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Album Review // Gracie Schram “Dear Fall” EP

Country, Emerging Artists, Singer/Songwriter

27th September 2016

After her tour with American Idol runner-up David Archuleta earlier this year, Gracie Schram is now living in Nashville, TN. No stranger to the city, Gracie has been coming to and from Nashville for the past few years in order to network and get her name known around town.

Gracie’s first release was when she was just 10 years old and now, she’s releasing her newest EP, “Dear Fall,” which is set to be released on September 30th. This EP was coproduced by Brad Corrigan and Rick Seibold.

I had the honor of listening to Gracie’s new EP before its release this Friday.

The EP opens with upbeat, summery track “Anywhere You Go,” which oftentimes serves as Gracie’s set opener. The song is sure to be a crowd favorite with its melodic “ohs” in the chorus and its lyrics about young love that were written to sing along to. The chorus’ lyrics “Oh / you know / I’ll go anywhere you go /oh / I love you so / I’ll go anywhere you go” are simple and sweet — a combination that makes Gracie Schram shine above the rest.

The second track “Walls” is perhaps the most relatable track on the EP. Gracie says that throughout her tour with David Archuleta, this was the song that got the best reception among the audience. The piano driven music and heartfelt lyrics go hand in hand to make “Walls” the most emotional song on the release and the string section adds that little extra spark.

“You Are My Sunshine” is a cover that combines two classics, “You Are My Sunshine” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” This track seems destined to be on the hit television show Nashville. The two songs’ lyrics go together like peanut butter and jelly and Gracie makes it even more flavorful by employing beautiful harmonies. You can check out a live preview of the song below.

The last song on the EP is called “Don’t Cry Lullaby,” which is from the Ileana’s Smile soundtrack. Inspired by a girl named Ileana who was born and raised in a trash dump in Nicaragua, Gracie wrote the song for the movie after she was asked by Dispatch’s drummer Brad Corrigan. Just as its title suggests, “Don’t Cry Lullaby” makes you feel like you’re being wrapped in a long-overdue big bear hug. Ever since she was 10 years old, Gracie has been trying to change the world through her music, and “Don’t Cry Lullaby” has the power to do just that.

After the success of her previous release, I Am Me, and the quality of the upcoming EP, Dear Fall, it will be no surprise if Gracie charts on iTunes or on Billboard again like she did last time around. It’s only a matter a time before Gracie Schram has big artists opening for her on a sold out tour.

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M.I.A shares ‘Freedun’ collab with Zayn Malik ahead of album release

News, Pop, R&B/Hip-Hop, Singer/Songwriter

3rd September 2016

Hip Hop artist M.I.A has shared a new track ahead of her album launch, expected out on 9th September.

The song called ‘Freedun’ features former One Direction singer-songwriter Zayn Malik, who since leaving the band has forged his own career with the release of his debut album on 25th March 2016, one year to the day after he left One Direction.

His new style of adult themed alt-r&b with a twist of pop aligns well with M.I.A’s, despite her saying in an interview with Annie Mac that working together took them both a little out of their comfort zones.

“It sort of takes me out my comfort zone but kind of takes him out of his a little bit as well. It just worked out.”M.I.A, Interview with Annie Mac, BBC Radio 1

‘AIM’ will be M.I.A’s fifth studio album to date, ‘Freedun’ becoming the third taster of what’s to come on the record after previous releases ‘Bird Song’, produced by the artists previous partner Diplo, and ‘Go Off’, a collaboration between Skrillex and DJ Blaqstarr.

Listen to Freedun:

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Jerry Williams

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Jerry Williams returns with single ‘Mother’

Emerging Artists, News, Singer/Songwriter

13th May 2016

She’s back! Jerry Williams returns with a brand new single, ‘Mother’. It’s the first since her Cold Beer EP last year and it didn’t disappoint. Light, upbeat indie pop – the track is a catchy mix that we’ve come to enjoy from Jerry, while tackling a serious theme underneath the surface.

