Track Review: Them & Us- Like Poison



Them & Us




Like Poison





Like Poison is available at:

November, 2015

Electronic; Bass


London, U.K.

The E.P., Chapter II: The Great Escape is available at:


The Valentinian (Feat. Rik Mayall)

Can’t Keep Coming Around

Oh My God

One Day

Like Poison

Safe Place (Bonus Track)


ONCE more I am back at the feet of one of the most…

assured duos in the U.K.  I will get back to Them & Us shortly, but for now, I am reminded of a few different subjects.  The issues of duos, variation and Electronic music are back under the microscope.  When I look at the duos coming through at the moment- and something I have mentioned a few times before- there is so much diversity and difference occurring.  I have bemoaned the lack of innovation in the solo market at the moment- and something affecting bands heavily too- so it is down to the duos to cling back some originality and quality.  New music seems to be going through a depression at the moment and not providing as much wonder as you’d hope.  The past few months have seen the odd great act come through, yet for my money, there are too few fantastic and memorable acts.  It is left to look back at the established acts and artists coming through.  Duos are among music’s most assured and reliable formations.  In London alone you have such an array of genres and styles it is hard to get a grip on it all.  I have reviewed everyone from the likes of Gypsyfingers and Jo Kelsey Music (featuring Niels Bakx); some multi-coloured and emotional music that has stuck in my mind- caused me to seek out similar duos and see what they are about.  I have speculated before but I find the two-piece as solid and sensible a line-up as you can get.  Band mentality means it often tempting (for bands coming through) to have their voice represented by the frontman/woman.  A lot of times bands replicate their idols and stick too closely to others.  There can be so many voices in the creative decision that the resultant sounds are muddled and unfocused.  Solo artists have a similar problem whereby a lot of them- but not all of them for sure- tend to mimic and duplicate another.  Being the sole voice of the music the decision-making can often be unwise and unchecked.  What with the strain and effort of progressing- having few others bodies to promote the music- fatigue and issues can creep in.  The duo has that perfect balance and harmony.  There are not that many people clouding the creative process; there are more possibilities when it comes to genre/sound- compared to the solo act- and the whole procedure leads to great quality and originality.  One of the biggest issues with music can be the underwhelming lack of diversity.  There is so much stale and predictable songs coming through it can be quite depressing when listening.  It is hard to be truly original in modern music- given how much music has come before- but there are so many possibilities available then you should be able to produce something different.  The best bands, duos and solo artists are those that go the extra mile and subvert expectations.  Before I raise a new point, let me introduce my featured act:


Ami Carmine (Vocalist, Songwriter, Producer) Lee Michael (Songwriter, Producer, Beatbox, Bass)

Comprised of Lee Michael (aka Killa Kela) & former Basement Jaxx vocalist Ami Carmine, their highly distinctive style has been described as ‘a Game of Tones,’ perfectly encapsulating their capacity to blend the ethereal, melodic & beautiful with huge beats and heavy bass.

Let Them & Us take you on the highest journey of musical landscapes, monster drops & vocal hydraulics, blended gracefully with enchanting visuals & theatrics”.

I have been a fan of Them & Us for a while now and am impressed by the mixture of force and passion in their sounds.  Sounding unlike any other duo out there you get a unique blend of sounds and styles.  With Carmine having worked with Basement Jaxx- and having a sensational and original voice- you get a little bit of ‘90s/’00s Dance/Electronic with something soulful and beautiful.  Completed by Michael’s Beatbox skills and production wonder and you have a duo that are among the most solid and promising in the U.K.  It is hard to compare the two with anyone else out there: their passion and songwriting quality sets them aside as a serious proposition for the future.  Whilst they employ (in their biography) my least favourite word in the English language- is there a musician that does not apply the word ‘journey’ to their music; like fingers down a blackboard to me- there is some truth in things.  Those heavy beats and epic soundtracks are perfectly met with acclaimed confidence and stunning vocals.  Most acts do not put so much consideration into the compositions and providing such a wonderful sound.  Them & Us put so much detail and colour into their compositions it is easy to get lost in the dizzying sounds and huge score.  The bond between Carmine and Michael is stunning and the duo seems like a perfect musical match.  Electronic music is often overlooked as a venture for the new music.  When it comes to new music, Folk, Pop and Rock are favoured: these are the genres critics look to and pull in the biggest bucks.  I am seeing quite a few Electronic acts coming through- that blend in Pop, Soul and Rock elements- and the likes of Them & Us are a rarity.  They have demonstrated how much energy; urgency and wonder can be elicited when you try something different and fresh.  Blending myriad themes and ideas into their ‘Game of Tones’-style projection and you have an act that are going to be around for years to come.  Having assessed their previous E.P. (Chapter I: And So It Begins…) I am excited to witness the long-awaited follow-up: the much talked-about gem Chapter II: The Great Escape.  I will be focusing on one track- and tying it into the E.P. as a whole- but what they have achieved is a step forward and progression.  Their strongest work to date, the E.P. shows consistent quality and some truly amazing moments.  Mixing in some narrative segments- Michael’s distinct tones and an appearance from the late Rik Mayall- and their stunning imaginations and you have music that ranks among the very best out there.

Before assessing Like Poison– and a capsule review of their E.P. – it is worth looking back and seeing how the duo has progressed.  The debut E.P. – Chapter I: And So It Begins… saw the London duo explode with intention and quality.  Across the E.P. there was so much cinematic scope and epic themes.  The lyrics tapped into relatable issues- emotional worries and relationship breakdowns- but there was optimism and redemption to be found.  Mixing stresses and anxiety with uplifting and happier themes the duo impressed critics and fans with the range and quality throughout.  Carmine demonstrated herself to be one of music’s most stunning and diverse singers.  Her voice- on the E.P. – could go from intimate and passionate lows to euphoric and delirious highs- often within the space of a single line.  Michael’s narratives and production skills perfectly combine and create something sensational.  The originality displayed by Them & Us is infectious.  Taking Electronic music to new places- blending in Pop and Soul sensibilities- the London two-some were so fresh out of the blocks.  On their follow-up there was not much room for improvement.  Most new acts have some shaky early moments and a lack of confidence.  When it comes to Them & Us what has happened is an increase in confidence and innovation.  Chapter II: The Great Escape contains more passion, emotion and wonder than before and marks them as one of music’s most important forces.  If you are a fan of older and new Electronic acts- from the likes of Basement Jaxx and Nero- then you will find much to appreciate within Them & Us’s music.  Having worked with Jaxx before, Carmine has that authority and knowledge of the genre.  She manages to employ some of Basement Jaxx’s finest elements- the seamless blend of genres and command of music- into something new and bespoke.  Whilst a lot of contemporary acts have a one-dimensional and uncultured approach to Electronic music; Them & Us are more concerned with epic proportions and sonic diversity.  Entrancing and committed to the maximum, you have a duo that is unconcerned with comparisons and fitting into moulds.  They do not hang onto the coattails of any other acts and are endlessly assured in their own skin.

When it comes to Chapter II: The Great Escape I have decided to focus on the track Like Poison.  The E.P.’s standout track, it is a great representation of the duo and shows how memorable they are.  The opening notes and moments see wordless vocals and electronics weave and create anticipation.  The beats get heavier and more pressing as our heroine arrives at the microphone.  With her voice dedicated and passionate, we get an intriguing opening sentiment: “I see you shine your light far away”.  Delivered with attention and ellipsis, the thought builds early images and possibilities.  My mind instantly goes to relationship quarters- someone beckoning the heroine from across the waves- and a new bond perhaps.  Employing unique sentiments and lyrics (to ascribe love) and the song sets its stall up early on.  Juxtaposed thoughts and intentions mix in the vivid landscape of the lyrics.  Words of multiple lifetimes and dissatisfaction mutate into elicit kisses and a strange desire.  The first verse sees the vocals presented with maximum attention to emotion and pace.  Rather than simply sling the lines out like most would- no consideration to changing pace, time and signature- Carmine lets her voice stop and start; glide and stutter to create something head-spinning and unexpected.  It not only emphasises the urgency and drama of the song but catches the listener by surprise.  I get the impression Like Poison relates to a love that is already burning.  Perhaps a boyfriend or sweetheart, you get the sense there has been eventfulness and a backstory between the duo.  Propelled by a whirlwind composition and stormy weather, the vocals become more tense and pressing leading into the chorus.  When the chorus does arrive we get a declaration of “breathe deep”: a thumping and chorused cry that radiates and spikes through the compositional clamber.  With some Pop sensibilities our heroine attests her love is like poison: speaking to her beau, there is that dangerous and toxic potential afoot.  From romantic-potential declaration, it seems like the song has cast itself in a different mould.  After the chorus completes- and some more tangled electronics and vocals do their work- our heroine comes fully into the spotlight.  The next verse sees our heroine state: “all over you is where I belong”.  The thorn in the man’s side, there is that essence of vengeance and need to take back some control.  Like a poison ivy, it appears there has been some conflict and argument.  It would be interesting to know the circumstances behind the song- and what inspired it for sure- yet our heroine remains quite composed and level.  Not letting her voice and emotions needlessly wanders, the words and direction remains true and solid.  Before that chorus comes swinging back into view our heroine ensures the hero is put in his place.  Not having asked Carmine and Michael the origin- and what influenced Like Poison– but there seems to be a particularly personal and relevant backstory.  The vocals and composition mix the current-day edge of Electronic and club music; tying it to a vocal that puts me in mind of late-‘90s/early-‘00s Pop regency.  Carmine sounds at her peak here and lets her full range come to the forefront.  Riding that composition wave, the track really starts to burrow into the mind.  It is hard to ignore the energy and persistent of the track: never subsiding or relaxing, there is a constant force that the listener will become intoxicated by.  Those hard and primal beats marry with swelling and hypnotic electronics.  The chorus is the most astute and fullest representation of these ideals.  Pummeling and punching; catchy and entranced, you cannot deny we have one of 2015’s most indelible choruses.  Before the song is completed, our heroine comes back into the fray once more.  Wanting to swim through the man’s bloodstream and veins- like a poison and toxic energy- part of my mind wondered if there was cynicism or negativity- or if there was some ambiguity.  Perhaps doubting my own interpretation, perhaps there is some lingering passion and desire?  The closing moments are dedicated to wordless vocals and a compositional swirl.  Carmine’s vocals still press and weave yet it is that composition that fires and blasts its way to the finish line.

Being familiar with Them & Us I was expecting something magical from the new E.P.  Like Poison is perhaps the duo’s most immediate and dramatic moment to date.  Consistently energetic and epic, the song ensures that few listeners will forget it.  That chorus is perhaps the most catchy and sing-along they have penned and showcases a real knack for memorability.  Confident and bold, the track gets the listener guessing and picking the lyrics apart.  Many will be familiar with the themes and sentiments Like Poison expresses.  Recrimination and heartache are common themes yet the London duo portrays these ideals in new light and with fresh vigour.  Original and ambitious you have a track that is sure to be a staple of club dancefloors and radio playlists.  Not an atypical sound of Them & Us- their latest E.P. has several tracks as memorable- and prove how consistent and stunning they are.  With Carmine’s voice and writing as scintillating and gripping as always, and you have a lead voice that has few equals.  Mixing in everything from ‘90s Pop sounds and modern-day Electronica; here is a vocalist that is always a pleasure to here.  Making Like Poison a delirious and additive treat; you cannot ignore the passion put into the performance.  Those beats and production values make sure the song is endlessly captivating and emotive.  Michael leads from the back and provides the song’s heartbeat and blood-rush.  Together the duo elicits a musical storm that demonstrates just how serious and magical they are.  One of this year’s most rapturous and enlivened numbers; ensure you do not pass it by.

A duo that is synonymous with grand, epic and sweeping sounds; you cannot deny the importance and talent of Them & Us.  When I heard their Chapter I’ E.P., I was amazed by the confidence and consistency it promoted.  I had never heard anything like it- and haven’t to this point- and was blown away by the range of sounds and ideas they packed in.  Not compromising identity and originality, what the E.P. provided was a glimpse into a stunning act.  It would have been hard to follow that E.P. but Them & Us have surpassed their previous effort.  The initial confidence and sound is all in place; the duo sound even more scintillating and inventive on Chapter II: The Great Escape.  Carmine’s vocals are at their most soulful and beautiful- climbing to ecstatic heights when needed- and Michael’s production is at its very best.  His bass and Beatbox elements seem more in the fore- a Beatbox version of the album will be released this week- and the duo seem at their most solid and impassioned.  The kinship and understanding between Carmine and Michael results in an E.P. that bursts with life and energy.  From the Spoken Word-driven opener The Valentinian– where it’s “hard to play hero looking up at Ground Zero”- and you have an instant smash.  Michael lets his voice bustle and hustle for attention.  Projecting images of undeserving Gods and mere mortals; strife and modern-day anxieties and woes.  Oh My God features a pounding beat and mutating composition that supports a stunning lead vocal.  Carmine delivers one of her most urgent and memorable leads to date over a song that looks at broken love and heartache.  Speaking to the song’s hero, there is a space and gap left (in our heroine’s life).  Dealing with separation and soul-break and you have a song that is among the most relatable and accessible the duo has created.  The composition is a primal and pounding beast that perfectly soundtracks the song’s intentions.  One Day allows Carmine to let her voice soothe and entrance.  The vocals tangle and entwine; they build and multitrack to create something dizzying and head-spinning.  A fizzing and explosive club-bound smash, the song pulls in every critical acclaim and expectation.  It is a song that makes you want to dance; a rave-up smash that mixes cinematic and hard with something beautiful.  Similarly, the song mixes the explosive vocals of Nero with the serene and soothe of Lana Del Rey.  One of the E.P.’s highlights, it is a track that could garner a lot of radio play.  The bonus track Safe Place melts scuffling and riffled beats in with hurricane electronics and a commanding lead vocal.  Our heroine wants to be lead to her safe place and find some sanctuary.  The composition is the busiest and most insistent on record and never relents its charge and energy.  The entire E.P. showcases how talented and diverse Them & Us are.

