LIVE REVIEW. Saint Etienne at Gateshead Sage 2

Date: 8th June 2017
Venue: Gateshead Sage 2
Genre: Dance-pop
Words & Photography:  Victoria Ling – Victoria@137imaging.co.uk

There was definitely a lot in the air up and down the country on June 8th 2017.  Yes, that election had a lot of people talking and got the country buzzing with passion and as we waited for Saint Etienne we had the words “skilled musicians with over twenty five years experience” and “for the many not the few” pop up on the screen above the stage adding to the atmosphere.  The band then enters and as the music begins even Sarah Cracknell says we have her permission to leave the gig to go and vote. What a way to start a show as they burst into ‘Lose That Girl’ that seems to be a crowd favourite.  We are given a great range of the back catalogue but they have also recently released the ‘Home Counties’ album – an album taking in the day to day snapshot of life in the home counties and it is not until the fourth number do we delve into that album with ‘Whyteleaf’ going into ‘Magpie Eyes’ and they are received greatly.

SE2.jpgWe know Saint Etienne as Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and of course Sarah but on this tour they have an expanded band that add a new edge to the performance. It is noted they normally travel with a cello player who is missing tonight but multi instrumentalist Joe more than makes up for this as he moves onto the violin now and then and also long time backing vocalist Debsy gets a huge roar of approval from the lively audience as does the feather boa that Sarah wraps around her neck time and again. And after a few pleas one gig-goer gets his prayers answered with ‘Like A Motorway’. In fact the audience for most part really added to the atmosphere. In many cases when many talk/shout throughout a gig it can be a spoiler but for some reason this night bar a few occasions it made the night have that extra edge and the interaction, especially from Sarah could not be faulted as her replies to the crowd and even at one point a dedication to a guy that runs up to the stage with arms and voice raised is adorable.

This is the second time I have seen Saint Etienne live and both being at The Sage. The first time was dubbed as a Christmas show and received mixed reactions and in a sense I think there was something missing that night although I thoroughly enjoyed it but this tour we could not have asked for more. From the opening number to the closing one every single part of the set list was perfect. Everything just seemed to fit. Although Sarah is the front woman every member on the stage shone, even if you couldn’t see them you could feel them that really, forgive the pun but ‘NOTHING CAN STOP US’ from enjoying a Saint Etienne show when every part of the show just flowed as it did on this night.


Listen to ‘Home Countries’ here

Remember to give Saint Etienne some love on Facebook and Twitter

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik

LIVE. Natalie Imbruglia in London

Date: 11 May 2017
Venue: Union Chapel, London
Genre: Pop
Words and photography: Victoria Ling (Victoria@137imaging.co.uk)

Having released her album of male covers aptly titled ‘Male‘ in 2015, Natalie Imbruglia toured as a support to Simply Red but never quite got on the road herself.  Fast forward to May this year and she finally hit the road for her own headline tour around Europe, with an extra date added to London as tickets for the first date were like hot cakes and sold out Union Chapel almost too quickly.

I was very excited for this gig, as although Imbruglia’s career has been going strong since her first single, and absolute anthem ‘Torn’ in 1997, I have only seen her live as support, so I was pretty ecstatic when my friend and I got tickets. We arrived just before 6pm and the queue to the venue was already the full length of the street. There was a definite buzz in the London air. As soon as people took to their pews they were beaming as Union Chapel had you in awe.

As lights went down and the band took to their places the introduction had the audience on tenterhooks then there was a pause and Ms Imbruglia stepped onto the ‘stage’ with a ‘good evening’ to the crowd who were half and half ‘do we sit or do we stand’ in the church as ‘Wrong Direction’ started the night. As pews were quite tight we were in the mutual feeling to stay seated but that did not dampen the mood and when we were urged we clapped and sang along moving our bodies as much as we could. There really could not have been a more perfect venue to match the sounds of this Acoustic Tour, as people murmured around me, “I knew she could sing but she just sounds so much better,” as hits from all her albums were being delivered to us, such as ‘Stuck On The Moon’ and then breaking hearts into a million beautiful pieces was the cover of Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘I’ll Follow You Into The Dark.’ And this was just the first three songs. With every song there was a little story and with every story there was a whoop from the audience. I could feel the excitement of those around me when their favourites were played.

