M3staken (M3)identifies himself as primarily a hip-hop artist, but it can certainly be said that he is like no other hip-hop artist you have heard before.
The young, yet talented producer and musician has grown up in South Carolina, developing a unique style of music that pushes boundaries as much as it pleases it the critical listener's ear.
His new soundtrack album 'Apex' is somewhat of an experimental, concept piece that builds and develops M3staken's hip-hop roots with genre-defying hints of both electronic and classical music. Of course, these aren't style you would normally blend together, or even associate for that matter, but M3's willingness to see what happens when you do is both commendable and impressive. It's not often you come across a young artist who is quite as ambitious with their musical experiments as M3staken.
'In Space' exhibits jarring hip-hop beats with a discerning drone and the first example of his piano skills on the album thrown in. It's a dark instrumental piece, but one that is thought provoking and image conjuring too. 'Apex' is by no means a traditional soundtrack album, but somehow you feel like there would definitely be a place for it in the film market.
'YaphetKotto' displays more of M3's dissonant and fractured style but it is not just noise; there is structure in the unstructure of it all, only proving M3's talents that clearly belie his years.
Moving in a lightly different direction, 'Milo' provides us with a much more melodically pleasing tune, layered on top of complex beats and subtle bass. It often be easy to turn everything up when composing music, but M3 is subtle and considered in his production, bringing us a sound like no other.
Overall, if you're looking for something a little different, something a little left field, but you're still a hip-hop lover at heart- give M3staken's Apex a try. It will certainly take you to new ground and expand your musical horizons.
In the run up to to releasing his debut solo album, Welsh singer-songwriter James Kennedy has dropped his emotional new video for the single 'Unconditional'.
Kennedy was formerly part of the hardcore rock group Kyshera, but non-stop touring led to him suffering from bouts of depression, forcing him to take a break from music.
However, incidentally it was whilst James was gathering his thoughts that he found the inspiration to get back to songwriting and pen his new album, 'Home'. The process became a form of therapy for Kennedy and it was within just a few months that he had written, recorded and mastered the album.
The record takes a distinct diversion from James' roots in hardcore rock, moving away from the aggression of the genre towards a a softer form of rock, with more pop-hooks. As a result, Kennedy's quality as a musician is demonstrated through his versatility in style and he has looked to himself and his deeper feelings to inspire much of the material on 'Home'.
The new video for 'Unconditional' is a real tearjerker, showing the love between human beings, whether that be between man and woman, mother and son, or even human and dog.
If you want to get to know James a little better then why not watch his 'twinterview' where he answers questions posed to him by his twitter followers:
Having released his americana-folk album, 'Call Me The Moon' recently, Belgian singer-songwriter Mark L. Oakes has been busy making the video for his single, 'Shredded Jeans' which you can see here:
With simple, no-frills black and white visuals accompanying the beautifully crafted track, Mark succeeds in drawing the emotion out through the picturesque landscapes seen in the video.
Not only this, but since Mark has labelled the album as perfect for a 'karmic road trip', the video seems only fitting to feature Mark wandering, in search of something, unknown, in the wilderness.
Bringing back a seemingly forgotten style of easy-listening, folk music, Mark's style is one for the nostalgic listeners, reliving the days of Neil Young and James Taylor. Despite this, Mark is also influenced by more contemporary musicians such as Tom Petty and Ryan Adams.
Brighton based band Warsaw Radio are bringing a whole new level of songwriting to the game with their new single, 'After Eve'.
Formed in 2013, Warsaw radio create a beautifully crafted blend of rock-pop, with orchestral tinges and a folk infused edge. It's a potent combination that makes for some great listening.
'After Eve', which has an intriguing name as it is, focuses on the imaginative idea of what would have happened if Adam and Eve had been separated after their banishing from the Garden of Eden. Sung from the perspective of Adam, listeners are transported into a whole other realm through front-man Brian McNamara's inventive approach to songwriting. Ask yourself, how often do hear a song that takes on a completely different perspective other than the singer? Whilst someone who doesn't know the subtext of 'After Eve' might simply think it relates to a personal experience of a member of the band, it can often be a mistake to associate poetic voice with author. This is where Warsaw Radio differentiate themselves from similar music on the market.
