Frank Turner


Concert Review: Frank Turner at The Hippodrome, Kingston

Editors Choice, Events, Folk, Rock

18th August 2015

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or yet to experience him, you may well have heard of Frank Turner’s incredible prowess as a live performer. It’s not rare to hear musicians described by their fans as “even better live”, but in Frank’s case it really is true. His recorded tracks are already excellent, but they’re brought to a new, explosive life when Frank, often backed by his band The Sleeping Souls, as he was at The Hippodrome, break out their matching white shirts and black jeans and hit the stage.

This performance was a particularly special one for Frank and co., as they played past midnight into 7th August to ring in the release of their latest album, Positive Songs For Negative People, in perfect style. After some excellent support from “lyrical genius” Chas Palmer-Williams and Americana/folk-punk acoustic singer songwriter PJ Bond, Frank and the band burst onto the stage of the intimate venue with “Get Better”, the meteoric first track released from the new album, which got the highly-anticipating crowd fully pumped from the first chords.

The gig was, of course, a celebration of the new album release, and so the set list was full to the brim with almost every track from the new release. However it wouldn’t be a Frank Turner gig without a few classic favourites, and that’s exactly what came next in the form of the hopeful, patriotic “If I Ever Stray” and “Long Live The Queen”, a grief-ridden but beautifully spirited lament to a deceased friend. Beloved classics – all of which were from Frank’s collection upbeat, anthemic offerings, in keeping with the celebratory tone of the evening – often came sandwiched between new tracks (each and every one of which was as brilliantly written, gloriously performed and gratefully received as the next); after newbies “Demons” and “Josephine” came “Peggy Sang The Blues”, followed by fast-favourite “Glorious You” and top-tappingly rosy “Love Forty Down”.

Perhaps one of the best-received highlights of the night was “The Ballad of Me and My Friends”, a constantly firm fan favourite from Frank’s first album, Sleep Is for the Week, that he’s only recently started to perform again – to everyone’s joy – after several years of leaving it out of his set lists. And, of course, a night in a Frank Turner audience would never have been complete without “Glory Hallelujah”, the perfect singalong track “The Road” and the illustriously raucous anthem “I Still Believe”, of course featuring the tradition of the crowd sitting on the ground a leaping up into a dancing frenzy on drummer Nigel‘s cue. Accompanying these to close the show were “Mittens”, the latest, already hugely popular track to be released from the new album, and “The Next Storm”, a powerful song of hope and anticipation.

An encore quickly came, of course, opened with new track “The Angel Islington” and followed by three hugely popular older numbers; the slightly calmer “The Way I Tend To Be”, the fail-safe dance-inducing “Try This At Home” and the stridently vitriolic and effortlessly fun “Four Simple Words” to close the show on the ultimate high note.

This being the fourth of five Frank gigs I’ve attended, this show had an atmosphere like no other; Frank ran on pure happiness, joyful anticipation and adrenaline as the new album he was clearly (and deservedly) so proud of was released to the world, and the crowd were raised to ceiling vicariously through his elation. Every live performance by Frank is pure glory, but there was something so wondrously unique about this night in Kingston that made it one of the best gigs we, as Frank Turner fans, have ever witnessed.

Article by Amie Bailey

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The Kings Parade


Track Review: Bunched Up Letters // The King’s Parade

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Jazz, Pop

8th August 2015

With their debut single ‘Bunched Up Letters’, The King’s Parade are becoming a fast favourite of mine. Having scored a residency at the incredible Ronnie Scott’s as well as performing at The Great Escape, Bestival and Reeperbhan Festival and on their own UK tour, frontman Olly Corpe and his fellow band members are clearly determined, and deservedly so, to make us all well aware of their soaring talent. The London-based four piece combine accomplished songwriting and catchy, chilled melodies with a jazzy, blues undertone in their first release, a singular track that will be making its way into many a music collection after just one listen.