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A few surprises came and very welcome ones at that. Before the show many of us were discussing what we were hoping she would play and considering her favourite single non-single is ‘Smoke’ that of course made it in, much to the delight of those sitting right next to me. ‘Lukas,’ to me, was the biggest surprise of them all, as it comes from the not so critically acclaimed ‘Come To Life’ album. When you hear this live you do sometimes wonder how critics get to make a living, as it was delivered to perfection. And of course the 90s stomper ‘Torn’ was performed and gave us the biggest sing-along of the night. My personal all-time favourite Natalie Imbruglia song is ‘Beauty on the Fire.’  Unfortunately, the element of surprise was slightly dampened as people had told me it was on the list but when it finally came, the fire inside of me was ablaze and it was one of those moments where nothing else mattered but Ms Imbruglia singing that song live in the same room as myself.

Of course, definitely ready for anything on this night but the setting as beautiful as it was made us feel a bit restricted in terms of getting up on our feet, but in hindsight it also made it a beautiful affair as we sat and admired the true beauty of the setting and witnessing Ms Imbruglia strip back her songs for us.  Then after a lot of foot stomping and echoes for more, we really could not sit still any longer, as she returned to give us the beautiful ‘Butterflies’ to the slightly more upbeat ‘Intuition’, then ending the night on ‘Big Mistake’ – which was far from a big mistake.

I have enjoyed many concerts and a few I walk away saying that was one of the best but this night definitely was, as I have never sat through a gig smiling from ear to ear from the moment I walked into a venue to leaving.  Natalie Imbruglia is one of those artists that really does not get as much credit as she deserves and on the huge success of this tour, I really hope we get to hear and or course, see her live more.

 


Check out Natalie Imbruglia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik

 

 

INTERVIEW. No No Yeah Okay talk inspiration, niche music scenes and future endeavours

Words: Steph Baker

I myself, do it completely for the ability to perform and find myself in the best mental state possible while doing so.”

The Milwaukee-based sonic melting pot No No Yeah Okay surprise released their latest single ‘What Can I Say‘ off of their forthcoming EP, Cabal. We got to get to know them, to talk inspiration, their local music scene and what’s next in store for No No Yeah Okay.
When it comes to complex sounds, No No Yeah Okay are masterminds. They are “all over the map when it comes to influences”. Some are clear when listening to the tracks which somehow fuse together electronic beats with punk, however there are some hidden treasures that wouldn’t immediately come to mind. “For example, you might not guess that Colin is a huge LCD Soundsystem fan, “you might find Josh wearing out the same Fugazi albums in his headphones, but he’ll be lifting a bass groove idea out of 70s funk”. When it comes to ‘What Can I Say‘, a perfect “coming to terms anthem”, the main inspiration came from the band’s surroundings at the time of writing; “I wrote it on the tail end of an extended stay in Southern California in which everything for me at the time was perfect. I realised in a moment that things might not ever feel this good and was in the moment accepting of this forward progression of emotions but also terrified to lose the zen i was in.” 
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The four-piece kicked off making music in 2014 by Mark (production) and Christopher (guitar) creating an ever-growing library of unique sounds, soon enough vocalist Colin, who was an independent rapper at the time to come on board and add some vocal magic to their tracks just before Joshua (bass) joined to tie all the elements together. “Milwaukee’s electronic scene is really popping right now and seems to be headed in a great direction. Acts like Luxi, Kiings, and a Producer collective that goes by Noh Life are expanding beyond city limits” and No No Yeah Okay have really made their mark on their local music scene and built a reputation for their gigs. We’d like to think we are unique in the local scene. Our live sound is a bit more intense as we are incorporating live drums and the bass and guitar tend to stand out a bit more so it creates this contrast between what people may have heard us record and what they are hearing in person.” Colin explains the best thing about growing as a live act, “for me it is the reaction from the crowd and the introduction to new faces each and every show.”
But now that the local area are familiarised with the mesmerising sounds of No No Yeah Okay, what is next in store for them? For a group that is still in the process of finding their identity, they are non-stop; “we are in the beginning stages of planning out a midwest tour as well as a few east coast stops… aside from that we are continuing to write and after the EP release in June, we will be working on and releasing some singles to wrap up the year”.

