Friday, 29 July 2016

Feature: Charlotte Lee (29/07/16)

Charlotte Lee is a 20-something singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in London. Her recent single, 'Let The Light In' was released on the 'Lost Songs' album released by Metropolis Studios in June. Charlotte's debut single 'Alive', taken from her debut EP, was chosen as BBC Surrey and Sussex's 'Track of the Day' and has also been featured on Best of British Unsigned. As well as releasing new music, Charlotte's also been gigging around the UK, recording live sessions for various radio stations and some of our readers may recognise her from one of our garden gigs... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was 11. So guitar is my first instrument. But I didn't start singing until I was about 16, when I started TRYING to write songs. I only started taking music seriously about a year ago. I performed at my best friends wedding which inspired me to finally quit my job and give it a proper go! 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Jeeeez. The best that I wasn't there for, would have to be Jeff Buckley at Glastonbury in 1995! Watching it sends shivers down my spine every time! 
In person, it would have to be Fleetwood Mac. They were on my list of people to see before I/they die and they were incredible. I was in a bubble of awe and wonder for the entire set! 
But Stevie Wonder at Hyde Park comes in at a very close second! Also in the running were Bombay Bicycle Club, Lianne Le Havas, and Dolly Parton! I could go on! I find nearly any and all music inspiring when it's performed live! 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I listen to music literally 24 hours a day. I don't even turn it off when I sleep! So pinpointing what I'm listening to at any one time is quite difficult! But right now my favourite finds are Marian Hill, Ady Suleiman, and HONNE. Go check them out, they are all awesome in their own ways. 

3 Qs for Charlotte:

1. Out of the instruments you play, which is your favourite and why?
DRUMS. Definitely drums, who doesn't love whacking stuff with sticks?! 

2. Where do you usually gather inspiration and influences for your songs?
Usually I hear a melody or a riff in my head that plays over and over until it turns into a song! I'm constantly writing lyrics. But one of my favourite ways of writing is going somewhere new and singing into my dictaphone. This is actually how I wrote 'Alive' whilst walking around Berlin at night. The first line 'No bed but at least I got my freedom' was inspired by a bridge that I walked under which had at least five people sleeping rough under the bridge. Which inspired that first line and the rest is history I guess! 

3. Which song on your forthcoming EP did you enjoy creating the most and why does it stand out to you?
Oh blimey... all of them? I worked with Tom Cooper on this EP and we work so well together. We instantly hit it off! He has the balance of enhancing and adding value to the songs without changing them. I honestly couldn't have asked for a better producer! So cheers Tom! 

Random Q:

If you could open a venue, what would it be called, where would it be and what would the opening night entail?
Hmmm. I'm rubbish at naming things! I'm currently sitting outside Portobello Green Arcade, so looked to the shops names for inspiration! 'Isis' was the best choice... So that's what I would call it! It would have to be in Shoreditch and for the opening I would hire a friend of mine who runs a company called 'Snakes and Ladies' to walk about in her burlesque gear with some snakes! For music, I would have Grimes supporting MIA. Writing this I wish it was real and not hypothetical! 

'One' EP Review:
This EP opens with 'Just Can't Let You Go', a stunning guitar led and emotive track, with honest lyrics and piano that compliments the stripped back intro; growing into a fantastic chorus intensified with drums and stunning harmonies. 
The title track and lead single, 'Alive', follows on well and is probably my favourite from the release, introduces the listener to Charlotte's music perfectly with a bit of everything and brilliant rocky section to play your air guitar and drums along to... 
'Bellevue' features wonderful instrumental layering which Charlotte's vocals glide over. The EP closes with 'Balloon', a funky pop / rock track, with great bass lines and skippy drum beat and infectious guitar riffs and memorable hooks in the chorus with built up harmonies. 
Overall, a fantastic debut EP and I'm really excited to hear more from Charlotte in the future! 

