Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Review: Megan Linford Single Launch @ Coastguard Studio (28/10/17)

I'd never heard of Coastguard Studio, and was pleasantly surprised to see it was a independent, locally run venue. It was easy to get to and parking wasn't too far away. The venue was intimate and cosy, the staff friendly and accommodating.

We walked in and were instantly greeted by Megan and her guitarist Charles, and pointed through a door to where Waif and Stray had just started their set. Waif and Stray are a folk/roots four-piece from Southsea. They combined moments of gritty folk with americana and softer folk, they kept the audience entertained with foot tapping beats, funky guitar and bass, and wonderful stories in their lyrics, bought to life by Caz and Sam's vocals. They finished with 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun', it was energetic, fun a perfect way to finish their set.

There was a short change over, Me and The Moon took to the stage, they had gained two more band members for the evening, a new bass player and a keys player. This added to the bigger sound and larger focus on electronica intertwined with their indie folk sound. Their set was formed of the same catchy riffs and hooks they've become known for. It was great to hear their older songs reworked, as well as their forthcoming single 'Standing Still', which fitted their evolved sound and the live set up well.

Then it was time for Megan to take to the stage. I have only recently come across Megan thanks to a friends recommendation. We previously saw her at Victorious and I went home and listened through her previous EPs and kept an eye out for her single launch... and there we were!

Megan started her set solo and acoustic. It was really lovely to hear her earlier songs performed how they were written, stripped back and they showcased her vocals and lyrics perfectly. There was one song in particular that stuck with me from that particular section of her set, it was from her first EP and it encapsulated a struggle with mental health. 'Money Trees and Withered Leaves' included beautiful lyrics and the addition of a harmonica. 

The band (Charles - guitar, Jack - bass, Kris - drums, and Gilly - vocals) were called on stage and the rest of the set flowed together seamlessly. Megan's vocals work beautifully with the band, both 'River Flow' and 'Beckon' are great songs. They are full of funky bass lines, awesome guitar and steady beats that come together to create Megan's unique sound. 

Another song that particular stood out to me was 'Sister', Megan and her backing singer Gilly performed the song, it was stripped back and powerful. The vulnerability and rawness of the song shone through, I was left with a little shiver down my spine - really beautiful. 
The band also performed a cover of 'House of the Rising Sun', which got the audience singing along straight away. It was a soulful rendition, and gave the band an opportunity to show off their talent with their instruments, solo's all round, and they were clearly having fun - which is always great to see! As someone cheered as they finished, they 'smashed it'! 

Of course, they performed Megan's new single - it was the launch after all! 'A Purple Sky At Night' starts off stripped back and 'traditionally' folky, showcasing Megan's vocals and poetic lyrics. The track soon builds into the chorus with guitars, bass and drums coming together perfectly for an upbeat and catchy track. They finished the set with 'Tale For The Road', one of my current favourite songs, it's dark and has a great story to it (also Charles does a fantastic job with the guitar live...) 

Shouts of 'one more' ensued and Megan stayed on stage, her and her guitar, and covered Laura Marling's 'I Speak Because I Can'. Stunning; it finished off and summed up the evening perfectly, intimate, inspiring and pretty incredibly.

Megan Linford's Links:

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Friday, 27 October 2017

Check It Out #37

1. Hideaway - Dan Owen
Shrewsbury singer, Dan Owen, has just released the music video for his latest single 'Hideaway'. He has been gaining attention and critical acclaim across the world following his debut release 'Moonlight', earlier this year. Dan has just finished a headline UK and Europe tour as well as playing a string of festivals (including Barn On The Farm, Latitude, and many more) over the Summer. 'Hideaway' is Dan's most bold and determined single yet, with huge blues riffs and mighty soulful tones throughout... 

2. Waking Up Slow (Piano Version) - Gabrielle Aplin
Originally establishing herself as an internet sensation, to topping the UK charts with her beautiful cover of 'Power Of Love' (which featured on the infamous John Lewis Christmas advert). Then her debut album 'English Rain' featured in the Top 10 and certified gold. Gabrielle has ridden a whirlwind career of success so far. She's just finished a UK tour, and has just announced her annual Christmas gig for 7th December (tickets). But for now, here's a stunning stripped back piano version of 'Waking Up Slow' - taken from her latest EP 'Avalon'. 