While waiting for the release of the ‘Cabal‘ EP, listen to the new single ‘What Can I Sayhere. You can also send them some love on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Baker out

LIVE REVIEW. Otherkin at The Boileroom

Date: 23 May 2017
Venue: 
The Boileroom, Guildford
Genre: Grunge pop
Words: Steph Baker
Photography: Aaron Crawford

 

Tonight’s gig reminded me of why independent venues such as The Boileroom are so important to local communities and the music industry. Seeing live music, and having unique, memorable experiences at places like these, filled with welcoming and creative people is what it’s all about, right?

Bad Nerves

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The main support for Otherkin came on stage to a warm and building crowd. The first thing that made this East-London four-piece currently touring with Otherkin was the front-man’s pounding vocals. His voice travels up, down and all around, diversifying the band’s indie-rock tunes and bringing each one to life.

The crowd were engaged, and our night was kicked off with a frenzy of heavy riffs and catchy hooks, especially within the most recent single ‘Dreaming‘. This was one of the band’s final gigs with Otherkin, an yet you would never have known it with the amount of manic energy the guys brought to the room, the set was actually exhausting to keep up with, and that’s exactly how music like this is meant to be.

 

 

 

Otherkin

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Otherkin are a grunge-pop frenzy from Dublin who are… quite the experience. The four-man group came onstage looking rather un-disruptive but managed to turn a politely-bobbing-your-head-along kinda Tuesday night into a sweaty, bloody mess within their first track, ‘It’s Alright‘. The crowd were pulled to the front and brought up to the same level as the band while thrashing around to the infectious ‘Why Did You Treat Me So Bad‘. In today’s music scene, over-saturated with Libertines-wannabes and inauthentic boy bands, Otherkin proudly stand out by managing to genuinely connect with the audience and bring about an uproar with their ferocious hooks, passionate lyrics and attitude filled grunge riffs.

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As the country tries to digest and contemplate the truly horrific attack on a gig in Manchester, tonight’s gig is a bittersweet event. Otherkin stopped their set to express their thoughts and pay their respects, saying “Music should be a safe space for everyone” before everyone in the room took part in a minute of silence. After this emotional moment came to an end, the group summoned up all the energy they had in them with the next tune of the night, ‘Come On Hello’, something fun and positive to get everyone dancing again. Further along the night, the London boys invited everyone onto the stage, this was a moment of pure joy and madness for everyone at the Boileroom tonight, exactly what we needed. Hook-filled, manic pop tunes full of attitude and truthful tales. Otherkin are a truly class act, and a band that will inevitably continue to shake up venues across Europe this summer.

 


Listen to Otherkin’s latest Single ‘Bad Advicehere

The East-London boys are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Baker Out

LIVE REVIEW. Jones at Hoxton Hall

Date: 3rd May 2017
Venue: Hoxton Hall
Genre: Soul-pop with electro
Words & Photography: Victoria Ling – victoria@137imaging.co.uk

Ever had an idea that looks perfect on paper and then when it happens you just think “this is actually crazy!” Well, I have had a few moments like this in my time. but on crazy scale this is near the top.

