MENU

Author

Max-Jury-LP1-Album-Cover

557

Album review: Max Jury // debut album

News, Pop, Rock

4th June 2016

I’m not even going to try to deny my love for Max Jury’s debut album. When you review, you sometimes just have to give in and just admit you blatantly love something “just because.” And while I’m aware that answer wouldn’t get you far in school, music simply makes us feel stuff, right?

So what’s the deal with this boy from Des Moines, Iowa? So many questions answered with even more questions. Because that’s what’s happening. As you dig into this debut album in the pocket of Max’s corner of the universe, it’s like when you were a kid and your dad built you pillow fort. That excitement when you first drew the blankets to the side and your imagination took you wherever you wanted to go.

‘Numb’ starts of the album, a slow smooth tune, eloquently showing off the vocal chords of this guy. There is a sweetness and lightness to his voice, something a little undefinable but inviting. It seems effortless with the choir on ‘Princess’ and the faster paced ‘Beg & Run’ where Jury sings “Say that you’re alone but you know better / don’t know where you’re going even though you have time / It’s not romantic to take this for granted” (the guitar riff has been stuck in my head for a good two days now.)

Songwriting-wise we’re going to have to touch the subject of the likes of Elton John and Gram Parsons. Drop this kid into the mix and perhaps a new generation will take notice to the art of songwriting before a riff or a beat. “Everybody’s always saying to look over your shoulder / the grass is always greener and I should do what I’m told” he sings on ‘Love That Grows Old’ which is the epitome of that those classics mentioned above. And with that voice, it would seem the soulful Americana was destined for him.

Max Jury fills a space that we didn’t even know was missing from the music scene. Besides the obvious phenomenal songwriting and melody, the final product; what he has put together as a whole — music, feel, atmosphere, authenticity, songwriting and so forth, that’s so rare to hear on a debut album.

You feel like you’re in good hands throughout the extent of the eleven songs. He raises a curiosity. Like peeking into someone’s diary where some of the letters and names have been crossed out. So you listen to the song again, because human nature tells us to continue looking for answers. So many questions answered with even more questions. The fine line of delivering to satisfy and connect with the listener while engaging and still leaving them with questions and want for more. He knows how to walk it.

Article by Flipse Flebo

Read article

tumblr_static_dibg1t4z5e884ss8ckkwkcwg0

811

Soren Bryce

Emerging Artists, News, Pop

17th April 2016

Singer-songwriter Soren Bryce went to LA when she was 16, later she raised over $10,000 on PledgeMusic and recorded her debut EP produced by David Kahne (Lana Del Rey, Ingrid Michaelson) which was released last year. The woman is 19, and just reading her short biography leaves you a little breathless.

Soren has a luxurious and rich sound, but that doesn’t negate the haunting authenticity. Build around simple chords, and a vocal that is hard to ignore, you’re invited into the mind of a young woman. It would be a shame to compare her because she has, after all, an already determined sound at such a young age, but if you’re into anything remotely related to Marina and the Diamonds, her self-titled EP is worth a listen.

“I walk the line / between the fight / between the innocent and the riots” she sings on the stunning ‘Sirens’. The production is wisely simple, there’s nothing to prevent you from paying attention to the lyrics and vocals which more often than not happens for up-and-coming artists.

Genre-wise she’s a getting around. Surprisingly, this is only what makes her EP stand stronger. Again, the simple production becomes the red thread throughout an adventurous extended play, where the artist is allowed to try new things without falling under the classically “confused sound universe” category.

‘Stick it’ is just as different as the rest, but I can’t help but have a flashback to early Imogen Heap days, and no bad words about that fantastic lady, (and this might be a bold statement) but Soren’s got a production behind her that carries the skewed universe and quirks far better.

Bryce is hard to put a label on, and I think ultimately if she carries on the way she has begun, she will be carving a brand new category or two for herself.

Read article

sunsetsons-940x580

654

Album review: Sunset Sons // Very Rarely Say Die

News, Rock

4th April 2016

Remember back in the 90s when delusional music snobs proclaimed piano has no place in rock’ n roll? (They obviously didn’t know of David Bryan, Jerry Lee Lewis or Freddie Mercury.) Well if there was any doubt left, Sunset Sons definitely proves it’s got a place.

The quartet hailing from the surf destination Hossegor (members originating from both Australia and the England) released their debut album Very Rarely Say Die following up on a couple of EPs released last year. This album, however, is unquestionably made to be played live. From the slow catchy ooh’s on ‘Bring The Bright Lights’ to the hit ‘On The Road’ you can almost hear the crowd clap and sing along.