I opened the review by assessing duos, range and Electronic music.  When you think of those subjects you get a mix of ideas and opinions.  I am sure there are a lot of great under-the-radar solo acts and bands- among the mass of rather indeterminate quality- but for my money, it is the duos that are providing the best long-term investment.  Seemingly entranced in each other’s company- the friendships and relationships between the leads enforce some stunning music- and you have sounds that are natural and assured.  Some duos do lack original bite, yet on the whole it seems, there are some terrifically new and wonderful examples coming through.  On December 12th the duo play the Electric Ballroom in London.  It will be a chance for the crowds to hear the new E.P. in the flesh and in the live setting.  Them & Us provide cinematic and theatric visuals in their shows and put on quite an epic performance.  It will be wonderful to see the new songs performed and fleshed-out on stage- and curious to see what visuals and scenery is used- and everyone should go and see the duo.  London is producing some of music’s most important and mesmeric duos- and the most wide-ranging too- so it is not surprising Them & Us are being talked about in fond terms.  Their previous E.P. was celebrated and heralded by critics for its originality and wonderfully assured songs.  Now that Chapter II: The Great Escape has arrived we have another chapter from the London two-some.  Even stronger and more electric than their previous outing it suggests a very prosperous charge and future.  It will be fascinating to see what 2016 provides- whether they decide to produce an album perhaps? – and plenty of live dates will be forthcoming.  On that note, I would love to see the duo travel the world and take their music to international faces.  The demand will surely be out there- from Australia to the U.S. – and their sound translates to all countries and audiences.  I can guarantee their will be U.S. crowds that would snap them up- having spoken with U.S. bands and promoters- and the same has to be said of Europe and Australia.  Whether financial constraints will dictate their movements have yet to be seen but it would be great to see them travel the globe.  Before I sign-off this review, it is worth mentioning Electronic music and its potential to cross genre borders and transcend boundaries.  At the moment the genre has some exposure in the mainstream yet is synonymous with club music and late-night raves.  Listeners and readers will have expectations of D.J. sets and sweaty clubs; Ibiza raves and something quite cliché.  What Them & Us show is how versatile and accessible Electronic/Electronica can be.  Mixing in Pop and Soul shades into the blend and you have a sound that is hugely memorable and palatable.  The duo ensures that emotion and quality goes into every note- rather than the aimless smash-and-grab of their peers- and for that reason they can affect a change in expectations and fan-base.  With so few new acts coming out of the blocks with such a degree of potential and originality, we should all ensure Them & Us are supported and promoted.  As I revisit Chapter II: The Great Escape, let’s hope the following year sees Carmine and Michael continuing their charge and plight.  Perhaps London’s most spectacular and epic duo, ensure you check them out…

AND watch a young duo with many years ahead of them.




Follow Them & Us:











Feature: The 450th Post- The 1990s Playlist


The 450th Post:



The 1990s Playlist



AS I reach the 450th post it gives me the opportunity to…

focus on a decade of music that provided so much quality and joy.  The 1990s remains music’s very finest time: an historic time that saw some of the finest music come forth.  It would be near-impossible to put all of the ‘90s best into a playlist- what with the sheer range out there- but I have had great pleasure selecting my favourite tracks.  Mixing Grunge and Dance with ‘Britpop’ and everything in-between, it showcases (I hope) just how varied and stunning the 1990s was.  Looking forward to years of continued writing, but for now, a chance to kick-back and reflect on a marvelous time for music…


Psychoacoustics: A New Music Venture




A New Music Venture




Idea of the site:

There are quite a few music websites at the moment, between the iPhone, Facebook and the Internet. Most of them offer roughly the same things- music sharing, free downloads, and Internet radio access. There are a lot offering the same things, and quite a lot of things are not being considered. The idea of Psychoacoustics, is to pull all the existing qualities of these sites, together, as well as offering new features, and great networking opportunities- for free. The plan is to top Spotify, iTunes and the biggest sites, by offering what they do, plus much more besides. Specific areas and pages on the site will be named after musical figure, albums and events. For instance, a lyrics section will feature Bob Dylan’s name and be themed around here. It is sort of like a music Disneyworld- different zones and characters. This makes it more interactive and interesting than most music sites and is engaging.


By accessing, (website currently under planning/construction), you will be able to access the site. From there, there will be a home page. On the home page is a main design. It is an animation of a studio, called Psychoacoustics. It is designed like Abbey Road, and there is constant movement on the page. There will be a bank of about 200 different musicians, who will walk into the page and interact with each other; leave and enter the studio, and keep the user amused. The icons as well as the animation will be colourful and interesting and better designed than most of the music websites out there. The icons and options displayed on the homepage are as follows:


There is a chat/Skype option where you can interact with any of your contacts or friends. This can be done via a Facebook-style message service, or Skype. When you add contacts- like Facebook or Twitter- you can chat with any of them at any given time.


Your personal inbox; you can mail your contacts, as well as any musician or venue.

Search Engine:

This is a bespoke, specialist search engine. It is similar to Google but responds to questions and searches effectively, returning only relevant websites. It also can record via and audio, so if you were searching for a song title or name of song, it would be able to locate it. The search engine is able to answer specific music questions and ties together information and resources from Yahoo, Google and Bing.


This is a diary of important music events and updates specific to the user.

Music Player:

You will be able to create a playlist or jukebox of up to 2,000 songs.

Personal Profile:

You can create your own avatar, and enter all of your information. It is similar to Facebook, but more detailed, and upload photos, videos, and designs. I will go into more detail later, but on your personal profile, is all of your information, favourites, and links. The profile works like Twitter and Facebook but more in depth with fewer faults. I have described the social side of things in a previous mail.


This tab is in shades of whites and grey.


This details all e mail and phone contacts for every department.


Up to 6 different contact email and phone numbers depending on the query


This is the address of the H.Q. and map.

Social media:

This gives links to the Twitter and Facebook sites, as well as YouTube.

Feedback form:

Provide feedback on the site.

Suggestions box:

If you have any ideas for futures or designs, then let us know and will take into account.

FAQ and Troubleshoot:

If you have trouble with any part of the site there is support. Also an FAQ if you have a question and can report abuse or any issues day or night.

  1. Studio and Rehearsals:

This is an animated studio and rehearsal rooms (about 3 studios with control rooms and one rehearsal space). Unlike sites where there are lists of features, you access the features via icons; so for instance you would click on a T.V. or a guitar to access the relevant feature. The tab on the interface is red, and will consist of different shades of red. The specific names and designs for each feature are to be decided, but are as follows:

Music video:

Here you can pitch ideas for music videos to bands, acts and labels. You can protect your idea and sell it for money or use it to gain points and exchange for a reward in the future. There is also a music video store, where you can access any video from any song, and search by genre, artist or time period. Also, there is software where you can put ideas into and create videos through animation, film or various other techniques and apply them to your own songs.

Album cover:

Here you can view any album cover, and search for it like the music videos. The features here allow you to design covers using animation, photography or a photography edit where you can mix and edit images and merge together to create incredible designs. From here you can publish them or share, or pitch ideas to bands looking for ideas.


This is like Instagram where you can upload photos or designs and edit them, using hundreds of options. Here too you can search for photographers and view images, websites and famous images from music history.

Music video player:

This utilises YouTube where you can view music videos for free and have a favourites list, or share the video to social media.

Song dissect/mix:

On this page, you can take any song- from rock to classical and dissect it. You can see what notes are played, and what instruments are played. This helps when writing songs and can learn easily about music. Also you can take sections of various songs and mix them together, and edit the sounds to create new songs.


Here there are guides, links and ways to set up your own record label, festival, or music magazine. You can interact with others online, and get funding in order to set up your own business, and then network on site to attract users and business. Also you can invent new music ideas and instruments; design them on this page and pitch them.


There is software where you can design and broadcast your own podcast and radio station. Broadcast over the site or YouTube, play your own songs and broadcasts and get fans and followers as well.


On here you can sell songs to T.V. and film companies and productions.

Band sites:

I will explain more on the registration but when bands and artists sign up they can create their own website and include a wealth of information, and make it easy to promote and get fans.

Sounds and Sampling:

This is a sound library with thousands of sounds, effects and mixing options.


If you are a D.J., here you can mix tracks, scratch and broadcast your own set, via the site and promote your gigs.

Home Studio:

This is software where you can record vocals, instruments and effects and then send your songs to fans or broadcast the tracks online. There is also software for tuning instruments as well.

Recording and Production:

This allows you to record songs professionally and easily, and provides every technology a modern studio would. You can record vocals and instruments, mix and layer them, and create a professional sounding track. From there you produce the tracks, and broadcast them, and burn them onto C.D. It also allows for album covers to be printed and gives links to sites where you can buy C..D. case and additional software.

Rehearsal and Live Room:

These are simulations of studio spaces where you can play live or rehearse. Via Skype you can jam with the rest of your band or solo and be seen by contacts and have your performance saved and shared. There are options for recording. There are guitar, drum, piano, vocal and orchestra options where you can simulate any guitar or piano etc. and get the most realistic sound possible. Unlike software where it is flattering, here you have to know how to play. Like Wii it reacts to touch and you can simulate yourself playing, as if it were real. From there you can either mess around or record the sounds, or join with others or your band members, and jam together. You can tune the instruments and it is as good as the actual instruments. You can do the same with vocals and record as many tracks as you like, and access different mics, and effects. It is able to work with recording so you can record full songs and albums using this.  It is not to replace real life but more act as an easy way to share and record demos for when you are in the studio.

  1. Bar and Venue:

The venue is downstairs of the studio and the bar upstairs. It is animated like the rest of the site and acts as a portal for socialising and broadcasting. The tab for this is green and appears with different shades of green on the interface.

Radio player:

You can access tens of thousands of digital stations from around the world and stream them live, as well as access archive broadcasts and songs.


There are links to all music magazines and publications, as well as music websites as well.


Like PledgeMusic where you can donate to get album made, and respond to pitches. Artists can offer rewards or treats, and get a % of funds raised. Can network and swap and record vocals or write as well.


Due to revenue coming from advertisers and labels, the site can pay royalties to artists whose songs are downloaded; it means that songs can be downloaded free, but artists get paid.

Food and Drink:

Links to music venues, as well as music bars and cafes, anywhere in the world, and you can get alerts of any local to you as well as any events that are happening, and share them on the site.

Leagues and Competitions:

There are various leagues for new bands and directors etc. that are updated and points given to the winners. These charts reflect download amounts, most hits as well as popularity too and there are leagues and competitions for new and unsigned bands.

Music Fantasy League:

This is like football fantasy, but you choose a 5-piece band. You have to choose at least one drummer, and one singer, and can choose from any musician from history. You also select 2 songwriters as well and an album and song. There are various points awarded to each depending on how many times they have been downloaded and mentioned, and there is an overall league that updates each week.

Read and Write:

You can publish blogs and reviews of bands and gigs, and albums and publish them and share them, as well as gig reviews and album reviews.


There is a dating website and connection site for musicians, as well as connects and promotes music charities. There are event postings and updates for your local area as well as internationally. You can also tie all of your contacts and friends in from other social sites into this one.


Once you have created a profile you can search for potential band members or venues. When bands or acts register, like a dating website you answer various questions such as favourite music, bands and albums. If you are looking for someone you can either type in a search and the site matches people for you, or you can click on a map. From here you can click on any country or city and search for any member located in that area and contact them. There are sections where you can connect bands and venues, labels to acts and band members and bands together. If you make a successful match, you gain points that can be exchanged.


This links actors to bands looking for people for music videos, and also can join actors together, who can share links and tips with regards to music, and best contacts and agents.


I have explained all of the social side, but the site works more like Twitter where you can ‘add’ any band or musical act, and follow their progress and updates. There is a LinkedIn style site too where you can connect with employers or contacts and build up a network of fans and followers which gives you greater opportunities.


You can broadcast live shows and gigs and stream concerts here and share them.

  1. Living Room:

This tab will appear shades of yellow. The living room will consist of a sofa, chairs, jukebox and notice board as well.

Music download:

Like Spotify, you can download any track for free, and either play them, or create your own playlists and sections. You can compile songs into albums and burn a C.D., or you can share songs via your phone or social websites. There are also links to Spotify and iTunes, as well as music apps too.

Promotion and Distribute:

You can listen to recommended music depending on your mood or find any new music depending on your tastes. You can then share them via social media, or you can promote new bands and artists, and share acts with promoters and venues, as well as labels. It works like Reverbnation but more in depth, and gives tools to find new music, as well as share and get your own voice heard easily.