McNamara's rich and warm vocals open the track alongside a subtle string section whose chord progression gradually builds in both texture and grandeur as the song continues. Suddenly Brian's voice raises up a notch as the bass drum kicks in, eventually making way for the violin led hook. As the song builds towards its crescendo, there's a sense of severity and seriousness over the situation being addressed in the song and this creates strong imagery from the music.
A fantastic instrumental break provides contrast to the rest of the song, but also allows it to build up once again, in order to drop back into the chorus. Not only is there a deep meaning and story behind 'After Eve', but the consideration of structure and composition is second to none. There are pop hooks in there making for a catchy listen, yet the orchestral sound championed by the band places them in their own whole category- it's hard to pin down, and this is a good thing.
If like me, you were drawn to the band's name, you'll be surprised to hear how it came about. McNamara was reading about the siege of Warsaw in 1939 during WW2 and how the orchestra of the Warsaw Radio continued to play and air their music throughout the chaos. Eventually, their protest was brought to an end when an artillery shell destroyed the transmission mast, but Brian was so inspired by the story, he named his band after them.
He said: "The story really inspired me. Working as an original artist in what can be a tough industry can be hard and having an inspiration like these guys in 1939 helps to keep you going”.
Overall, 'After Eve' is a break-out stamp on the music industry from a band who have found a truly unique sound. With an original sound and inspirational songwriting that is second to none, Warsaw Radio are one you should definitely keep an eye on.
You might not have heard of Jodie H. Dunn yet, but she is certainly making her mark on the music industry with her outstanding vocal capabilities and affinity for songwriting.
The young singer-songwriter has always been fascinated with music, singing in the garden and the playground as a child, even pretending that her neighbours were her audience. Since then, Jodie has eagerly developed her talents, teaching herself a little piano in order to help her songwriting process.
Her latest single, 'I Belong In Hell' is a dark, brooding ballad powered by Jodie's distinctive vocals and a subtle, yet potent piano hook. As Jodie grew older and suffered with bullying at school, penning songs became a sort of diary for her and 'I Belong In Hell' touches on the idea of someone controlling when you are feeling really low.
The haunting little piano hook opens the track with Jodie's vocals gently soaring above, all before the pounding drum beat enters, adding substance and texture. Subtlety is the name of the game in 'I Belong in Hell' and this is partly down to the skills of producer Andy Whitmore of Greystoke studios. For example, the bass line sits quietly in the background but provides a depth of sound that only goes to reinforce the seriousness of Jodie's lyrics.
Speaking of which, it takes an experienced songwriter to come up with such profound and meaningful lyrics, yet Jodie is only just starting out in the professional music world. As a result, you know that she is going places with her music. Although the bullying that Jodie experienced was deeply upsetting, even forcing her to move schools during her GCSE exams, it is these experiences that have provided her with the powerful material to write songs like 'I Belong In Hell'.
Preferring to write emotive ballad style songs, Jodie can be compared to artists as big as Adele and Sam Smith, but she is inspired by a wide range of music, but most notably by American singer-songwriter, Jhene Aiko. Speaking of Adele who sang the bond theme for 'Skyfall', Jodie's 'I Belong In Hell' is exactly the kind of track you can imagine working well with the opening of a bond film too, with its stunning vocals and the powerful drop during the chorus.
Overall, 'I Belong In Hell' is a track worthy of the biggest names in pop music yet is has surprisingly been written by a young (but highly talented) songwriter from Swindon. Watch this space and Jodie H. Dunn may well be the next big thing - or maybe just wait for the next bond film!
You can watch Jodie talking about how she writes her songs here:
With the sort of experience that Matt Boroff has in his hands, you might feel like you should have heard of him, especially since he has shared stages with giants of rock, Queens of the Stone Age, Calexico and even Nirvana!