Corpe’s vocals are toffee-smooth, accentuated beautifully by precise harmonies. Echoes of Hozier and George Ezra peep through, but his voice is most certainly all his own. The musical and instrumental arrangement is boisterous but wonderfully, melodically slick, and strikingly unique. The King’s Parade have a perfectly crafted track in ‘Bunched Up Letters’; each element locks in to the next with perfect subtlety, and something unforgettable is formed.

Article by Amie Bailey

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Track Review: The Fontaines // Your Coat

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists

16th July 2015

Sheffield born-and-bred indie foursome The Fontaines are, according to their Twitter, “relentlessly gigging their lives away” and describe themselves as “2005 indie (ten years on)” – a rather popular resurging genre right now, it must be said. Their latest track Your Coat is a feel-good summer track that fans of The Kooks, Razorlight and The Maccabees will instantly adore.

With a vocal from Joe St Ledger, not dissimilar to that of Preston of The Ordinary Boys, accompanied by irresistibly cheerful guitar riffs and a subtle, anchoring drum beat, Your Coat is foot-tappingly upbeat with just the right amount of rockstar edge. Influences seem to come from everywhere; early Arctic Monkeys tracks, as well as the bass of many from the likes of Foster the People and Two Door Cinema Club would sit perfectly alongside The Fontaine’s insatiable earworm of a single. If you love Your Coat, check out their other tracks too; 1984 and Blame It On Alcohol both have a similar vibe and, if you’re an indie lover, The Fontaines will no doubt make it rather swiftly into your library.

Article by Amie Baley

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Ale Brooks


Track Review: Alex Brooks // ExtraMile

Emerging Artists, Singer/Songwriter

12th July 2015

Currently supporting Jason Derulo, Miami’s Alex Brooks is a determined new singer-songwriter whose first single ExtraMile is proving a hit amongst his growing fanbase. Taking a look at Alex’s personal style – leopard-print jackets and gold chains in abundance – the rock edge of the track is rather surprising. A deep, repetetive electric guitar opening is accented by Alex’s husky vocal, building to a chorus that wouldn’t be at all out of place in a Maroon 5 track.

A guitar heavy, repetetive track, ExtraMile would certainly not be alien in the latest Top 40 or surprising to hear being given a base-heavy club remix. But as a song to add to your current Spotify playlist and hit repeat endlessly for, there’s something missing; a uniqueness perhaps, a more singular sound. ExtraMile is certainly not a bad track by any stretch, but it is one that isn’t quite dissimilar enough from many we’ve heard before. So let’s see what Alex Brooks offers us next; perhaps his next track will be laced with a little more of his own flavour.

Article by Amie Bailey

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Review: Officer

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

3rd July 2015

Born in Glasgow and brought up in Northern Ireland, Officer is an indie soundscape songwriter who effortlessly but precisely throws together genres to form perfectly intangible landscapes of sound. His first single, The Waters, opens with an unmistakebely 80s-inspired synth melody, which is soon thrown aside, crashing in the wake of a heavy, almost electronic drum bassline and tinkling piano. Overlayed with Officer’s sometimes distorted but undeniably strong vocals, this bizarre contrast of a track somehow comes to together exquisitely to form an excellent, memorable track.

Glass Ceiling hits a more melancholy note. Repetitive instrumental melodies in minor keys, alongside a deeper vocal and lyrics of failure and feigning determination throughout the first half of the song do eventually make way for a slightly brighter chorus, but the track is most definitely not a cheerful one. Despite being less experimental than The Waters, it is certainly as successful, and brings perhaps a more familiar sound to the artist that many listeners will no doubt appreciate.

In the songwriter’s latest offering, My Darling Defibrilator, his vocals quite literally echo across the track. The quickly, softly strummed acoustic guitar that opens the song is met with resounding drums and subtle piano as the piece builds to a glowing chorus. Officer’s accent can be heard, more strongly than in other tracks, in his vocals here, too, which is decidedly charming.