Have a listen:

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aurora

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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

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Ones To Watch: Get to Know BANNERS

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

16th March 2016

Mike Nelson, better known to the masses as BANNERS, is a singer-songwriter with a unique sound who is making his mark in the world of indie music. MusicDash caught up with BANNERS as he finished off his first Canadian tour to chat about music and his time in Canada.

MusicDash: What did it feel like when you got signed to Island Records?

BANNERS: It’s an absolute on and a privilege to be signed to Island. It’s funny with major labels. I think in signing to a record label you are always aware of it’s legacy, of the amazing artists and music that are or have been involved with that label. It becomes your responsibility to extend that legacy and that is what I try to always keep in mind.
I think there’s a generally perceived wisdom that the record industry is run by suits and businessmen who are interested exclusively in making money, and the greatest pleasure for me was discovering that that is simply not true, that, actually, these labels are full of people that are intensely passionate about music, and about creating it. It’s been amazing to be so supported and Im working hard to repay that faith.

MusicDash: What made you decide to contact Sephen Kozmeniuk to work on your sound?

BANNERS: Like so much in music, like in life, an opportunity arrises and you have to grasp that opportunity and see where it goes. I was in Canada to do some songwriting with a couple of writers and he was interested in meeting up. I liked him so we tried a couple of sessions and it went from there. There was the opportunity to work with a few other producers but I realised pretty quickly that he was my guy! We have so many similar musical influences and we both want to make music that means something to people!

MusicDash: What have been some of your favourite memories from your time living in Toronto? (It’s pretty far from Liverpool to say the least!)

BANNERS: I really like Toronto. I’ve met so many great people there. My band are all from Toronto too. Truthfully though my life in Toronto has revolved around music so it’s just a pleasure to be in a place where I can just immerse myself into that creative headspace. St Lawrence Market is amazing too.

MusicDash: What has been your favourite show from the Canadian tour?

BANNERS: It’d be unfair to pick one! They’ve all had their moments. Playing these songs live is such a new thing for me that every live experience, good or bad, is important because it gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and figure out how to make the next show better.

MusicDash: “Shine a Light” has really taken the world by storm. Why do you think people like the song so much? How does it feel to have people respond to your sound?

BANNERS: I’ve always believed that if you want a song to mean something to people you have to make sure it means something to you first. And Shine a light means a lot to me, so maybe that’s what helps it resonate. It’s hard to say why people like it, but after spending so much time writing and recording it its amazing to hear that people do like it. That’s one of the pleasures of playing live really. Having the opportunity to meet people and let them tell you their experiences with the songs you’ve created. After the gig last night a guy told me it was the first song he sent to his new girlfriend on a mixtape so it means a lot to him. It’s things like that that make it worthwhile.

MusicDash: What was the recording and songwriting process like for your EP?

BANNERS: The stressful part is writing really, it’s ultimately very rewarding but there are certainly days where you worry you’re never going to be able to write ever again. In terms of the EP i already had “Ghosts” written from a long time ago, but all the other songs Stephen and I, along with a guy called Todd Clark, devoted a chunk of time to writing and the EP is the result. Once the songs were written we built the tracks up into a demo form so we could sit with them for a while. It’s important to give yourself time away from a song because it can be hard to analyze it properly otherwise. And then once we were happy with them we built the tracks up with session musicians.

MusicDash: As you’ve spent so much time in Canada this year, are you exited to step up to play large festival crowds like at WayHome and Osheaga?

BANNERS: I can’t wait. Both festivals sound brilliant and the line-ups are amazing. I love LCD Soundsystem, the Killers, Arcade Fire and Radiohead so I think it’s gonna be a pretty fun summer!

MusicDash: How did it feel to perform on Jimmy Kimmel?

BANNERS: It was great, obviously. Again, it was an absolute honour to be asked to play and from that point on I was just determined to give a good performance. Which is easy because they’re all so professional there that they give you the tools to do as well as you possibly can. I had great faith in myself and my band to do a good job so we all really enjoyed it!