3. Oil and Water - LORNE
'Oil and Water' is the latest single from indie singer-songwriter, LORNE. This is the first single taken from his forthcoming debut album set for release on 24th November. LORNE has previously headlined The Troubadour, The Bedford and Notting Hill Arts Club, and gained support from BBC Introducing, Amazing Radio and many more... 

4. Lies - Robbi McFaulds
Robbi McFaulds was chosen by Vodafone as their 'Future Breakers' artist of the week, and as the winner he was invited to perform at Capital's Summertime Ball at Wembley. This was a huge step up for the 19 year old artist from Airdrie, Scotland. 'Lies' is Robbi's debut single and kicks off his path to popularity. 

5. Nightcrawling - Saint Raymond
Nottingham singer, Saint Raymond, is back with a brand new single - 'Nightcrawling'. He's also announced his new EP 'A Light That Blinds' for release through Gabrielle Aplin's record label, Never Fade Records. Saint Raymond has previously gained success with his debut EP 'Escapade' (2013) reaching the Top 3 in the iTunes chart and then his debut album 'Young Blood' reaching the UK Top 10. He has supported Ed Sheeran across the UK and Europe and has also played with HAIM and Jake Bugg on major tours. Enjoy! 

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Feature: Sad Palace

South Coast four-piece, Sad Palace, have just released their Greek Mythology inspired music video for their single 'Frostbeat'. The indie rock band also released the new track on limited edition cassette in honour of Cassette Store Day 2017...

1. First of all, how did 'Sad Palace' come to be?
We've all known each other a long time now, we're kind of a family. It's hard to say where the music comes from, we just spend a lot of time together and all list not loads of different music, our individual tastes probably all seep in somewhere.

2. The video for your brilliant single 'Frostbeat' features Greek Mythology inspired visuals, where did the idea for this come from and what process did you go through to create it?
We just wanted to create something that symbolised what the creative process can sometimes feel like, and the Sisyphus myth seemed like a good fit. 
We filmed it all in one long, sunburn filled day, out at a place called Butser Hill. It was harder to get the organ up that hill than we had imagined but we preserved to get the job done, a bit like the creative process we were trying to convey. 

3. You've also released the single as a limited edition cassette tape for Cassette Store Day, what are your thoughts on 'retro' music releases versus digital?
It's nice to have something to accompany music, I think the digital age has its positives but I think it also is slowly stripping away the awareness people have of the time and effort that goes into creating music. With something like vinyl or a tape, you can hold it in your hands and feel the weight of an actual product, and perhaps appreciate it a little more, where streaming music tends to detach you from the idea of individual artists making separate forms of music. 
When you listen to an album in a physical format you are really aware that you're listening to one particular artist, you have to physically select it from a shelf or something. I think that gets lost a bit with digital/streaming, everything blurs together a bit more with things like giant Spotify playlists and you can sometimes forget who you're even listening to. 
Plus, physical just feels nicer, who doesn't enjoy sleeping with their favourite CD in their arms? Oh, just me?

4. Can we expect some more new music or live dates in the near future?
Our new single will be released in early November, we are playing a couple of shows in support of it (one is a secret), we are also playing Southampton Joiners on 23rd November. 

5. Random one, what's your favourite 90's jam?
'Soon' by My Bloody Valentine, maximum volume, on repeat all day. 

'Frostbeat' Review:
'Frostbeat' shows off Sad Palace's versatile range and melodic harmonies. The track builds up throughout and combines funky riffs with striking guitar, the atmospheric keys add a lighter note to the instrumental. It's a catchy track that's bound to have you tapping along. 

Sad Palace's Links:
'Frostbeat' (Cassette): http://sadpalace.bigcartel.com

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Contact: musicintimeblog@gmail.com

Friday, 20 October 2017

Feature: Amber Run

Amber Run are a four-piece indie band originally from Nottingham, UK. Joe Keogh, Henry Wyeth, Tomas Sperring and Will Jones have had a busy year. They've released their second album, 'For A Moment, I Was Lost', toured the UK twice, played some of the biggest festival in Europe, released an acoustic EP in September and are now heading out on their first ever European tour. We caught up with Joe for a quick chat...