Officer, with a sound that is both unique and accessible, is a poet of the lyrical soundscape. Keep your ears open; we shall all, no doubt, be hearing more of him soon.

Article by Amie Bailey

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Single Review: Frank Turner // The Next Storm

Editors Choice, Rock, Singer/Songwriter

20th June 2015

Frank Turner is an enigma. Despite having produced five stellar studio albums, countless singles and performing at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, has fanbase remains smaller than it perhaps should be. His supporters, however, are some of the most dedicated in music, and so it comes at no suprise that they were overjoyed on Monday when the singer-songwriter announced not only the release date of his sixth studio album, but a list of UK and U.S. tour dates and – alongside all that – gave them The Next Storm, the first single from ‘Positive Songs for Negative People’.

Accompanied by a music video that features the 33-year-old both fighting (and beating) mixed martial artist and wrestler CM Punk in the ring, ‘The Next Storm’ is – in typical Frank style – an anthem. It’s the hard times, the good times and everything in between. At its heart, its a song about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and getting on with your life in the best way you can. With many an excellent guitar riff, drum beat and piano melody – performed by Frank himself and, of course, his band The Sleeping Souls – a heavy but foot-tappingly upbeat instrumental is perfectly accented by Frank’s signature vocals belting “I don’t want spend the whole of my life inside / I wanna step out, and face the sunshine”. It certainly has it’s sadnesses, but, mostly, The Next Storm makes you want to dance, sing and do exactly as Frank tells you to – do your best, and be happy.

Article by Amie Bailey

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Frank Turner


Frank Turner Announces New Album Release and UK Tour Dates

Editors Choice, Events, News, Rock, Singer/Songwriter

18th June 2015

After long and heavy anticipation from fans, punk-folk singer songwriter Frank Turner has announced the release date for his 6th studio album, as well as a string of UK tour dates.

Since announcing the album’s title – ‘Positive Songs For Negative People’ – and cover art just over a month ago, fans have been eagerly awaiting more news of the Wessex boy’s latest release (especially after Frank told followers on Twitter and Instagram on Friday to “watch this space”); a date has finally been set for August 7th, just over two years after releasing his highly-acclaimed 2013 album ‘Tape Deck Heart’.

At around five o’clock on Monday Frank tweeted: “It’s with great joy that I can now finally give you what everyone has been waiting for”.

Alongside the album’s release date comes news of eleven UK tour dates throughout November – after six weeks of dates in the U.S. – including gigs in Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester and London’s Alexandra Palace.

This first single from his new album, ‘The Next Storm’, was premiered on Radio 1 earlier this week. The album will also feature an appearance from singer-songwriter Esmé Patterson on a song about Christa McAuliffe, a primary school teacher who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster of 1986. Whilst The Angel Islington will pick up where ‘Broken Piano’, the closing track of ‘Tape Deck Heart’, left off.

Frank will be breaking records at Reading and Leeds at the end of August by playing the festivals for the ninth consecutive year, playing a solo set (without his band The Sleeping Souls) that will no doubt feature tracks from the new album. From the sounds of The New Storm and Get Better – which was released on YouTube back in March – ‘Positive Songs For Negative People’ is set to be a hit amongst old and new fans alike.

For more information, click here

Words by Amie Bailey

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EP Review: Pokal // Lights

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Pop

14th June 2015

Arne Barlindhaug Ellingsen, otherwise known as Pokal, is a Norweigan-born singer-songwriter with a quintessentially unique musical style, now living and working in Stockholm, Sweden. Lights is his second EP – the first, Five Songs, was released in October last year – and the five tracks perfectly showcase his experimental and varied style. It’s been described with such weird and wonderful genre-definers as 80s jazz-inspired indie, Baroque pop and cloud pop and it can’t be doubted that Arne’s style is effortlessly indefinable.