MusicDash: Who are some of your favourite up and coming artists right now?

BANNERS: There’s a few bands back in Liverpool that I really love. Married to the Sea, Silent Sleep and a really cool band called Ex Easter Island head. I’m really proud of my home town and the music that comes out of there and I can’t wait to play there in may.

MusicDash: You recorded the song “Half Light” for the TV show The Royals. What made you decide to do that?

BANNERS: Well, The Royals had been really kind to me, they’d played two of my songs, “Start a Riot” and “Firefly”, on there already and needed some music for their end of season episode. They had a demo that Dan from Bastille has made and asked me to record. Which I was really happy to do because I think it’s a great song!

 

MusicDash: What are some fun facts about yourself? 

BANNERS: When I’m not thinking about music I’m thinking about football, and specifically Liverpool Football Club. I was home for christmas when they played my song over the tannoy in the stadium which was probably my musical high point so far! I can’t imagine what would have to happen to top it!

MusicDash: What is your favourite part about performing?

BANNERS: Like I say these songs mean a lot to me, so to get to play them to people is just brilliant. The guys in my band are brilliant and are my best mates so to get to do that with your best friends is an indescribable feeling. As shine a light has been on the radio a lot seeing people sing it back to me is so much fun!

MusicDash: As you’re heading out on your first American tour at the end of the month, what can your fans expect from those shows?

BANNERS: Well I’ll be in America with all that American food so they can probably expect a slightly larger version of me as the tour goes on. But really they can expect an English boy with songs that mean loads to him playing with people that mean loads to him desperately trying to be anywhere near as cool as Jeff Buckley. The other bands I’m playing with “The Moth and the Flame” and “Pop Etc” are great so everyone should check them out!

Follow along with BANNERS at listentobanners.com!

His self-titled EP is available to download now.

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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.

 

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Opinion: Why Noel Gallagher Might Be Onto Something

Pop, Rock, Singer/Songwriter

9th November 2015

Noel Gallagher, Britain’s favourite I-Used-To-Be-Massive-Now-I-Just-Say-Shit-That-Makes-People-Angry washed up rock star (I’m a Blur fan), is Esquire’s December cover star, locked and loaded with a bunch of semi-offensive ranting that got some people from the NME and twitter really going.

Like I said, I’m a Blur fan, but aside from the fact that picking one over the other is a twenty year old phenomenon and therefore about as dead as rivalling bands themselves, I can’t deny Oasis’ major impact on the bands that followed them. I also admire the Gallagher brothers’, and particularly Noel’s, ability to truly act like real “rockstars” and take full advantage of all the sex, drugs and rock n roll that came with it, without ending up in rehab or selling their souls to the perfume-selling money-making career-crushing capitalist devil that so many wannabe rockstars do today. And this issue is where Gallagher really grabs me – I’ve not listened to his solo tries, and to be honest I’ve not gone too deep into Oasis’ albums, although I’ve loved the stuff I’ve heard on throwback-90s nights* – it’s not the first time he’s attacked modern musicians, but in his Esquire interview, he so accurately articulates what is wrong with the current musical climate.

What’s wrong is that everyone is a bit of a wimp. Gallagher hilariously told Esquire “I fucking hate whingeing rock stars…“Oh, yeah, my last selfie got 47-thousand-million likes on Instagram.” Yeah, why don’t you go fuck off and get a drug habit, you penis?’” What’s bottled up in this shameless sentence of spite from a 48 year old man with no filter is a feeling that’s been prevalent in the music industry for a while now – boredom. He continues with “fame is fucking wasted on these people. The new generation of rock stars, when have they ever said anything that made you laugh? When have they ever said anything you remember?… what I want, genuinely, is somebody with a fucking drug habit.” While drug habits are nothing to make light of, and while having one is not usually on anyone’s list for a good musician, you can see where Gallagher’s coming from. Think about your favourite current bands. Think about the last time they actually said anything truly interesting that wasn’t tweeted before being checked by their PR people to make sure it wouldn’t offend anyone. The modern musician – I hasten to call them rockstars – depend on their Instagram captions for any humorous insights, and if they say anything remotely controversial, something that you think a rockstar would be able to do, they get branded by everyone on the internet as ‘problematic’. I’m never one for the whole social-media-is-ruining-our-lives scare stories, but when it comes to bands, the internet age we live in really does make it all a bit… dead.

