records of all time. So it's a tough one but I don't think Lil Wayne is number one on the influencers list if I'm honest.
Obviously this is a complete rip off of TheNeedleDrop's "Let's Argue" series, to the extent where I'm actually using the tweets replied to his post. HOWEVER! In my defence I've tried to pick ones that he's never used in his series. Just because I think it's so important to have these discussions around music and to debate each other regarding what we love and hate. It keeps music alive and ticking on a very basic level. So without further ado let's take a look at some unpopular opinions...
I genuinely find it so hard to argue with this point, a lot of that is to do with the fact that I actually don't like Queen but 'Bo Rap' grates me on a whole other level. I can't stand it. Personally I give Queen quite a hard time but I do quite like "Brighton Rock" thanks to Baby Driver. But everytime I listen to Queen I just can't understand the appeal - I wish I could but when I hear songs like "We Will Rock You" and "Fat Bottomed Girls" I cringe so hard I have to turn it off.
I couldn't agree more with this! I'm not sure how unpopular of an opinion this really is but my girlfriend and I crossover our tastes in music A LOT and honestly it's brilliant going to gigs with her and having a whole other level of our relationship and things to talk about. Not to mention, it would feel like living a secret life if we weren't to have some of this in common. It's not a MUST, but it really does bring you closer together.
As a reviewer I hate to agree with this because essentially you want people to hear your opinions and to spark debates regarding all of these albums that you've liked or loathed and to add to the music community. However, I think it's so important to listen to a piece of music and garner your own opinions on the subject before seeing what someone else thinks. It's like having dessert and then having your starter and then your main meal. It doesn't feel write and you can't understand some of the things that they point out or elaborate on because you haven't heard the album. So I think one listen is enough, form an opinion, then go back and listen again whilst taking on this different way of looking at things and develop a deeper understanding of the music.
I was loving the sentiment of this until I saw the ""IF"". Let's deal with the first bit first though. I could not agree more! I can't imagine disliking music because of the sexual orientation of the person, it's genuinely one of the most closed minded things I could ever dream of. For example, I'm a big fan of Years & Years' debut album, that album was huge to me when it first came out, I listened to it daily in the car - to be robbed of the way that album made me feel because of prejudices blows my mind. More recently I've become a humongous fan of Christine & The Queens who's music I find so powerful, enlightening and inspiring. And despite her sexual orientation - which I'm not even 100% sure of because it doesn't matter - I relate to the music and it's truly wonderful. If you've not discovered her yet (Not sure how you wouldn't have considering "Tilted" was EVERYHWERE a few years back) I feel like I haven't got my point across very well here, but the main point is that if you don't listen to music because of someones sexual orientation then you're a bigot. Simples.
This is wrong. Look. I love Kanye but Yeezus is by far his weakest album and I barely ever revisit it anymore. Whereas The Money Store was the highlight of Death Grips' discography in my honest opinion and I'm not going to sit here and pretend to be a Death Grips stan, but I respect that album for how imaginative and inventive it is as a whole. If I had to pick one to listen to as I'm writing this then I would pick The Money Store and I feel that's a pretty good way of choosing - they're quite different albums though.
YES! The Interstellar OST is actually magic, give it a listen and if you haven't seen the film. SHAME ON YOU.
I don't even know how I feel about this because on one hand I find GKMC so much more enjoyable to listen to and often revisit the tracks on it. However, I respect TPAB on a whole other level musically - I actually find it awe inspiring how truly good it is. If I were to introduce someone to Kendrick's music then I would play GKMC without a doubt. However, if I believed that someone was really into music and willing to actually listen to a project, soak it in, believe it then I would play them TPAB - there's no doubt that they are both fantastic albums but as an album To Pimp A Butterfly is better in my opinion. There's just so many layers to the record, there's elements of funk and jazz whilst staying true to its hip-hop roots. And the song "How Much A Dollar Cost" blows my mind everytime I give it a spin.
The Sunset Beach Hut are a band that I recently discovered whilst trawling through music from the Birmingham scene that is raging with eternal fire at the moment. This band stood out to me because the wide variety of genres and influences that clearly inhabit their music. Their single "Comfort" is one of my favourites to be released this year and has been on repeat on my Spotify ever since. They're constantly touring at the moment, grinding away and trying to carve their way into the big time, and carry on like this and they will...