The EP opens with ‘Lighthouse’, a mellow, electronic track full of rhythmic piano melodies, rhythmic drum beats and touches of synth, accompanied by one-man harmonies in Arne’s almost haunting vocals. Comfortingly repetitive, ‘Lighthouse’ brings together seemingly opposing elements to create a perfect jigsaw puzzle of a track.

‘Fancy Lights’ is instantly reminiscent of 80s synth-pop and certainly wouldn’t sound out of place on albums from the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Prefab Sprout or A-Ha. Arne’s vocals are deep and soft, clashing perfectly with the high-pitched electronic melody that guide them. An almost choral bridge towards the end of the track is surprising, but acts as a perfect, harmonious example of the unique qualities of Pokal’s sound that are always present to remind us, whilst his tracks may be reminiscent of other artists, they are certainly not truly of them.

‘Snow’ is the most upbeat of the five tracks on Lights, and definitely has an Owl City feel. But Pokal’s singular sound shines through, as always; heavier drum beats than would normally be heard on a track like this, as well as the deep vocal tone that runs throughout the EP, give ‘Snow’ a dulcet freshness to set it apart from its musical siblings.



There’s a musak-like quality to ‘Artificial Light’, lent by repetitive beats, few lyrical changes and long, slow synth notes. It’s perhaps the least exciting track on the EP, but that doesn’t mean it has no merit; despite its penultimate position in the track listing, ‘Artificial Light’ acts almost as an interlude – a calming, continuous sound, not dissimilar to the offerings of Icelandic musicians Sigur Ros, to contrast the more experimental sounds that surround it.

Closing the EP is ‘Night Window’, a deep, earthy track that brings together distorted vocals with a melancholic, yawning, electronic melody that’s almost unsettling, but most certainly – especially with its slowly fading, softening outro – a beautifully eerie note to end on.

Lights has something for almost everyone; indie elements combine with synth pop, amongst so many other qualities, and come out as an almost seamless musical sequence that is both loveably familiar and refreshingly unique. Pokal brings elements of several genres, styles and other artists together with his own unique vision to create a truly quite beautiful EP that would be hard-pressed indeed not to make fans of its listeners.

Article by Amie Bailey

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Ones to Watch: Jack Garratt

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Ones to Watch, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

31st May 2015

Jack Garratt is a indefinable artist. Born and raised in a small Buckinghamshire town and now living and working in London, the multi-instrumentalist and talented songwriter has released a handful of tracks that each differ vastly from the last. His latest track, ‘Chemical’, is a semi-mellow, semi-electronic track that wouldn’t sound out of place on Ed Sheeran’s latest album, whilst ‘The Love You’re Given’ is a highly experimental, lounge-like piece full of sleek falsetto harmonies and synth beats. Somehow, Garratt’s sound manages to feel both comfortingly familiar and refreshingly unique all at once, and perhaps that quality is exactly what his growing success has stemmed from.

The 22-year-old has been working long and hard to get his break. He started his song-writing career at the age of 12, writing tirelessly in his school lunch break – the first song he ever wrote landed him a place in Britain’s final for the Junior Eurovision song contest.

BBC Introducing have been keeping a watchful eye on Jack since he first added a track to the BBC Introducing Uploader in 2009. Since then, his single ‘Worry’ has been selected as Zane Lowe’s new hype record, as well as Huw Stephen’s record of the week. He also appeared – and reportedly enthralled the crowd – on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds last summer.

His first, four-track EP, Synesthesiac, was released on iTunes on 13th April this year and has already been receiving five star reviews from listeners (deservedly so) – even current pop-sensations Sia and Katy Perry has tweeted about his talent. Having toured the world tirelessly over the past few years, Jack is currently in the States and will be returning to home soil to hit the festival circuit this summer, including a spot, now on the Festival Republic Stage, at Reading and Leeds. Keep your eyes and ears open for this red-headed artist; he’ll be making huge waves this year.

Article by Amie Bailey


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