Take Alex Turner, who doesn’t even have a twitter. Remember the Arctic Monkeys’ 2014 Brit Awards acceptance speech when Turner dropped the microphone? The whole ‘invoice me for the microphone if you need to’ fiasco? That’s the last time I really remember a rockstar challenging the music industry and its followers, in a way that seems so beautifully unnecessary, so arrogant, so damn rock n roll. Still, Gallagher has something to say about Turner; “Alex Turner, Miles Kane, the guys from Royal Blood. They’ve got the fucking skinny jeans and the boots, and all that eyeliner. I’ve got a cat that’s more rock’n’roll than all of them put together.” I’m pretty sure none of those mentioned actually wear eyeliner, but again, Gallagher hits the nail on the head. Alex Turner isn’t actually that interesting, no matter how many leather jackets and sunglasses he has. Sure, the leather and the quiffed hair bring some sense of danger, but what’s really missing from the charts these days isn’t really anything to do with the songs, it’s the artists that are selling them. It’s true when Gallagher says “Record companies now can sell a billion Ed Sheeran downloads tomorrow morning. They don’t want someone like Ian Brown in their offices, or Liam, or Bobby Gillespie, or Richard Ashcroft, or me. They want professionals. That’s what it’s become now.” I’m not saying I want Alex Turner to get back with model Alexa Chung, develop a drug habit, and take to the streets of London at 3am scouring the floor for used needles. But, you have to admit, the Richards, the Dohertys, the Gallaghers of this world – they’re all a bit more interesting to the normal citizen; precisely because they act like real rockstars. We’re all a bit bored with Harry Styles.

Read Esquire’s article here

Photograph by

Article by Amy Eskenazi

*Oasis fans, I’m joking

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Sorry, The 1989 Cover Album Sucked.

Pop, Rock, Singer/Songwriter

30th September 2015

Sorry, actually not sorry. Ryan Adams’ 1989 cover album pretty much sucked. Now, I know everyone and their grandma have been talking about this album and everyone and their grandma seems to be in love with it, but really people?

While I enjoy Adams’ clear ode to Swift for what was an insanely amazing album on Taylor’s part, what I don’t understand is people’s obsession with Ryan’s album. I don’t see anything within it “revealing the sadness” of 1989 and I don’t hear what’s so amazing; all in all I just do not get it.

If I wasn’t already being honest, I don’t think this album makes any sense. Practically every cover on this album feels dragged out and showy. Not that I don’t agree with creative license but this is too much. On tracks like This Love and Out Of The Woods he sounds almost like he’s just talking his way through the song. On other tracks like; Welcome To New York and Style he becomes overbearing and makes it sound like he’s singing over the music and not with it. Also once we get to How You Get the Girl he sounds like Bob Dylan?

Listening to the album in its entirety made me feel like I was watching someone try to make the pieces of three different puzzles into one, it just doesn’t really work. The sound of this album had me confused to say the least.

This isn’t to say that Ryan Adams’ didn’t do anything right with this album either. Tracks like; Wildest Dreams, Blank Space, Shake It Off and All You Had To Do Was Stay he actually created something that I can say I liked and that I can say I expected from him. I think that if he made this entire album consistent with the sound he had on these tracks then I might have enjoyed it a great deal more, but he didn’t so here I am.