Question. Where did 'The Sunset Beach Hut' originate from? Matty: From the offset we knew the kind of sound we were going for so we wanted a name that reflected the upbeat, summery music that we wanted to make. We found something called “[person's name I can't remember] Beach Hut” and we just really liked it! While brainstorming we came up with the “The Sunset” part and decided it was the name we wanted moving forward. We had one moment a few months into the band where we really thought about changing it but I’m glad we didn't now as I’ve become really fond of it. Ben: We were just sat in Matty’s room looking for something that could be cool and we started looking through words and sentences in books. We found the “beach hut” part and then just had to find a way to start it. We had already written quite a few songs beforehand, so we already knew the sound we were going for.
Question. You're grinding out live shows at the moment, which has been your favourite so far? Matty: My favourites are always those at the Sunflower Lounge. Obviously, there are ones that stand out such as our “Comfort (EP)” release show in February. That was an evening I won't forget as it was the most packed room we’ve had at the Sunny. Me and Ben sat in the car on our way home and neither of us said anything for so long…We both just sat there with massive grins on our faces! Aphra: So many of our shows have been so amazing but my personal favourite was the first gig we played in 2018 at The Sunflower lounge with La Dharma and 10 Guitars (coincidentally the first time anyone called us “The Sunset Beach Club”). It was the first show we played where I really felt at ease on stage even though my voice went towards the end because I had a cold. Also, Jake from La Dharma joined me up on stage for the encore which was a cover of ‘Milk’ by The 1975 which he sang with his jeans ripped all the way down one leg. Ben: The 9th February because it was our EP launch date and so it was packed and so we had loads of our mates down. It was such a great atmosphere! We also shot our music video there so it’s a great thing to look back on!
Question. Also, of all the venues in Birmingham, which is your favourite? Matty: For me it has to be The Sunflower Lounge. There have been so many incredible bands play there in the past it feels amazing to play on the same stage. We also have such a good time every time we play it! The O2 3 Birmingham will also always have a place in my heart due to it being where we played many of our first gigs we played! Aphra: I think The Sunflower Lounge will always be our favourite place to play, but we have really loved every venue we’ve played at. I was really happy to see that The Flapper is staying open for another year because we played one of our first gigs there and it’s where we met our friends La Dharma. Ben: The Sunny lounge obviously. It’s the greatest venue because its intimate as its quite small.
Question. The Sunflower Lounge has been the hub of the incredible rise of music in Birmingham and surrounding areas. How important has that place been to you like it has many others? Matty: The Sunflower Lounge has been such a key aspect in our journey and growth. We’ve played so many gigs there, especially this year, and made a lot of great friends. We wouldn't be the same band without it! Ben: Very important! We’ve played our biggest gigs there. The sound’s always great and due to it being super close to the train station it’s fantastic for us as an out of town band as people can easily get to our shows there.
Question. You released a few new songs, "Comfort" and "The Tide", in February. How has the response been to those songs so far? Matty: The response has been amazing! We have heard so many lovely things about it and to have been played as BBC Introducing Shropshire Track of the Week was a crazy thing that we never thought would happen! Aphra: Recently they both reached 1000 streams on Spotify which we never expected when we released the songs which is really incredible, and we are so grateful. Ben: Very good! We have hit over 1000 streams since we released them in Feb! ‘Comfort’ obviously means a lot as it was the first song we wrote as a band. ‘The Tide’ is also super important as it has gone through so many changes and sounds completely different to what we started with. It has played a huge part in our learning process as a band and been an epic journey and we have ended up with a great song.
Question. I think the sounds contrast quite a lot, did you consciously make 2 quite different songs or are you just making whatever you feel like? Matty: Making two completely different songs wasn’t something we consciously intended. We all listen to quite a large variation of music, so songs can come out quite different. We enjoy not really knowing what's coming next and I hope the people that listen to our music enjoy the suspense of potentially hearing something completely different with each song. Our next two releases aren’t really similar to either ‘Comfort’ or ‘The Tide’ so just wait till you hear them! Ben: ‘Comfort’ was a definite release when we wrote that track and myself and the rest of the band agreed that should be the first track released. At the time we had a track released called ‘The Other Side’ which was made with our previous singer, we wanted to recreate the song that our fans knew, it felt like a good choice to put them together more for what they resembled to us. Aphra: I don’t think it was a conscious decision to make the songs so contrasting. Really they were just the first two songs we wrote together and that meant that they were important to us and we wanted to share them with the world.