And it’s how the band was made as well. From rehearsing covers in the summer and playing gigs at ski resorts in the winter, the boys are well-versed in stage presence, energy, and musical capability. They supported Imagine Dragons on their latest European stadium tour and the words “best support act ever” kept being thrown around on social media.

There are longing, escapism, and a pinch of catchy rock n roll mixed with a laid back approach. Enough direction to fuse the catchy tunes with the laidbackness, enough escapism to balance the riffs. And that is how you come out on top. Older fans will appreciate the new takes on earlier songs like the beautiful and longing ‘Loa’ (man do this band know how to bring out the harmonies, well done Rob), as well as a predicted new crowd-favourite ‘Bring The Bright Lights’ which for me personally stands the strongest. Slow pace but with a big chorus and a guitar riff that gets stuck in your brain for days.

The band is still in its early years, so the compilation of songs range from old to brand new which suggests they have dabbled a little with the genres. Take ‘Lost Company’ that kind of has a folky vibe to it, and ‘I Remember’ which shines a light on what a brilliant guitarist Rob Windram is. The synergetic relationship between the four musicians is a result of the many live gigs they’ve got under their belt. Jed Laidlaw is a fantastic drummer, bassist Pete Harper and Rob as mentioned before, are on point. And Rory Williams has a voice you definitely want to hear more of.

They do save the best for last, at the end of the album we find ‘I Can’t Wait’ and it is just Rory and a piano. You can feel the end of the summer where the wind is getting a tad colder, the sun sets earlier than you would like, and you cherish the warmth before autumn comes and takes it all away.

Luckily spring is just arriving, you should go and hear the album live. Sunset Sons are currently on a headline tour promoting Very Rarely Say Die. For more info visit sunsetsons.com.

Article by Flipse Flebo

Read article

mattcorbytelluric

1292

Album review: Matt Corby // Telluric

Editors Choice, News, Pop

25th March 2016

After a couple of years of silence, the Aussie returns with his long-awaited debut album Telluric. And it was a wait worthwhile. Many were hoping that the five EPs he has under his belt, could predict any sort of direction he would take on his debut LP, but if you were hoping for something similar, you’re definitely going to be disappointed.

The meaning of the word Telluric is “an electric current which moves underground or through the sea”. The tempo and feel of the album circles and twirls steadily away, making restrained stops for you to catch your breath before continuing onwards. Current or no current, Matt’s is steering his debut ship in the direction he wants to discover.

“Stood in the corner when we would fight / to act upon a line and hang my shit up out to dry.” He smoothly sings on the soothing and indulgent opening track ‘Belly Side Up’. The slow pace of the record starts here and it doesn’t change much throughout the album.  (I refrain from using the word current again but it’s so cunning and cleverly used by Matt himself.)

There are continuing moments of what appears as ambivalent, but what seem to come effortlessly to Matt might be actually meticulously thought out. We just don’t know, and that’s what makes it exciting. For Mac DeMarco fans and in particular listeners of Salad Days, Telluric would be something to dig into.

Paces are kept at a low and mellow speed, from the choirs and clapping on the simplistic ‘Monday’ to the wholesome psychedelic jazz atmosphere on ‘Sooth Lady Wine’. There is a diary-like form to the songs, representing chapters or emotional difficulties you come across in life. The most lifted and upbeat song of the bunch, is the soulful ‘Why Dream’ where Matt discloses “Just to be like you, but you talk too much to listen / and I want you more, and we are meant to be broken / and I forgive warmly, when you’ve got a change of heart.”

Matt Corby’s voice is something you cannot avoid addressing. From his long-forgotten Australia Idol moments, this man has grown vocally as well as in years. The control he possesses, the way a word can bear one meaning in a song and change in the next is outstanding. He’s far from face amongst the crowd when you hear his voice.

The end of Telluric is where we find the hypnotic ‘Empire Attractions’. He asks, “Something’s got to shape us / Boredom’s going to shape us / something’s got to shake us out of this and save us /how can they save you if they can’t help themselves?” Matt’s got vision and we need not worry about where his vision lies in terms of his music. It’s like he has taken the book of soul music, dusted it off, and left his own notes in the margin.

Article by Flipse Flebo

Read article

aurora

687

Album review: AURORA // All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend

News, Pop, Singer/Songwriter

17th March 2016

Aurora Aksnes explains her album in one sentence, “My album, it’s mainly about how bad experiences can be good memories.” And despite the dark pop delving into the melancholic spectra of songwriting, there is still a feeling of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, in the debut album of the 19-year-old Norwegian.

