Tuesday, 31 December 2019

12 Albums of 2019

We're going back to old school Music In Time Blog, to share our favourite 12 albums of the past 12 months. We've also been lucky enough to see the majority of these musicians bring each album to life over the past year as well; in no particular order, enjoy our favourite releases of 2019...

No Words Left - Lucy Rose
Release Date: 22nd March
Genre: Folk
Tracks: 11
Singles: Conversation/Solo(w)/Treat Me Like A Woman

I've seen Lucy Rose perform live a few times now, and whenever I listen to her recorded material it always transports me back to those moments. This album translates her live sound perfectly, her vulnerability, story-telling and musicianship all come to life. The first song I heard from this album was 'Solo(w)', at a much needed point in my life, and I fell in love with it. Now listening to the vinyl since the release, I've found that 'Conversation' and 'Nobody Comes Round Here' are also new favourites. 

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? - Billie Eilish
Release Date: 29th March
Genre: Pop
Tracks: 14 | 17 (Re-Issue Bonus)
Singles: Bitches Broken Hearts/You Should See Me In A Crown/When The Party's Over/Come Out and Play/When I Was Older/Bury A Friend/Wish You Were Gay/Bad Guy/All The Good Girls Go To Hell/Everything I Wanted

I'd heard of Billie Eilish awhile ago, around the time that 'Ocean Eyes' gained popularity, but then Billie's music blew up! An album dripping with heavy bass, steady beats, catchy melodies and incredible riffs. 'When The Party's Over' was the first song I really enjoyed from the album, with 'Bad Guy' being the guilty pleasure to sing along to. Now, the latest release 'Everything I Wanted', is easily one of my favourite songs of 2019. Billie and Finneas really are a dream team. 

Colours - Walking On Cars
Release Date: 12th April
Genre: Indie Pop
Tracks: 9
Singles: Monster/Coldest Water

Walking On Cars' debut album 'Everything This Way' has been a favourite album of mine for the past three years, so the follow up album had a lot to live up to. 'Colours' stepped up to the mark and after seeing the band perform the majority of songs live, I'm an even bigger fan. They've done an acoustic version of 'Monster', which is a definite highlight from the album, as well as 'Two Straight Lines' and 'One Last Dance'

Cuz I Love You - Lizzo
Release Date: 19th April
Genre:  Pop / R&B
Tracks: 11 | 14 (Deluxe) | 16 (Super Deluxe)
Singles: Juice/Tempo/Water Me/Truth Hurts/Boys/Good As Hell

I haven't been a huge fan of songs that have made it into the charts this year, but I have loved every song of Lizzo's that has made it into the Top 40. I watched her session Tiny Desk Concert in the summer and that's what made me listen to her album. Lizzo brings a great mix of soul and R&B in this release, and it's refreshing. It was that session that also made me love 'Cuz I Love You', I've had 'Boys' stuck in my head for a good section of time, and of course 'Truth Hurts', thanks to that infamous live performance at BET Awards featuring Sasha The Flute. 

Not Waving, But Drowning - Loyle Carner
Release Date: 19th April
Genre: Hip Hop
Tracks: 15
Singles: Ottolenghi / You Don't Know / Loose Ends

Loyle Carner's releases have been a favourite of mine for a little while now, and this album is no exception. Jam packed with collaborations featuring Tom Misch, Jorja Smith, and his own Mum, amongst others. The lead single 'Ottolenghi' has a calming, soulful tone and a story to tell, 'Loose Ends' compliments Jorja's stunning vocals with Loyle's emotive words; and whilst the focus is more on Loyle's Mum, Jean, the poetic, 'Dear Ben' is one of my favourite tracks from the album. Listen to it and you'll understand exactly why. 

Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent - Lewis Capaldi
Release Date: 17th May
Genre: Pop
Tracks: 12 | 15 (Deluxe)
Singles: Bruises/Lost On You/Fade/Grace/Someone You Loved/Hold Me While You Wait

The breakthrough artist of 2019 is undoubtedly, Lewis Capaldi. His songs have featured in every nook and cranny of the year, and I was lucky enough to see him live at Barn On The Farm in the summer. His set was half live music therapy session, and half stand up comedy. I genuinely love every single song on this album, but 'Maybe' is a lesser known highlight for me. I think 'Bruises' and 'Grace' would have to be in my top three as well. 

i,i - Bon Iver
Release Date: 9th August
Genre: Folktronica
Tracks: 13
Singles: Hey Ma/U (Man Like)/Faith/Jelmore

Bon Iver are one of my longstanding favourites. They truly evolve with each release and i,i is up there as their most experimental, taking another step away from their original folk vibe, closing in on electronica but still tying the two together. I first heard 'Hey Ma' live at All Points East earlier in the year, and was worried, but with time, it's grown into a highlight of the album. However, 'Naeem' and 'Jelmore' were favourites from the first listen and I am now super excited to see Bon Iver live again next year. 

