Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Feature: Aiden Best (23/04/14)

Aiden Best is a solo acoustic artist from Wolverhampton, playing Wolverhampton's famous Wulfrun Hall and Liverpool's World famous Cavern Club numerous times, and enjoyed trips to London to discuss the band's future with various labels, as well as two sets in the world famous Hyde Park as part of the BT London Live festival in celebration of the London 2012 Olympics.

General Questions...

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how? 

I'd say I was around 11 when I got into music seriously, it was kind of an accident too, I mean I've always loved music and got into bands like Green Day when I was nine or ten, but my brother and I always had this competitive thing when we were kids and we'd always get the same Christmas presents, one year he decided he wanted a guitar and naturally, so did I. I wasn't expecting it to grip me as much as it did, and then I started getting involved in bands and writing songs and then the rest is mediocre Wolverhampton history.

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you've been to?
I've lost track of the amount of gigs I've been to, so it's hard to narrow it down to just one. But I think the most inspiring for would have to be seeing Green Day back in 09 on their 21st Century Breakdown tour. My brother and I queued for about six hours and the whole night was just awesome. After that night, I knew that being a musician was all I'd ever want to be.

3. What have you been listening to lately?
I listen to an absolute tonne of music, and lately, strange as it seems I've been listening to a lot of Jay-Z (don't judge too much!). Other than that, I don't go a day without listening to The Gaslight Anthem, and other listening pleasures of mine also include Jake Bugg, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Ed Sheeran and almost everything else. Also, I met a girl from Pennsylvania recently at a show we were both playing who goes by the name of Zaria, her EP 'To The Wolves' gets a spin nearly every day, everyone should check that out, lyrically and vocally genius. Zaria will also be on the bill for the In Hopes Of Better Life launch show at The Grainstore, Wolverhampton, April 24th (SHAMELESS PLUG I KNOW).

3 Questions for Aiden...

1. Who influences you, your music and your lyrics?

Without a doubt, my biggest influence is Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem. He's a brilliant lyricist and has a way of capturing what's going on in his life at the time in a way that I can relate to in almost every song he writes. I try and incorporate that in my own songs when I write, because if people can't relate to your songs, there's really no point in writing them.
My lyrics are influenced mainly by things that happen in my life, I like the idea of telling stories through songs. For instance track two off the EP 'Emerald City' is about a good friend I had that moved away for uni, but with the lyrics to that I try to liken what happened there to the story of the Wizard Of Oz 'you're just like Dorothy on the yellow road, I'm like the family that you will leave at home'.

2. Where do you hope to be in three years time?
Not in debt from uni! (We can all wish can't we?) On a serious note I'd quite like to be playing music full time, hopefully all around the world.

3. Which three tracks from your EP 'In Hopes of Better Life' are you most looking forward to sharing and why?
I'm really proud of all the tracks on the EP, especially as it's my debut. Gazz Rogers (producer) did an ace job of getting the best out of the songs, so it's hard to choose three. I'd say 'Every Saturday Night', 'Love Of A Nation' and 'Sing It To Me' are the ones I'm most looking forward to sharing because there's a lot of work that went into instrumentation on those, for instance I play piano quite a lot on these tracks along with lead guitar parts and some vocal harmonies I didn't even know I could do. I think those three tracks showcase me as a musician best, showing people there's more to me than the lad that plays guitar every night. 

Random Q:

Favourite hot drink? 
At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic, I'd have to say mulled wine (only at Christmas, fresh from the German Market in Birmingham!) 

Aiden Best's Links:
'Love Of A Nation' (from Hopes Of A Better Life EP)

Thanks for reading! 

Twitter: @musicintimeblog

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Spotlight: Talk In Colour (22/04/14)

Talk In Colour are a London based five-piece, the band have been building their live reputation and growing in the London music scene. Describing their sound as 'cinematic future pop', they create a combination of electronica, folk and indie, built with live instruments and bass-lines. Their new single 'The Cell' is fuelled with their unique mix of raw sound, percussion and distorted guitars. Their new single is out now! 