It starts off with the tranquil first single of the album, ‘Runaway’ where she sings “And I was running far away / would I run off the world someday? / Nobody knows.” But it steps up the strength in ‘Conqueror’ with big drums and an even bigger lyrical surroundings. And you would be deaf not to notice a pinch of Florence + The Machine reminiscing in between the beats.

AURORA plays around with the elements of the earth and the corresponding elements of light – or the lack thereof. In particular, with the song ‘Running With The Wolves’ she dances gracefully on the right side of the lines. It never engages too much with the heavy melancholy that can drain the life of a song, it keeps a subtle grip on lightness and anticipation which gently knocks on the door for the duration of the album.

‘Through The Eyes Of A Child’ shows a very honest young woman, but with great perception of the world around her, and inside of her. “World is covered by our trails / scars we cover up with paint / watch them preach in sour lies / I would rather see this world through the eyes of a child.” If this were the 90s, AURORA would be the kind of artist you would pull out the booklet of the CD for, and read every lyric on the album. There’s substance to her, and the term an old soul trapped in a young body seem very fitting.

She manages to bring the listener aboard her ship, and it’s a boat you don’t want to get off of. We get to see the world through a pair of spectacles, a reality painted with the words of a fairytale; anecdotes that tell the unsweetened and sometimes unkind truths while remaining hopeful. On both ‘Murder Song 5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and ‘Warrior’ there’s a sincereness in which Aurora spills her realities. She has been playing the piano since childhood, and it shows, because it is by far the piano-driven songs that are her forte.

She might be singing she’s running away, but AURORA is running towards something quite special with her debut album. If this is what she delivers at just 19, even our universe will not limit her.

(Social Media photography by Nicecleanwhite)

Article by Flipse Flebo

Read article

LukasGraham2-maj-2015-brugt-til-plakat

648

A band you need to know about: Lukas Graham

News, Pop, Singer/Songwriter

3rd March 2016

”It was a big, big world but we thought we were bigger” Lukas Graham sings on the hit single ’7 years’ which climbed lists across Europe and landed him a number one spot on the UK chart. But he also reached the top somewhere further away imaginable, Australia. The last time Denmark made a mark down under was with Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ and we have fortunately come a long way since. The Ghetto pop of Lukas Graham is on a roll.

The four piece band joins a dozen of Danish artists like Oh land, MØ and Alex Vargas, making waves and getting noticed by the world outside of Scandinavia. Like with everything else, nothing comes without hard work and effort. But for the Danes, taking a step away from the terminology of ‘Jantelov’ (‘Law of Jante’) which put into few words mean, you’re not to think you are anything special. It has been a social norm imprinted in the society of Scandinavia for generations, and in some ways work as an opposite to the American Dream; wanting to achieve something and speaking up about it is frowned upon. Having people liking your product despite going against the grain of a society is an accomplishment in itself.

In the song ‘Happy Home’ Lukas sings, “Mama called about the paper turns out they wrote about me / now my broken heart’s the only thing that’s broke about me / so many people should have seen what we got going on / I only wanna put my heart and life in songs.” The guy is a solid storyteller, spilling the beans as if in a conversation with his audience, and it’s what sets him apart.

There’s a hazardous honesty to it, and that can lead to two outcomes: A sense of too much cliché which ultimately makes you careless to the message, or, here’s a kid saying exactly what’s on his mind, with no pompousness to it, and it draws people in. I think they are heading towards latter. Media has been having a hard time finding a sound or band and compare them to, which perhaps is the greatest applause you can give them.

Before the break into the outlandish charts, the soulful pop band released their debut album in 2012, and with tireless touring later, so many record labels were out to get their hands on them, they could cherry-pick their own record deal. They ended up signing with American Warner Bros Records at the end of 2013. In between there was the heavy tour across Europe, and selling out stadium gigs in heir home country alone is a bit unheard of. The quartet is steadily climbing charts around the world, and with the new album released on March 25, it is followed up by a tour across the US.

A few years back the discussions were whether or not Lukas Graham would translate to a broader audience. Now the talk is all about how many countries he can beat Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Adele in like he did in Australia and the UK.

 

Read article

givinguptheghostalexvargas

636

Alex Vargas // Giving Up The Ghost

Pop

12th February 2016

Alex Vargas has got something on his mind. With his debut EP, he delivers six heartfelt stories that justify all the buzz and the ones-to-watch articles that have been culminating for the past few years. He was part of our 2016 artist predictions. The EP opens up with the title track ‘Giving Up The Ghost’ which is a funky and rousing sound, clarifying the direction of the EP.

The Dane turned to the England in his late teenage years and has been honing and polishing his sound playing gigs. ‘Solid Ground’ has been a fan favourite for some time, exposing him to a broader audience. This is also where his earnest and heartfelt lyrics comes to show in the chorus “In the arms of another / you’re on solid ground / I’m a fool / I’m a coward / and I’m breaking down”.