You can have a playlist of up to 2,000 songs, and play them, whenever you like.

Reference Library:

You can view information about every band, artist or album released. It is like Wikipedia where you can find out anything about music, and gives info about bands, videos, links and merchandise; which allows you access to new music, old music you may have forgotten about, and can access any information whenever you want.

Music Trends/Stats:

There are tables and graphs that show music trends, sales figures and stats relevant to you, that are updated daily.


These are all of the charts from home and abroad, updated weekly, with links to all of the songs featured.

Search engine and lyric finder:

The search engine is also available here, but is a lyric finder, where you can type words or lyrics and it finds the song. Also you can input audio or video if you are unsure of the song or artists, and it will find out for you.

Pitch Zone:

If you have spare lyrics or ideas, you can pitch them and trade them with artists. You can earn points for anything that is bought from you, and you can pitch and find ideas for songs. Also you can pitch music, so if you have no lyrics you can match them, and also collaborate with people on site and join your music and lyrics together. From there you can create songs together and share them.

Music Notation and languages:

There is software where you can learn music and translate your music into musical notes, so that it makes it easier to write music.  There is a link to a language site where you can learn any one of 30 different languages for free.  This makes it easier to communicate with international contacts as well as write and sing in a different language.

  1. Bedroom and Kitchen:

This tab appears as different purple and the bedroom has a bed, wardrobe and table, T.V. etc.; the kitchen is a smaller room connected to the room.


You can access all of your updates, information and messages here- as well as directly from your personal profile.

T.V. zone:

This allows access to dozens of music T.V. channels as well as archived videos and shows as well, and relevant T.V. shows and performances.


There are links to music teachers, studios, websites and bars and venues; everything anyone could want.

Creative Zone:

You can chat with anyone; share ideas, stories, gig reviews as well as photography and videos etc.

  1. “Acoustic Vinyl”:

This is a specially designed shopping site. The animation is designed like a large Rough Trade store and the tab will be a specially designed one.


Search by genre, period or artists and find music from them to buy. It pulls together Amazon, iTunes and all music websites so you can compare prices for the album and gives you the most choice you can imagine.

DVDs and Merchandise:

You can search for DVDs and merchandise from any band. This gives you links to shopping sites as well as band sites, so again you can find the best deal.


You can purchase band and festival tickets, music books, apps and instruments. You can also purchase gift cards too.


There are links to shopping websites as well as info for independent stores, with website and address details.

  1. Join/Log-In:

This tab is in shades of black and grey.


Different registrations. For casual user, browsing, solo, band, promoter, venue, label and other. They ask for different details and different lengths but all very simple and easy.


It allows a simple log in and a feature where you can log in to all of your music and social accounts at the same time.

  1. About Us:

This tab is going to be detailed in shades of orange.

Studio history:

There is information- fake of course- of how it was set up in East London in 1969, and the story behind it. There is a ‘mock’ Vevo-style video and video history of the studio and founders. It is comical and is also like a guided tour.

About the site:

This is a serious description of what the site aims to do and how it will evolve.

Press and links:

This displays any links to relevant sites and partners, as well as software sites so you can create your own music website.

  1. Music Player:

This tab will be in shades of blue. This ties together all of available and your downloaded music so you can play it on-going and create smaller playlists.

  1. Advertise With Us:

This tab is in shades of pink.


This is a separate page where all adverts from sites, and venues can be displayed. This means it doesn’t interfere with your profile or browsing but can access it any time from this site. Advertisers and sites pay to be published on the site. There are contact numbers and an online form if you want to advertise or subscribe.

  1. The Garden:


Each month a new charity is put under the spotlight.  The site would look at everything from mental health to homelessness.  There would be a chance for users to raise money for charities and use tracks to raise money.  Awareness is a big things and it will give a chance for those affected (by illness etc.) to engage and talk with others- get useful information that can help them.

New Music:

A site dedicated to new music and artist.  It breaks them down by genre, location etc. and makes it easier to discover great new music.  It is easier to share new music across social media and ensure it reaches the target audience efficiently.

Existing Music:

Whereas YouTube does not really break down music and make it easy to find; this site would break it down by decade and genre.  There would be sections for each genre, decade etc. and allow easy access to some unheard and rare music.  Artists and bands would get their own pages and you would be able to create playlists and a bespoke music channel- mix older music with new.

Music Map:

Cities and towns are broken down showing all music venues, cafes etc.  It would give a list of local musicians and places of interest.


Making it easier for musicians to have their music funded.  Would be able to pitch more directly and include venues and other acts.  Allows music community to become involved in every stage and draw in big businesses such as Google etc.




The logo will depict a gorgeous woman in a black dress.  In her left hand is a blue rose, whilst in her right, is a microphone.  There is a microphone stand in front of her, whilst we see a spotlight shine to the side of her face; whilst drops of rain are overhead and on the other side of her face.  She has brown hair and green eyes, with red lipstick.  To the side of her is a gramophone, as a vinyl plays.  She looks focused but relaxed; enjoying and entranced by the music playing.  The main logo will be centred, whilst either side of the logo will be ‘Psycho’ and ‘Acoustics’ in red lettering.  The letters will be in a stylised font, but easy to red; with the letters bordered in white to give a modern and striking design.

Intended Destination:

Hoping to have the premises located either Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden or Soho.  Due to the size of the building it will need to be located in these areas; and are also locales that attract huge amounts of tourists and attention- providing the most possible custom.


Inspired by Café de Paris, the building will be very large as well as decedent.  The premises will comprise two floors; with the intention of each being large enough to contain all the incorporated properties of the business (see below).  Hoping to have it opened no later than 2018.

Opening Hours:


8am to 12am.


8am to 12am (when gigs are performed it will be extended to 1am).


9am to 9pm.


Around about 50 in total.


It will be over-16s only: no babies or children allowed.  Dress code is not strict and open to the public.


I know of websites similar to Kickstarter that provide funding opportunities for businesses.  I hope to pitch a business plan and raise as much of the funding from there.  Aside from a business loan, I am hoping to raise as much of the remainder of the funds myself.  I am not sure of the exact cost of the entire business, yet hoped that over the coming few years the entire amount can be raised.

Ground Floor:

Bar and Kitchen:

As you enter, to the left of the premises is the bar.  The bar will be very modern with a wide and long counter, in order to allow maximum custom.  The bar logo will be emblazoned above the bar, and will be unique.  As well as serving coffee (and tea, hot chocolate etc.) alcohol will also be served.  There will be a range of beers, wines and spirits- as well as an extensive cocktail menu.  The menu will be extensive.  There will be breakfast, lunch and dinner options- with a dessert menu.  The range will include British, American, Mexican, French, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Australian and Spanish food; from savoury to sweet.  The kitchen will be next to the bar, and will serve food from opening through to close.  There will be themed dishes and cocktails that will incorporate band names, lyrics and album titles etc.


There will be a large amount of sitting, to accommodate around about 100 people.  The seats will consist of sofas, leather sofas and chairs, as well as wooden chairs.  It is designed to be a relaxing and comfortable environment; it will not be cluttered or compacted- space and openness is a huge key.

Jukeboxes and Speakers:

This is one of the main features of the business.  The music will be the epicenter of the bar/café, and will be a constant.  As you enter, to the left and right hand corners; to the back left and right corners; as well as in the centre, will be two digital jukeboxes.  It will be free, where anyone can select a song.  There will only be allowance for one song per customer; with a continuous playlist being selected.  The jukebox menu will be interactive, so you can select a song by searching; or find by genre/decade etc.  There will be access to over 500,000 songs, and will include every genre and style.  There will be screens in the centre of the room (overhead) that will show which song is next- running order etc., and everyone will be able to hear the music.  There will be four speakers suspended from the ceiling- on each corner of a chandelier.  The music will not be so loud that you cannot converse, yet will be crisp and true.  Using latest technologies it will be possible to blend the sound of music and conversation so that neither becomes too distracting.


As you enter, to the right hand side of the building is a small stage.  It will measure 15 by 20ft, and will host intimate performances.  At the back of the building will a main stage.  It will be 25 by 30ft, and will have a retro feel.  There will be a blend of modern, Gothic and American; giving the stage a unique feel.  The stage will host larger gigs; whereas in front of the stage, will be an orchestra pit that can host 30 musicians.


The décor will be a main attracting.  On the walls will be paintings and landscapes depicting famous album covers, music photos, as well as band portraits and designs.  It will encompass a large range of artists and there will also be canvases on the wall.  There will be modified street signs and portraits, giving it a retro and classic feel all at once.  There will be a white wall as well, where lyrics can be written and designs drawn.  The entire interior will mix modern and vintage, with artifacts and designs reflecting this.  It will not be like Hard Rock Café where it is a sort of music museum or attraction; it will be subtle and will play second fiddle to the key components.  Overhead will be several chandeliers as well, providing a romantic feel.  At night these will be on, and soothing lighting will bathe the interior.


There are two methods of access from the ground to upper level.  There will be a staircase to the right of the entrance; in addition there will be a small lift giving disabled access (and to allow transportation of equipment, stock etc.)

Upper Level:


This is a store with Rough Trade in mind.  The store is split into different sections.  There is an extensive store that offers music by genre, decade etc. and has a large stock- similar to H.M.V.’s largest stores.  As with the lower level of the bar, there are paintings, designs and artwork on the walls- and ceilings.  There is also band merchandise and memorabilia, signed memorabilia, as well as musical instruments.  The idea is that there is everything under one roof that a musician, music fan or music lover could want.  There is a charming décor that mixes ’90s Seattle, modern-day U.S. as well as Rough Trade.  It is homely as well as modern and cutting-edge.  As well as being an all-inclusive store there is a profit-share initiative.  Schemes will be set up to allow a small percentage of profits going to independent record stores, as well as local bands.

Charity Office:

There will be a small office, next to the store, which will house the Psychoacoustic charity.  It will employ around 10 people, and is a charity which aims to raise money for musicians, struggling bands and children from difficult background pursue their goals.

Consoles and screens:

This will incorporate everything from the Psychoacoustics music website:  There will be about two dozen consoles arranged within the middle of the floor.  These allow direct access to the website.  As mentioned, the website aims to make it simple to create music, music videos; collaborate online and distribute music.  It incorporates all of the best features of the major music websites, and offers so much more.  People will be able to access the website through the consoles.  There will be two large walls which will display music videos, or can alternatively project images from any of the consoles- for instance is a music video has been created, it can be instantly projected.


Dominating one half of the level will be the studio.  It is a medium-sized studio that will offer all the benefits and technologies of the biggest studios.  It will encompass a studio, rehearsal room, control room; as well as lounge and bedroom.  There will be an in-house engineer, producer and representatives and offer rates that are very competitive.  The hope is that is will appeal to new bands, but also drag in big names and established acts.

Garden and Tranquility:

In the center of the level will be a small garden.  There will be a water feature, as well as plants; aimed to relax and inspire.  There will also be a balcony that will provide a small garden as well as seating.


There will be chandeliers as well on this level, but a more toned-down feel.  There is impressive lightning and a warm and relaxing vibe.  Again there will be leather chair and sofas- located near the consoles.


In conjunction with the music website (itself); the website is going to be different from the likes of Facebook and Twitter.  Although I use both; I find they have huge limitations and drawbacks- primary among them is the emphasis on irrelevance and self-indulgence.  We all love to have a good vent; to put our thoughts onto the page- the Psychoacoustics site is all about music- nothing else.

Design and interface:

The home page will be designed like a hotel building.  It will consist a building with rows of windows- you can see a lift running up the middle.  The sign at the top of the hotel will say ‘Psychoacoustics’- it is a simple design that is easy to read and clear.  There will be 16 windows in total.  At the top left will be the most recent post/update- the bottom right will have the oldest.  Unlike Facebook, there will no adverts; no poor layouts or needless icons- it is efficient and organised.  Running down the left hand side of the screen- going vertically will be: Mail; Updates; Search; Map and Favourites.  Down the right will be Chat; Contacts; Profile; Events/Gigs and Edit.  At the very bottom left of the screen will be a video player- where you can watch YouTube videos or any other music-related video.  At the bottom right will be a music player where you can stream tracks- listening as you navigate.  The whole page will be a catchy and stunning design; with constant movement and animation, it will feel less static- and unmoving- as current social media.

Functions and Features:

The site shies away from the user’s personal thoughts and ponderings.  The idea is to promote music; connect musicians and music lovers- for that reason, the site is design to focus on music alone (rather than self-promotion etc.

The Search function allows the user to search for bands and music.  It connects with Google (and other search engines) to hunt for bands and new music.  Connecting in with YouTube, you can hunt for songs and music videos.  The Map allows you to track down bands and artists from particular regions.  The map will bring up every country of the world.  You can clicks into a particular region/city- from there will be a list of musicians (arranged by genre) who are on the site- so you can connect with and interact.  The Favourites tool allows you to save your favourite bits of music- arranged by song/album/act and update.

The Profile and Contacts section are the main focus.  When a person logs onto the site; they select whether there are a Music-Lover; Musician; Manager etc- the interface will then tailor to that person’s needs and desires.  There will be personal information you need to fill in- name, location, favourite band/genres/albums.  From there, the site can find recommendations- songs and other artists; and put you in touch.  A Song of the Hour uploads to your home page; facts and links are fed in- that are of interest to the user.  If you are a music-lover, you can just go on the site to find great music and acts.  The site recommends existing music and songs from YouTube; finds recommendations; builds playlists and selections for the listener.  If you are a Musician, then the site factors that in- connecting you with other bands; venues and contacts.