'The Cell' Review:

If you're a fan of Alt-J or The XX, you'll love this track and if you're fan of any other genre of music, I'm sure you'll like this song as well! When listening to this track for the first time, I listened to mainly the instrumental backing and it reminded me of some of Depeche Mode's work, but then add the melodies and harmonic vocals it becomes a little more reminiscent of The XX. Emotive lyrics really add to the bass-lines and percussion and I love the arrangement of the instruments throughout the track. The build of the track also allows you to listen to it all the way to the end without getting distracted by the outside world. This will be added to my car playlist and played over and over again.

Talk In Colour's Links:

Check It Out!

Chart: Waves - Mr Probz

'Waves' is a song from Dutch hip hop artist Mr. Probz, initially released in Netherlands in November 2013, it did well in the Dutch Top 40, but a few months on after a popular remix by Robin Shulz, the original is currently sat at #1 in the UK Singles Chart. 

Live Performance: Scream (Funk My Life Up) - Paolo Nutini

Paolo Nutini performed on Graham Norton the other day to promote his recent single 'Scream (Funk My Life Up)' from his third studio album 'Caustic Love' a little more built up and funky than his previous music, this one is still sure to be a success! 

Scream (Funk My Life Up) - Paolo Nutini (link)

Cover: Ready For Your Love - Indiana

Indiana is known for her track 'Solo Dancing', and is becoming more well known as the days go by for her music. She recorded this cover in the Live Lounge and I've been obsessed with it these past couple of days! 'Ready For Your Love' is originally by Gorgon City featuring vocals from MNEK and was a chart success peaking at #4 in the UK Singles Chart. Enjoy! 

Youtube: She Will Be Loved - charlez360

Charlez360 uploads saxophone covers to Youtube regularly, I haven't listened to one that I don't like so far. Trying to choose which one to post here was really hard, but this cover manages to put across the emotion of this song better than vocals ever did (sorry!) and is a recent one as well. Enjoy this one and definitely make sure you go check out all his others! 

Thanks for reading! 

Twitter: @musicintimeblog

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Spotlight: Kimberly Anne (15/04/14)

Kimberly Anne, a South London born singer/songwriter, inspired by artists such as Billie Holiday, Tracy Chapman and Lauryn Hill, has ventured into the world of music. Starting out performing at her local poetry nights, after an encouraging few words from a booker, she admitted to accidentally becoming a songwriter. After a series of UK shows with HAIM, Jake Bugg, John Newman, Lewis Watson, Bipolar Sunshine and Hudson Taylor, Kimberly Anne's is a name that is beginning to stick and appear more and more.
She's a true DIY artist, starting with drum kits made from tables, condenser microphones duct taped to mops and loads of layered vocals and claps. Now her second EP 'Hard As Hello' is out and people are even more excited about this upcoming artist!

'Hard As Hello' EP Review:

The general sound of the 'Hard As Hello' EP is great! Starting with the title track 'Hard As Hello' really summarises the overall sound of the EP, it changes pace, builds and simplifies again. Definitely a great one to introduce anyone to Kimberly and her music. The guitar, beats, harmonies, lyrics and vocals throughout the whole EP is fantastic and means it is constantly on repeat. 'Start Over' and 'Wasteland' are a bit more mellow, still true to Kimberly's sound but they seem to have more 'lump in the throat' lyrics and a gentle acoustic theme compared to the title track and remix of the EP.  The EP finishes with a remix by Bastille of the title track, it's a good one, and is a great mix of musicians working on one track, and one Kimberly must be proud of! I think this shows how far she has come as well as her music in the last couple of years especially!

Overall, this EP is definitely one to download and listen to (A LOT!), it's a great four tracks put together for any mood! The official video for 'Hard As Hello' is also a very clever one and worth a watch!

Kimberly's Links:
Twitter: (@kimberlyanneiam)

Check It Out!

Chart: Nobody To Love - Sigma

Currently sat at #2 in the UK Singles Chart, after peaking at #1 on the first day of the track's release. 'Nobody To Love' was originally a bootleg remix of Kanye West's 'Bound 2' and was released for free download on 24th January 2014. The British pop duo Sigma, then reworked it into an original track, which became really popular, selling over 121,000 copies in the first week. 