With an electronic-based sound, there is always the risk of a disordered sound universe lacking empathy and warmth, but Alex has avoided it, in fact, he reaches a wholesome atmosphere with no worry or confusion. He has a broad approach to the electronic space he has created for himself, and I dare say the live shows have been a help to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t. ‘Wear Your Demons Out’ is a testament to that specifically. My only dislike is the song fades out instead of finishing strong.

His vocal and his falsetto, in particular, is to die for, and on ‘Shackled up’ you’re in for a catchy chorus and a falsetto you can’t help but sing along to. His incredible live performance of the song at The Distillery can be found here. Alex Vargas first debut is solid, and for his debut album, (I’m only contemplating), I would be expecting a wide-range of experimenting directions.

Article by Flipse Flebo

Read article

hoodieallen

562

You need to know about Hoodie Allen

News

3rd February 2016

Hoodie Allen is proof that hard work makes a career. While I could leave you with that bold statement, his journey so far is too interesting to pass up on. From successful mixtapes (worth mentioning are Pep Rally and Leap Year), Hoodie started making waves, quite literally. The good old word of mouth rumored this dude to be three things in particularly: 1) Able to put on a tight show. 2) Actually knows his craft. And last but not least, 3) he is immensely polite and grateful to his fans in person and online. Kindness gets you somewhere, and Steven aka Hoodie Allen has shown it works if you mean it.

The buzz kept getting bigger in 2012 when his first EP All American (listen to ‘No Faith In Brooklyn’) debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200. This was when people started asking the question, when is he going to sign with a big label? We are writing 2016 and that is still an unanswered question, and I do not think it will happen anytime soon. It was followed up by another mixtape Crew Cuts, and in 2014, he released his debut album People Keep Talking which featured Ed Sheeran on ‘All About It’ topping charts like iTunes. Oh, and he then proceeded to be part of Fall Out Boy’s tour Boys of Zummer.

Still an independent hip hop artist, he released his second album Happy Camper in January, which despite being available free, also topped many iTunes charts as well as hitting number one on the Billboard independent album list. He has toured harder than most. The UK, Europe and North America and Australia. The new album will to no one’s surprise be combined with a new major tour in the US.

The repetitive fact here is, that Hoodie Allen is all about the “show it don’t tell it”. The once Google-employed Steven is honing his craft, creating a buzz and repeating it, and if you do it enough times it gets you somewhere. Most artists would at this stage of their career have signed with a major label and given some of their responsibilities away, but there is not a creative angle where Mr. Allen has not been involved. And that shows.

Let Hoodie show you what he is capable of at a gig, and I promise you, will remember it as one of the best concerts of your life.

Read article

Eagles-of-Death-Metal-co-found

707

Has live music lost its innocence?

News

26th November 2015

Live music is a podium for escapism for a couple of hours. It is where an art form comes alive, it is a fluid conversation between the artist and the listener, and every experience is unique. I was supposed to attend the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris but plans overlapped and I had to sell my ticket prior to the date. The Bataclan is a venue with a capacity of about 1500 people, it has been visited by countless of artists, and has a somewhat intimate vibe which always makes for a great atmosphere at concerts.

But I do not doubt that atmosphere has changed after November 13th. If not forever, then at least for a long time.

Too many tragedies happen too often, and within a timeframe of 24 hours much tragedy happened around the world. In these past few weeks following the event, even more so. What is important to remember, is that Paris is the center of the white privileged society’s mind, therefore, mainstream media (and dare I say gossip sites and newspapers like The Daily Mail and The Sun) only focus on what feeds the fuel of white privileged people, including myself.

Having acknowledged that, MusicDash, is a website for all things music, and the tragedy at the Bataclan rallied all music fans and industry people together in shock. Because one should not attend a concert, never to return home again. Eagles of Death Metal lost a crew member, and flew home, which is understandable. Along followed quite a few prolific bands’ cancellations of tours and concerts. Deftones (who were in the audience at the Bataclan), U2’s HBO special  which was supposed to be filmed at the Bercy Arena in Paris, as well as Foo fighters’ European leg of the tour. Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots stated, “We have three more shows left on this European run and because I can’t justify the risk, we will regrettably have to cancel them. I hate it, but it needs to happen.”

