I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a huge fan of Drake. I’d be going even further by saying I don’t worship Florence + the Machine. However, as much as I love both of them, bringing them together musically should be something that doesn’t work. At all.
Hip-hop and harps are two things that vary so greatly, they should probably never be combined. However when you take Florence’s killer track ‘Delilah’ and pair it with Drake’s nail in Meek Mill’s coffin, ‘Back to Back’ it shouldn’t be anything worth listening to.
Man, sometimes I love being wrong.
This is the perfect mash-up, a nice flow and dynamic between two polar opposite songs.
10 Best Music Documentaries of the 21st Century so far…
Charles Bradley: Soul of America (2012)
Everybody loves a feel-good story. And this is one to truly warm your cockles. It tells the story of one Charles Bradley and his journey from working man of the American anti-dream to praised soul revivalist. For years Bradley struggled with poverty as he provided for himself and his mother, gigging as a James Brown impersonator. The film joins him just as he has started recording with New York based soul studio Daptone Records, and ends with its acclaimed release. His story speaks of suffering and hardship, but also the ability to overcome.
Searching for Sugarman (2012)
The story of singer-songwriter Rodriguez has now become the stuff of legend; an unrecognized artist of immense talent, a long forgotten relic of yesteryear whose recordings were surely destined to fall to the bottom of a dusty box in the back of a warehouse. Oh, bar the fact that he was actually a multi-million selling artist in South Africa. This documentary shines light on one of the most bizarre true stories in music; How an artist can remain completely unknown in his home country, whilst simultaneously becoming one of the biggest selling artists in another, and not even know it. The film itself unfolds in such a way as to keep you guessing throughout and is a great example of what documentary can be.
Muscle Shoals (2013)
A good documentary discovers a story that already exists but is largely unknown. In the case of Muscle Shoals, it uncovers the tale of one unsuspecting recording studio in the middle of nowheresville, U.S.A, which, behind the screen door, played it’s own significant part in sculpting modern music. Artists to have recorded there included Aretha Franklin, Etta James, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers, Jimmy Cliff… The list goes on.
A film about the great Bob Marley the way it should be told. A well crafted documentary chronicling his life from humble Jamaican beginnings to Reggae/Rastafarian spokesperson for the world. It gives meaning to some of his well known songs and tells of his internal struggles as an artist and a family man. The impact he had and continues to have on global culture is incalculable and this provides good evidence as to why.
Dig! Is one of those ‘right places at the right time’ type of stories. Director/Producer/Writer Ondi Timoner found herself smack-bang in the middle of the perfect storm; two bands on the verge of something big. The Dandy Warhols went on to fame and fortune. The Brian Jonestown Massacre remained in the realm of obscurity. It became a case study into the inner workings of the music industry and what it takes (or doesn’t take) to crack the big time. Timoner stayed with the bands on and off for 7 years, collecting hundreds of hours worth of footage and the result is one of the greatest music documentaries of all time.
A must for any hip-hop fan old or new, Scratch is a crash course in all things hip-hop, covering everything from the Elements, to Turntablism, to Battling. It has interviews with everyone whose anyone in the hip-hop game, both past and present, including; Mix Master Mike, Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Shadow, DJ Q-Bert and DJ Premier. Its a great film not only because of its high-profile guest list, but because of its in-depth look at Hip-Hop which, broadly speaking, is a comparably young genre of music. If you’re looking to get fully immersed in the world of DJs and learn a thing or two, check it out.
A Band Called Death (2012)
2012 seemed to be the year for documentary makers to discover forgotten or underrated acts. Much like Charles Bradley and Rodriguez, the band Death never experienced any real success in their heyday. And much like Bradley and Rodriguez, they should have. Death were a Proto-Punk band out of Chicago formed by three brothers with an unrelenting ethos for making furious Rock n Roll with a mostly political stance. Sound familiar? Only, these boys pre-dated Punk. Had they been more fortunate with studios and label executives, they might have been more of a household name today.