You can add Contacts to your profile- these will be fellow musicians/bands (or just other music-lovers with similar tastes).  The status updates will be music-related and aimed at promoting great songs and acts- rather than inanities and personal thought.

This Week’s Albums: November 28th, 2015

This Week’s Albums



November 28th, 2015


IT is a case of “Something old, something new/something ‘borrowed’, something…


that doesn’t rhyme”.  I do a D.J. gig every week at The Stoke Pub and Pizzeria (; I have the opportunity to play four different albums: one that is ‘old’ (to my mind, anything pre-1985), something ‘new’ (released brand-new that week); something influential (and has inspired a genre/other acts) – in addition to dealer’s choice (any album I choose).  Having done this for over a year-and played everything from Graceland to Pearl Jam; FKA twigs to Beastie Boys- it is enormous fun.  I get to talk to people about music; play some awesome stuff- turn people on to some great/forgotten sounds- well, I try to!  I shall publish this every week; try and highlight some fantastic albums- maybe some you have forgotten about.


The Old:  The Replacements- Let It Be (1984)




One of the 1980s’ best albums; Let It Be is a post-Punk album that deals with everything from generational disenfranchisement to youthful self-consciousness.  Balancing itself between adolescent and adult concerns this album- compared with other works by the band- incorporates more humour and musical depth.  The diverse and melodic set of songs see The Replacements forge market expectations Paul Westburg’s voice sound weary yet essential; the album brilliant snapshots the experiences of growing-up and the strifes of the modern youth.  It is not surprise Let It Be is seen as one of music’s all-time greatest creations.  The throwaway and humourous moments- Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out and Gary’s Got a Boner– are just as important as the most urgent moments on the record.  Unsatisfied is a bridge between the band’s harder-edged past and current melodic sensibilities; the opening 1-2 of I Will Dare and Favourite Thing make an emphatic statement indeed.  Answering Machine is a strange and mesmeric swansong that completes The Reaplacements’ finest hour.  If you have not encountered Let It Be and its 11-track magic then realign this misdemeanour and discover a timeless and ever-relevant album.


DOWNLOAD: I Will Dare; Unsatisfied; Answering Machine




The New: Anna von Hausswolff- The Miraculous (Out Now)




In a change to the listed album- this one is technically a couple of weeks old- I was compelled to investigate The Miraculous.  Having reviewed von Hausswolff in my blog (she is the only artist to score a perfect-10 from me); her sky-scraping and orchestral works are stunning to behold.  Whilst a little self-indulgent at times, The Miraculous begs some truly wonderful moments.  The angst-between-the-notes of Evocation is one of the album’s highlights.  Discovery leads with bass pipes before evolving into militarism drums territory; the vocals are among the most urgent and frantic on the album.  The strum-and-drang 11-minute Come Wander With Me/Deliverance finely boasts the combination of von Hausswolff’s choir-girl vocals and languid/epic organ work.  It is hard to pin down exactly what defines The Miraculous.  Von Hausswolff’s voice- which sounds startlingly like Kate Bush at times- is only bested by the stunningly imaginative and ambitious compositions.  Dragging Hard-Rock, Metal, Pop; Folk, Classical and Prog.-Rock into an astonishing album is not an easy trick to pull off- few of her peers manage to do this successfully.  What The Miraculous does is provide music (nearly) as apt as its title: an album that begs for repeated listens and a patient ear.  Give it time and its dark beauty will seduce fully.


DOWNLOAD: Discovery; Come Wander With Me/Deliverance; Stranger




The Influencer:  Run-D.M.C.- Run-D.M.C. (1984)


This groundbreaking Hip-Hop masterpiece saw Run-D.M.C. explode onto the scene in 1984.  The sparse beats and aggressive rhythms were a stark contrast to the lighter and ‘safer’ Hip-Hop/Rap of the ‘80s.  Whereas a lot of Hip-Hop collectives favoured the call-and-response/each-take-a-verse approach; Run-D.M.C. interweaves vocals and lines to create something truly dazzling.  It’s Like That (later to be remixed featuring Jason Nevins) and Sucker M.C.’s changed the face of Hip-Hop whilst Rock Box features stunning guitar riffs and a persistently persuasive beat.  Not quite as influential as The Beatles- many at the time saw them as a ‘Hip-Hop ‘Beatles’- the group’s influence cannot be understated.  Jam Master Jay’s scintillating scratching are backed by forceful and hardcore rhymes- ably and expertly backed by the taut and muscular musical backdrop.  Not just concerned with parties, boasting and insincere motives; we get a record that addresses urban concerns and the realities of the streets- in a way, Run-D.M.C. are a more accessible and palatable version of N.W.A.  Mixing reportage, objective fatalism with cutting-edge commentary and humour; we get an album that shaped the ‘80s and changed Hip-Hop forever.


DOWNLOAD: Rock Box; Sucker M.C.’s; It’s Like That




The ‘Other One’: TLC- CrazySexyCool (1994)




The U.S. girl group’s sophomore album was blighted with production issues- the alcohol issues of band member Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes- producers Sean Combs, Dallas Austin and Organized Noise incorporated Hip-Hop, Rock and Deep-Funk into an album that tackled coming-of-age themes and new-found maturity.  Smooth, seductive and cool the album boasts numerous standouts: Waterfalls ranks as one of the ‘90s’ finest moments.  If I Was Your Girlfriend is a Prince cover that (perhaps ironically) surpasses anything the pint-sized legend produced during the decade.  Elsewhere, the steamy and unescapable lust of Red Light Special sees the girls at their steamy and alluring best.  Creep is one of the album’s highlights: looking at a boyfriend’s infidelity- the heroine, in turn cheats on him- it was nominated for two Grammys in 1996.  Kick Your Game is filled with funky beats and recurring themes of infidelity and lust.  Evolving from the Rap-only confines of their debut, SexyCrazyCool is a more accomplished and diverse album that perfectly blends myriad themes and genres (into a single album).  One of the trailblazing girl groups of the ‘90s, TLC influenced a host of modern-day bands and artists.  For that reason alone, CrazySexyCool is a must-hear album.


DOWNLOAD: Creep; Red Light Special; Waterfalls



Interview: Hannah Pisani





Hannah Pisani



THERE are a lot of eager and impressive female solo artists coming through…

yet Hannah Pisani has the potential to be one of 2016’s most talked-about artists.  With a couple of recent singles under her belt, the next year will surely see her plan an E.P. and tour dates.  Already having performed in London, Pisani is one of the south’s finest emerging talents.  Having drunk-in Freak and Count For and you have an artist with a great maturity and ambition.  That voice is filled with richness, passion and beauty.  The composition tie-in Electro. bubble and spike with something Pop-based and melodic.  Breaking-away from the typical love song subjects- petty break-ups and immature utterances- Pisani injects a unique lyrical bent into her music.  Freak showcases an alluring and stunning vocal backed by clicked snaps and heartbeat percussion.  Building and atmospheric, the song is sure to soundtrack dance-floors and lonely night drives.  A track that can be understood by a range of listeners, it has great drama and evocativeness to it.  Count For has more soothing beginnings yet has that inimitable and distinct central vocal.  More uplifted and rampant than its sister, the track is a giddy Pop track that blends together punchy beats and an additive vocal coda.  Each track showcases a maturity and intelligence few peers possess and it all points to a positive future.  With a lot of solo artists looking to gain critical attention next year, my hopes are high for Hannah Pisani.  A stunning and eye-catching singer with a lot of ambition, I was keen to catch up with her and reflect on the past year…


Hi Hannah.  How has your week been?  What have you been getting up to? 

Hi Sam, it’s been good thanks!  I’ve been in the studio recording a new song which I’m very excited about releasing in the coming weeks

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself: where you are based; your style of music etc.?

I’m a 21-year-old half-English, half-Maltese singer/songwriter based in Farnham, Surrey which is just outside London.

The style of music I write is definitely Pop in sound.  Lyrically, I like to explore different topics that stray away from the typical ‘break-up’ and ‘falling in love’ (although these do feature in my music at points!)

You have released the singles Freak and Count For.  Can you tell us the inspiration behind those songs?

I would love for people to hopefully find their own meaning in my songs, but I will tell you a little about what inspired me:

Count For is a song I wrote in about ten minutes – the words poured out of me.  It’s about a relationship that was once amazing reaching its end on awful terms.  It’s that upset and, almost, mourning over how you used to be and all the great times you shared together – knowing now that it means nothing.

Freak is a bit of fantasy.  It’s about escaping the modern world and getting back to basics, where you can’t be reached 24/7 and you can’t reach anyone else 24/7.



You are fairly new to music- and making your first moves at the moment- so must be looking ahead to the next year.  What will 2016 hold in store for you?

I’ve actually written songs since I was 13, but only felt ready to share my music in the last couple of years!  I have a whole catalogue of songs which I plan to take to my producers, and I look forward to releasing an E.P. in 2016.  And of course more songwriting; I’m always songwriting…

Music is a competitive and packed industry.  How would you say your music stands out for the crowd?

With the release of the third song, I think I’ll be demonstrating a great versatility in my sound.  All songs still fall into the spectrum of Pop, but some are Electro., some are Acoustic – I think this variety makes me a little different.

Also lyrically, as mentioned above, I like to touch on subjects that often aren’t mentioned in typical Pop, as Freak does.

Social media is an important tool for many musicians.  How has social media helped you connect with fans and music in general?

Social media is a great tool.  Thanks to it I have fans in different continents.  I would never have had that reach without the ability to put my music online, where it is accessible to anyone, anytime, anyplace.

What have been your particular highlights from this year?

Being played on the radio twice in one day was pretty great for me as an emerging artist.  I was played on B.B.C. South as their track of the day and also Eagle Radio and I was thrilled!

Which artists inspired you growing up and which current artists are important to you?

When I was really young, I remember my dad used to play a lot of ABBA – they definitely know how to structure a good pop song.

Generally though, I am more inspired by songs than artists (although I do have some favourites!).  Three songs which really stood out to me whilst growing up were Creep by Radiohead; Freshman by the Vervepipe and Unwell by Matchbox Twenty.  I loved how these songs talked about taboo topics like mental illness and dilemmas of the self.  They definitely inspired me to spread my wings a bit lyrically and tackle tougher topics.

Similarly nowadays, I am obsessed with Tove Lo! I love how honest she is in her lyrics.  Bebe Rexha is also great.  In sound, I’m likely to like anything produced by Max Martin- he really knows how to produce great Pop.

As a songwriter and musician, how do you write songs?  Do you set time aside and write or will an idea just come to you?

Both!  Sometimes I sit at my piano with the intention of writing a song.  But most of the time, I’ll be out and about or something will happen to me and the idea will pop in my head.  The other day I was waiting for the Tube whilst thinking about the same relationship that inspired Count For – and the idea came into my head of two lovers being “like strangers at stations” who barely talk anymore even though they get so physically close.  (Can I insert copyright here?  Haha)

 There are a lot of great female artists coming through at the moment.  Do you think there is inequality in the music industry and do you face any challenges being a female musician?

Ooft (sic.) I’m not sure.  So far in my journey, I don’t feel I have faced any setbacks as a woman.  If anything, I feel like there are more popular solo female artists than there are male artists; so it’s a little harder to get yourself heard.

For those who do not know much about you; could you tell us a secret- something nobody knows about you?

All my secrets are in my songs!



I am a big fan of London and the music coming out of the city.  Is that an area you would like to play/live in the future?

I’ve played in London before at Raffles, Chelsea and really enjoyed it.  There’s so many great music venues in London and I would definitely be up for playing again and again.

Do you have any advice for any musicians coming thorough; those who are not sure if they have what it takes?

I’m not sure if I’m in yet in the position to offer advice, I’m still finding my way myself!  But I suppose to those who aren’t sure if they have what it takes: you don’t know unless you try!

Finally- and for being a good sport- you can select any song and I’ll include it here- why is it special to you? 

Let’s go for Tove Lo’s Moments. The video is ah-mazing.



 Follow Hannah Pisani:








Track Review: Sarah Dashew- Roll Like a Wheel



Sarah Dashew


Roll Like a Wheel




Roll Like a Wheel is available at:

12th November, 2015



Los Angeles, U.S.A.


