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Sorry, The 1989 Cover Album Sucked.

Pop, Rock, Singer/Songwriter

September 30, 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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5 Music Videos You Don’t Want To Miss This Week

Editors Choice, News, Pop, Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

August 4, 2015

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.

Article by Emily D’Orazio

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Track of the Week: As Deep As Love // Daniel Pearson

Track of the Week

July 21, 2015

totw-final‘As Deep As Love’ is taken from acclaimed indie troubadour Daniel Pearson’s upcoming album, Alone Together, set for release on 21st August. There’s something reminiscent of U2 in Pearson’s vocal: “like raindrops on a wire / words on your tongue / nothing cuts as deep as love”. Beautiful lyrics in abundance, this track boasts a spell-binding quality which is sure to leave you captivated until the very last line.

The art of being a male singer-songwriter is certainly a difficult one; it seems you’re always going to be compared to the greats that went before. For example, Pearson has already been hailed as “The recession generation Bob Dylan” by the Sabotage Times. But, breaking this trend we’re keen to recognise Pearson’s own merit.

His emotive narrative in ‘As Deep As Love’ is combined with the structured yet low-key melody to produce a track which makes for extremely easy listening – perfect for listening to as you commute to work or school throughout this week.

Daniel Pearson has his own website, which you can check out here.

Article by Beth Kirkbride

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Sophie Coran Gives Us The Best With “Better” EP

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Singer/Songwriter

July 10, 2015

Smooth, beautiful and soulful are only a small selection of the words I could come up with to describe “Better” – the first EP released by London based singer Sophie Coran.

The four track EP released in June of this year is nothing short of art and the woman behind it is nothing short of an artist herself. I was astounded by the stories she was able to portray through her lyrics and was enchanted by the fluidity of the tracks as well. Sophie’s talent of course has not gone unnoticed; in 2014 she received the Shure Songwriting award and clearly her talent has not let up since then. Her talent does not stop there of course, Coran is also a classical pianist who gradated from the Manhattan School of Music in 2012 and also spent a year studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Better is something that this EP does not need to be. Each song made me feel something different and each were relatable to me as a listener. The overall sound of the EP was very mellow and relaxing, jazzy at some points, cute and romantic in others and in the song “Out of Focus” even a little bit sexy. “Tell Me”, tells a pretty familiar story for everyone, the worry and confusion of whether or not someone feels the same for you, and it does it in the sweetest melody possible. “One Way Ticket” starts to show the Coran’s jazzy side and is a great song about trying to find yourself. “Better” is also on the jazzy side and it my goodness is it great! It also sends an amazing message to love yourself because everything will eventually work out.

If you’re looking for something on the alternative side with a little something “Better” than you’re used to, look no further that Sophie Coran. You can listen to her EP now on SoundCloud and Spotify, you can also purchase the EP on Bandcamp and iTunes! Go out and support this soulful lady because she sure deserves it!

Article by Emily D’Orazio

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News: Mac Demarco to drop new album in August

Pop, Rock

July 9, 2015

Mac Demarco has announced the release of a new mini-LP titled ‘Another One’ and is due to drop August 7 via Captured Tracks.

Fans of the Canadian indie hero got a lucky listen of the tunes at a BBQ hosted by the man himself yesterday in New York City. The album comes hotly anticipated on the heels of 2014’s breakthrough success ‘Salad Days’.

In the mean time, check out the title track for the new album here:

Article by Edward Acheson

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Review: Officer

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

July 3, 2015

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

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

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

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

Article by Amie Bailey

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Track of the Week: Burn Together // Many Things

Track of the Week

June 29, 2015

totw-finalLondon-based indie trio, Many Things, have hit our eardrums with the anthemic ‘Burn Together’, the eponymous track from their debut album, which is set for release this summer. The band has spent the past couple of years recording the album between the UK, Germany and Australia, and from the sounds of this track alone we can say it’s going to be a belter.

The whole construction is evocative of fellow London band, Savage Nomads, as well as Scottish post-punk band Orange Juice, owing to the fact it boasts a strong vocal and upbeat instrumental from the word go. The track builds to a euphoric crescendo, as Michael Tomlinson’s soaring vocal is delectably combined with Gabi Woo’s 80s style beats, meaning the track is sure to get your toes tapping as you make that Monday morning commute to work or school.