Charlotte's Links:

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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

What I'm Listening To... (27/07/16)

1. Tapestry - Liv Dawson
I'm not sure how I came across this song, whether it was on a Spotify playlist, if it was sent to me via a friend, if it popped up as a suggestion on YouTube or what, but now that I've heard it once, I can't stop listening to it. I can't quite pinpoint why I love this song so much, I don't know if it's the lyrics, the steady beat backing the wonderful melody and vocals, or the gleaming guitar and piano piecing the song together but whatever it is, it's got stuck in my head and broken my replay button. 

2. White Flag - Joseph
Barn on the Farm at the start of the month introduced to me to Joseph and their live set. I'd heard one song of Joseph's before I went to the festival and knew there was a lot of hype about them, so made sure that I got to see them, and was left with goosebumps and a tear in my eye. Their set was phenomenal, tight harmonies and an incredible stage presence and performance bringing their powerful folk infused songs together will stay with me for a long time into the future. This is my current favourite of their songs and is taken from their second album, which is set to be released at the end of next month. 

3. Say What You Wanna Say - Tom Gortler
Tom performed at one of our garden gigs over the summer, and he created quite a buzz. He's a talented singer/songwriter and has a wonderful tone and presents his songs fantastically. Tom's an exciting local act to be watching for the future, he's also performing at Always The Sun Festival and we're hoping to work with him on future releases and events too...

4. Lost Boy - Ruth B
I came across this a month or so ago and fell in love with the narrative of the song and consequently listened to it many times and ended up with it stuck in my head. It's a wonderfully enchanting song, and Ruth B is one talented singer/songwriter! I'm excited to listen to her debut EP 'The Intro' as soon as I get a chance to!

5. Shake Shake - Rews
When this song appeared in my inbox a while back, I knew it was going to end up on my iPod and on repeat over the summer. I've already lost count of how many times I've listened to this song, or how many times it's been stuck in my head, I'm a really big fan of Rews' sound and can't wait to hear more from them. If you like PVRIS, you're bound to love them, and if you're a fan of alternative rock, you'll be tapping and singing along in no time!

6. fallingforyou - The 1975
Since their new album was released, I've been revisiting their music and this is one my go-tos from their debut album. It has always been one of my favourites by The 1975 and after a couple of years listening to it and seeing it live, I still haven't got sick of it...

7. Landslide - Oh Wonder
I'm honestly surprised I haven't mentioned Oh Wonder more than what I have already on this blog, seeing them live at Barn on the Farm rekindled my love for them (and it blew me away a little too). Lyrically, they give me goosebumps and musically, I just get a little lost. This is my current favourite from their debut album, closely followed by 'White Blood'.

8. Howling - Ry X
I received Ry X's debut album on vinyl for my birthday, and already it's got a fair few spins. Whilst previously I loved 'Berlin' and 'Sweat' and those were easily my favourite, stand out tracks from the release, having listened to the album through, I'm a big fan of this track too now (as well as all the other songs on the album). Easily my favourite artist at the minute and this is one of my favourite releases of 2016 so far for sure!

9. Here It Goes Again - OK Go
I've also been revisiting my old indie playlists from a few years ago, amongst the obvious, Little Comets, The Wombats, and The Kooks, was Ok Go. I love their clever music videos that accompany their fantastic, upbeat pop songs. Yes, they're the guys that danced on the running machines... 

10. What's It Gonna Be? (Live) - Shura
I've been really enjoying Shura's album and this is a fantastic live performance for Sofar London. Shura has a real talent for moulding her songs to the situation and that's apparent with this stripped back version which is a complete alternative version to the otherwise upbeat and catchy single. It's chilled out and perfect for summer evenings. 