Although this was a cover album, I didn’t look at it that way. I tried to look at it as if it was it own separate musical entity because obviously the creative differences between Ryan Adams’ and Taylor Swift are vastly deviating. Also, in that respect I think it is fair that if you are going to listen to it don’t look at it as a Taylor Swift cover album and proceed to be upset that it doesn’t sound like her, I don’t at all think that is what Ryan Adams’ was going for in the first place.

So just to make sure everyone understands where my frustration is placed with this album, it is NOT placed in the fact that it doesn’t sound like Taylor. It is placed in the fact that even through I looked at it as a Ryan Adams’ album and tried really hard to like it, I just couldn’t do it.

To me this album felt scattered and unpolished and at some point while listening to it even a little bit anxious. Like I said at the beginning of this article sorry, not sorry to everyone and their grandma, I really didn’t enjoy this album.

Article by Emily D’Orazio

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Rudimental and Ed Sheeran Drop Track Together

News, Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

26th September 2015

Rudimental’s new single dropped this week and you need to hear it. They have teamed up with Ed Sheeran to create “Lay It All On Me” and I want this track to be laid all over everywhere for as long as possible.

In general I am a Rudimental fan, but they have got it going on lately. From the first listen this song had me in love. Not only does it have a great dance beat and is super catchy, but it’s got Ed Sheeran. I think I pretty speak for much everyone under the sun when I say that he could make almost any song better than it may have already been.

In true Ed Sheeran style this song, no matter its beat and synth is still very romantic. The lyrics speak to helping a loved one with struggle and overcoming hardship but all while making you want to dance and sing. Is there anything he can’t do? (I’m going to go with no, there isn’t). This pairing is amazing and it close to the likes of the much loved pair of Sam Smith and Disclosure.

If this song does nearly as well as anything Sam Smith and Disclosure have brought us, I can only hope there are so many more collaborations like this between Rudimental and Ed.

Rudimental hasn’t just limited themselves to one great collaboration lately either, they have also done some amazing work with both Will Heard and Mahalia on similar electronic tracks.

At the end of the day this song is going to be on repeat all over the world today from both Ed and Rudimental fans. Dropping this track made my day and I’m sure it made a great deal of other peoples as well. The full single is available now for purchase on iTunes and for streaming on Spotify.

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Album Review: Carly Ray Jepsen // E-mo-tion

News, Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

7th September 2015

This past Friday Carly Ray Jepsen released her third album “E-mo-tion”, and shes has changed her own game with this one. It’s been said that Jepsen has been having somewhat of and identity crisis lately when it comes to her music, but if this album is the result of that crisis, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is elctro-pop heaven.

Carly has really done something amazing with this album. She has broken out of her regular mould of annoying teen-pop and emerged into a new sound all together. She has brought something really dynamic and comprehensive to the table with ‘E-mo-tion’. This album has changed my perception of Carly and her ability to produce something that is energetic and progressive but without the aggravating pre-teen sensibility that came with her two previous albums.

Although the track ‘I Really Like You’ was included in the compilation, which is basically the albums version of ‘Call Me Maybe’, I still can’t help but love the song. Many people where sceptical about what ‘E-mo-tion’ would bring when she released this song back in March. But, she managed to get the ball rolling again when she released ‘Run Away With Me’ which could quite possibly be one of the best songs of the summer.

The theme of the album is quite obviously love. With songs about crushes, unrequited love, falling in and out of love everything and anything connected to the emotion that is love. The great thing about this album is that there is a song for everyone included on this album; seriously I dare you to try and say there isn’t one song you don’t at least like a little bit.

‘E-mo-tion’ is definitely a step in the right direction for Carly Ray Jepsen and I am not the only person who feels that way. She currently has a 4.5/5 rating on iTunes and has been receiving rave reviews across the board. One article even went as far as saying this album might just be better than Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’, and even as a pretty big T Swift supporter, I might have to agree. This is the kind of music Canada needs to be producing and as a fellow Canuck like Carly, I can say she has done out music industry a solid with this album and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Article By Emily D’Orazio

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