End of the Century (2003)
You don’t get to be the pioneers of a genre and have a career that outlasts most marriages without one hell of a story to match. End Of The Century probes deep the story of punks, the Ramones; why they started making music, how they got their break(s), their rise to fame and their eventual collapse. The film also focuses on the unusually tense relationship between singer Joey and guitarist Johnny. It includes rare footage and interviews with the band and gives real insight as to what made them tick, and what made them explode.
20 Feet From Stardom (2013)
This is the previously untold story of the unsung singers behind some of music’s greatest performers. It shifts the lime light to the back of the stage to grant credit to some of the voices that helped create the sound of songs from the Rolling Stones, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. It serves as a reminder of the names and faces of talents that go largely unnoticed within the music industry, but that play a major role.
Beautiful Noise (2014)
Beautiful noise was no easy film to make. It began its first stages of production back in 2005 and was completed in 2008. Unfortunately, due to various legal and financial issues, the film sat unreleased for years until a Kickstarter campaign earned the project enough money to be distributed. Then there it was; a documentary that told the story of the often overlooked yet oh-so important Shoegaze movement of the early 90’s. The film focuses on three bands primarily (Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus & Mary Chain) but explores the genre as a whole and discusses its vast influence on the world of music.
Well, I think it has finally been done. The most annoying song of the summer is here. No I’m not talking about OMI’s “Cheerleader” and I’m not talking about “Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo. I’m talking about LIZ’s “When I Rule The World”.
For a song that is being regarded as “one of the summers most off-the-wall anthems”, I am baffled. To start the beat of the song sounds like something that came from a club scene in the first season of Jersey Shore. I’m also not sure if she is singing or rapping, whatever is going on there, LIZ has me incredibly confused and quite annoyed with whatever it is.
The lyrics are another thing that get to me with this song. I can support the female empowerment tone that I think LIZ was trying to capture but using a ‘dog collar round your neck’ and being ‘on your knees’ to ‘go scrub the deck’ was just a little too much for me and in the grand scheme of things, maybe even too much for the radio? I get where LIZ is coming from with these lyrics but man-oh-man I just cannot get on board with them. Also they become repetitive and when they’re in that strange rapping/singing voice, it makes it so much worse.
Although the song sends me into a small furry, I do have to give LIZ credit for the “When I Ruled The World” music video. It is a pretty funny homage to the 2000’s and as someone who’s childhood took place during those years I understand everything that is going on in this video. Everything from the Care Bears to the Y2K JLO-esque headband makes me want to give her a big high-five for doing the 2000’s their justice in this video, not to mention LIZ pulls off one hell of a Hillary Duff impression in this video as well.
This song is guilty of some serious fetish undertones, a confusing vocal style, and a beat worthy of only the Jersey Shore soundtrack, like I stated before it might just be the most annoying song to be released this summer. But, it does have a pretty great music video, now in true 2000’s style I would like to drop a Video On Trial verdict on this track. LIZ I sentence you please pick a vocal style, wear that insane blue jumpsuit in public for the rest of forever and keep on living in the 2000’s girl, you keep doing you.
Lately there have been a mass of great music videos being released and to be honest I can hardly keep up! Here is a small snapshot of some of the amazing videos that have come out over the last week or so that you do not want to miss, and of course why you don’t want to miss them.
1. The Weeknd – I Can’t Feel My Face
It seems like every time I get in the car lately this song is playing, and thank goodness it hasn’t yet reached the point that the Weeknd’s previous hit “Earned It” did. I never fail to turn this song up and the video just took it right to the next level. Watching the Weeknd bust a move left me feeling some type of way, times ten, and I’m pretty sure all the people in this video felt the exact same way. Who knew he had moves like that? I’m not going to ruin the entire video because of course I’m trying to get you to watch it but, if the first half of this video left you feeling hot just wait until you get to the end.
2. New Found Glory ft. Hayley Williams – Vicious Love
For my second choice I ended up at New Found Glory’s video for “Vicious Love”, which features Hayley Williams the pop-punk princess/ lead-singer of Paramore. Now, New Found Glory is awesome to start but throw Hayley Williams in there and it becomes a match made it tattoo and hair-dye heaven. This video is pretty hilarious due to the way it pokes fun at people getting couple tattoos and it all just going to crap pretty much immediately. The fake beards are also a great touch just for fun because why the hell not, right? I very seriously wish I was in the crowd for this video and would like to formally invite New Found Glory to formally invite me into their next video. This song perfectly explains that not all love is easy, fighting is almost inevitable but it doesn’t mean you don’t love that person more than anything else in this world. But, it also does not mean you should tattoo you partners name on you forever, this video should be enough proof of that. If you still need convincing by the end, hit replay.