The Nirvana gig was back in the day when Matt was playing with his high school band, but since then he has performed under a number of guises, forming Matt Boroff and the Mirrors, with whom he enjoyed success, and now he has embarked on a solo project with his new album 'Grand Delusion'.
'What A Shame' is the first single from the new record and it displays Boroff's alt-rock sound at its most powerful, driven by walls of distortion and Matt's deadly baritone.
Boroff shows his vocal range too, opening the song softly before unleashing the animal inside him during the chorus as he screams the song's title. A noodling, western style guitar breaks up waves of distortion, providing a considered and unusual contrast that works surprisingly well.
Having dropped big names already in this review, I won't do it any more, but clever listeners will recognise similarities between QOTSA, Nirvana and Matt. There's a distinct early 90s sound, taking on the heavy elements of grunge, but there's glimpses of gentleness too, particularly through the lyricism. For example, 'Your air-conditioned wax museum is melting in a heat wave' conjures a graphic, quite horrifying image (especially if you've seen House of Wax), but these cryptic lyrics are not just for show, there is meaning behind them.
The album as a whole addresses complex themes such as greed, nationalism and war mongering, so one can admire the way that Matt discusses these in such a profound manner. His lyrics invite debate and provoke thought, rather than just being forgotten in the background.
If the video for 'What A Shame' is anything to go by, Matt is quite the performer, too. He oozes charisma, handling his guitar as if he were taming a wild stallion and this confidence is mirrored through his confident songwriting and lyrics.
Overall, 'What A Shame' resurrects sounds from a by-gone era, adapting the style to fit modern concerns and contemporary issues. Consequently, Boroff's style isn't just alt-rock for the sake of nostalgia, he is pioneering a progressive sound that fuses the true heart of rock music with clever lyricism, making for a potent and unmissable combination, worthy of any rock fan's ears.
Tsunami Section is the musical vehicle of Anna Chiara and Felicia Singson, who create an old-skool, retro disco style of pop that takes you back to the good ol' days.
This certainly isn't to say that their music is dated by any means, the duo take influence from an era of pop music that thrived on catchy hooks and danceable beats and these are exactly the things Tsunami Section employ in their contemporary-disco style.
'Keep My Spinning Wheel' is he kind of track that will get stuck in your head because of the superbly-crafted pop chorus but it also has a deeper meaning. The track focuses on the idea of karma and whilst it is often discussed in negative terms, Tsunami Section look to the bright side of it, pushing forward the idea that no matter what live throws at you, there will always be another chance.
Clearly, the girls of Tsunami Section, along with writer, Oliver Fell-Holden, know what makes a good pop track and they've tapped into the formula by using the song title 'Keep My Spinning Wheel' as the infectious hook that underpins the track. The classic use of instrumentation is subtly altered through the use of a brass section that adds another level to the song. From this, you can tell that Tsunami Section aren't trying to do anything 'out there' with their music, but this is possibly the best thing about them; they aim to make great pop music that gets people up and dancing and this is certainly the case with 'Keep My Spinning Wheel.'
Listen to 'Keep My Spinning Wheel' here:
The duo are no stranger to live performance either, having taken their music to over 100 venues across India, in places such as Delhi, Mizoram and Gurgaon.
If you haven't heard of Pimlican, then allow us to introduce you. Combining elements from a wide range of genres including R&B, pop and dance, Pimlican is a unique music collective that utilises the talents of a number of musicians.
The idea behind Pimlican is that anyone can join and contribute to the group as long as they have something to offer musically and something to add to the live shows. With this open minded approach to songwriting, Pimlican are able to create catchy, hook-oriented music that draws on a number of styles.
Their new single, 'Runaw'y' picks up where the group left off with 'B'ck 4 More/P'lya' which was released last May, employing a danceable beat with a memorable vocal line that will be stuck in your head for days. In addition to this, Pimlican have experimented with unusual instrumentation in 'Runaw'y' as well as using rap to complement the overall vibe of the track.