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Monday, 25 July 2016

Feature: Laura Roy (25/07/16)

Laura Roy is a singer/songwriter based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A captivating songwriter, vocalist and college music graduate, Laura has shared the stage with the likes of Canadian RnB sensation Jully Black, JRDN, Ludacris, Rakim and Freddy Gibbs. Laura has also been attending the prestigious Gordie Sampson Songcamp for the past four years, during which she's had the opportunity to write and connect with producers and writers that have worked with the likes of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and many more... Her latest project contains six songs infused with synth-pop, 90's R'n'B and soul and is the product of the last year and a half's experiences and writing... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I always loved music from a very young age but I started singing around age 10 and writing poetry and then eventually began guitar lessons when I was 14. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
I am always inspired in different ways from seeing live performances. I recently saw the Shrek Musical in Halifax and I was blown away. I was never really exposed to musical theatre growing up and I've still yet to see a lot of musicals so I couldn't believe how talented these people were. I also just saw Chic & Nile Rodgers at a Jazz Festival, which was such a dream for me. I left feeling incredibly inspired. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I am constantly listening to music, new and old. Lately, I have been listening to: DVSN, Anderson. Pack, BJ The Chicago Kid, Sade, Fuse ODG, Drake, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Peter Tosh, Fela Kuti, Breakout, Kaytranada, Pusha T, Outkast, Skepta, Kehlani. This is literally my search history for the last week. 

3 Qs for Laura:

1. You've shared the stage with some great artists, but who would be your dream person to perform alongside and at which venue? 
Raphael Saadiq. And if I could I would rather just have a jam session with him... somewhere hot... like, Cuba. 

2. Which is your favourite track form your debut self-titled EP and why does it stand out to you?
My favourite track always changes but I will say that I love 'Full Moon'. It was a closure song for me to write and meant a lot to me. I also just love the vibe of the track and really enjoy singing it. 

3. How much has your writing and creative process changed between your first song and your most recent?
Oh gosh, it's changed a lot. I think I am more free and honest in my writing now and I have just developed more skills as a writer from having more experience. 

Random Q:

If you could only listen to three albums for the rest of the year, which would you pick and why?
D'Angelo - Brown Sugar - Because it's my classic go to album. I need an album I can shower to, cook food to, vibe out to, sing to. 
Fuse ODG - TINA - For dancing purposes. 
Drake - Views - Because I love Drake and I love this album. 

'Plastic' Review:
'Plastic' is a great catchy, summery track. Full of punchy, soulful pop and wonderful vocals, it's reminiscent of Tori Kelly. It's a perfect taster for the rest of Laura's synth and electro infused EP. Laura is creating music that would (and should) easily appear in the charts, the influences make it a project that most people would listen to and find at least one track they enjoyed...

Laura's Links:

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Friday, 22 July 2016

Feature: Polly Money (22/07/16)

Polly Money is a 20 year old singer/songwriter from Cornwall and currently living in London. Her debut EP ''That Guy' EP' was recorded at Sony ATV studios and its release saw her perform in Paris to 80,000 people supporting Muse at the Stade de France. In 2014, Polly graduated with honours from London's Institute of Contemporary Music Performance and was rewarded with her dream gig the week after handing in her dissertation, Glastonbury. This led to continued support from Tom Robinson on 6Music and other performances for BBC Introducing at Port Eliot festival and The Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival. She's also since supported Gabrielle Aplin, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and Newton Faulkner, to name a few! Between regular live gigs and co-hosting 'The Goon Street Kids' a London based live music night, she's now released her newest 6 track EP 'The Adventures of the 90's Kid'... 

General Questions:

1.  How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I played piano from a young age and then around 7 I asked my parents for singing lessons. After that I picked up a guitar at 10 and I pretty much started writing straight away. Getting into music felt very natural and I managed to fall into it without really realising I was doing so. We always had a lot of music playing around the house and in the car and I would always improvise with vocal melodies over the top of songs which then led to writing my own songs I guess.

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you’ve ever seen?
A performance that has definitely stuck with me since I was kid was watching Newton Faulkner at the Hall for Cornwall, it definitely kicked off my passion for guitar playing and I’ve since been lucky enough to play a couple of gigs with the man himself. More recently though I saw John Mayer at the 02 Arena in London and John Legend at Hammersmith Apollo, both of which where equally inspiring and epic shows.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to quite a bit of Blood Orange and Bon Iver recently. I’ve known about Bon Iver for a while but never really got into his music, then a friend of mine played him in the car whilst we were on tour recently and I’ve since not stopped listening to ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’.