Tuesday 2nd May 23:50 hours, bus leaves Newcastle. It runs a little late and arrives into London 8:30am on the Wednesday.  This was fine by me as I had a whole day ahead of me. Fast forward to 7pm though and there I am at Hoxton Hall. From the outside it doesn’t seem like much, however I did not realize it had a floor and two tiers. Seeing as I had been on my feet for most of the day I went for Tier 1 above the stage. The only downfall was that the whole band was not in view, but to look down at the whole venue was a beautiful thing and we had the lady of the night, Jones center stage and that was all that mattered.

After waiting for nearly too long, the night began with Australian duo Geowulf and their dreamy pop sounds as people were still fluttering in deciding on if they had chosen the right place to enjoy the rest of the show.  The sounds of Geowulf, and their uplifting engagement with the crowd are sounds you can happily just put your feet up and enjoy.

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For Jones’ scheduled time the room was at capacity and you could feel the anticipation in the air. After a further 20 minutes of waiting not-so-patiently, it was a sigh of relief when the band of Jack Lawrenson (guitars) and Kieran Guy (drums) started playing and then when Jones herself stepped on the stage. A much-deserved rapturous applause welcomed her and the opening of ‘Rainbow‘ gets our hearts racing, with that big letter ‘J’ shining bright behind them all.

This night in May was dubbed as an ‘acoustic’ show but Jones tells us a few tracks in that during rehearsals herself and the boys got a bit carried away and that the rest of the night was going to be that little louder than previously advertised. We were treated to songs from her debut album ‘New Skin‘, released last October as well as a couple of new numbers from February’s ‘Acoustic‘ EP and recent collaborations. One of the biggest cheers of the night went to ‘Hoops‘ and a surprise mash-up of Zara Larsson’sLush Life‘ and Years and Years ‘Eyes Shut‘ took a lot of the audience by surprise and even had us pretty overwhelmed.

Seriously, is there anything Miss Jones cannot do?

13 copyLast year she put her own unique twist on Calvin Harris’s ‘How Deep Is Your Love‘ (and actually made me like the song!) As a songwriter, Jones is simple but poetic. As a performer, Jones mesmerizes you.  She’s one of those rare gems that could sing the phonebook and you would be in awe and her deliverance in the majestic Hoxton Hall adds that extra bit of magic. And just when the set could not get any better, we are graced with a choir for a few numbers. I am dumb founded like I am sure the rest of this sold-out is too as ‘Becoming, Walk My Way‘ and ‘Waterloo‘ are given to us.

Handful Of Gold‘ is Jones’ latest release in collaboration with Cazzette.  It’s a stomper of a track that takes you on another high. We are basically in a state of euphoria that when Jones leaves the stage and returns with just Jack for ‘Indulge‘ it was the perfect ending, that people were smiling as they were leaving and many waited around to make sure Miss Cherie Jones knew what a stellar job she did. I was on the verge of leaving the building as although people had trains to catch down the road, I had run for a coach back up to Newcastle and the next one was not due for another 8hours if I missed it. And as time had been on my side for the whole day, it would do so again that as I turned to leave, Jones came to see her fans and I got to thank her personally for a brilliant day in the Big Smoke and made it with 15minutes to spare and back to the day job not long after stepping off the coach.

 


Check out Jones’s ‘Acoustic’ here

Jones is also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik

EP REVIEW. The Coathangers – Parasite

Release Date: 30 June 2017 (Digital out now)
Genre: Garage Punk
Rating: ★★★★
Words by: Steph Baker

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The Coathangers are not new faces on the scene, with their first entrance being over a decade ago. However, the Atlanta trio are starting to attract the ears of new listeners, with their latest offering ‘Parasite’, and from the opening riffs of the title track, it is clear why. Often bands and their fans alike get stuck in a rut of familiarity and routine when it comes to new releases, but surely we should embrace a change in songwriting and musical styles, as it reflects the journey that the band continues on every day. Humans change with experience, time and moments of reflection, and so too should creative endeavours, guitarist Julia Kugel even states “I’d like to think the PE takes you on a journey through the band’s existence“.