Listen to 'Runaw'y' here:
The reputation that Pimlican have built has seen their music feature on Tom Robinson's Radio 6 show, BBC Introducing, as well as BBC Radio Leeds.
Renowned Irish musician, Joe O'Donnell, is reissuing his 1977 concept album 'Gaodhal's Vision' in celebration of its 40th anniversary.
Along with his band Shkayla (Gaelic for 'stories'), Joe creates a unique amalgamation of folk inspired celtic-rock, with influences from jazz and orchestral styles as well.
'Gaodhal's Vision' tells the fascinating story of the Milesian people who set sail for Eire (Ireland) on the word of Moses who foretold their destiny. The album displays Joe’s fascination with the esoteric and celebrates the origins of the Celts and many distinctive aspects of their famed culture.
The album was met with strong critical acclaim upon its release due to its innovative musical stylings and Joe's ability to tell a story through his quality compositions. However, further esteem was added to the album due to the involvement of legendary guitarist, Rory Gallagher, who featured on 'Gaodhal's Vision'. Joe and Rory enjoyed a warm musical friendship and this was reflected through their dynamic chemistry when they performed together.
Joe was classically trained but from his early experience working in rock bands, he quickly grasped the affinity between Celtic modal and Indian Music, and now his band Shkayla bring together aspects of these, mixed with jazz, rock and classical orchestral styles. Shkayla generate great energy and excitement through their music, channelling the sensitivity and delicacy needed to keep Celtic music faithful to its roots.
The Special 40th Anniversary Edition of 'Gaodhal's Vision' is set for release 28th April and the band are celebrating by playing two live shows at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, on 31st March and 1st April.
Are you in a band? Do you own a venue? Or are you just a die-hard music fan who loves going to gigs? If you answered yes to any of the above questions then I strongly recommend that you hear what we have to say on the platform aiming to revolutionize the music industry: Bandzit.
As the brainchild of Phil Wilson, Bandzit is a website and app that brings people from every facet of the music industry together, so that they can interact and perform a multitude of career boosting actions.
For example, as a band, you can search for gig slots, new band members or even buy and sell gear. Venues benefit from the ability to book new and exciting artists, especially when they have a last minute cancellations, and if you're just a gig-goer, then you can buy your tickets here with no more than a £1 booking fee.
One of the main ideas is to help bands by cutting out the need of a booking agent; they can directly message venues looking for gigs, but at the same time, gigs will come to them via their inbox. As a result, Bandzit is forming a network where musicians, venues and agencies retain their customer and fan bases and build momentum from each event, rather than creating stand-alone events.
The platform will also allow you to effectively promote your event by reaching out to a music specific community whilst building and maintaining a dedicated following.
Bandzit was created by musicians and fans themselves with 2 main philosophies – make event creation and management simple, and make the fans pay less!
If you're interested in hearing more from Bandzit, you can sign up to join here, once the website goes live:
If you think you've heard the name Glenn Harrold before, then it might be because, as well as a musician, he is also a multi-million selling self-help author and hypnotherapist. His hypnosis and meditation downloads and apps have sold over 7 million copies worldwide. He has also written seven books, which have been published by major publishers Orion and McGraw Hill.
Glenn has been keeping his musical talents under the radar, but now he is unveiling them to the world with the new easy listening single, 'The Wayfarer'. Also featuring the clean and crisp vocals of Dean Rhymes, 'The Wayfarer' tells the inspiring story of the peace pilgrim who spent much of her life walking across America, all in the name of peace.
With beautifully constructed melodies and classic instrumentation, Glenn's quality as a musician and songwriting abilities are undeniable and perhaps he shouldn't have kept them covered up so long!
Glenn’s huge sales in the self-help world have given him a great platform to launch a songwriting career. The songs Glenn writes are inspired by many of the things that have influenced his self-help books and apps such as human consciousness, spirituality, shamanism, ayahuasca, raising consciousness, Krishna consciousness, peace, love and veganism.
A smartwatch built to survive the ‘great outdoors’, this new offering from industry mainstay Casio is an impressive addition to their repertoire. Running on the Android 2.0 operating system, it boasts smart software and apps well suited for its adventurous target audience – including colour maps and GPS.