3 Qs for Polly:

1. How much has changed between your debut EP 'The 'That Guy'' and your latest release 'The Adventures of The 90's Kid'?
I think generally growing up has played a big part in the difference between the two EP’s. I’m still very much a kid at heart but a lot can happen in 3 years. After playing a ton of gigs and really trying to soak up different styles of music it was cool to go be able to go into the studio with a better idea of what I wanted this record in particular to sound like. When I did ‘That Guy’ I was 17/18 and really only just discovering a style. Whereas some of the song’s on ‘The 90’s Kid’ are more personal and about moments I’ve experienced over the last few years. Some of those songs I’ve had kicking about for a while and some I finished in the studio just before we hit record. For me I think the more you write the more you learn how to convey a message in a song. I’ve learnt a lot from these EP’s so I’m looking forward to the next project.

2. Which three countries would you most like to tour and why? 
America, UK (all of it) and Germany.
I’ve been to America a couple of times and I absolutely love it over there, so I reckon it would be a lot of fun to tour around. The Uk because it’s where this musical adventure started. I also went to Germany last year to gig and the welcome was so lovely so I want to go back and tour more for a longer period of time.

3. What process did you go through creating ‘It Would Be Ok’ and how did it differ from the other tracks from ‘The Adventures Of The 90’s Kid’?
'It Would Be Ok' was a song I wrote at college a few years ago quite quickly on the piano for a writing brief we had. I seriously didn’t think it was a song I would take forward until I sent it to a friend and he was really digging it. We then worked on the lyrics and structure, getting it to the point it is now and then took it into the studio. I always had quite a clear idea of how I wanted it to sound. It’s definitely more RnB than the others which is something I want to incorporate more with my style going forward.

Random Q:

1.  Three things you miss from the 90’s?
Super Mario
Art Attack

'The Adventures of The 90's Kid' Review:
The EP opens with '5'5', a track that summarises Polly's sound and themes perfectly. It holds a catchy  melody, cleverly written and nostalgic lyrics and toe-tapping  rhythms, it's a song that's bound to get stuck in your head. 'Cinematic Calling' has a stunning electric guitar led intro, it starts slower with wonderful vocals and gradually builds into a hip hop beat led chorus. The lead single from the EP, 'It Would Be Ok', follows on well with smooth keys that grow into a gritty chorus straight out of the 90's charts, created with more catchy lyrics and melodies and a Justin Timberlake-esque vibe running throughout. 
'Reigning Pink Bananas' is an energetic track that fits within the release well and cements Polly's sound. My favourite track from the release is 'Jimmy's Got A Gun', Polly's vocals are complimented by guitar and beats and the bass underlines the track and riffs are injected throughout. The EP is closed with 'Goodnight', a slower piano led ballad, full to the brim of honest and emotive lyrics. This is a powerful track and a contrast to the other tracks, however it still owns the Polly Money trademark sound with added dramatic drum beats and beeping to heart monitors, it's a clever piece of music. Overall, a brilliant EP, full of fun, honest, upbeat songs, and we've included it in our 12 Albums of 2016 so far, so it's got to be good! 

Polly's Links:

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Spotlight: Shura (20/07/16)

Shura is an talented singer/songwriter and producer from Manchester, England. She started playing the guitar when she was 13 years old and started recording music at 16, going on to work with producer Hiatus, being featured on six tracks on their 'Parklands' album. Shura's debut single 'Touch' gained lots of positive attention, especially from blogs, leading to 'Just Once' and 'Indecision' following as two other singles the same year. She then went on to be long listed in the BBC Sound of 2015 poll, released two more singles, an EP (in the US) and performed at festivals including Bestival, Festival No6, and Latitude. Now she's releasing her hugely anticipated debut album 'Nothing's Real'... 