And, as we head closer to summer, it’s vital that feel-good releases such as this one find their way into a BBQ playlist, just in case the sun decides to actually come out this year.

Article by Beth Kirkbride

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The Paper Kites Return With ‘Electric Indigo’ to Announce Sophomore Album

Editors Choice, Folk, News, Pop, Videos

June 27, 2015

Australian indie-folk rockers The Paper Kites are revving up for their sophomore album ‘Twelvefour’ with the release of their sizzling single ‘Electric Indigo’.

The band’s debut album ‘States’ was released back in 2013 and was a success with the band selling out multiple shows on their 17-date headline tour of the US and Canada. This marked their first international headline tour.

A photo I took of the band last summer performing at Ottawa Bluesfest. (I was front row and they were incredible live!)

‘Electric Indigo’ leans slightly away from the band’s ethereal indie-folk aesthetic, and infuses psychedelic rock melodies. It branches off in a slightly different direction of older songs like ‘Bloom’ and ‘A Maker of My Time‘, while toeing the line between retro synth-pop and a blend of rock/folk. Frontman Sam Bentley and keyboardist Christina Lacy re-evoke their signature harmonies with ease, making for a serene listen.

The single is available for a free download, with the pre-order of ‘Twelvefour’, and the upcoming music video will star Laura Brent and Charles Grounds.

‘Twelvefour’ is a concept album,“based around a theory that an artist’s creative peak is between the hours of midnight and 4am,” Bentley has explained. 

The band worked with Grammy-nominated producer Phil Ek (who’s credits include artists such as Father John Misty, Manchester Orchestra, Fleet Foxes, and The Shins) to record the album, which is due for release in August. 

To accompany ‘Twelvefour’, a documentary directed by filmmaker Matthew J. Cox follows the band as they create the album. It will showcase a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the reality of putting together a record.

Watch the trailer below!

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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Album Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra // Multi-Love

Editors Choice, Pop, Rock

June 17, 2015

Portland based psych-pop quartet Unknown Mortal Orchestra have once again ventured into new territory on their latest effort, Multi-Love. Never one for playing into the hands of the conventions of pop music, primary songwriter Ruban Neilson drives the band down even more strange and unusual, yet ultimately rewarding roads.

Instrumentally, the additions of horns, strings and keyboards make for a richer, more complex sound than heard on their previous two albums; 2011’s ‘Unknown Mortal Orchestra’ and 2013’s ‘II’.


They continue to channel an assortment of genres old and new. Fractions of Funk are slotted in next to elements of Jazz. Areas of Ambient are underlied by bombastic Hip Hop breakbeats. Plainly speaking, the album is unpredictable; the only predictability is that no one song will be the same. The production itself frequently yet fluidly fluctuates, with some songs focussing heavily on the sound of the drums and bass while others adopt a more synth-heavy approach.

Each song reads like a separate chapter. The fuzzed-out fun of ‘Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty’ with its meandering keyboard melody and near sensual saxophone solo. The slow, reclined, Sunday afternoon chiller ‘The World Is Crowded’. The title track with its unusual yet incredibly catchy keyboard hook.

The one song that seems to fall a little flat in comparison is the track ‘Ur Life One Night’ which lends itself too much to previous work and lacks the real edge the rest of this album possesses.

The highlight of the album comes in the form of the funk driven groove of ‘Can’t keep checking my phone’ which exposes a more dance-friendly side to the group whilst retaining their psychedelic sensibilities.

Neilson as a songwriter has a tendency to write emotionally about personal experiences, and this album is no exception. The tracks of Multi-Love focus primarily on one thing; Neilsons’ polyamorous relationship he and his wife shared with another woman. The subject matter is intimate and this comes across in both the music and the lyrical content. The songs have a warm, soulful feel about them and sound more involved emotionally than the group’s previous output. “Multi-Love has got me on my knee / We were one, then become three” Neilson confesses on the title track, openly displaying his rather vulnerable state of mind.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra continue to tick most boxes with each new release; exploring new soundscapes and unlocking ideas whilst staying true to the essence of the band. ‘Multi-Love’ solidifies their position in the ranks of some of the most successfully experimental pop acts of the time.

Article by Edward Acheson

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EP Review: Pokal // Lights

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Pop

June 14, 2015

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Article by Amie Bailey

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