Available from John Lewis, Grand Arcade, Cambridge, from £300
Arguably the biggest tech launch of the year, the new console from Nintendo is finally here! Named the Switch thanks to its hybrid nature, it’s a combination of console and tablet gaming which places renewed emphasis on multiplayer gaming, local networking and portability.
Offering a unique gaming experience at an attractive price point, it will also benefit from reviving some of gaming’s most iconic characters. With Mario and Zelda both due to show up amongst its early titles, it’s unlikely to suffer for being less powerful than PS4 or Xbox – it’s simply daring to be different.
Available at Game, Grand Arcade, Cambridge, from £550
It’s been one of the prevalent rumours surrounding smartphone and tablet technology for some time now – but 2017 might just be the year that a foldable hybrid of tablet and phone arrives.
According to leaked designs from LG, they are working on a phone which unfolds into a full size tablet, offering users the best of both worlds in a single device. Samsung are also among the companies thought to be looking into the idea, an innovation which could really establish one of these companies as an Apple rival thanks to this innovation.
Early specs seem to suggest that the new technology will allow a 5.5 inch phone screen to be folded out into a 7 inch tablet. If and how this will affect the use of apps and other features remains to be seen, but the Quite Great Mobile App team are very much looking forward to getting their hands on one to try it out.
Only time will tell when this will be, but with models set to be produced for testing later this year, it may be sooner than we think.
My Heart Is A Metronome (MHIAM) are a Swedish trio bursting out of their Scandinavian roots with their infectious brand of indie rock. Having started off playing at a kid's birthday party, the band has come a long way since then and their music is tipping them as the next big thing.
'Tierp' is the name of both the band's new EP and lead single which refers to the hometown of lead singer Mattis, which was labelled with the unwanted title of ugliest town in Sweden.
Despite this, there is nothing ugly about the track at all - 'Tierp' is a stormer of a track employing catchy hooks, potent guitar riffs and wide ranging rock-infused vocals. Throughout the verses, Mattis' voice is soft and gentle, with a distinct husky tone to it which contrasts, yet fits perfectly with his full-on rock roar that takes over during the chorus. The deep tone in Mattis' vocals can be compared to to that of Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, only his voice is much clearer!
The balance of dynamics throughout the track make for a rock tune that really builds up before letting the chorus hook really ring out. Honestly, you won't be able to listen to this just the one time.
As well as this, the guitar work is a thing of beauty. The riffs are uncomplicated but this is what makes them work so well in the genre of indie-rock-pop.
Evidently, the trio have a level of chemistry as musicians that belies their years. If MHIAM continue in the same direction then they're sure to be heading for big things. Watch this space.
'The Night' is the latest single from Spanish alternative rock group, Screams On Sunday, who are reigniting the genre for modern audiences.
The female fronted rock group blend heavy guitars with powerful rhythms to create their distinctive style which is epitomised in 'The Night'. The band were formed via the internet and self-reflectively, they are keen to discuss the idea of today’s generation being obsessed with creating an online persona, lacking real life relations.
'The Night' opens up with a toned down version of its killer guitar hook which eventually drops in with more distortion and potency than you could possibly imagine. There's some interesting little drum trills in the track too which subtly add another layer of both texture and musicianship.
The break down towards the end of the track is expertly-crafted as well, providing respite from the onslaught of guitars. It is then built back up gradually, allowing for an even more powerful drop back into the chorus.
In addition, it's always nice to hear some original lyricism as it's so hard to find these days in the majority of music and Screams On Sunday have come up with the goods. Lead singer, Patty Noa opens the song singing:
'There’s noisy, forced laughter in the air.
We’re enjoying our boring holiday entitlement.
I’m trapped in the silence of my words
and the ones I spoke once are never coming back'
Consequently, you can see that there's a strong subtext behind what Screams On Sunday are doing with their music. This isn't just resurrecting alt-rock for the sake of it; the band are taking the best elements of a seemingly dead genre and reinventing it, putting their own stamp on it for contemporary listeners.