The opening track, ‘Parasite‘, seems to be a much-needed rant to get built up aggression of The Coathangers’ chest, “I don’t want parasite, keeping me up all night… I don’t want parasite, eating me from the inside out!” The raw and rowdy song is just over a minute long, and does not mess around in getting things straight before the girls continue with the EP in peace. Interestingly, the vocals seem somewhat softer in the following song ‘Wipe Out‘ (still unbridled and not to be fucked with, don’t worry), perhaps expressing a more content time within the band’s development.

17904105_1308631595840779_9156523798918359088_n.jpgThe third track, ‘Captain’s Dead‘ is full of wise words coming from someone who is clearly over your bullshit. The lyrics “Easy come and easy go, what you reap is what you sow” are sang over punk guitar lines that send you into a daze that will spin away all of your previous cares. Grimy bass-lines are carried onto into the next track, along with an empowering punk chorus that is reminiscent of the crooked hooks that made us fall in love with the Coathangers in the first place.

This five-track offering ends on quite a somber and melancholy tone. ‘Drifter‘ has dark melodies and a simple electric strumming, and is still as incessantly catchy as the rest of the tracks. Julia, Meredith and Stephanie have grown up together and have developed their art together, this EP perfectly showcases that journey. From moments of (partial) content and maybe a hint of love? to screaming and pent-up rowdiness that we all need to expel – In either case, it’s exactly what you need.


Listen to Parasite here

Make sure to give The Coathangers a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

The Atlanta Punk trio are also touring the Europe, check out dates below:

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LIVE REVIEW. MUNA at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen // double gig

Date: 28th & 30th March 2017.
Venue: Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London.
Genre: Dark Pop/Electro-pop.
Words & Photography: Victoria Ling.
The last week of March was dubbed as MUNA week, as the American trio came to London on a highly anticipated whistle stop trip to play the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen in East London. After having sold out the first date in less than 5 minutes, a second date was added which also quickly sold out – not to anyone’s surprise. It was definitely a hot ticket and I was lucky enough to be at BOTH dates.

Admittedly I am a bit late to the MUNA party, only having discovered them three weeks before the release of their debut album ‘About U’.  As soon as I heard ‘I Know A Place’ I found myself playing the album non-stopped and was hooked, thinking to myself, ‘am I getting too hyped too quickly?’ and ‘what if it is an anti-climax and I’ve got two shows to go to!’ Thankfully, I was not disappointed.


Tuesday 28th of March was the first night. It was a calm London day. I had stepped off a coach after an 8-hour journey and I could not contain the excitement in my bones.  We approached the venue and Hoxton Square was plastered with A2 posters of the debut album. We passed the members of the band in the bar. It was a case of do we/don’t we talk to them. As we plucked up the courage they parted. No worries we will catch them after the show. The queue escalated quickly. My friend who was gigged at HSB&K many times (this was my second and soon to be third) said this rarely happens. Doors delayed opening but we ran in as soon as they did. It was that kind of gig.

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There has been a lot of talk about the support act of the opening night.  I think a lot of the audience got word of this as it was pretty much packed as Lo Moon took the stage.  We were crammed in tightly for their indie-electro sounds and unfortunately for me there were a few talk-active people near to allow me to not enjoy it properly when Lo Moon were definitely giving it their all. For those that took and were allowed to take note, I can see why their live shows have been hyped and there was definitely something endearing about keys/guitarist Crisanta Baker.

With not that much more room, people still squeezed in. Even the tall people were reluctant letting their smaller counterparts in front of them. If it wasn’t hot enough already, we were ready to become a sweatbox. With a slight movement of the side curtain in the darkened room you could hear and feel hearts pounding then a tinkle of the synths and Katie Gavin’s opening lines of I Know A Place, the whole place is electrified and the band is jumping with every person in the place singing out every word, even the new lyrics, “I throw my arms open wide in resistance. He’s not my leader even if he’s my president,” a testament to Trump’s presidency.