Live Performance: Stars - Collabro

After only being together for a month when they auditioned for Britain's Got Talent, Collabro a group of 5 British boys, got four yeses from the judges! They are definitely a twist to the usual 'boy band', performing a cover of 'Stars' from the musical Les Mis, and gaining a standing ovation, this is a great live performance! 

Cover: Burn - Josh Record

Josh Record is an upcoming singer/songwriter with huge backing from the likes of Zane Lowe. His previous EPs have all done well in the singer/songwriter charts and he his debut album is due for release on 14th July (2014), which I'm really looking forward to! Here he is covering Ellie Goulding's hit 'Burn'. 

Classic: Just The Two Of Us - Bill Withers

A R&B song from Bill Withers, 'Just The Two Of Us' was released in 1981. It reached #2 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for three weeks. The track also won a Grammy for 'Best R&B Song', there have been many famous covers and parodies of the track, from the likes of Bill Cosby and Will Smith and sampled in many others. 

Thanks for reading! 

Twitter: @musicintimeblog

Friday, 11 April 2014

What I'm Listening To... (11/04/14)

Again, I’ve been listening to a range of music, mainly because I’ve been doing loads of different things in the past couple of months, from trying to chill myself out, to doing coursework, to doing lots of planning and driving around in preparation for a driving test, as well as doing some running and walking.
I’ve been relying on Spotify shuffle and iTunes free track of the weeks to inspire my music choice at the minute, two songs that haven’t made it onto this list, but are still definitely worth noting down are ‘Tsunami’ by DVBBS & Borgeous and ‘Can You Hear Me?’ by Dan Croll. The following songs are a summary of what I’ve been able to listen to nearly every day…

1. Hard As Hello – Kimberly Anne
Kimberly Anne was a Youtube find for me a fairly long time ago. I’ve also had her on repeat recently and love her new EP ‘Hard As Hello’. She’s recently supported Saint Raymond at his sold-out headline gig at Borderline, London. Hard As Hello is a great song, and Bastille have also done an incredibly good remix, that’s also worth checking out!
2. All I Ever Wanted – The Human League
I was introduced to The Human League’s album ‘Secrets’ only a couple of weeks ago, it’s a great album and is definitely true to their previous stuff, and makes me want to listen to their 2011 album. ‘All I Ever Wanted’ is my favourite track from the album, I’m not sure whether it’s because it’s the first one I heard, more catchy, or not, but it’s definitely one to have a listen to!
3. Walk This Way – MØ
This is a definite sunny day driving song. This Danish singer reminds me slightly of Lorde, but it’s a little more bearable after hearing it over and over again. It’s also a catchy track without getting in your head for hours on end, if that’s possible?

4. Without – Sampha
Another driving song, it is so chilled and really easy to listen to. The track is a little reminiscent of Bastille, but he’s worked with the likes of Drake, Jessie Ware and Katy B. Definitely one to watch out for in the summer!
5. Make It To Me – Sam Smith
Sam Smith has appeared in many playlists of mine in the past couple of months, I love all his songs and enjoy every single second of listening to his music. I think this one stands out to me as one of my favourites, purely because it’s great song that you can listen to in pretty much any mood.
6. Cold Front – Laura Welsh
Yet another good driving song…  Laura is a singer/songwriter from Staffordshire but is now based in London. She’s another breakthrough artist for this year, I love the general ‘sound’ of the song, great vocals and it’s another one to sing along to! Possibly a slightly different twist on Lorde’s sound?
7. Oats in the Water – Ben Howard (and the rest of Burgh Island EP)
The usual guitar and haunting style of some of Ben’s tracks is highlighted in this song and the whole of this EP. I can listen to it all quite easily, it’s a very haunting sound, with lyrics, vocals and guitar but it’s a great one to chill out to, when you’re in a ‘coursework is pulling me down’ type mood.
8. Riptide – Vance Joy
This really simple sounding song has been on repeat for ages! I love the Australian singer/songwriter Vance Joy and his other tracks are really good as well! It’s a catchy song and one I’ll definitely be learning on the ukulele!