3. Disclosure ft. Sam Smith – Omen
I am pretty sure I can speak for a large percentage of people when I say I have been waiting for another Disclosure/Sam Smith masterpiece since “Latch” was released in 2013. I think I can speak for all those people again when I say that I was not at all disappointed by “Omen” or its video. If the club in this video exists in any form I would really like an invitation, yet somehow I think it is strictly reserved for Freddie Mercury reincarnates and Scarlett Johansson look-alikes. But lets be totally real here this joint looks like some kind of Great Gatsby fever dream and the lighting has Sam Smith looking super fine, but everyone knows he is super fine in general. I can’t wait for this song to hit the radio and/or my invite for this club to come in the mail.
4. 5 Seconds of Summer – She’s Kinda Hot
This song has a lot of people wondering is 5SOS is taking Green Day’s spot on the much loved pop-punk scene, and this video might have just nudged them closer into that position. This Aussie foursome has stollen the hearts of millions of girls (admittedly mine as well) and everything they release seems to get better and better. The video has some serious All Time Low vibes and the pop-art animation reminds me a lot of their own video for “Weightless“, which was released back in 2009 (and was also the anthem of life at the time). The 5SOS boys always look like they have one hell of a good time making their videos and it really comes through in this one. Although I’m not quite sure what is going on with the light up float contraption in this video, I can only guess that it is somewhat of an homage to My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade” because that makes a lot of sense to me. One day I can only hope that I come home to 5SOS singing this song on my porch but, a girl can only dream.
5. The Lighthouse and The Whaler – I Want To Feel Alive
My last but not at all least choice for not to miss videos is, “I Want To Feel Alive” by The Lighthouse and The Whaler. This is one of the cutest music videos I have seen in a while and also Holland Roden has a staring role within it, so of course it makes me love it even more. For those of you that don’t know of Holland she stars in Teen Wolf on MTV (a show of which I am a devoted fan) and she burns it down every week with her insane amount of talent. But, back to the video. This video left me wanting to feel alive and I’m sure it leaves everyone else who views it the same way. It leaves a longing for every summer to be much like the video depicts, full of laughing, friends, fun, love and adventure. Yet at the same time it leaves you nostalgic for the summers and moments that you’ve already lived that consisted of all those things. This song is adorable, the people in the video are adorable, in general it is just a great watch that makes you feel things, so you know, watch it.
If you picture California nights as being slow and hazy, then American indie-rock duo Best Coast’s third album California Nights is not for you. The record was inspired by artists including The Go-Go’s, Gwen Stefani, and Sugar Ray. With anthemic garage-band pop power ballads, one can see their musical inspirations shine through effortlessly.
The indie-rock duo, comprised of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno is receiving praise from critics everywhere, especially after their stunning performance at SXSW in May.
Of the new album, Cosentino told Rolling Stone,”This is the record that we’ve always wanted to make. I’m sure I’ll get sick of these songs at some point. But right now it feels like the universe is aligning.”
The music video for ‘Feeling Okay’ (my favourite song off their record) dropped last week. Check it out below!
Bluesy British babe George Ezra released his first full-length album “Wanted On Voyage” in 2014, yet is only now beginning to pick up speed in North America but trust me; this is one voyage you don’t want to miss.
The first time I was introduced to George Ezra was in an article produced by NPR Music in January. It was titled “George Ezra: Listen To This Man, He’ll Make You Swoon”, and as soon as I read about being swooned I was more than ready to hit play. I’m really glad that I did hit play, because swooning was exactly what happened next. George is a great looking guy but a voice as great as his face was not what I was expecting when I first listened to him. It more than caught me off guard, but in the best way possible. His big voice is exactly what we need in a world where most music seems to blend together. So when I finally started to hear his first single “Budapest” on the radio I was ecstatic.