Question. Do you feel constrained to one genre when writing and recording? Matty: Not at all! We understand that it may mean that people may not like all of our songs because they’re so different to each other, but we just write what we enjoy playing and from listening to the songs you can hear that we draw from quite diverse influences which are always evolving. Personally, the music I listen to changes all the time, so I am always getting new influences to build into The Sunset Beach Hut and the path the songs take. Ben: Myself and Matty write a lot of music and have hundreds of demos and ideas stored away from big orchestral numbers to trap dance songs. It all depends on our mood and current tastes. When we sit down to start creating new material we just go with it, Aphra then usually listens to all our stuff and comes back to us with lyrics on tracks she’s picked to work with. This is a very experimental time for us as a band trying to find the sounds we like the most and figuring out the direction we want the band to go in. Aphra: I don’t really aim for a certain sound to the point where it’s hard to point out what each song has been really influenced by. In the end I intend to create something that is entirely me, whether that means our music comes out more pop ballad-y or folk influenced.
Question. How does your writing and recording process usually pan out? Matty: Normally one of us will go to the others with something whether a riff, a drum beat, bass, vocals, whatever and then we just work from there. There isn't a set way in which we write which is another reason why our sounds can vary so much! Depending on where the song originates from can really change how it turns out. Aphra: When it comes to lyrics it depends on whether I’m writing on my own or to something Matty and Ben have sent me. If I’m writing on my own I tend to start with lyrics to a rhythm, then add a melody then work out chords. When I write to the guy’s stuff I start with more of a melody then add lyrics. A lot of the time I find myself flicking through my notepad trying to find a line or two that fits well and then expand on that. Ben: It usually starts with myself and Matty coming up with a bass line and one guitar riff and working from there. We listen to a lot of music before going into a writing session to gain ideas and motivation. Songs take a long time to make and finish, months and months on end tweaking and making everything clean. I remember ‘Comfort’ and ‘The Tide’ took around 8-9 months to finally finish and have ready for release.
Question. What is the planned future for The Sunset Beach Hut? Aphra: Just more gigging really. Taking every opportunity we get, to go anywhere, and writing a load more music. Of course there’s the single release on the 29th August which we’re looking forward too. Matty: We have our gigs planned out until pretty much the end of the year but apart from that we are just taking every opportunity we can. We are loving gigging and writing so much, and we have so many ideas that you will be hopefully hearing about soon. We have a HUGE announcement for the new year so be keeping your eyes peeled for that! Ben: At this time, I couldn’t tell you, I don’t think any of us know, which is the most exciting part really, anything could happen. Right now, we are just writing a lot and playing as many gigs as we can and just enjoying what we do. Obviously, you can be hopeful for a bright future but who knows I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.
The Calamity are a band that defy genres and produce music that they want to make. Ultimately this will always lead to better music being produced and these guys are no exception, the Wolverhampton based band have a care free attitude that is just as infectious as their tunes. They've just released their self-titled EP which you definitely have to check out because it shows a clear sign of a band that are riotous and collected in equal measures, in turn flexing their writing abilities with some really well written tunes! Luckily, I had the chance to chat with Billy Haynes (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Steph Haynes (Bass), Matt Smith (Guitar) and Casper Drake (Percussion) regarding their latest release along with their musical aspirations and why everything isn't what it seems in the industry sometimes...
Question. The music scene in the West Midlands is currently thriving, what are your views on that? B: Maybe it is. There's definitely a lot of people trying to rip you off, which is a sure sign of a thriving capitalist economy. There's a lot of bands and artists, and they badly want exposure so they're easy to exploit. M: Promoters put you on, expect you to sell loads of tickets and don't do any promotion themselves save a couple of facebook posts... S: So you're only playing to people you could invite to see you play in your own living room. It's an empty economy really. When you're just starting out it's all just trying to get your friends to keep paying £6 to turn up to see you. B: The bands don't get anything, they're just used to fuel the machine that runs entirely for itself so the people running the swizz can say "there's a really happening music scene here". We could write an essay: The Class Dialectics of the Sunflower Lounge. S: The gigs aren't for the sake of people listening to the music. It's to sell bands 'the gig experience'. The bands are the customers. Curiously they're also the producers - buying themselves back at twice the price. C: Also, there might be a lot going on in Birmingham, but the West Midlands isn't just Birmingham. It's hard to see the thriving from here in Wolverhampton. S: Here it's mainly a few cover bands, people doing the rounds at open mic nights. Bands going into Birmingham to get gigs. We're trying to create stuff by putting our own gigs on, getting local bands in, giving each other our own scene and trying to offer something decent to the people who come along to watch.