A little place swap between Gavin and Naomi McPherson as McPherson takes lead on Promise. The intensity of this is enormous especially when Josette Maskin’s solo kicks in. Even the backing band of Scott Heiner (drums) and Brian Robert Jones (bass) are just as involved that they really are not a backing band, with Gaskin, McPherson and Maskin every single soul on that stage oozed charisma.

dTurning the tempo back up End Of Desire has the crowd jumping again and with the mention of new songs (Loser and In My Way) we get excited. In fact there is not one moment that MUNA or the crowd slows down. Well, until they have to wipe the sweat from themselves. It was actually a nice little moment between Gaskin and Maskin and the banter between the whole band is very inclusive of every soul inside of the venue. Speaking of inclusivity, the band requested that the toilets were ‘gender inclusive,’ and inclusive they were.  If you are unaware of MUNA, they are a political group. It is in their lyrics and it is apparent in a lot of their visual work. Their shows are inclusive of everybody. You could see it every which way you turned. A beautiful feeling.

Maskin then tells us it’s ‘covers’ time. She is very excited by this.  The other band members question this but as Gaskin leads Paramore’s Bring Me To Life the crowd go crazy. Yes, Josette! Thank You! Then they ‘go all LA,’ as Gaskin tells the crowd that we have been amazing singing along to every single word but if there was a time to really make our voices heard that time was now, as Loudspeaker literally booms into an explosive performance that at the end make all those at the front, reach and grab the stage décor of roses.

Thursday 30th March was the second night of this whistle stop trip.  The crowd gathered early again and the queue seemed to have grown quicker than Tuesday and with the heat wave outside, it seems no one was taking chances inside as the aircon was full blast as we entered.  

eElectro dance rockers, Otzeki opened with a promising set but then technical hitches came and cousins Mike and Joel laughed it off between them and the show went on…with more technical hitches and dancing in the middle of the crowd, which was very entertaining.  In parts it seemed a bit long but in all it was a fine performance to most of the crowd.

It seemed to be a more relaxed crowd, in that people were not pushing against each other but as lights went down and the music started the jumping started within the first second.  Noticeably Gavin even dressed ready to sweat and gone was her oversized T-shirt and in place was a bikini top.  

All members took notice again of the sell out crowd and asked if they were any returners – only a few hands went up – everybody in the know wanted to be there and some wanted to be there again and it seemed like Gavin, McPherson and Maskin could not quite believe it.  The energy that was there on the first night was here but with just that bit more intensity and that little bit more loudly but both were just as energetic. There did seem to be less banter on stage though but by watching each member you could still feel the chemistry between them, even with McPherson hidden from me behind the synths this time. The new songs went down just as well as the first night and the crowd and the vocals to Bring Me To Life seemed to go up a notch.  All words for every song from the album were sung back with passion.  What was not noticeable though was that every member on that stage was sick.  Many knew this was the case for Gavin but even with this and all the smiles back and forth it seemed they were on top form, even when they all come to the front of the stage for the second verse of Loudspeaker. How anyone was left standing after that performance with all the energy given is beyond me and with two shows in such a sweaty environment – let’s just say, and I quote, “something massive happened here” and all those posters that were plastered over Hoxton Square were gone BOTH nights.

 


Make sure to check out MUNA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and listen to ‘About U’ here

 

LIVE REVIEW. Middle Kids at Sebright Arms, London

Date: 15 May 2017
Venue: The Sebright Arms, East London
Genre: Indie-pop
Words and photography: Steph Baker

Lately, it seems that only once in a blue moon do you come across a band that not only pleasantly surprises you, but also manages to genuinely captivate a pub basement full of unsuspecting 9-to-5ers on a Monday evening. Tonight the Sebright Arms was graced with Middle Kids, the Sydney-based trio composed of Harry, drummer and bringer of all energy; Tim, the perpetually mysterious dude strumming in the corner, and the truly uplifting presence of front-woman Hannah. You know when you saunter into a gig not really knowing what to expect with a mate after work and then after hearing one chorus you realise you’re in exactly the right place, witnessing something really quite exciting? Yeah, that was what happened tonight.