9. Skinny Genes (cover)– Philippa Manuel
Philippa is an upcoming artist, that is pretty much unheard of. She’s only been uploading covers and an original (which is also really good) for the past couple of weeks. Fortunately for me, Philippa is my friend and so I’m one of the first people to hear her music, consequently I’ve had this in my head recently!
10. Bloodflows – SOHN

With his debut album ‘Tremors’ about to be released, I’m really excited to hear the overall sound. If this song is anything to go by, I’m sure it’ll be a great album. It’s a good song for getting things done, with  great vocals and a drums and electronic backing.

Thanks for reading! 

Twitter: @musicintimeblog

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Feature: Bwani Junction (08/04/14)

Bwani Junction are an alternative group from Scotland. Fergus, Jack, Rory and Dan have recently supported Little Comets on their tour and have had previous success in the music scene. Headlined the BBC Introducing stage at T in the Park in 2011 and played Hogmanay Concert in 2012. They were also nominated for Scottish Album of the Year in 2012, these guys are definitely a band to watch! Here’s an interview with lead singer, Rory! 

General Questions... 

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?

We were all involved in music quite early as we come  from musical families, but we started playing together when we were 10, for me it was because I was choosing between a career in football or music at the time, and I'm shit at football. No brain-er.

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you've been to? 
For me it was John Prine, he is one of my idols and I saw him in Glasgow. He's pretty old now but he can still do a 3 hour set, and hold the crowd in the palm of his hand for the whole show. Very impressive. The guys might say Paul Simon at Hyde Park though, which was also incredible. We were backstage so we got to see him play the whole of 'Graceland' with 'Ladysmith' up close and personal. Kind of ridiculous when you think about it. Start a band with your pals and few years later you're watching Paul Simon from his backstage bit (we weren't invited in there though, that was a skilled capture the flag mission).

3. What have you been listening to lately?
I've been listening to lately to a bit of DIIV, and Blackbird for whoever's interested. Check em lot!

3 Questions for Bwani Junction...

1. You're all from Scotland, but how did you form and where did the name come from 'Bwani Junction' come from?

We were at school together, the name comes from a novel by John Masters. It's the story of the British leaving India, and the half British, half Indian off spring of soldiers having to choose to stay or go. There was just something about the name that attracted us and it suited the music so we played about with it for a while until Jack's (drummer) Granddad told us a story of she he met John Masters on a boat. The story goes that he boarded with a lady on each arm and a bear he had rescued. Our kind of guy. History doesn't relate as to where the bear actually came from but it became a member of Jack's family or a while, and sat shotgun in their jeep scaring traffic. We reckoned this was a good enough reason to name our band after one of his books.

2. You've just been touring with Little Comets, which song do you enjoy performing the most and why?
Always the newest song. There's always something really exciting about writing a new piece of material. Every song, whether it's a hit or not is the most important song you have ever written for a moment in time, so playing a new song for the first time live is a real thrill. We tend to jump the gun a lot and play songs that aren't even finished so we'll all still be improvising our parts. So if you hear some questionable lyrics at a show this is why. My go to word is snowman.

3. What process did you go through creating 'Caveman' musically and visually? 
'Caveman' is a song we have been planning for years in different guises. It originally sounded nothing like does now. We were going through a strange phase of trying to be semi instrumental at the time, so there was only one or two repeated phrases of lyric at the beginning (a bit like some jamming jazz song) we tried to record it like that and our producer Paul pumped the breaks. So it didn't make it onto the first record, we went back to it during pre-production for the second record and thought we could change it up a bit. Jack started playing his best ''when the levy breaks'' kind of drumbeat and it seemed to make sense. It all kind of fell into place from there.
As for the visuals, it's usually spun off the lyric of the song. It didn't feel like the kind of song we could do another tongue in cheek kind of video for, so we went down a different route. The song is about desire so the video features a girl that we are all chasing. The slight oriental bend is to do with Dan's guitar part at the start of the song. Videos are still something we are really keen on, it's important for bands to spend a lot of time on the visual aspect of their music as it can change people's opinions of a band. We still have a lot of exploring to do in this area (and some practise acting).