1. Europe is your next tour destination, which country are you most looking forward to visiting and why? 
Amsterdam will be great - it sold out after like a week on sale... But all the shows will be amazing - we've never played our own show in any of these cities. Really pleased we can play in all these countries! 

2. Your latest EP is an acoustic release, what made you decide to go down the acoustic route and what difference do you think it makes to the tracks?
We wanted to try something different. For years we had run away from the acoustic thing - as we felt we'd been pigeon holed before our first record came out. But now we are seeing it as an interesting challenge. It's all about the quality of individual takes and making really conscious decisions in terms of instrumentation. Dressing up the songs in a different way proved actually to be really fun. 

3. February saw your tour the UK, and Summer saw you play some big festival across Europe; what's been your favourite performance this year?
We played our first ever show in Edinburgh - that turned out to be quite the party - as well as Dublin a few days later. Barn on the Farm festival in the summer is always a highlight as well. 

4. 'For A Moment, I Was Lost' was released earlier this year, and now you're touring, what does the rest of 2017 have in store for you and how do you intend on spending 2018?
We want to release another record. We are feeling really inspired and ready to jump back into it all. 

5. If you could invent a pizza, what would be on it and what would you call it?
People get really angry with me - but I love margarita pizza. Get some beautiful buffalo mozzarella cheese or burrata on top of an unreal tomato sauce and sourdough base. Call it the not so plain Jane. Fuck yeah. I'm salivating. 

'Acoustic EP' Review:
The EP opens with a fantastic cover of Maggie Rogers' 'Alaska'. Stripping the track back to just a guitar and vocals really allows the listener to focus on the lyrics, the harmonies are stunning and it's impossible not to press the repeat button as soon as it's finished. 
'No Answers' follows, a beautiful version of the track, which originally appeared on 'For A Moment, I Was Lost'. The instrumentation is almost haunting and there's a beautiful vulnerability to Joe's vocals. This continues into 'Fickle Game', also originally from the band's latest album, with the addition of backing harmonies, whilst listening to this one you can imagine how incredible it would be live. '(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher' finishes the EP off perfectly. It's a powerful and emotive cover. I'm a huge fan of this release, Amber Run never fail to impress. 

See Amber Run Live:
21st October: Warsaw, Niebo
26th October: Paris, La Maroquinerie
27th October: Leuven, Hot Depot
28th October: Amsterdam, Bitterzoet (SOLD OUT)
31st October: Basel, Metro Club
1st November: Frankfurt, Zoom
2nd November: Berlin, Musik & Frieden
3rd November: Hamburg, Knust
4th November: Cologne, Gebäude
5th November: Munich, Strom
7th November: Milan, Serraglio
9th November: Barcelona, Petit Palau
10th November: Madrid, Moby Dick

Amber Run's Links:
'For A Moment, I Was Lost': http://smarturl.it/amberrunFAMIWL
Tour/Website: http://www.amber-run.com

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Contact: musicintimeblog@gmail.com

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Spotlight: Tom Rosenthal

London based artist, Tom Rosenthal, is an independent artist, who has amassed over 30 million views (on YouTube) and well over 60 million streams on Spotify. His songs have appeared on a number of TV and film soundtracks including 'Skins', 'Hard Knocks', 'Comet', and 'The Odyssey' (2016). I'm sure you'll have heard at least one of his tracks in your lifetime, and as soon as you hear one of his songs, his unique sound will click. He recently released his latest album, 'Fenn', and has just released a video for track 'Let It Out'... 

'Fenn' Album Review:
'Fenn' is comprised of 15 carefully crafted tracks as an antidote to the troubled and shifting times of 2016. Title track 'Fenn' is a beautiful combination of piano, strings, and perfectly paced drums, a theme that continues throughout the rest of the release. 'Throw The Fear' is one of my favourite tracks on the album, it's an empowering song and is an honest nod to fatherhood. P.A.S.T.A. is a relatable song for a lot of people - about Tom's love for the carbohydrate... Yes, you read that right, whilst Tom can capture emotions and character exceptionally well, he's also well known for writing songs about trivial and - some might say - random topics, such as superstitions ('My Lucky Pants Failed My Again') and people's coffee habits ('What's Getting You Down, James?'). Another favourite song of mine is 'Let It Out', the simplicity of piano growing with drums while Tom's voice highlights the honesty of the lyrics and shows his empathy towards people. It's a powerful and emotive song. 'Oh No Pedro' is also a powerful song, when listening with the accompanying video, it brings to light a different way of interpreting the lyrics and it's definitely worth a watch... 
The album is full of charming songs, 'We Can Always Come Back', 'It Won't Be Me', and 'Soon Goodbye, Now Love' - to name just a few. Each song is two to three minutes of piano led music laced with Tom's gentle vocals and beautifully written lyrics - a unique sound that sits alongside the likes of Bon Iver and James Vincent McMorrow - but never the same as. I'm always looking forward to Tom will release next, and I definitely wasn't let down by this release. 