Good Luck, Kid - Joseph
Release Date: 13th September
Genre: Folk
Tracks: 13
Singles: Fighter/Good Luck Kid/Green Eyes

Another longstanding favourite of mine is Joseph, in fact I'd go as far to say they are my ultimate favourite. From the first time seeing them on an early slot Saturday morning at Barn On The Farm a few years ago, to now, their third studio album. Their music holds a real passion and grit that you don't often find elsewhere. My stand out single is the title track 'Good Luck, Kid', punchy, rocky and catchy. The songs that hold more meaning to me and therefore are my other two favourites, have to be 'Revolving Door' and 'Enough In Your Eyes', but I genuinely would recommend listening from start to finish - you won't be disappointed! 

Philophobia - Amber Run
Release Date: 27th September
Genre: Indie Rock
Tracks: 11
Singles: Affection/Neon Circus/The Darkness Has A Voice/What Could Be As Lonely As Love/Carousel

Amber Run are back! A Music In Time favourite. Their latesst album 'Philophobia' translates well to their live set and really holds a lot of emotion. They released 'Carousel' last year and it definitely whet the appetite for fans. Renowned for their gritty bass and guitar riffs, punchy drums and emotive and powerful vocals bringing the lyrics to each song to life. Another song that fits in with that vibe and was incredible to see live was 'Neon Circus', opposite to that is the stunning 'Amen', I'll let the song do the talking... 

Without Fear - Dermot Kennedy
Release Date: 4th October
Genre: Folk Pop / R&B
Tracks: 13
Singles: Moments Passed/Power Over Me/Lost/Outnumbered

Another artist I enjoyed seeing live this year was Dermot Kennedy. I admit, after becoming obsessed with 'After Rain' back in 2016, I lost track of Dermot's music and didn't really listen to him until this summer. His studio album 'Without Fear' was then released in October and I haven't stopped listening since. Opening with my favourite track of his 'An Evening I Will Not Forget', and continuing with grit, power and emotion. 'Outnumbered' was my favourite to experience live, because everyone got involved with singing and swaying along. The other song that really stands out to me is 'Lost', it really shows off Dermot's emotive writing and power in his vocals, and the contrast of heavy drums compared to the fragile piano really comes alive. 

Kiwanuka - Michael Kiwanuka
Release Date: 1st November
Genre: R&B / Soul
Tracks: 14
Singles: You Ain't The Problem/Hero/Piano Joint (This Kind Of Love)

Michael Kiwanuka's 2012 album Home Again, was one of my favourites at the time, and I was pleasantly surprised when 'Solid Ground' appeared on my release radar... As always, it's a track full of soul, warm vocals and stunning strings and calming piano. In contrast to this, 'Rolling' offers a rockier edge to Kiwanuka's music, more electronic and incredibly catchy. 'Living In Denial' combines both these vibes together and I think it's a good musical summary of the album. 

Everyday Life - Coldplay
Release Date: 22nd November
Genre: Alternative
Tracks: 8 (Disc 1) | 8 (Disc 2)
Singles: Orphans/Arabesque/Everyday Life/Daddy/Champion Of The World

Coldplay return with a stunning two-sided album; and there are so many highlights from this release for so many reasons. It opens with the orchestral soundscape 'Sunrise', a track that would be fitting on a mindfulness app, which I think highlights the sense of soul searching 'Everyday Life' encapsulates (as the track and the album as a whole). 'Orphans' has been overplayed on every radio station, it gets stuck in everyone's head, and it was the first that many heard when released; but it is arguably one of the most Coldplay tracks on the album.

Friday, 20 December 2019

Feature: Peace Worm

Originally, a passion project of singer-songwriter/guitarist Jack and drummer/muti-instrumentalist Luke. Peace Worm has evolved over the past two years; after releasing their debut self-titled EP in 2018, Alex joined on bass to bring their live set to life. Having taken time out to write and record, the second EP was then ready in time for Josh to get involved on guitar and backing vocals. ‘Got A Light, Handsome?’ follows the familiar alternative rock (renamed bog rock) vibe from their debut EP, and was released earlier this month. They will also be taking to the stage for some acoustic sets following the release over the winter months. We caught up with Jack, Josh and Alex for a quick Q&A... 

1. Which song is your favourite from, 'Got A Light, Handsome?', and why does it stand out to you? 
Jack: I think I'd have to say 'Beauty Behold'. A song I wrote about my childhood, being taken to see trains go under me on the train bridge in the town I grew up, so I could wave at the driver. Sorta growing up from there and gradually losing your innocence. It'd riddled with good and bad memories. It's difficult though as all the songs mean a lot to me and all have personal reasons to be attached to them but I think it's simply because it's been with me the longest. 

2. If you could tour with two other bands/artists (dead or alive), who would you choose and why? 

Alex: We'd be happy to support anyone but it'd be a bit of a band dream to open for Weezer, and Manchester Orchestra would be a bit personal dream for me. 
Josh: Ohh good question. Two very different answers from me. John Mayer is my idol (not very rock and roll) but I'd love to watch him play and just learn! Secondly, Biffy Clyro put on an amazing show every time and it never gets old. It'd be amazing to be affiliated with the best British band going at the moment! 