Question. Who are your current favourites from the region? B: Raphaella Kornarskis, Danny Batth, Messi Mussiah, Bryony Williams. M: The Butters Aliens. El Diablo.
Question. You've just released your self-titled EP, how does that feel? S: Does it feel like anything? M: It doesn't really feel like anything. I'm more excited about our newer stuff, I don't think they're our best songs anymore. B: Really selling the EP here, Matt. It's actually really good. S: I think they're still more or less our best songs. Matt just gets bored with stuff. M: Well we've got an EP, wicked, but there's still a lot more to be done, a lot more to be achieved. B: Yeah. Restless, that's how we feel. A sense of unrest.
Question. What has been the response to it so far? B: Good. M: Talk about the radio play. B: We've been played on the radio. M: Pagans seems to be a lot of people's favourite. It's got some nice reviews online.
Question. I would say 'Lifestyle Express' is my favourite tune on it, what's your favourite and why? B: Thanks, it's named after the chain of cornershops - you know the ones? The song itself was inspired by all the weird characters you see in Wolves, especially around the Avion Centre in Whitmore Reans. Like the woman we saw dancing by the cashpoint singing "you need money before you can shop" over and over again in this reggae style. Rag and Bone's my favourite though. It's a bit different in terms of structure because it's not verse/chorus/etc. C: Yeah, Rag and Bone. M: I Fell Asleep, why not? B: Why? M: I like the lyrics in the second verse. Very resonant. B: I really like the lyrics for Rag and Bone. M: That's because most of the words are mine, which is about right. No I'm just kidding, you can't own words. Actually I like writing lyrics and giving them to you guys to take apart and put back together. I write on scraps of paper at work, throw them in front of Bill and pester him to do something with them.
Question. Which track has been particularly troublesome to finish? S: None of them, they all came together pretty quick. B: Maybe Lifestyle actually, getting the mix right.
Question. How often were you going into the studio to get it finished? S: We did one day per song then another day tying up loose ends. It really was pretty smooth.
Question. Are there any plans for any live shows? S: Next one's August 11th at the Asylum Art Gallery in Wolverhampton, alongside Dadboy and Bryony Williams. B: Claptrap in Stourbridge, 19th October. Others pending.
Question. What advice would you give to people thinking of getting into music? M: I think it's probably easier if you form a band with your mates and not just get people in to play instruments. S: Could get messier quicker though. B: Fire all your band mates and get session musicians in. C: Defy genre. Genre bands are shit. M: Is Casper in the band? S: He's percussion.
Question. What lies in the future for The Calamity? B: World conquest. M: Videos! Artistic endeavours! S: We're going to make videos for all the songs on the EP. We've already got one out for I Fell Asleep. Next one we're filming is Pagans - bit of a narrative to it. Pagans, streets, woods, sacrifice. B: We're going to record a load of demos. Take the band on tour. S: Oh yeah, the "Feed our Egos" tour. Going where? M: We'd like to play Manchester, Liverpool, Hull, Leeds. C: Brewood. B: We think people up North might be friendlier and more likely to tell us we're brilliant.
Anna Burch is a Detroit based singer-songwriter who released her debut solo album, Quit The Curse, in February 2018 - it received high praise all round. A stark contrast to her folk-rock past to turn to indie pop and what a masterful stroke that was. It really is a great album and "Asking 4 A Friend" really is one of the greatest songs to be released this year. So, naturally you'd want to hear that live.
The Musician is just one of those venues where it feels better when it's not full. There was a great vibe in the crowd as it was clear that all of these people were huge fans of the woman gracing the stage. Anna swiftly kicked into the highest gear and performed her debut album in its entirety. Stopping in between only to have some banter and tell some interesting stories regarding all of her songs. Anna's vocal performance was absolutely flawless and the band she had strung together played her songs with ease. We were even treated to an encore that included a brand new song. All in all it was a great evening and I would definitely reccomend going to see her perform if she's playing near you!