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Many indie groups of late seem attached to the idea that in order to be the coolest kids around, you’ve got to strip back all personality from your live set, and look as angsty and misunderstood as possible. Sure, it’s a fine act for the first ten minutes, but it was refreshing to see a new band not give a shit about that and instead concentrate on making genuine connections being made with the crowd throughout their set. The authenticity in what they are doing and what they’re trying to achieve is clear. Recent hits such as ‘Edge Of Town’ and ‘Never Start’ nonchalantly tell their wise stories and bleed out bittersweet memories while also creating an infectious and simply fun vibe around the room. One song is all you need to both get out deeply-hidden frustration into the open, and also ready your care-free self to get pleasantly drunk on a Summer’s day – I reckon that’s the idea anyway.

And then we have tracks such as ‘Old River’ and ‘Your Love’, touching on more emotive confessions and melancholy moments. Middle Kids manage to seamlessly transport you from delicate moments of contemplation into dizzy whirlwinds of power and pounding guitar riffs, without blinking an eye. It’s no wonder that music royalty, Sir Elton John has passed on his seal of approval to this group ahead of their debut album – which the crowd were understandably excited to hear about. We also got to witness Hannah perform a solo track, which showcased her powerhouse vocal range and ability to fill the room with only one instrument and a set of very raw lyrics.

The final few songs of tonight, which included the new track ‘Mistake’ brought the crowd a stirring mix of easy-going folk-pop and spontaneous melodic madness. With a taste of what’s to come with the debut album, this Aussie trio is surely one to watch and definitely one to seek out live, whether it’s around Europe, or Down Under.

 


Check out the debut EP here and give them some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Baker out.

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCING. Cameron Avery with debut album review – Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams

Release date: 10 March 2017
Genre: Experimental blues/folk
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Words by: Scott Murray

With such an emphasis on production in the modern era, vocals have seemingly fallen to the back burner. This is not the case for Perth’s Cameron Avery. His debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams is a truly beautiful offering thanks to Avery’s transcendent vocals, with the entire album highlighting vocal qualities reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. This, paired with Avery’s poignant lyrics of longing and loss, create a dramatic vocal landscape.

That is not to say that Avery’s production suffers as a result, to the contrary Avery has created a striking instrumental landscape filled with sounds not of the modern age. His use of strings, horns and even an organ is shockingly refreshing in an industry filled with synths, and generic drum beats.

This old school sound shines in the albums fifth track, ‘Big Town Girl’, a soulful ode to Jane, the girl running circles in Avery’s brain. Avery drives this home in the song’s forth verse.

“You know I’ve never had the time to wait around for a dame, but if I knew that we could make it I’d wait around for Jane”.

The track begins with a swell of an organ before being joined by thoughtful guitar and minimalistic percussion. Avery’s voice then cuts through the instrumentals in what feels like an instant, but lasts in your ear for far longer.

A standout of this track is the pain in Avery’s voice, constantly oozing his longing and eventually his loss. These two themes can be heard throughout the record, no more so than when Avery croons “Could I suit her better, than that dark blue sweater? Probably not.”

There isn’t a tune on the record that manages to escape Avery’s titanic wave of despair, every track dips its toe into the deep pool of Avery’s pining. This coupled with Avery’s seeming opposition to contemporary sound has allowed Avery a unique opportunity to let his lyrics to take the fore.

However, there are tracks that seem entirely independent of this sound. The album’s third track ‘Dance With Me’ highlights this through its neo-western sound, similar to that of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds track ‘Red Right Hand’.

As well as this there are tracks that give glimpses of Avery’s psych rock pedigree. Avery, Tame Impala’s touring bassist and a former member of Pond, briefly lets his roots show in the album’s two busiest tracks ‘The Cry of Captain Hollywood’, an entirely instrumental track that is as rousing as it is peaceful, and ‘Watch Me Take It Away’.