THIS will be the second consecutive review where I will be featuring artist…

who has appeared on U.S. T.V.  My featured artist has appeared in My Name is Earl (well, her music has) and you are sure to have heard one of her tracks.  Before I get to Sarah Dashew, I wanted to raise a few points today: consistency of solo songwriters; female acts and the range of sounds out there.  I have often raised a point about solo artists and what is out there today.  I often find solo artists struggle to make early impressions on the music scenes.  Over the years I have reviewed some great solo talent, yet find that it is the bands that make the biggest early hits.  The solo artist has to do all the work themselves and there is a lot of pressure and expectation.  With so many sole acts coming through, there are a lot of eyes being cast in the pot.  Critics, fans and media are searching around seeing what is out there; whether the current crop is any good at all.  Looking back at this year, there have been a few great solo acts that have come to my attention.  What I tend to find- that is most impressive about the solo artist- is the commitment and dedication they show.  Whereas a lot of bands have multiple members and support, that is not the case with the solo act.  I always find the lone singer/songwriter has the most heart and passion when it comes to music.  There is that need to find capital and funds; the business of getting gigs and lining-up work.  It is a hard task and I admire the strength and commitment they put into the work.  The range of sounds out there is perhaps a little limited (when it comes to bands) and I feel a lot of solo artists stick closely to Pop/Indie/Folk themes.  It is okay to do that yet it does not really provide much surprise and diversity for the listener.  My featured artist is an Indie artist that separates herself from the crowd.  Whilst I find a lot of her contemporaries lackluster and samey; here we have a songwriter that sticks in the imagination and presents something different.  Before I continue on my point, let me introduce Sarah Dashew:

In less than ten years, Sarah Dashew has managed three critically-praised albums, successful tours, television spots, and a new full-length, establishing her as one of the music industry’s most consistent singer-songwriters. 

On Sarah Dashew’s latest full length, Roll Like a Wheel, one can hear her whole musical history: Texas tejano, Southern gospel, and blue-eyed soul, but now wrapped up in a distinct Los Angeles flavor. You can still hear James Taylor and Janis Joplin, but there’s clearly a Paul Simon, Graceland-era spirit to the proceedings: The rhythms of her city have combined to imprint itself on the album. “More than any other city has done before,” Dashew pronounces. That and finding true and everlasting love. 

“Estas Son Las Cosas” announces itself with blaring Mariachi horns then Spanish-sung verses, a clear homage to the eastside of LA, which she calls home. “Are You Listening?” continues the Spanish singing, this time to an upbeat pop-rock number, perfect for a dance or two. Then there’s “Roll Like a Wheel,” the stand-out track (from which the album gets its name) that almost sounds like a manifesto for both the album and her brilliant musical career: Keep the wheel spinning, keep the influences coming, and never stop. Not surprising from someone who grew up sailing around the world with her family. 

“Roll Like A Wheel is the culmination of my musical history thus far. It takes all my life and sounds from childhood to now, wraps it up in a package of Los Angeles flavor, and spins it into a journey of soul and spirit,” says Dashew. “Joy and healing. Reflection and anticipation. And all that comes down to love.” 

This insistence has earned her songs spots on the hit NBC show My Name Is Earl, inclusion in the celebrity playlist of ABC’s Ugly Betty, rave reviews of previous albums, and successful tours throughout the U.S. and Europe with the likes of Cowboy Junkies, Michelle Shocked, Suzanne Vega, and Pancho Sanchez. 

Roll Like A Wheel is engineered by Eric Lilavois (Saint Motel, My Chemical Romance) and will be released nationwide January 22”.

Dashew’s music has scored some great T.V. moments and she has garnered some positive and effusive reviews.  In the U.S. there are quite a few great female singer-songwriters emerging and Dashew is making her name heard.  Whilst her career is in its infancy, the next year will see her release an album and take her music on the road.  I am well-versed when it comes to U.K. music yet with regards U.S. music- as I mentioned in yesterday’s review- it is an unknown quantity.  I am more familiar with American band music so I always love discovering great solo talent.  Dashew has a voice and direction I have not often heard and it is great to hear someone that is distinct and original.  I cannot wait to hear her forthcoming album and would be good to see her do some dates in the U.K.  Perhaps the limits of financial flexibility will put that on hold yet there are eyes and ears here that would love to see her.  With such a reputation and acclaim under her belt, that is going to create some great momentum into 2016.

When it comes to Sarah Dashew, it is wise for the listener to look back and see how far she has progressed.  The single Take Me In was unveiled back in 2008 and is an aching and tender track that gets inside the heart.  Brimming with soul and soothing vocals, it puts me in mind of the legendary Folk singers. Our heroine is looking for comfort and refuge- is she is spinning out of control- and need someone to hold her and “take me in”.  Backed by a tender piano support, it is a confident and hugely memorable number.

Where I Belong was released in 2010 and is a wholly bouncier and more sprite number.  Climbing to the “top of your heart” our heroine’s voice is more rousing and impassioned here.  Displaying some Country edges and huge spirit, it is a song that shows a different side (to Dashew) and has an addictive and happy-go-lucky composition.  Ecstatic and proud horns mix with rolling piano to create something redemptive, positive and inspirational.  Showcasing so much spirit and heart, it is a song that displays a natural move forward.  Dashew sounds more urgent and confident and proves what a nimble and flexible songwriter she is.

Dance With Me was Dashew’s last single and reconciles her past and current endeavours.  Showcasing the tenderness and softness of early numbers, the song sees our heroine at her most insistent and compelling.  Having a secret that is hard to keep, there is mystery and ambiguity in the song.  Keeping her cards close to her chest, you start to wonder what is being ascribed in the song.  At all stages it is that aching and beautiful voice that grips and seduces.

Dashew has progressed and developed as a songwriter but was stunning to begin with.  A lot of artists start a little shakily and unsure; they evolve and improve over time.  Dashew showed- when you listen to her early tracks- how much intention and potential was there from the start.  What she is done is solidify that confidence and quality and incorporated new themes and stories into her songwriting.  The compositions are more nuanced and her voice seems stronger and more assured now.  Roll Like a Wheel proves this and stands out as one of her finest and most memorable numbers to date.

When it comes to Dashew’s music she is influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Brandi Carlisle.  It is hard to compare Dashew’s voice and style with anyone else, but the above names are a good starting point.  She incorporates the range and Folk influences of Dylan with some raw edges and Joplin-esque touches.  When it comes down to it, Dashew is her own artist and cannot be readily compared to anyone.  You get a contemporary flavour and sound with ‘60s and ‘70s Folk/Indie touches in there.  The entire ensemble is an original and striking thing that will take the listener by surprise.

Roll Like a Wheel begins with plaintive and delicate electric guitars that gets the listener curious from the off.  Romantic and breezy, the initial words see our heroine directing towards an unnamed central figure.  Whether a friend or lover, she wants to go walk the desert.  It is hard to determine whether a relationship testimony is afoot or something based in friendship.  Whatever the initial intentions, you start to picture the scenes and the storyline unfold.  It seems that they- our heroine and her mate- have been through a lot and shared a great deal together.  There is one thing they have not learned, and that is to roll like a wheel.  Perhaps describing a relationship, it seems there have been some anxieties and stresses in the past.  Maybe I am misinterpreting but I feel there is an impasse where the sweethearts need to make a decision: the song is a declaration and a solution to the problem at hand.  By walking the desert and rolling like a wheel it eases the strains and is a way of dissipating strains that are currently being faced.  At this stage the composition rises and the vocal becomes more pressing.  When the wordless chorusing joins in the fray it puts me in mind of Paul Simon’s Graceland.  There is a sense and choir-like beauty to the vocal- you could imagine Ladysmith’ joining in to provide something ethereal and otherworldly.  Dashew takes a new approach to love and life with her original and fresh lyrics.  The vocals captivate and complete whilst the composition remains supportive and evolving.  Even in the sapling stages you are taken in by the beauty and vivid pictures of the track.  It is 95 degrees in the shade- as our heroine regretfully informs- and there is no real escape from it all.  You can see the duo pounding the desert floor and exchanging conversation.  With regards the origins and interpretation, by mind is still focused on relationship dilemmas and that need to fix issues.  The desert may be a metaphor for pressures and the heat of relationships.  Maybe stresses and tensions have reached boiling-point and that confrontational element is being documented.  The sweethearts have made some bad decisions and gone through tough times, yet there is a desire and loyalty that cannot be overlooked.  Wordless vocals and breathy notes augment that passion and beauty.  Within time those echoed and repeated vocals mix with some subtle horn notes and hissing percussive beats.  The song’s hero/subject is lonely and afraid and our heroine knows they are “not the only one”.  Between the vocal proclamations the compositions demonstrates its flexible nature and sense of occasion.  After the uplift and rouse of horns and keys, we now get something more contemplative and sensitive.  Soft guitar strings offer tranquility and a supportive shoulder; ensuring the song does not lose its momentum and purity.  After twilight there are silhouettes and love songs; all you are left with is the night.  Our heroine- to her beau and hero- wants eyes closed and minds open.  Surrendering to the night and the tranquility will offer peace of mind and lullaby.  At this stage it may not be a lover or boyfriend documented- perhaps a friend or someone struggling- but that is the strength of the song: Each listener will get a different interpretation and their own course of events.  Dashew lets her voice reign and glide wonderfully as she offers supportive arms and soul.  Those Graceland/Paul Simon comparisons come to mind strongly as the song reaches its final moments.  The combination of wordless vocals- that put me in mind of Under African Skies and Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes– and that striking lead remind me of that legendary album.  The final seconds ride that addictive and uplifting vocal; reintroduce the song’s title and emphasis the song’s messages.  Making sure the song ends on a high, Dashew lets her compelling voice strike and campaign to the very end.  Weaving in the mix of keys, strings and horns, it is an ecstatic and uplifting coda that will appeal and stick with every listener.

Being a recent convert to Sarah Dashew, I was amazed by the passion and layers of Roll Like a Wheel.  I have mentioned Graceland shades- and it is not hyperbole or over-exaggeration- but the quality and ambition is all in there.  Those lyrics have ambiguity and mystique but speak to everyone who listens.  Broad and redemptive, it implores resolve in the face of pressure and insurmountable strains.  Uplifting and positive it flies in the face of a lot of modern songs- that seem more cynical and downbeat- so it is nice to hear a song with free spirit and a real motivation.  Whether it is looking at a relationship quandary or a friendship moment I am not sure.  What we have is a track that will get you guessing and digging the lyrics and meanings.  Such a vivid and vibrant track, that wonderful and full-bodied composition gets you coming back for more.  It is Dashew’s voice that guides everything forward and adds serenity and passion to the track.  Roll Like a Wheel is one of the most instant and addictive tracks I have heard and demands repeated listens.  Once you get down to its nub you will unearth something of rare pedigree and divinity.  Make sure you check out of the U.S.’s finest songwriters of the moment.

Having been recently introduced to Dashew’s music, I have been lucky enough to review her current single.  I am often immersed in British music and rarely get a chance to experience anything beyond Britain and what we offer.  It is great to be in the U.S. (for a second day running) and witness a singer with a huge future ahead.  Having been playing for quite a few years, Dashew is growing in confidence and ambition.  With her album out early next year, it will give listeners a chance to see what is on her mind.  Having discovered her past tracks, I can see a development and a new confidence.  Growing with every release, it will be exciting to see what 2016 has in store.  Roll Like a Wheel is a bold and memorable song that will solidify her reputation as one of music’s most consistent and exciting propositions.  Before I conclude this review, I am going to go back to my early points with regards solo music and the range of sounds out there.  Dashew’s earliest sounds resonated with potential and intention so it is no exaggeration to say she didn’t need to improve or change her game.  What you find with a lot of solo artists is the weaknesses in the early stages.  Unsure of their direction and true sound, you get songs that sound a little uneasy and unfocused.  In time that confidence and assurance comes: The music will find its voice and an identity will be stamped out.  Too many U.K. solo artists do not linger in the mind and play the same kind of sounds.  Through adverts and T.V. you hear a lot of young artist- most of whom are female- that sound the same and have such an ineffectual and weak voice.  There is no emotional resonance or range; no passion or any originality or point.  I have said the band market is a little more assured and that is the case right now.  Perhaps strength-in-numbers creates flexibility and diversity in music.  Bands can do everything from Indie-Rock to Metal; across to Electro.-Pop and Hip-Hop.  The solo acts have potential yet they are a little more limited sonically.  For solo artists to gain foothold and market share there needs to be more diversity and originality.  Too many acts do not push their sound or do anything different (to what is out there).  This is a malady in the U.K. and it seems the U.S. is a little ahead of the game.  Sarah Dashew is an artist whose voice is stunning enough to distinguish herself from her peers.  The songwriting mixes love and life experiences that will appeal and resonate with the wide range of listeners.  Not one to be easily labelled or defined, you get music that seems free from anxiety and displays nothing but heart, passion and quality.  It is no surprise Dashew’s music has featured across U.S. T.V. and that is something that will continue.  The music industry is packed and growing so it is vital to celebrate those artists that do things differently and have that longevity.  There are so many musicians that quickly dissipate or they simply decline after a few releases.  Dashew has shown she gets stronger and more confident as she progresses.  With an album mooted for 2016, I will be fascinated to see what is included and what direction she goes in.  Her compositions include delicate piano and woozy horns; some stunning energy and introspective calm.  Whether we will see an influx of tremendous new songwriters it is to be seen, yet it is worth embracing those that show longevity and potential.  With the band market getting such attention and devotion, we need to shift focus to the best and brightest solo talent.  Residing out of L.A., Dashew is one of the city’s finest young songwriters.  In an area of the U.S. synonymous with musical richness and diversity, it is perhaps unsurprising the music (of Dashew) is so assured and fantastic.  I hope she will come to London and play crowds here as we hear few artists like her in the U.K.  It is left for me to recommend Roll Like a Wheel and embrace its beauty, messages…

AND mesmeric sound.



Follow Sarah Dashew:








Track Review: The Slightlys- Desperate Measures



The Slightlys



Desperate Measures




Desperate Measures is available at:

October, 2015



Los Angeles, U.S.A.