Ezra’s album was inspired by a weeklong train trip where he took in all that he could which eventually became the great compilation that is “Wanted On Voyage”. Everything about him and his album is enjoyable and different. His music has an almost addictive quality to it and every time I’m listening to him I find myself trying to imitate his enchantingly deep voice.
“Wanted on Voyage” has already made its way to the top of the British charts and has made some notable famous fans as well. Sir Ian McKellen another famous Brit even made his way into Ezra’s music video for “Listen to the Man”. People all over the place are in love with George Ezra and I can’t wait for them to be in love with him here in North America (mainly because I would really like to see him in concert).
With the video for his new single “Barcelona” being released just this week his popularity is bound to peak again and hopefully with a whole new fan base. Keep an eye out because it won’t be long before you will be seeing a lot more of George Ezra.
By now if you haven’t heard of Alessia Cara (one of our Ones to Watch) you’ve been missing out on a 19-year old on the brink of pop/R&B superstardom. With her smash hit ‘Here’ being streamed over 9 million times on Spotify, it’s safe to say she’s becoming the poster child for chill music.
Plus she did a recent cover of Taylor Swift’s smash hit ‘Bad Blood’ on BBC Radio 1, earning the stamp of approval of T. Swift herself. In a single tweet, Swift endorsed Cara and electrified an already buzzing fanbase.
Proving with out a doubt she’s destined for success, she performed on air with Ryan Seacrest. Apart from performing ‘Here’ she did a cover of The Weeknd’s retro Michael Jackson-sounding track ‘I Can’t Feel My Face.’
And if that wasn’t enough, she proceeded to perform her next single ‘Wild Things’.
The lovely acoustic songs will have to tide us all over until ‘Wild Things’ is released.
Everyone said it couldn’t be done. Yet Mumford & Sons have successfully managed to make the leap from beloved folk favourites to fully-fledged rockstars.
Mumford & Sons’ latest album ‘Wilder Mind’ leaves me wanting more… in the best way possible. There’s a hunger in me that even ‘The Wolf’ couldn’t satisfy. After listening to the album in full, I proceeded to do the only logical thing- play it again. ‘Wilder Mind’ is a guitar-driven, rock n’ roll masterpiece. It blends together the sounds of Coldplay, and The Killers, yet remains distinctly unique. There is no attempt at re-creating something someone else has done before.
For example, the track ‘Just Smoke’ has a few folky elements, but the electric guitar in combination with the piano makes for a truly magical song.
Similarly the track “Monster” begins off with the quiet trill of guitar, but then the beat kicks in and it is something that I don’t quite know how to describe. Slow, but not a ballad by any means. Something that could be pulled off by the Arctic Monkeys, but sounds like it was crafted seamlessly for Marcus Mumford’s enchanting vocals. It reminds me a little bit of “Pyro” by Kings of Leon, but Mumford & Sons make it their own in a way that only they can pull off.
You can feel the heart and soul poured into this album. “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” is very applicable to the mindset of ‘Wilder Mind’.
The song “Broad-Shouldered Beasts” is like a slow breakup with the band’s sophomore album Babel.
“Cold Arms” was engineered for Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys or even John Mayer to sing. It’s beautiful though. It’s the kind of song that many angsty teens will be listening to while looking out the window while watching the rain. It’s the kind of song that when you see an ex- every time it thunders, much like your heartbeat, you know you love them still. It’s the kind of song that is simple enough to break you.
“Ditmas” is an anthem. I love it.
“Only Love” is kind of soundtrack-y but at this point, I’m so impressed by the album, I’m running a gleeful high off of the guitar chords.
Some people will hate on this album. Music critics will eat it up. As a fan, I’m happy to see the stylistic progression for the band. It’s always exciting to see a band grow. For example, some people were mad when John Mayer decided to trade in his signature bluesy rock and soul songs for a more folkier, bluegrass sound. Personally, I think it worked. If people prefer the older stuff, they can always go back and listen to ‘Continuum’ and re-live his earlier days.