'Nothing's Real' Review:
'Nothing's Real' is Shura's debut album, which doesn't seem apparent on first listen, Shura has waited to create a unique and personalised sound that stands out against other indie pop and electro music currently causing waves in the world of music. There's a real mixture of songs amongst the 13 tracks on this release, including '(i)' and '(ii)', an introduction to the album and an interlude just over half way through. Two emotive and raw tracks created using a audio of old home videos and backed by wonderful soundscapes, a clever and touching aspect to the biographical theme that runs through the release.
The title track 'Nothing's Real' is the result of a panic attack and a trip to the hospital, which is apparent by the frank and honest lyrical portrayal in contrast to an upbeat track, at times intense, gritty electronic layers, and heavily 80's inspired (even a slight Ghostbusters feel to it). 'What's It Gonna Be?' the latest single from the album follows on well; it's an incredibly infectious track which is impossible not to dance or at least tap along to, and the lyrics are brought to life by the accompanying narrative of the music video perfectly.
'Touch' was the second song of Shura's I ever heard, after 'Just Once', which unfortunately didn't make it onto the album. It's easily her most popular single to date; the duality of stripped back piano sections and continuous gentle vocals with layered beats and synths make it a memorable track not just from the release, but also in the world of electronic indie pop music at the minute.
'Kids 'n' Stuff' is a generally slower track with the same honest lyrical approach that flows throughout all of Shura's work. It also has a fantastic breakdown bringing the song to a close, blending the ending with the intro to 'Indecision' flawlessly. Another popular single, and a brilliantly catchy track that is often stuck in my head.
The repetitions of 'I was never ready', from the track 'What Happened To Us?', echo alongside fantastic synths and rhythm, complimented by a groovy bass line. Similarly 'Tongue Tied', 'Make It Up', and '2Shy', fill out the release with more brilliant trademark Shura tracks.
The album finishes with 'White Light' and 'Space Tapes', two tracks that make up 20 minutes between them. Full of etheral electric guitar, upbeat and infectious riffs, rhythms and soundscapes, creating atmospheric, spacey tracks.
It's so wonderful to be able to listen to a 13 track album full of different genres, themes, pace and styles throughout, not only in the end product of sound but also inspirations and influences. Shura has a true talent for creating new and exciting music and that's apparent with this debut album! 

Shura's Links:

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Monday, 18 July 2016

Feature: The Marlenes (18/07/16)

The Marlenes are a three-piece garage/indie/surf-pop band from the Mornington Peninsula, Australia, and formed in 2014. Following on from their 2015 release 'Jumpin' Cliff', a five song EP, which managed to get some airplay around the country with their single 'Cakewalk'. They've now released their debut album 'Crawl Out Your Window' and supported the release with a run of shows throughout Melbourne...

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
We started a band when we were about 21-22 and started to write our own music when we couldn't decide on what covers to play.

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you’ve ever been to?
The Hives with Howlin Pelle doing his thing.

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
The Beatles, The Murlocs and King Gizzard.

3 Qs for The Marlenes:

1. Which country would you most like to tour and which two artists/bands would you want to tour with?
Peru, with Paul Mccartney opening,  and Donald Dank & The Naughty Boys during the intermission.

2. When creating your ‘My Blue Eyes’, the first single from your album, was it a collective effort or did you have specific roles within the band?
It was recorded after a long day of beachcombing, and everyone played their specific roles, very well.

3. Which track from your forthcoming debut album ‘Crawl Out Your Window’ are you most apprehensive / excited for people to hear and why? 
Lazy Saturdays. It is a trippy number and a bit different from what we usually play.

Random Q:

1. If you could have a pizza named after you, what would it be called and what would the toppings be?
The Cheesy Marlenie, it would consist of 7 different types of cheese, one from each continent.

'My Blue Eyes' Review:
This is a fantastic indie pop/rock track with infectious riffs and resonating guitars, a toe tapping rhythm and brilliant bass line adding to the layers. Unique and raw vocals bring the melody and lyrics to life, with a underlining rock 'n' roll blues vibe running throughout and harmonica to bring the song to an end. If you like this short energetic track, you're bound to love the rest of their 'Crawl Out Your Window' album! 

The Marlenes' Links:

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