OVER the next couple of days I am reviewing music by U.S. actors.

Whether there is a mutual connection (reading my blog) or something else, I have been contacted by two separate high-profile agents.  It has been a while since I have been in U.S. waters to review some great music.  Concentrating on U.K.-born acts, it is a relief to travel across the pond and discover a new band to my ears.  Before I introduce the featured act, I am reminded about U.S. music- and particularly that of L.A. – and Indie-Rock artists.  Being ensconced in the U.K., it is always hard being made aware of U.S. music and what is happening over there.  There are a lot of blogs and reviewers out there, but unless you read all of them, it is hard to get a true idea of what is out there.  A compartmentalised and wide-ranging industry, music comes to you in dribs and drabs.  Without my blog it is debatable whether I would have discovered half the music I review.  Few can deny there are a lot of great British bands around, although for my money, there are even more top U.S. bands around.  Having assessed everyone from The Falling Birds (New York) to The Open Feel (L.A.), I have been exposed to a great wealth of terrific music.  Today I am tackling another band from L.A. which is an area that is among music’s most prosperous goldmines.  I have mentioned in previous posts- although feel compelled to mention again- how fervent and fertile L.A. is as a music hub.  I have never been before, yet know how hot California is right now.  Perhaps there are better communities and media outlets- that make it easier for musicians to connect- or just the natural atmosphere that inspires such great music.  It is not just the range of sounds available but the consistency.  If you want Hard-Rock or Metal then there’s a band for you.  If you fancy something sunny and Pop-hooked then you are sorted.  There needs to be some sort of website to house all the great Californian music out there so people like me- and listeners too- can get a grasp on what is out there.  Looking at The Slightlys (my featured act) it reminds me of the Indie-Rock acts that are out there.  In this country the genre seems to be faltering somewhat.  Over the past year there have been few Indie-Rock bands that have stuck in the mind.  Maybe it is one of music’s most tricky genres- when it comes to being unique and stand-out- so it is good to see some U.S. acts injecting some passion and originality into the genre.  Before I continue on my point, let me introduce today’s featured act:

Pop n’ Roll band The Slightlys, has a penchant for insistent, hook driven, unapologetically catchy songs. Led by songwriter and frontman Finneas O’Connell (who found success as an actor with reoccurring roles on Glee and Modern Family and in movies such as Bad Teacher), the band consists of four teenagers born and raised in Los Angeles California.  The group met each other at a battle of bands at Club Nokia in 2012 while each playing in different bands with all losing the contest that year. In 2014 they came together to form The Slightlys and took home first place in that same competition.  The Slightlys soon released their debut single “Superhero”, which attracted widespread attention leading to a dedicated fanbase as well as offers to play such high profile festivals as The Warped Tour and The Twilight Concert Series along with iconic venues such as Club Nokia and The House of Blues.  In 2014, The Slightlys returned to the studio to record their debut EP with famed producer/engineer Eric Palmquist (Bad Suns, Night Riots, HUNNY).  The result is a collection of power pop anthems with melodic guitar riffs, catchy choruses and a driving insatiable rhythm section rarely heard in rock music today. The first single “Desperate Measures” is an angsty instant pop anthem featuring radio-ready hooks and close vocal harmonies. “A Warning” features O’Connell’s rich soulful tinged vocals over insatiably danceable drums. All in all songwriter Finneas O’Connell hopes his songs “inspire people to never stop working on the things they love and to remember that although being patient sucks, you’ll need to be patient if you want things to turn out right.”  EP is set for release in early 2016

The Slightlys is: 

Finneas O’Connell: Lead Vocals / Guitar
Darius Dudley II: Violen / Bass
David Marinelli: Drums
Robby Fitzpatrick: Lead Guitars”.

Whether you have seen Glee or Bad Teacher- in which lead Finneas O’Connell has appeared- or not, the music will not fall within predictable margins.  Going into reviewing I was expecting something Glee-tinged- and not being a fan of the show it was a relief that The Slightlys have much more credibility.  Although the Indie-Rock sounds of The Slightlys is miles away from Glee’s endless sunshine and sugar, the music they play (The Slightlys) is infused with plenty of optimism and upbeat.  A lot of Indie-Rock still plays on the side of angst and endless riffs.  Too many acts are looking at the likes of Foo Fighters and replicating their sounds.  If not Foo Fighters, then there is still too much familiarity in the music coming out.  I listen to Indie/Indie-Rock bands and can always hear too much of other artists.  The mood tends to be quite downbeat and the compositions quite suffocated and tense.  Occasionally I will happen upon something more open and breezy- with a hard-edged skin and sense of passion.  The Slightlys have a little bit of Sunshine-Pop to their music which ensures proceedings are never too heavy-handed and foreboding.  The close kinship and tight musicianship results in music with catchiness and memorability.  Desperate Measures is the latest release from the L.A. band and has been gaining appreciative feedback in the U.S.  Few of us in the U.K. will be familiar with the band so it is great to introduce The Slightlys here.  What the L.A. band does is inject some quirky lyrical touches with teenage vernacular and something youthful and cutting-edge.  Their language and songwriting stands out from their peers and the compositions are filled with energy and commitment.  I hope the boys come play London and give crowds here a chance to discover something new.  We have few bands like The Slightlys here so it would be a breath of fresh air to hear them play.

On their Facebook page, The Slightlys have quite a list of influences:

The Beatles, Cage The Elephant, Two Door Cinema Club, The Foo Fighters, The Airborne Toxic Event, My Chemical Romance, Arctic Monkeys, Green Day, Blur, The White Stripes, Imagine Dragons, Muse”.

If you are a fan of the above, you will find much to love within The Slightlys.  There is a mix of The Beatles’ ‘60s Power-Pop together with Imagine Dragons’ sunshine and a little of Green Day’s kick and snarl.  It would be unfair to compare the L.A. band to any listed above as The Slightlys have their own sound and direction.  What the band does is combine some flavours of the ‘60s and ‘90s; tie together some modern-day Indie and a sound of the L.A. Indie-Rock scene.  The band is a new endeavor so it is hard to compare Desperate Measures with any other track.  The initial signs are very positive and there are no early weaknesses or lack of originality.  The best way to assess The Slightlys is on Desperate Measures alone and see where they will head from here.  I know the band are planning their debut album and putting together the moves and motifs for that.  Whether there will be 10-11 Desperate Measures-esque numbers- or whether the band will expand their sound out- across the album it is yet to be seen.  What we can expect is a consistent energy and ambition across the record.  Establishing themselves as one of the best young bands coming out of L.A., I am sure a future album will cement their claim and showcase artists with big ambitions and intentions.

Desperate Measures begins with a nice drum roll and kick that leads to a breezy guitar sound.  Quite an urgent and catchy introduction, the song spares no time in getting off to the races.  Eliciting the sound of sunshine and the open road, you find yourself captivated.  Vibrating strings and punchy percussion mingle to build the mood and atmosphere brilliantly.  An instant grab, the song gets you invested and interested.  Mixing some Hrad-Rock slam with something more Pop-infused, you wonder where the song will go next.  When our lead approaches the microphone, the early words paint vivid pictures.  The words “You got me up and at ‘em/Got me jones-ing for your touch/I can’t stand, I can’t stand without you/You fit me like a crutch” paint pictures of pure sentiment and romance.  Never overplayed or saccharine, it is an original slant on a well-trodden topic.  The lyrics look at love and obsession but it is done in a very particular way.  Whilst a lot of bands employ clichés and vague expressions, The Slightlys delve deeper to project something different.  Our hero attests- when looking at his girl of choice- she has him in a daze.  Like a drug in his bloodstream, that passion and excitement is tangible.  Backed by a river-flow guitar jaunt, the song does not drop its energy and sense of motivation.  The early words spare no chances and go in hard and strong.  There is little room for ambiguity and misinterpretation as our man is in the midst of a very powerful love.  By the time the chorus comes around- “These desperate measures/You wear me out so well/These desperate measures/Keep torturing myself/For you and no one else”- that degree of longing and love is explosive.  The vocal keeps on rising and becoming more pressing as the lyrics progress.  The chorus is that intended to inspire sing-alongs and group chorusing.  What you get is something full-bodied and hot-bloodied indeed.  The band unites in song and ensures each word gets inside the skull.  It seems the central romance is causing fatigue and confusion in our front-man.  Whether the duo is united at the moment or it is a flirtation, you can hear that need and desire in the vocal.  The song itself- up until this point at the least- will find an audience in lovers of Indie-Rock and Pop.  Whereas the introduction was a sharp and anthemic thing, the song soon mutates into something more Pop-influenced and sunny.  By melting those two genres together, you get something that will draw in the fans of mainstream Pop whilst interesting those who prefer their music harder and heavier.  By the time the second verse rolls around, more of the story is revealed.  The wording puts you in mind of a teenage tryst: something school-based and innocent to say the least.  It seems the friends of family (of the lovers) are unaware and kept in the dark.  Maybe an ill-advised or uncertain bond, things are being kept secret.  The drug-like addiction of the passion- tied to the secrecy and tip-toeing being done- is causing pain and heartache.  The words “Count the days, I count the days and seconds/’Til we can stop playing pretend/Now you got me shakin’/Got me takin’ in too much” add to that tangible desire and teenage lust.  Maybe appealing to a younger audience sector- aiming for the pre-teen market- it is good to see love and relations given a new spin.  Away from the anxieties and dark sentiments of Indie-Rock love- and the subjects the bands usually tread- here there is something more positive and hopeful.  There is a little bit of Imagine Dragons in the song- especially when it comes to the chorus- and that bonhomie and chorusing is hard to ignore.  By this stage in the song, the secret has not been unveiled although our lead does not seem too suffocated.  It is the third (and final) verse that showcases the band’s lyrical quirks and individuality.  If you assess its words- “I’ll join your cult, I’ll drink your Kool-Aid/I’ll break my back, whatever you say/Walk ’til my feet start to bleed and just keep on walking/I’ll dye my hair, I’ll change my name/I’ll play along, just teach me your game/You don’t play fair, I’m aware but I don’t care I’m not stopping”- there are clear images and humour to be found.  It is evident our man is infatuated and there is no turning back.  Most bands tend to go for boring and lifeless images yet The Slightlys ensure their lyrics get inside the mind and make the listener smile along.  Backing and augmenting the lyrics is a guitar-bass-drum combination that ensures plenty of punch and life.  Emphasising that need and desire, the composition never relents or loses focus.  By the time of the final chorus introduction, the band throws in some echoed vocals and vibrating strings.  Ensuring that tension and lust raises the blood pressure, the final moments are dedicated to getting the listener hooked and fascinated.  By the end stages you begin to wonder whether things worked out or whether the secret is being kept.  It is a bit of a mystery and cliffhanger- perhaps something that will be resolved in future songs- but it sees our lead lays his heart on the line.  Bringing the song to a close and that energy and excitement never fades and relents.

It is a real band effort at work throughout Desperate Measures.  O’Connell provides a passionate and committed vocal that makes the lyrics sound essential and fully convincing.  Perhaps drawing in his acting work, the performance comes across as very real and genuine.  Making sure every sentiment and lyric is dealt with appropriately, you get a real gamut of emotions.  Dudley II provides excellent bass guidance- that blends well with the guitar of O’Connell- and it creates its own degree of rhythm and melody.  With Marinelli providing ample and prominent drum beats, you get a primal and real heartbeat.  Making sure the energy levels and fascination never relents.  Fitzpatrick provides energetic and spirited lead guitars which give the song a vitality and rush.  Together the band is tight and insistent throughout.  It is perhaps the lyrics that provide the biggest slice of intrigue.  Mixing teenage ideals with something more mature, it is a song that tackles romance and seduction in a new way.  Many listeners will be able to appreciate and understand the themes being explored throughout Desperate Measures– it is a song that appeals and aims to all listeners.

