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1212

Ones to Watch: Francesco Yates

Archive, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Ones to Watch, Pop, Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

June 7, 2015

Francesco Yates has a lot of groove and funk with his single ‘Better to Be Loved’ for someone only 19 years of age.

He commands attention. Not just from his voice, or his unmistakable head of floppy curls, but from the likes of Grammy winners Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams (with Pharrell co-producing his debut album). Yates even performed guitar on the track ‘Gust of Wind’ (ft. Daft Punk) which is Pharrell’s ‘personal favourite’ song on ‘G I R L’.

It’s all seemingly surprising for someone so young, however Yates has been writing songs since the age of 11, after becoming inspired to start performing after watching the movie School of Rock.

With unique covers of popular songs such as Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Swimming Pools’ and unexpected mashups like ‘Thinking Out Loud / Let’s Get It On’ its clear that Yates has quite an exciting future ahead of him.

It’s evident he has a special talent as seen in the video below, showcasing him working in the studio with Pharrell:

We’ll have to keep our eyes on Yates this year as he continues to capture the world’s attention. Recently he won the Heatseeker award in Toronto at the Canadian Radio Music Awards, so it’s needless to say it’s going to be a hot and Francesco-filled summer.

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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1565

Album Review: James Bay // Chaos And The Calm

Archive, Editors Choice, Folk, News, Pop, Rock

June 5, 2015

When Chaos And The Calm came out it went straight to number one on the British chart and showed that The UK is not fed up with the soft and poignant artists just yet. James Bay Is a classic singer-songwriter with a little touch of the old soulful Dylan days, his iconic hat definitely adds to the feeling. Being an opening act for the likes of Hozier, Kodaline and Tom Odell, as well as spending a great deal of time busking around the UK and performing at various open mics, has helped shape his craft as a storyteller and lead him to be able to isolate a state of mind or being in few words.

With the amounts of praise he has received leading up to this, expectations were high. ‘Craving’ opens the album with a catchy upbeat tale about wanting more, onto the hit singles ‘Hold Back The River’ and ‘Let It Go’ that had him pegged as the artist to watch in 2014. There is a sense of adversity that dithers between the faster paced chord progression songs (‘We Were On fire’ and ‘Collide’) and the quieter end of the scale to ‘Scars’ and ‘Incomplete’ where James’ effortlessness in songwriting illuminates a fantastic, raspy vocal.

The singer-songwriter genre is not typically about inventing the wheel, and whether this record was an attempt to it do so or not, Chaos And The Calm deals with searching and personal growth, being in your mid-twenties and trying to acquire the skills you need from experiences and loss albeit with a keen optimistic attitude in between.

It was recorded with producer Jacquire King (Norah Jones, Kings of Leon) at the infamous Blackbird Studios in Nashville, and I would like to think that choosing that recording studio specifically was about channeling and nurturing the raw and impulsive atmosphere he achieves in his live performances, which is a high aim in his somewhat short career. The calm of the album underlines that less is more, and it is indeed for for James Bay. It is the stripped and exposed songs that are his strongest suit, it lets his songwriting skills shine the brightest. The more controlled chaos must be the bluesy radio-friendly tracks of the record that adds more layers to a great benign debut album. I look forward to seeing him define and outline those polar opposites more in the future.

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1161

Opinion: Maroon 5’s Newest Single Is Just Plain Bad

Archive, Dance/Electronic, News, Pop, Rock, Videos

June 5, 2015

Maroon 5 are back (and unfortunately not better than ever) with their newest single ‘This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like a Motherf****r’.

All I can say is this summer really is gonna hurt like a motherf****r if I have to hear this song on the radio every single day:

 

As a band that’s made the leap from rock, to pop, to a machine that spews out top 40 bubblegum hits, it’s inevitable that this dance-y track will be everywhere in no time.