3. Where in the world would be your dream place to do a live recording?

Jack: Okay, who wouldn't want to record in a volcano? That's just every boys dream no? It'd probably be that, or maybe on the moon in some sci-fi dome with a neat view of Earth. I say cave could be a close second though for a warm ambient recording. 
Josh: The arctic would be cool... (get it?)
Alex: The Wisconsin cabin that Bon Iver recorded his first album.

4. What are your plans for 2020? 

Jack: 2020 is looking to be a highly productive start to the new decade. New releases, new songs to be written and a lot of gigging to come. We'll be starting our live acoustic sessions and performing them around the local area too, which will be a bonus for us and hopefully for you as well. All dates will be on our website as they happen! 

5. Invent a pizza... What would it be called and what would be on it? 

Alex: 'Bone by Bone', the first non-boneless pizza.
Josh: Any kind of meat, but that really expensive lab grown stuff from actual animal cells. I'd call it the reluctant vegetarian... 

'Got A Light, Handsome?' EP Review:
The EP opens with a punchy and catchy track, that has understandably gained support from Peace Worm's local radio station. 'Here She Is' sets the tone for the rest of the EP, with the guitar steadily growing into a contagious chorus, that you will instantly be singing along to. The groovy bass line in 'The Producer' stands out alongside the funky guitar riffs; growing to smash and thrash their way into the heavier chorus out of the four tracks. Jack's songwriting really shines through on 'Beauty Behold', a cinematic story backed by Peace Worm's trademark guitar, bass and drum combo. 'Normal' is a song of two halves, and ironically quite the opposite of any 'normal' song. It seems to showcase all that they stand for and create. Contrasting heavy guitar-led rock with smooth and melodically trippy sections; as well as electronic versus acoustic. This is what they mean by bog rock! 

Peace Worm's Links:
'Got A Light, Handsome?' (Spotify): https://open.spotify.com/album/3NuFW6VJzFwbYEvdplA7v9
'Got A Light, Handsome?' (iTunes): https://music.apple.com/gb/album/1490508924
Website: peacewormuk.com

Music In Time's Links:
Contact: musicintimeblog@gmail.com

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Feature: Toby Burton

Toby Burton is a 22 year old singer-songwriter from Sheffield. He's landed appearances at festivals such as Looe Music Festival and Underneath the Stars; as well as support slots for the likes of Meadowlark, Izzy Bizu and Seafret. Toby released his debut EP 'Fall Into You' in 2018, which featured on BBC Introducing Sheffield's 'Top 50 Songs' last year. Now set to release his new single, 'Lost & Found' on 6th December (2019), following many gigs locally to finish this year off. 

1. Who were your main influences and what was your inspiration when writing your latest single, 'Lost & Found'?
Well, funnily enough I actually wrote this song at a similar time last year! I went to some Christmas markets and had the BEST time, so as I was travelling home I wrote the first few lines of the song, and the song itself is essentially about wanting to run away with someone that you love spending time with, just to get away from everything for a while! Musically I was listening to a lot of music by artists like Lewis Watson, City and Colour and The Paper Kites, but as it came to the recording/mixing of the track me and my friends took a lot of inspiration from Daughter as well.

2. What have you been listening to lately?
I have been loving a band called MUNA recently, as well as The Band Camino! (I got tickets to see them and I’m very excited).

3. If you were to tour anywhere you wanted, which three countries would you most like to visit and why?
I think first of all, I would definitely love to do a full UK tour - there’s so many places I’d love to play that I haven’t played before. But beyond that I’d love to tour the US and Germany - for some reason a lot of my streaming audience seems to be from those two places so I’d love to go there and explore, as well as play to some really cool people!

4. What are you plans for 2020?
In 2020 I’m just looking forward to playing as many shows as I can, as well as releasing new music! I’ve got lots of cool new songs that I can’t wait for people to hear. I’m also going to be working in a new job so that’s going to be an exciting challenge as well!

5. What's the worst thing you've lost and what's the best thing you've found?
I think the worst thing to lose is definitely people - sometimes you grow apart from friends or people that you used to be really close to and that always sucks! But I also lost my copy of Pokemon Lead Green when I was like 10, and that was pretty sad too. I think the best thing I ever found was this little hidden lake in the town where I went to university - it was tucked away down a little country path amongst all the trees, and I was so impressed! Either that or Spotify Premium, because who doesn't love that?

'Lost & Found' Review:
'Lost & Found' starts with an ethereal whirl which continues throughout the track. Familiar guitar strums set the tone for this cosy melody; and Toby's ability to tell a story through his lyrics is brought to life, with his clear but warm vocals. Growing into the chorus with an athletic drum beat to coincide with the words 'running' and 'escape', and a glimmering soundtrack to any autumnal adventure. 'Lost & Found' is a warm hug at a cold time of year. An anthemic acoustic song bound to get stuck in your head. 

Toby Burton's Links:
'Lost & Found' (Pre-Save/Pre-Order): https://ffm.to/lost_found
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/tobyburtonmusic

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