Random Q...

Late nights/early mornings?

Both. We never rest!

Bwani Junction's Links:

Check It Out!

Chart: Whispers - Passenger

After a successful debut album, Passenger is starting to release singles from his second album, which is due to be released 9th June (2014). The track 'Whispers' is already in the singer/songwriter chart at #8. True to his soothing acoustic rock self, this song makes me excited for his upcoming release. 

Live Performance: The Hardest Part - Nina Nesbitt

Nina Nesbitt is a Scottish singer/songwriter who has been growing into the music scene over the last couple of years. Nina's chart hits have been upbeat and catchy tunes and not many people know her for the slower songs, such as 'Jessica' and 'The Funeral' (both songs worth a listen). This is a live performance for Transmitter of one of her favourite tracks from her debut album 'Peroxide'. 

Cover: Ready For Your Love - Wilkinson

Wilkinson always delivers a good cover in sessions, and chooses the right vocalists for each song too. Ready For Love, originally by Gorgon City with MNEK, released in 26th January (2014). It peaked at #4 in the UK Singles Chart. 

Youtube: Burn (cover) - Casey Cooper

Casey Cooper is an American drummer, who has been playing drums for the past 15 years. This cover stands out to the others as he nearly performed with Ellie at her BRITs performance, plus, it's a drum cover with fire sticks, what more could you want? All his covers are great, and he's uploaded some drum solos too... 

Thanks for reading! 

Twitter: @musicintimeblog

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Feature: Bengal Lancers (01/04/14)

Bengal Lancers are a London based trio, formed in October 2012, whilst they were study at University of Leicester. Growing their presence in the Leicester music scene, they are now headlining shows and being asked at social events too. They have also played alongside Rudimental and Wretch 32 on the main stage at their university summer ball. They have now released their debut EP 'Flood Sessions'
I sent over some questions to Harry, Charlie and Max, and here's their answers!

General Questions...

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?

H: I got involved with music when I was about 12. My older brother had been playing guitar for a couple months and naturally got jealous. I remember being in the car, and he'd stuck on the 'Bleed American' album by Jimmy Eat World, and the solo in 'Get It Faster' just set it in stone. I picked up a guitar and haven't put it down since.

C: I think I was 7 when I first began playing the piano, and then a few years later I started on the trombone! I had a very classical background learning music until I was about 15 and decided to take two of the strings off an old acoustic guitar and teach myself to play bass by playing alone to whatever I was listening to at the time.

M: All of my early musical exposure came from my Dad, who played guitar, piano and accordion, and listened to all sorts. He made me a mix tape when I was about 7, and all I can remember from it was Nirvana and Flanders and Swann. I played his guitar here and there when I was a bit older and one birthday he gave it to me, and that was the real beginning! I only picked the drums a few years ago though.

2. What is the most inspiring gig/concert/festival you've been to?

H: Probably Arcade Fire at Reading 2010. It was euphoric, one of the best shows, but in regards to festivals, Sziget all the way, 7 days in heaven and some of the best line ups ever.

C: I can't look past the first ever gig that I went to, which was Muse at Wembley Arena on the Black Holes... tour. That was when I realised that making music was something I really wanted to do.

M: It has no relevance to what we play, but I saw Rammenstein at Download Festival last year, and their live show was incredible. It was like some sort of fiery death pantomime, ridiculous but standard-setting.

3. What have you been listening to lately? 

H: The new Wild Beasts album has been pretty much on repeat, and I've somehow only just stumbled upon The National: 'Trouble Will Find Me', pretty much keeps me sane at work.

C: I've been listening a lot to the new Bombay Bicycle Club album lately, but apart from that I've been going through a bit of a phase where I've been going back to a lot of music, I haven't listened to for a long time.

M: I've been a bit all over the place, but things like Elbow, Franz Ferdinand, Bahamas (who I really recommend), then at the other end of the spectrum things like Bullet For My Valentine.