There is a weight on the shoulders of the artist, is it a risk they a willing to take? Not just for themselves, but for the crowd who would without a doubt turn up, had they not cancelled? Behind some of the decisions of the bands mentioned above, there are also contracts, health insurances versus risk taking, and a management involved. It is hard to paint the whole picture of reasons behind pulling the plug, but sparks of speculation began when social media questioned their decisions. Wasn’t this exactly what The Bad Guys wanted? Even though this industry can be a little self-absorbing, I doubt a music venue and the music community was The Great Plan of ISIS.

So, did the terrorists win, when taking withdrawals and reinforced reservations into consideration? Have we succumbed to the fear and what-ifs? Do we go forward changed? Yes. But only yes to the last question. The attack took the innocence out of concerts, which perhaps is our biggest loss when terror happens. For how long is also hard to say. A week later I was walking past a venue with the same capacity as the Bataclan, and outside was armed security guards in front of the entry hall. There are two things you could focus on. The armed guards, or the 1500 people walking into the concert hall. In the end, it is not the two guards that count, it is the big 1500 number.

There will be changes, it is unavoidable. Some venues will have more security staff, possibly armed. Stadiums will experience bomb searches before threats have been made, and every now and then when a person walks into a concert hall, they will for a moment think of the Bataclan and the people we lost.

Music has the power to bring people together despite our differences. It surpasses any obstacle or difference between people. Race, sex or religion. Your background does not matter when you stand in a sea of people singing along to the same lyrics. We are simply music fans, across the world.

In Vice’s interview with Eagles of Death Metal, Jesse Hughes said, “I cannot wait to get back to Paris, I wanna be the first band that play the Bataclan when it open back up.” Terror will never win. A dozen cancelled tours by famous bands do not equal a win, because those tours will be held in the future, and they will continue to be held, no matter what happened or will happen. Negativity and bad people will never win because it is in our nature to prevail, it is in our nature to climb back towards our everyday and our routines. And so will concerts and the humans attending them, because music speaks louder than fear, and we will always find common ground despite hatred and ignorance telling us we can’t.

 

 

Read article

201508271205080

1619

Album review: debut album // Nothing But Thieves

News, Rock

23rd October 2015

A couple of days before Nothing But Thieves released their debut, they signed with RCA Records, pushing the US release to early 2016, and while they will have to wait, it is without a doubt a great way to kick off one’s debut.

‘Excuse Me’ opens the album with some heavy and steady drums, singing “excuse me while I run” but my dear boys, there is no need for excuses. This introduction has singer Conor stretching his lungs and we have officially boarded the boat of rock. ‘Ban All The Music’ – an ironic title that does not necessarily sound like a hit single — ended up doing well on airplay earlier this year, as well as positive feedback from their fan base.

In the middle of the album, we find ‘Graveyard Whistling’ that was previously released on an EP in 2014. If there is a song you want to play someone to introduce them to Nothing But Thieves, it is this one. In three minutes and 52 seconds, you have an idea what this band is about. An absolute highlight has to be one of the quieter songs ‘Lover, please stay’ because A) Conor’s voice is outstandingly good, it is goosebumps-inducing, and B) here we have the Jeff Buckley Vibe, and that can never ever be a bad thing.

In an article earlier this year, I said lead singer Conor Mason “most of all reminds me of a 1992 young version of (a less disturbed and drug-free) Joshua Homme, mixed with Matthew Bellamy’s vocal range.” And it is true, there is a definite Muse atmosphere when he opens his mouth, and while the easy way out of a review is to compare them to artists before them and say “this I like this I do not like” it’s impossible to not address is vocal.  He falls into the same prestigious category of rock musicians alongside Homme, Bellamy, Bono and Thom Yorke. (All singers rock musicians with a broader vocal range than the norm.) That is all there is to it, and it should be applauded.

If you as an artist is strongest as a live act, it can be a downright nightmare to translate that to a recorded album. When you play live, you can feed off the audience, you are in the moment. But what about when you are in a studio? The technique is good and all, but you have got to mean it. You have to break the code and make the connection from stage to studio. Luckily, it sounds like Nothing But Thieves could do it in their sleep.

The closing song ‘Tempt You (Evocatio)’ is the song for your playlist when you are heading home after a gig. It is a comedown, a lure, it is a flirt and a siren drawing you in. And a beautiful one at that. It is splendid in how it builds atmospherically in contrast of lyrics, and if you had forgotten to breathe for a little while, this one is one big breath of oxygen.

They have achieved an album people want to listen to more than once. That might sound like a silly accomplishment, but it is vital for the listener. You want to listen and feel it out again and again. Whenever you click play on ‘Itch’ you discover new layers, you want to keep listening to that intro of ‘Trip Switch’. And with all this, it sounds like they haven’t made any compromises In terms of what product they wanted to attain and deliver.

Article by Flipse Flebo

Read article