The same was true for Coldplay when they released ‘Mylo Xyloto’. I think it was a great leap forward for them. While I prefer their second and third albums because I think they were better, I still love Mylo Xyloto. It’s one of my favourite albums by one of my favourite bands. They still sounded like Coldplay. Many fans were upset, but this is the point of comparison to Wilder Mind:
Did you really want to hear another album that sounded exactly the same as the other ones?
There would have been no point in releasing more music if the artists didn’t switch anything up.
I’m satisfied with what Mumford & Sons have done with their sound. If people disagree, they can go listen to their other 2 albums on repeat. ‘Wilder Mind’ has unleashed the beast within this band, and I’m excited to see where it goes.
Simply put, ‘Wilder Mind’ blows my mind.
All I ask is that they include me in their musical journey, by stopping in a city near to me when they tour Canada. Until then, I’ll tide myself over with the video of the band performing “Thompkin Square Park” (one of my favourites) live.
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.
Tori Kelly is poised to be the next princess of pop. With a set of powerhouse vocals, and a passion to match her soulfulness, she’s sure to dominate all your playlists this summer.
Fresh off her Much Music Video Awards performance, a performance on Good Morning America, and the release of her music video for ‘Should’ve Been Us’, she found the time to drop her debut album ‘Unbreakable Smile’.
The track-by-track review:
1. Where I Belong– “I’m just a girl with her guitar / trying to give you my whole heart”. Sing it Tori, we hear you loud and clear.
2. Unbreakable Smile– The titular track is anthemic and empowering. “And baby who knows maybe I can sell out shows without taking off my clothes / God made me sexy I don’t care if only I know”. It’s all about staying true to who you are.
3. Nobody Love– The lead single from ‘Unbreakable Smile’ has a heavy soul influence with catchy hip-hop beats to compliment the upbeat melody.
4. Expensive ft. Daye Jack– An old-school sounding track. Reminiscent of Christina Aguilera thanks to the jazzy horns and Tori’s powerful pipes that could rival those of Xtina herself. It whisks us back to the days of bubblegum pop with a good dose of soul.
5. Should’ve Been Us– Another catchy song with an urban, edgy feel. It’s hip, it’s cool, and you can feel the sassiness shine through. Although the song is about regretting not being with the right person, there’s a defiant vibe about it that gives one the impression they’re better off without each other.
6. First Heartbreak– A ballad that is able to stand on it’s own, ‘First Heartbreak’ is emotional and pure. A song that the likes of Sam Smith would be proud to sing.
7. I Was Made For Loving You ft. Ed Sheeran– Just seeing Ed Sheeran’s name is a sign that the song will be endearing. After the first thirty seconds, it’s easy to confirm my suspicions: it’s enchantingly beautiful. Co-written by both Kelly and Sheeran, it’s easy to see why the two are good friends in real life. With folky undertones, and sweet melodies, I have a prediction it will be a popular choice at weddings in the upcoming year.
8. City Dove– As if we didn’t already know her killer range, her voice soars, rises, and falls just like the song.
9. Talk– This goes in a different direction than the rest of the album. At first listen I wasn’t really feeling it, but now it’s grown to be a favourite. It has the hip-hop flavour, and could be mistaken for an old Aaliyah R&B song (in the best way possible).
10. Funny– An uplifting song about how everything works itself out in the end.
11. Art of Letting You Go– Anyone who’s ever gone through a breakup can easily relate to this tune.
12. California Lovers ft. LL Cool J– Drenched in sunshine and good vibes, you feel elated and bubbly. Surprisingly, LL Cool J’s part adds an unexpected funky twist, making you feel as though summer love is endless. One can easily conjure up every carefree summer memory while listening to this track.
13. Falling Slow– A soulful track that has a Destiny’s Child-esque feel.
14. Anyway– Exuberant and bouncy, showcasing her rapping skills which she pulls off with admirable flow.
Overall, the album seeks to redefine the merging of contemporary R&B with pop music.
“I would hope that my music can inspire people and stand out in a way that is really just me pouring my heart out into my music. If nothing else, there are no gimmicks. There’s nothing that’s fake. Everything I’m doing is just me being me. I hope that would inspire other people in some way, in whatever they’re doing in their lives.” -Tori, via an interview with Rolling Stone