Tom Rosenthal's Links:

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Friday, 13 October 2017

What I'm Listening To... (October '17)

1. Second Chance - Lucy Rose
Lucy Rose's latest album 'Something's Changing' is one of my favourite releases ever. That's a bold statement I know, but I stand by it. It's a flawless collection of songs and it's so easy to listen to in any situation or mood. I've seen it performed live in a cinema in Brighton, and it brought the character of each track to life even more than I thought previously possible. This is one of my favourite songs from the release, alongside 'Love Song' and 'Moirai'. 

2. Getting By - Charlie Wren
This song is the newest of the ones I'm sharing with you today - and it's yet to be officially released... This track will be on Charlie Wren's forthcoming EP (which she has just announced is going to be released on 24th November). I was lucky enough to sit in the studio to hear this song progress and become what it's now going to sound like on the EP. Enjoy this stripped back acoustic version of the song and tune back on the 24th November to hear the final version of the song... 

3. Anyone Else - PVRIS
PVRIS are back with a new album and it's just as good as (if not better than) their first. I've had the release on repeat in my car and I'm constantly humming along. 'Anyone Else' was the first video I saw from the ones released, and it definitely caught my attention, it's a brilliantly catchy song as well as being incredibly cinematic and artistic. Enjoy! 

4. Younger Now - Miley Cyrus
Miley broke back into music brilliantly with 'Malibu', 'Younger Now' is the just as good follow up track. I've always been a big fan of Miley Cyrus' music, from the country melodies to her pop anthems, to now, a perfect combination of both successes. Listening to her latest album of the same name (Younger Now), feels like you're really getting to know the artist behind the music. The lyrics are incredibly raw and honest, whilst the music is still catchy, upbeat and of course, still gets stuck in your head! (The music video is also pure brilliance...) 

5. Homesick - Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa's debut album was the biggest surprise release of the year for me (so far - and I doubt that will change). More often than not, I don't enjoy every single song on an album, when two or more of the tracks have appeared in the Top 10. However, this album pleasantly surprised me, I've fallen in love with every single song on this album, in particular 'Homesick'. It's a beautiful song featuring vocals from Chris Martin, to me, it showcases Dua Lipa's musicality - her lyrics, penmanship, vocals, music etc. etc. etc. it's a good 'un and to me it's the hidden gem from the album... 

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Friday, 6 October 2017

Feature: Martin Luke Brown

London based artist, Martin Luke Brown, is back with his second single on Manchester indie label LAB Records. 'Opalite' is the follow up to the brooding slow-burn of 'Into Yellow'. He's recently had a show at London's Servant Jazz Quarters, which sold out in double quick time and has a combined near 10 million streams on Spotify. 

1. What inspires you lyrically and who has influenced you musically?
I've been getting a lot more into poetry recently. Oscar Wilde and Bukowski that famous ones. But also just flicking through blogs and listening to spoken word videos online. I like listening to words that aren't hindered by melody. So that a bit I suppose, but in terms of content it's usually just how I'm  feeling about a particular thing at that given moment. Musically - I grew up on 60s/70s music, so a lot of Motown, The Beatles, ELO, The Kinks. Through teenage years I got more into experimental sounding stuff. Emily King, Tingsek and James Blake are my go to artists at the moment. I also love Glass Animals for the mad soundscapes they create. 

2. Your sound has changed over the past few years and is constantly growing, how are you able to be so versatile and keep it current? 
Haha I know, I change too fast really. I feel pretty settled where I'm at now though. I think being versatile weirdly has been a bit of a problem for me - I've struggled to stick at one thing for too long. I get bored. But yeah, I feel pretty settled now, I think this soundscape will stay for a while!