Watch Me Take It Away begins with pulsing, almost sitar-esc guitar before the track takes flight with a swarm of rhythmic clapping and heavy short bursts of guitar and rapid fire percussion. This ensemble becomes a tapestry that allows Avery to highlight his range whilst also allowing his powerful lyrics to shine. The track follows Avery’s growth as he grasps that he need not waste his time on relationships without mutual respect, starting the third verse with the glass shattering realisation that his time is as important as anyone else’s. “I aint got time for your perversions, I spend my time transcribing versions of the truth”.

Overall the album is musically undefinable, and yet astoundingly beautiful. There is something ethereal about Cameron Avery’s voice that creates a sense of hope, despite the distinct sense of loss seen through almost all of his lyrics. This is a fantastic first effort from a talent that has been hidden behind a bass guitar for far too long.

 


Listen to the highly anticipated debut album from Cameron Avery here
Also make sure to check him out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

 

S.M.

 

EP REVIEW. Retrograde – Ariana & The Rose

Release Date: 24 March 2017
Genre: Synth-pop
Rating: ★★★★
Words by: Martina Di Gregorio

 

Ariana Di Lorenzo, or as she is most known as Ariana & The Rose, has finally released her first EP ‘Retrograde’, after teasing fans with the singles ‘Love You Lately’ and ‘Supercool’. Retrograde is coming out as the perfect embodiment of a young woman coming to terms with who she is. Originally from New York, Ariana is based in London and has been working to create a sound that truly represents herself; this album is full of powerful electro-pop anthems that would work to get anyone dancing while fully grasping the depth of both the highs and the lows of love through her vocals and powerful use of synths.

How Does That Make You Feel’ is the first single off this EP. Starting with a falsetto, Ariana’s voice engages the listener even before the percussions and synths jump in. The use of percussions intertwined with harmonies bring a whole new level of depth to the song. The song tells the relatable tale of a passionate love, and it is a good start to the EP, as Ariana’s voice and her ability to use her voice and as a diverse instrument instantly charms the listener.

Love You Lately’ released earlier this year has the power to make you emotional thinking about a lost love. The song played with the duo RKCB is an electro-R&B song that talks about a relationship ending. Ariana’s voice completely embodies the feelings of someone that is in a relationship but doesn’t love her partner anymore. This song shows a more serious side of Ariana, as well as her flexibility to go from a dance song to an R&B songs. The background beat gives a great rhythm to the song while Ariana and RKCB since “I don’t understand why you push away” and “I guess I don’t love you lately”.

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These Ruins’ has a slow beginning, with Ariana’s deeper voice accompanied by a low keyboard that is emphasized through different electronic instrumentation. The song describes a love that cannot be repaired, emphasized by a slow, melancholic, dark, creating a new universe where the melody gets more dramatic with every verse. Her voice has the capacity of perfectly encompasses the emotions of a tragic love, with her voice breaking at the end of the bridge. The roughness of the melody and the darker synths, as well her echoed voice that gets overpowered by the background vocals and drums gives a new dimension to the song, which ends with her tired voice and the keyboard again. This track takes you through all the emotions felt after the end of a love.

Supercool’ is the last song of the EP, and it goes on a different path by describing the partying in New York, with the use of electro beats. The song describes the reality behind the glamour of New York by describing a woman that is so beautiful and charming at a party, but looks like their lives could be falling apart any second.The falsetto voice, backing vocals and electro beats come back once again to show a whole new side of New York.

Ariana & The Rose’s EP embodies the journey of love and loss through the use of synths and a sound that is heavily inspired by Robyn and Goldfrapp, but still keeping a sense of originality. ‘Retrograde’ proves Ariana’s flexibility and ability to use her lyrics and melody to create a journey of emotions that can completely engross the listener and spark past memories and a world of feelings.

Ariana is renowned for her live shows, especially the immersive Light and Space, which was first done in London in 2016 based on 80s disco scene. She has created another world and this EP is the first step to gaining more visibility and showing a new side of the synth-pop world.

 


Listen to Retrograde now here
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