‘The Night’ was recorded at Sound-Hub in Belper and mastered at Metropolis Studios in London, previously used by U2, The Who and Blur.
“Music is global and Screams On Sunday are proving that Spain deserves to be taken seriously in the rock music scene.” – FTD Music
Classically-edged alt-pop trio, The Hallows, are making their mark on the modern music scene with their debut album, 'Of Times and Tides', which addresses themes of relationships and how circumstances can change over time. With a style like no other, The Hallows fuse sounds from the likes of Muse, Portishead and even Kate Bush, creating a unique concoction which will please even the pickiest of listeners.
Having come from varying musical backgrounds, each member of The Hallows brings something special to the group. Sarah has performed as a backing vocalist/ multi-instrumentalist for Hafdís Huld, sharing stages with acts such as Paolo Nutini, Mika and Bloc Party. Also, Joe has supported cult band, Rock Bitch, as well as having played a number of television performances.
The group met at university and consequently, their friendship has has allowed them to become a tight knit unit, which is closely reflected in their playing style. They used to share a house together where third band member Dave subjected the group to strict drinking games and earned the title of 'band chef'.
As a band, The Hallows are involved with all aspects, not just the music. For example, they get stuck in coming up with the ideas for videos, artwork, set design and even their own blog. This hands-on ethos is exhibited in the video for 'Cardboard Love' which has a very interesting and intriguing concept.
'Of Times And Tides' was recorded at Riverside studios using a vintage Calrec desk that previously lived at the Royal Opera House. Subsequently, this gave the album its distinct tone, further proving that there's no band out there at the moment quite like The Hallows.
Belgian singer-songwriter, engineer and producer Mark L. Oakes releases the ideal soundtrack for a karmic road trip with his debut album ‘Call Me The Moon’. The album was mainly tracked at Mark's home studio but was finalised with the help of Londoner Ben Trigg and mastered by the Grammy award winner Gavin Lurssen, giving the album the professional edge many other albums don't have.
The likes of Neil Young, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Tucker Zimmerman and Ryan Adams, influence Mark greatly. His range of idols means 'Call Me The Moon' takes a musical journey from soft melodys to heavy bitter sounds.
Stream ‘Shredded Jeans’ from the album here: https://soundcloud.com/mark-l-oakes/shredded-jeans
These days, pop music can seem a little samey and it's been a long time since we last had a truly original artist emerge from the UK. However, luckily for us, Nancy Black is here as our saviour with her super catchy new single, 'Dirty Little Bass.'
With an infectious chorus and cleverly crafted, rap-esque lyricism throughout the verses, Black succeeds in merging styles effectively. There is a definite dance feel to the track, with some fuzz-heavy basslines backing it up, but there's also an acoustic guitar break which you don't see coming, but it works! Consequently, Black gives us a bit of everything, making for a unique piece of pop music that can appeal to anyone.
Due to the range of sounds, expertly woven together by Black, it's the kind of track that you can imagine fitting in anywhere: In the club, at a house party or it would even make a great addition to your ipod collection.
Nancy found herself penning 'Dirty Little Bass' in the aftermath of a particularly messy break up, yet simultaneously, it was an odd moment of euphoria and release, as is evident from the upbeat nature of the track. Despite these hardships, Nancy was able to grow stronger from her experiences and use her musical talents to escape the heartbreak and put it behind her.
The English-rose-meets-pop-princess started writing music at the age of 13 and soon formed the all-girl rock band, Pink Lemons, before gaining the confidence to head out as a solo artist. From going solo, Black developed her sound to incorporate killer dance beats and hooks that give her music that special edge.
You can watch the video for 'Dirty Little Bass' here:
As well as album, single and gig reviews we now have sections devoted to looking at the latest tech including mobile phones, audio and TV for the home and even cars. In short anything you can listen to music on or in. Or just stuff our crack team of writers things is interesting.
Please feel free to send us any comments or your own reviews and recommendations.