3 Questions for Bengal Lancers...

1. How did you form as a band and how did the name 'Bengal Lancers' come about? 

H: All three of us were close friends at university. In first year, I ended up winning an open mic competition in halls, and Charlie came up to me after saying we should have a jam. We started performing under the name Bengal Lancers after a month or so, performing small scale gigs at local venues.
Somehow, we never thought to ask Max to drum for us until the end of second year. We gelled instantly and things just went on from there.
The name came from the end of the Wes Anderson film 'Darjeeling Limited' - there's a scene where The Kinks is playing in the background, the main characters leap on to this train called the 'Bengal Lancer' and it stood out straight away.

2. You've performed alongside the likes of Wretch 32 and Rudimental, but which three artists/bands would you like to tour with and why? 

H: For me it'd be Frightened Rabbit at the moment, I'm a massive fan and they look like they'd be a laugh to tour with.

C: I think touring with Foals would be awesome, I think we've got a little bit in common with their sound and I think it would work really well.

M: I'd love to play alongside Franz Ferdinand, because I feel we have complementary styles, as well as a similar vibe on stage. They seem like they'd be good guys too!

3. What process did you go through writing and producing 'The Flood Sessions' EP? 

H: We began to work on 'The Flood Sessions' EP in October 2013 and was recorded at Brick Lane studios. It took about two months to complete, due to a series of mishaps, which actually resulted in the name - the day before we were scheduled to go in, a septic pipe broke outside and the whole studio got flooded. In the words of the email we received: "the carpet is wet and the general situation unsanitary".
In the end the 'Flood Sessions' stuck, and to be honest it sounded a lot nicer than 'Shit Mix'.
'Brick by Brick' started off as an old riff we'd had kicking about for ages, I remember Charlie and I working on it and it had some dubsteppy breakdown at one point... it was awful.
When we finally looked back at it with Max, the vibe totally changed and it became this almost disco-y drum track. It's definitely one of our favourite live tracks, the 'Live Learn Love' breakdown gives us a chance to go mental.
The Shakes: We knew this had to be the finishing track on the EP straight away. It was the first track we really all wrote together almost by accident. Charlie started laying down a bass line during a rehearsal and we just started messing with it.
It pretty much came about straight away, we still have the original demo of us in the room and you can tell it would become 'The Shakes' without a doubt. It's become a sort of show stopper, we like to leave it tip last then blow people away.

Random Q...

If you could, what would you change your name to?

Without a doubt we would have to change our name to 'Spicy Giraffe'.

Check It Out!

Chart: The Man - Aloe Blacc

'The Man' is a track by American singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc, it was only released two days ago, and is already sat at #1 in the UK Singles Chart. It samples Elton John's 'Your Song', which adds to the track, which is the second song from his third studio album. 

Live Performance: Nearly Morning - Luke Sital-Singh and Gabrielle Aplin 

'Nearly Morning' is one of Luke's tracks and is featured on his most recent of three EPs 'Tornadoes'. In this live performance he shares the stage with Gabrielle Aplin, mainly known for her John Lewis cover of 'Power of Love', but more recently also 'Home' and 'Salvation' appearing lots on BBC and ITV, this is a truly stunning performance from the pair and one I'm sure you'll enjoy! 

Cover: Thrift Shop - Marie Nahon

A popular song back from 2012, by American duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Here is Marie Nahon, a French artist, over on Soundcloud, it's definitely a unique twist on a 'tune' from Summer, enjoy!

Youtube: Willow - Jasmine Thompson

Jasmine Thompson is a 13 year old singer from London. She has been uploading videos to Youtube for the past two years, she's also reached #32 in the UK Singles Chart with her cover of Chaka Khan's hit 'Ain't Nobody', which was used on a Sainsbury's advert. All of her covers are great, and I suggest just going through her videos, but here's an original from her recent release. Enjoy! 

Before you go... 
'Renegade' a local band to me, are aiming to play at Download Festival, they need as many votes as they can get, so here's the link, give them a listen and a vote! :) 

Thanks for reading! 

Twitter: @musicintimeblog