Having been recently introduced to The Slightlys it has been great hearing the U.S. band.  As I said up-top, it is hard to encounter and assess every great band coming out of America.  The media tends to focus on home-grown sounds and does not really cast its net too far away.  When you discover one U.S. band, it is often easy enough to seek-out and find comparable acts.  When I reviewed Brooklyn’s The Falling Birds- who are currently playing in the U.K. – I connected with some of their social media bands/friends and discovered more great music.  In the same manner, The Slightlys will have some great band friends and acts they support.  It is a slow way of discovering music but is the way social media works.  Before I finish up it is worth mentioning Indie-Rock acts of today and the music in the U.S.  I opened by stating how stale and uninspired a lot of Indie-Rock is today.  Too many bands are fixated with sounding like their heroes.  I have heard too many bands that replicate Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro.  Too many acts rip-off Artic Monkeys and their ilk.  If musicians want to survive in this industry then they need to be original and themselves.  It is human nature to be inspired by musicians although that should not come at the expense of identity and personality.  Those acts that separate themselves aside and provide something fresh are those that stick in the mind.  The Slightlys have a little bits of other acts in their music is unique enough to stand aside from their heroes and influences.  L.A. is producing some great acts right now and 2015 has been a bumper year for the city.  Maybe it is the Californian sun or the hustle-and-bustle of the city.  Perhaps there are more opportunities over there but it seems the U.S. is edging ahead of the U.K. when it comes to the band market.  There seems to be more originality and freedom there.  I shall leave things assessing The Slightlys who have an exciting next year ahead of them.  Following the release of Desperate Measures the boys are heading into the studio to continue work on their debut album.  It will be exciting to see what the boys come up with and what direction they take.  Desperate Measures has a sunny feel and great hooks; lyrics that mix teenage thoughts with something distinctly Californian.  There is a distinct accent and geography to the song and the track could easily soundtrack a show like Glee.  That is not meant as an insult- not being a big lover of the show- but there is optimism and quirk that could score a Glee scene for sure.  I guess a lot of critical eyes and thought will look towards Glee and Bad Teacher- with O’Connell’s links with those shows- but you should separate the music and the acting.  A lot of actors have fronted bands, and if history is any indicating of quality, you wouldn’t expect a lot from The Slightlys.  Luckily that is not the case here and what we have is a group that promises a lot and is a definite name to watch.  Music is lining up its quarterstaff for the charge into 2016 and we should all be aware of the big names to watch.  I have had a hard time seeing which U.K. bands are worth watching: it is a lot easier when it comes to the U.S. and the major acts to watch.  The future is ahead of The Slightlys and although they have just begun their careers.  We shall see where the boys are headed and what they have in store.  It would be nice for them to come to the U.K. and play some dates here- that is if they can whip some funds together- as there will be a definite demand here.  It is hard to mix some sunny Pop with harder Indie and make it sound credible and original.  The Slightlys have a natural charm and urgency that makes you root for them; their music translates through music boundaries and has universality to it.  It is only left for me to point you towards Desperate Measures and ensure you check the song out.  One of the freshest and most unique songs of 2015 it is guaranteed to blow away cobwebs and leave a smile on your face.  When it is all said and done, what else do you really want from music?  It seems the L.A. band have a very…

SPECIAL recipe indeed.




Follow The Slightlys:











Track Review: Svelte- I Don’t Miss You






I Don’t Miss You





I Don’t Miss You is available at:

1st November, 2015



Bristol, U.K.


IT has been a fraught week to say the least…

With a lack of Internet connection, I have been forced to catch up and tackle reviewing head-on.  I have known about the work of Mary Spender before and love her voice to death.  When I heard about Svelte (a duo she fronts with Jacob) I was keen to dive in and investigate.  It brings to mind- when listening to the duo’s music- about a few things.  I am thinking of the importance of diversity, duos coming through and Bristol music- in addition to geographical sound break-down.  I have been listening to a lot of ‘90s music at the moment and bemoaning the lack of quality in some modern music.  There are few music-lovers that can deny the majesty of the ‘90s: the decade is music’s finest and cannot be topped in my view.  The range and diversity of music on offer (in the decade) is staggering.  From Grunge and ‘Britpop’ through to Pop and Dance, it was a decade that will never be equaled.  As the ‘00s drew in, music did suffer a slight dip- although some fantastic albums and acts came out.  It has only been the past decade that has seen a real drop in form.  Whether music is exhausted or the talent is not as startling; I long for the days of the 1990s and all it had to offer.  When I review great acts- and the finest music coming out- I see some potential and quality.  Our very best and brightest are those that do not simply put in the bare minimum effort.  Those musicians that had a great upbringing- tied to some excellent musical tastes- who really strike the imagination.  Blending genres and sounds together; doing something unique and imaginative- that is what gets the top honours and applause.  The ‘90s were so magical because of the variety and depth of music that was out there.  The phenomenal Dance/Trance movements and ‘Britpop’ regency was just the start of things.  It is near-impossible to reign-in and define the ‘90s for all it provided and stood for.  Musicians should take note and look at what came through then.  Too much of today’s music is stale and unadventurous.  Svelte are a duo that are just what the music world needs right now.  I have heard too many boring and lifeless solo acts come out; bands and groups that copy others for their own means.  When it comes to the Bristol two-some, you will struggle to compare them to anyone else directly.  Promoting a sound that marries harder Rock edges with Electronica bliss; stunning vocals and terrific compositions into a whole that is hard to beat.  Not too much is known of the duo and their biography: when they came together and who influences them; when they are playing live and what the future holds.  What I do know is they are busy recording and preparing a new single.  The duo have a nice little concept at their feet: they are going to be releasing a single on the first day of each month.  A lot of acts are too concerned with E.P.s and rushing material out there.  Svelte have ensured they have a steady stream of music coming without leaving gaps in-between.  With a new song arriving each month, fans get a chance to see how the duo’s developing.  This month saw the release of I Don’t Miss You: a song that ranks among their finest and shows just what a stunning act they are.  On December 1st a new song will be unveiled and it will be exciting to witness.  Before I investigate the music itself I am reminded of duos and what they offer.  In previous reviews I have mentioned the dynamics and subject matter of various duos.  London two-pieces are among the most diverse and memorable.  Duos from other parts of the U.K. offer different sounds and themes and that really got me thinking.  Whether it is the relationship status of the duo- they could be partners or friends- or where they hail that moulds their sounds.  It is that music formation that provides some sensational music and wonderful interplay.  It is the harmony and bond of the duo that appeals to the musician and writer in me.  Whereas bands can be quite unwieldy and impersonal; solo acts somewhat lonesome and singular- the duos are a different prospect altogether.  Most tend to be a boy-girl make-up (there are some exceptions) and I always love hearing what they come up with.  Whilst a lot of their peers deal with Pop and Folk concerns, Svelte are more mindful and ambitious.  Commentators and reviewers have noted the myriad mix of genres and sounds.  That stunning and unforgettable central voice perfectly sits with vibrant and passionate compositions that are among the most original and daring out there.  Svelte are based out of the city of Bristol: a location that has provided some of music’s very best, it is not shocking to see another terrific Bristol act.  Perhaps inspired by Bristol legends Portishead and Massive Attack, the duo is adept at weaving ‘90s Trip-Hop/Electronica with something contemporary and fresh.  Bristol is showcasing some wonderful acts at the moment and some of the U.K.’s most ambitious and original examples.  Whereas London is perfects leading music’s charge it is Bristol that is providing the most interesting and impactful sounds.  I am a big fan of Electronica and its prowess so Svelte are a duo that I am keen to support and follow.  With a new song due in the coming days, it is a great time to get involved with the Bristol two-piece.  With few like-minded peers, they are an act that are giving music a kick and breathe of fresh air.

It would be all well to review the latest track and just leave it there you’d think.  For a more comprehensive investigation of the duo it is worth seeing how their latest cut stacks up against their previous fare.  Being a fairly new proposition, there is not a great archive of music to contrast and compare.  Both members have made music before Svelte- I am a particular fan of Mary’s solo work- and Svelte is something different altogether.

  Sleeping Tonight was released four months ago and begins with a buzzing and vibrating electronic slam.  A heavy and hard beats sees lyrics looking at clothes hitting the floor- not to be collected until next morning.  Looking at a central figure that is in a daze and drunken; we look at twilight tangling and unwise decision.  Mary’s voice is perfectly suited to ascribing a scene of ill-fated bonds and disenchanted ideals.  Soulful and rich, it marries with the strumming and stridulating electronics.  Riffled beats come in and tangle with hollow echoes.  A composition that develops and alters as the song progresses, it is a song that constantly keeps you guessing.  A memorable and sing-along chorus makes the song accessible and nuanced to the masses.  It is the interplay of the duo that really captivates and they blend their individual talents into the mix.  Such an energetic and snaking composition backs and propels a wonderfully striking and emotive vocal.

  Façade arrived a month after Sleeping Tonight and begins with a different tone and objective.  Lighter and more sleepy, the beats and electronics are more restrained early on.  Mary’s voice is more romantic and soothing than on Sleeping Tonight.  Feeling slightly exhausted and bereft, our heroine wants the ground to swallow her up.  Having her soul and identity taken away, that sense of suffocation and disability comes to the fore.  Lost and hopeless, you root for her and wonder what has caused this sadness.  Perhaps a relationship has broken down or a friend has betrayed her trust.  It looks at a boy who has left others “an empty shell”.  That inimitable and varied voice- that goes from a husky chocolate to something sensual and velvet- rules the track.  Whereas Sleeping Tonight saw the composition on an equal footing, it is the voice that takes the lion’s share of the honours.  Pin-sharp and haunting the one moment; meaningful and raw the next, it is a wonderful performance.  The beats are kept minimal yet provide a stormy and evocative backdrop to the song’s themes of betrayal and heartache.  A leap forward from their earliest cut; it shows how agile and varied Svelte is.

   Lipstick Melts begins with a passionate and intriguing compositional beat.  Mary’s voice is at its most sensual and direct; propelled by a punchy beat, the song is as stunning and picturesque as its title.  Our heroine’s world is “ending tonight” and gets the listener immersed in the song.  Rapture is arriving and perhaps a romantic explosion is due.  There is that sense of not letting go and separating.  Whether a relationship refuses to break or the lovers are not moving on, it is a song that begs for deeper interpretation and exploration.  Mary’s voice seems more confident and assured here whilst Jacob’s guidance and swathes are at their most daring and stunning.  The entire song perfectly merges classic Trip-Hop glories with something contemporary and modern-day.  Original and deeply personal, the song showcases the duo’s consistent songwriting and evolution ambitions.  Not sounding like any other track they have produced, few other acts are able to sound completely different and consistent at the same time.  Svelte change subjects and directions from track-to-track without compromising ideals and originality- each number shows a new skin and concern; a distinct theme and idea.

In October, the duo put Time (Put It All Together) out there and once more it signaled a new move and motivation.  Primal and urgent from the offset, it is a dominated and pressing electronic beat that gets into the mind.  Our heroine’s voice is both relaxed and passionate as we see blurry views and auto-focus being ascribed.  Trying to put their pieces together, there is a mystique behind early lyrical ideas.  Having wasted time on a central subject- a boyfriend or former lover perhaps- our heroine will not spend another moment “feeling blue” and “feeling used”.  The song develops into something more uplifted and spirited.  The electronics augment and raise- whilst being underpinned by a constant electronic burble- and the composition expands and ignites.  Detailed touches and elements come together- electronic guitar strings and processed vocals- to create an atmosphere that is heady and exhilarating.  Emotive and impassioned, the song is one of the duo’s most memorable and stunning.  Mary’s voice is at its most instant and wondrous here.  That busy and accomplished composition perfectly pushes and propels her performance whilst creating its own gravity and personality.

With every release, Svelte become more confident and stunning.  Seemingly at their most inspired, the last couple of months have seen them at their very peak.  With the talent on display- sensational vocals and tremendous compositions- they are capable of changing course and colour seemingly effortless.  I Don’t Miss You continues subjects of romantic concerns and separation whilst covering the topic with new life and a new angle.  The finest cut the duo has unleashed, it is the perfect summation of their joint talents.  It ensures future singles will be much-anticipated and celebrated and I can see some amazing numbers arriving.  At no stage has the duo ever slacked or dropped the ball and I would love to see an E.P. or future album arrive.  There is so much quality and range to be found so the options are out there for Svelte.  With a new single coming each month, it is a wonderful way to get constant Svelte music- something daring and amazing with each new venture.

Subverting my expectation from the off, I Don’t Miss You arrives with merriment and urgent rush.  Light and upbeat; busy and catchy, you get tripping and funky bass with echoed vocals and electronic motifs.  Unlike any introduction they have released previously, the listener is immediately taken somewhere different and new.  Our heroine arrives in the spotlight- after the insatiable and stunning opening phase- to give evidence and testimony.  The song is about- and the tale really concerns- “a claim to fame without the fame” and a story of “when you were young”.  The initial sentiments get my mind delving into possible interpretations and truths: maybe we are looking at a tabloid star or a fake star?  Perhaps it is a former lover that is bad news?  When Mary sings a “soldier without a gun” a photo-taking (during a summer holiday) there is an insight into a relationship and a break-up.  That lack of bravery and backbone- on behalf of the track’s male role- we get a window into a callous soul and someone that has caused pain and hurt.  It is clear there have been arguments and debates raging.  The chorus looks at the heroine strangely at peace and unaffected.  Not missing him/things as much as she should, it is evident the relationship was not as solid and meaningful as it could have been.  Many songs investigate relationship wreckages and the nature of the wake.  Whilst most singers and acts are filled with anger and accusation; we get a more dignified and mature approach to the subject.  As gripped as I was by the vocal and lyrics, the composition gets equal billing and does not demure into the shadows.  Not as heavy and pulsating as some of the past songs- Façade for one- the track lets a lighter and more open composition exploit the urgency and quality of the vocal.  It appears the song’s hero- although that seems like a grandiose word for someone not at all heroic- was looking for s life simpler and less complicated.  It seems like euphemism for commitment and seriousness.  When things were getting serious and deep he has retracted and run.  Someone in in for the wrong reasons- and maybe interested in only the physical- the first signs of purity and meaning have caused him to become immature and cowardly.  Not allowing this to cloud her soul and cause her true heartache, our heroine has a very pragmatic and dignified assiduity to her retorts.  Not casting blame or sounding too vulnerable, the lyrics are perfectly measured and delivered to project that sense of moving on and strength.  As the song develops, my thoughts look elsewhere.  Whilst the lead wanted a simpler love and relationship, it seems he could not stomach a simple life and existence.  When it comes to a “simple wife” and normal job, it seems he wants something more.  Our heroine has provided advice- to protect the man from hurt- and it may have backfired somewhat.  The two were looking for different things and different lives.  Having parted ways and separated there is not that recrimination and slander coming through.  Whereas our heroine is in her hotel room imagining possibilities and seeing the world- able to travel and cut loose a lot more- she is freer and happier.  Not being tied down and obedient- it seems her former beau wanted someone diligent and stay-at-home- there is that emancipation and new lease on life.  Our lead is at her very best and looking forward to new challenges ahead.  A healthy approach to love and break-up; I Don’t Miss You is a new take on a common theme.  It is that composition-and-vocal combination that really comes into play throughout.  Little details are thrown in here and there- from fragmented electronics to processed vocals- to create atmosphere and emotion when needed.  Svelte do not clutter the song and have made it simple enough to breathe and inspire.  From beginning to end it is a track that delights the senses but compels you to think.  A personal tale and survey, it is a song that many people can relate to.  Many women (and men for that matter) would have had that relationship that was due to shatter.  Perhaps it was not real love- or a relationship that would have gone the distance- where there is actual positives to take from its cessation.  Mary’s voice and talent ensure the lyrics are cliché-free and contain some real stand-outs.  With Jacob, the duo has created a song with a wonderful rich and vibrant composition tied to a true-to-life and emotional lyric.