Where do I even begin with this song? First of all the title. You just know it’s going to be bad. The lyrics are hardly any better:”Her body’s hot / Her body’s like the summer”. I mean really? That’s the best simile you could come up with? Adam Levine, shame on you. This is a song coming from the same guy who wrote Grammy-winning hits like ‘Make Me Wonder’ that actually deserve the critical praise. I’m shaking my head with disappointment right now.

The song doesn’t even sound anything close to the Maroon 5 many have come to know. Is it even the same band that wrote ‘Songs About Jane’ and ‘Hands all Over’? Many fans who have loved them from the start (myself included) were less than thrilled when they became more and more pop influenced. I still listen to all their albums, and I didn’t dislike ‘V’ at all. Yes, it’s catchy and upbeat, and some of the songs like ‘Feelings’ and ‘It Was Always You’ are really retro and funky in the best way possible. I’m all for growth and progression, and I admire Maroon 5 for experimenting outside their pop-rock confines. However, just the same, it’s an easily forgettable record. Re-issuing ‘V’ with this song may help it become more memorable… only the memories will be a tad painful.

But that’s besides the point. I understand that the band needs a huge song to ride on the wave of success of ‘Sugar’. But did it really have to be this one?

Can you go to the Grammy awards and perform a song like this? Absolutely not.

Here’s hoping the band takes a step back and re-evaluates things. I love a good synth-pop song as much as the next person, but this single is less than stellar.

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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1005

Album Review: Amber Run // 5AM

Archive, Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Pop, Rock

May 29, 2015

Amber Run’s album was already finished early last year, but the five-piece British band from Nottingham, a fairly young band with only a number of years together, released three EPs throughout 2014 that included four songs off their debut album 5AM, (‘I Found’, ‘Spark’, ‘Noah’ and ‘Pilot’).  In their short time span, it seems as if they have found their voices fairly quickly, building the album around these four songs. The opening track ‘I Found’ exudes a melancholic sensitivity, while the pop-friendlier ‘Spark’ and ‘Noah’ are far more elated, I almost expect an audience clapping as the songs finish.

As you listen to ‘5AM’ you get why it is the chosen title track. “And in the haze you’ll see colours / and it suddenly make sense / but the way you’ve been going / you’ll be in an early grave.” This is a rare and fragile vulnerability that hits you head on, united with their grand gestures which is one of their definite cornerstones.

They successfully combine majestic anthem-like tones with great intimacy, especially on ‘Just My Soul Responding’ and ‘Hurricane’, a touch they rarely lose throughout the album, but when they do, I miss a less safe approach whether it is lyrically or production-wise. The authentic indie-tune sometimes gets buried underneath a more mainstream and rationalized approach, which oddly enough goes against what producer Mike Crossey have previously done with artists like Foals, Keane, and Jake Bugg.

‘Good Morning’ musically reminisce something from The 1975 while it is lyrically definitely Amber Run. I’m partial to the penultimate song ‘Shiver’ because it mirrors both the opening and title track in effortless pulsing tunes with little to no alterations throughout it. Grand gestures can go hand in hand with simplicity and that side of the bands’ creativity is the most interesting aspect.

The curiosity they start out with on ‘I Found’ never does reach the same heights throughout the record, but you feel the want to explore different sound universes with an electronic roughness, and that allows them to make up for it. When all this is said and done there are few bands who find their niche so quickly. Amber Run is the sort of band I’m looking forward to hearing their second or third studio album to see what road they will take us down. There is, and should, still be room left to grow.

Article By Flipse Flebo

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1026

Misty Miller has released the music video for ‘Happy’ – and it’s everything you’d expect

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Featured News, Rock, Singer/Songwriter, TEAfilms Live Sessions, Videos

May 26, 2015

published-via-LS-finalMisty Miller has today released the brand new music video for her single ‘Happy’ – the stripped version of which was featured as track 3 on her 2015 EP ‘Sweet Nothing’. The video itself is a fast-paced, energetic, explosion of colour and punk rock – basically everything you’d expect from a modern day Misty Miller music video. It’s release comes a day after the single’s debut on the Annie Mac show: BBC Radio 1. Check the video out below and let us know your thoughts by tweeting us:

 

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