3. 'Opalite' is a perfect counter follow up to 'Into Yellow', are you planning on continuing to release singles one at at time or is there an EP on the cards?
I'm taking it one tune at a time for now. But an EP is definitely possible - the songs are there. It's just how to frame them really and in the modern musical landscape it's good to give each song a chance to live it's own life.

4. You recently played a sold out show at London's Servant Jazz Quarters, but what has been your favourite on stage memory?
Yes! And it was so nice, it's been too long really. I played in Milan on one of the Jack Garratt shows and I had to pause half way through a song cos I got a bit emotional and the crowd just cheered so loudly and so incessantly. I'm a pretty composed person generally but it was almost like for a second I realised how lucky I was to be doing what I was doing. I may or may not have had a little cry.

5. If you invent a chocolate bar, what would be in it and what would you call it?
A milk free milkybar. So vegans and lactose intolerant people could all enjoy that magical flavour. I'd call it a 'Silkybar'. It'd be extra creamy.

'Opalite' Review:
'Opalite' has a punchy beat and a catchy melody, with nods to Bon Iver. This track shows off his versatile vocal range and melodies. His lyrics are poetic but behind the lyrics there's an upbeat indie vibe throughout. It's a tune you'll be drumming and singing along to in no time at all.

Martin Luke Brown's Links:

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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Feature: Into The Ark

Duo, Into The Ark, have had a big year, 2017 has seen them finish second on TV show The Voice UK - mentored by Sir Tom Jones, tour across the UK and Europe including slots at Latitude Festival and The Great Escape. Now they release their new single 'Underneath The Sun', play a headline show in London and a homecoming show later this month (October). They're also getting ready to head to the US for their debut tour as guests to Sir Tom Jones in Spring/Summer 2018... 

1. You were runners-up on the Voice UK earlier this year, what one lesson from that process will you carry with you for the rest of your career?
I think the best thing we've taken from the show, is how to deal with the pressure of singing on telly! You know, knowing there's millions of people watching! 
It's made us a lot more chilled going back to playing much bigger venues and not freaking out about it... Sir Tom told us "You learn it and then you forget it. Don't get in your head too much."

2. What prompted you to start up your own record label 'Blackwood Records' and how did it become what it is today?
It's an interesting one - we received offers from a few labels and they obviously had their massive positives but it also meant we would be 'on the clock' and under pressure to put music out - and we didn't think we were quite ready and the last thing we wanted to do was rush the music. So, we created Blackwood Records because it gives us a sense of independence and it's our home town and a very big part of where this all began. It feels nice to share that with everyone who've supported us from the beginning and put a focus on the town. And who knows, maybe one day the label will grow and maybe we'll sign some artists! I'll be Simon Cowell and Taylor will be Ahmet Ertegun! ;) 

3. How does it feel to be supporting Sir Tom Jones on your debut US tour and what part of the tour are you most looking forward to?
Well neither of us have been to America before, so we are absolutely stoked about that! Seeing the road layouts, the gas stations... We are hoping it will feel like we're in a movie haha. Also supporting Tom just makes it that even more special. We are really looking forward to seeing how the American audiences will respond to our music too, and honestly... just eating a massive burger! 

4. Your new single 'Underneath The Sun' is out now, is there any more new music to follow in the near future?
Ye it's out now, we have been getting some amazing feedback all over so thank you everyone for getting involved with that. 100% there is new music to follow, we'll have new music coming out in a month or so and then we intend to keep releasing - an EP or two into our first album. At the moment we are still writing and in that process of picking 'the right' songs for it. Gonna be tufffff!!!

5. Would you rather never wear socks for the rest of your life or always wear gloves?
Hahaaa. Right... I think for me (Dane) it would have to be the gloves, but only if I can cut holes in the top of them, I'd still need to play guitar. 
(Taylor) I'd have to go gloves too, we can't be having smelly shoe feet. No thanks. 

'Underneath The Sun' Review:
This single is a brilliantly upbeat, feel good tune. It's impossible not to tap along, it's definitely a song that symbolises adventure and friendship, which sums up Into The Ark's year. 'Underneath The Sun' is a great road trip montage song, captured in their music video well. I can guarantee it'll be stuck in your head and you'll be looking forward to their next release. 

Into The Ark's Links:

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Contact: musicintimeblog@gmail.com