Both parties bring their talents and skills together to create a wonderfully nuanced and memorable cut.  The vocal is consistently impassioned and urgent- two words I use a lot for good reason- and the conviction and drama are all there.  Not heavy-handed or too dramatic there is plenty of life and light to be found too.  Soulful and Pop-based; with a Rock-sharp tongue to boot it is a voice that is constantly stunning and agile.  The lyrics contain some lovely little sentiments and images- the idea of (the hero) being a “soldier without a gun” and the sense of plot and development stand out- to create something that will be played again and again.  The composition is probably Svelte’s best as it draws in their past heaviness and weight with something crisper and more developed.  Pulling in so much colour and so many different emotions, it is a sound that perfectly augments the centre whilst standing out on its own when needed.  Bringing those elements together, the production values are assured and polished.  Allowing both clarity and raw emotion, we get a production that perfectly suits the song and ensures each element comes together seamlessly.  The finest moment Svelte have created, I Don’t Miss You is a song that gives 2015 a mighty send-off- who knows what December’s single will contain?  All I know is that Bristol’s finest duo are in rich form and are in no danger of slowing any time soon.

Knowing Mary Spender and what an accomplished musician she is, it is no surprise Svelte are such a stunning force.  Jacob and Mary have a solid bond that comes through in their glistening and multi-layered sounds.  I Don’t Miss You reconciles Mary’s previous sounds and ideas with something more adventurous and multi-coloured.  I have checked their previous singles and Svelte seem to be getting stronger and more confident with each release.  From their initial unveilings, the duo has stepped up a gear and sound at their peak here.  On December 1st we will get a new song and a fresh chance to hear one of Bristol’s best new acts.  The chemistry and intuition of the two players radiates in their music which reminds me of the ‘90s’ very best moments.  Music’s king decade boasted consistent quality and a range of sounds that has not been matched since.  Electronic motifs and Pop wonder sparred with harder Rock gems and everything in-between.  What Svelte have produced is something (a song) that mixes all these elements together with a vibrant sound of 2015.  Too many musicians and artists are concerned with playing it safe and honing themselves from the off.  Our duo is one of the most stunning and original out there and will go on to big things.  With so many artists out there at the moment, it is hard to decipher which will be the ones to watch in 2016.  There are some great bands and solo acts emerging, yet it is the duos that are sticking in my mind.  Before I complete the review, I am going to return to my original points about duos, geography and sound variation.  I feel the band market has reached a bit of an impasse at the moment.  There’s a few good bands emerging yet I find there is little innovation and originality to be found.  Aside from the likes of Everything Everything and Royal Headache- two of my favourite acts from this year- there are still too many that are too limited and stale.  Once upon a time ago we had acts that displayed vibrancy and stunning songwriting; a power punch of emotion and passion.  Something is missing this year and I hope 2016 unveils some genuinely great and worthy acts.  There are some impressive solo acts out there, but for my money, there are not enough.  It is the duos that will provide the best possibilities in the coming year.  This year has been a damp and disappointing one for mainstream music so we cast our eyes to new music.  Whilst it is hard to get a grip on all the fantastic acts coming out, we can at least swim through the mist and uncover those worthy of fond affection and support.  Svelte have hit about a great concept- when it comes to releasing a new song a month- and are no gimmicky act at all.  Their music ranks among the most refreshing and immense coming through right now.  If those gorgeous and passionate vocals do not get into your mind then that detailed and soul-hitting composition will win you over.  The duo pen lyrics and music that will resonate with many listeners and tap into the concerns and experiences of the average listener.  It is only left for me to see what the future holds for Svelte and how they compare to their contemporaries.  With Bristol heating-up as a musical centre, I am not shocked to find another tremendous act come out of the city.  Since the early-‘90s Bristol has been showcasing some of music’s most agile and innovative musicians.  Not just workaday Pop/Folk acts, Bristol is more interested in harder and darker Electronica layers; songs that are detailed and challenging.  I hope Svelte play London very soon as it would be a great chance for the capital to witness one of this country’s brightest hopes.  A duo that has their eyes set on the future, the connection Mary and Jacob share is electrifying.  In a live setting I can imagine something rather wonderful unveiled.  I am not so down on the music of 2015 yet I think something has to occur: a kick up the backside to get tongues wagging and musical minds inspired.  What we have at the moment is a mainstream that is rather average and unpredictable.  New music is perhaps providing more consistency and quality but there are still issues and concerns emerging here.  So many acts replicate others and do not really push themselves and their sound.  Whether that indicates a lack of talent and intelligence, I am not sure.  No matter because the likes of Svelte are providing plenty of salivation and insight into what 2016’s sounds will be.  After a stressful and frustrating past week, I Don’t Miss You is a song that has provided some solace and uplift.  There has been a glut of sensational music this past few months so it is wonderful to discover an act that are bringing the magic back.  I shall be keeping my eyes primed to Svelte’s social media feeds in the coming weeks.  When December hits us, that first day will see a brand-new Svelte number.  Whether it harks to their sapling single or carries from where I Don’t Miss You left off?  It may be dystopian and dark or it may be a joyous overhaul of emotions.  Who knows, huh?  That is the great thing about the Bristol act.  Such a diverse and fertile duo, they keep surprising and delighting with each release.  If you have not heard them then make sure you check out their latest track and dive into their past- they will be names to watch for sure.  For all uninspired bands and solo acts looking for a way to improve/alter their music then look no further.  Svelte show how it should be done and will compel and inspire others to…

PUT the invention back into modern music.




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Feature: The November Playlist (Part Three)




The November Playlist (Part Three)





THIS is the final part.











Follow Bird





Echo Boom Generation





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IV Rox




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Mrs. Skannotto




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Night Wolf




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Hannah Boleyn




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Hannah Dorman



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The State of Georgia




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The Bandicoots




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Universal Thee












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Jade the Moon




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Fifi Rong





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The Emsee




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Play Erase Record






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Black Lady Soul




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The 48ks





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Eliza Rickman




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Chenai Zinyuku




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Ruby Macintosh




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The Glass Child




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The Tuts







Alison Levi



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Steve Heron




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This Week’s Albums: November 23rd, 2015

This Week’s Albums



November 23rd, 2015






IT is a case of “Something old, something new/something ‘borrowed’, something…


that doesn’t rhyme”.  I do a D.J. gig every week at The Stoke Pub and Pizzeria (; I have the opportunity to play four different albums: one that is ‘old’ (to my mind, anything pre-1985), something ‘new’ (released brand-new that week); something influential (and has inspired a genre/other acts) – in addition to dealer’s choice (any album I choose).  Having done this for over a year-and played everything from Graceland to Pearl Jam; FKA twigs to Beastie Boys- it is enormous fun.  I get to talk to people about music; play some awesome stuff- turn people on to some great/forgotten sounds- well, I try to!  I shall publish this every week; try and highlight some fantastic albums- maybe some you have forgotten about.


The Old:  The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968)




It goes without saying that this album ranks among the ‘60s’ very best.  The third album from the U.S.-U.K. force, it ranks as Hendrix’s most scintillating works.  Reconciling the electric Funk of Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, the album benefits from a cavalcade of studio innovations- back-masking, chorus effect, flanging etc. – to create an album that defined the decade.  Aside from the obvious classics on the album- All Along the Watchtower, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) stand out- there are a host of gems.  Opener …And the Gods Made Love sees Hendrix mix spirituality and love with something raw and conflict.  It is not just the psychedelic and jaw-dropping guitar wizardry of Hendrix that sticks in the mind.  With Noel Reading and Mitch Mitchell providing stunning backing, you get an album that takes you somewhere truly magical.  A completely immerse experience from beginning to end it inspired a wave of Hard-Rock albums and bands.  Whilst others have tried to replicate Electric Ladyland’s sonic innovation and sheer quality; none have come close.  Not surprising the album ranks as one of music’s all-time best.  Audaciously accomplished and far-reaching it’s a record that does not dim with age or repeated plays- a masterpiece that keeps revealing new shades, colours and emotions.


DOWNLOAD: Crosstown Traffic; All Along the Watchtower; Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

STAND-OUT TRACK: All Along the Watchtower



The New: Adele- 25 (Out Now)



It is one of the most hotly-anticipated albums of the year and with good reason.  After the mass-selling and huge acclaim of her previous album (21) Adele concentrated on family life.  Suffering from writer’s block leading up the album’s creations it was unsure whether 25 would ever surface.  Fortunately the young singer had a breakthrough in 2013 and the creative juices flowed.  Adele refers to the album as a ‘make-up’ creation; this shows on a lot of the numbers.  There is redemptiveness and love among the recriminations and doubts.  Although the album suffers some lags- Send My Love (To Your New Lover) and Love in the Dark could have sat on the studio floor- the album brims with confidence and intent.  Hello is an obvious lead-off track that has gained record YouTube views and sales figures.  Adele stretches words and vowels to create something mind-spinning and intoxicating.  The music and lyrics is a perfect match and at every stage she gives the material complete heart, soul and dedication.  That inimitable and dramatic voice makes tracks Remedy and Water Under the Bridge sound essential and gripping.  It will be fascinating to see where Adele goes from here but based on her current album the signs are promising.  One of this country’s most astonishing talents, it is a relief to hear Adele back- let’s hope there will be no more writer’s blocks!  If you want to discover a true singer show how music should be made, then ensure you get your copy of 25– an album that is flying off the shelves!

DOWNLOAD: Hello; Remedy; Water Under the Bridge




The Influencer:  Aaliyah- Aaliyah (2001)



Few people I speak to are familiar with Aaliyah, which is quite galling.  Without her (and her self-titled album) the likes of Beyoncé would sound completely different.  A young artist taken too soon- she died in a plane crash after filming the music video for Rock the Boat– Aaliyah is an album that changed the game.  Drawing Funk, Hip-Hop and Electronica into the mix, the album showcases synthesized vocals and fragmented beats; manipulated vocals and choppy guitars came together to truly highlight Aaliyah’s unbridled talent.  More Than a Woman is the album’s true highlight: that catchy hook sees Aaliyah’s vocal ride in the mix.  Showing her sensual side to maximum effect, it boasts a truly spectacular vocal.  Throughout the album Aaliyah shows her mix of maturity and sexuality to great effect.  The likes of Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado looked at Aaliyah and its innovative production- without this album their careers may have gone very differently.  One of the best Soul albums of the decade (the ‘00s) its highlights- Rock the Boat, Try Again and I Care 4 U– see the combination of exceptional production- Timbaland and Bud’da were among the producers- blend seamlessly.  With so many singers indebted to Aaliyah it is only right you discover an album that redefined and changed the Pop/Soul landscape upon its release.  With its influence still being felt, there is no escaping its wonder and brilliance.

DOWNLOAD: Rock the Boat; More Than a Woman; Try Again

STAND-OUT TRACK: More Than a Woman



The ‘Other One’: Metallica- Metallica (1991)




I have featured Metallica in my D.J. sets before- their Master of Puppets was on the block- and it is great to come back to the legendary U.S. band.  Obvious stand-out Enter Sandman must rank among music’s most forceful and memorable tracks- those riffs and vocals are hard to forget- but the album is so much more than that one track.  Tracks Nothing Else Matters and The Unforgiven rank among Metallica’s very best- whilst displaying sensitivity in spots- and signaled a move away from the thrash and grab of previous albums; here they were embracing something less harsh and more refined.  Boasting intensity and true Metal production values- no gloss and polished studio crap- it was not an avoidance of past glories; simply a progressive step forward- the band almost invented a new genre (Progressive Thrash, if you will).  The album saw the band’s fanbase explode massively.  Whilst previous albums seemed bloated and directionless, the band streamlined and focused their attentions.  Making their music more commercial- whilst not compromising integrity and ethics- it sees them at their very peak.  They never recaptured the same dizzying highs in the careers, so for that reason alone, Metallica stands as a truly singular moment in Rock history.

DOWNLOAD: Enter Sandman; Holier Than Thou; Nothing Else Matters

STAND-OUT TRACK: Enter Sandman