Monday, 23 January 2017

Our Thoughts on this year's Eurovision songs

It's that time of year pop pickers when the BBC reveal the six artists that are up for being our entry for this year's Eurovision competition, and you, of course, can pick the winner! But what do we think of the entries? Here are our thoughts on the six contenders but we'd love to read your comments below. And don't forget to vote of course!

Olivia Garcia - Freedom Hearts

'Freedom Hearts' falls into the soft power ballad territory. With its reference to 'yes we can' and then 'being tore apart' is this a subtle political analogy for the change in power in a bigger continent than Europe? Musically this is a catchy number with Garcia's vocals being solid and holding the song together, though it lacks the big key change or the cheese factor you'd expect from the competition. (7.5/10)

Holly Brewer - I Wished I Loved You More

There are some subtle religious undertones to this soaring ballad but this Elle King-sounding number is more powerful than the first number though doesn't have the immediate hookiness of the chorus, though it feels like a more complete piece and by the time you've heard it the chorus proves its merit. (8/10)

Lucie Jones - Never Give Up On You

The first song of the set that I can take or leave. Full of high notes that don't quite hit home and a stripped back approach that doesn't quite pull on the spirits, the vocals feel just to loud in the mix and though the lyrics are well written it doesn't have the hooks of the songs we've heard so far. (5.5/10)

Danyl Johnson - Light Up The World

The hooks return for this one and the more club, dance-orientated feel makes it feel different to the previous songs, but the lyrics don't really grab me. That said the gospel-influenced sing-a-long ending ends it on a high and it feels like the song with the most variety so far. (7/10)

Salena Mastroianni - I Don't Wanna Fight

The most politically charged of the six songs which talks about putting weapons down, this is the song with the most balls and attitude but is a little too preachy and moralistic for my tastes no matter how good the intention, though the caribbean and rnb elements injected into it are very welcome and its heart-felt chorus gets pretty catchy by the end and it feels like the most modern of the songs. (7/10)

Nate Simpson - What Are We Made Of

The most soulful of the entries so far this is a building, string-led number grounded by Simpson's listenable yet emotive voice. It's not the hookiest but it certainly has the soaring, power-ballad feeling that Eurovision calls for. (7/10)

So what do I think? Well here is my order of preference, at least at time of writing!

Holly Brewer - I Wished I Loved You More
Olivia Garcia - Freedom Hearts
Salena Mastroianni - I Don't Wanna Fight
Nate Simpson - What Are We Made Of
Danyl Johnson - Light Up The World
Lucie Jones - Never Give Up On You

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

New Music Review #24

Another ten songs you need to listen to!

Captain Cuts feat. Nateur - Love Like We Used To

This isn't the most revolutionary dance track ever and it's pretty similar to what you've heard many places before but it has a bit more oomph than some and it's worthy giving a spin. (6/10)

Desmond John - Untradable

A clubby, uptempo, pop number that might be a little familiar in parts to much in its genre but is a neat bouncy piece that will bring a smile to your face with a perky chorus. (6.5/10)

Grey feat. Bahari - I Miss You

The choruses may be generic off-the-shelf dance but the verses are strong and nicely written and make the song what it is. (6.5/10)

January Thompson - Too Soon

January Thompson has an incredible voice and 'Too Soon', with its stripped back piano and whistle-led riff, is a joy to listen to. Well written, produced and sung this is a joy. (8/10)

Joel Gion - Tomorrow

With muddy production values that give it a throwback retro-sound this is a solid indie-rocker that ticks over quite nicely. (6.5/10)

LewRey - 'Til You Come Home

LewRey have always been known for using their multi-instrumentalist abilities on a single and this is a classic example, mixing in crisp piano work with saxophone on a touching, heartfelt little pop ballad. Nice. (7/10)

Makala Cheung - Fire

Released for this year's Chinese New Year, 'Fire' is Makala's best single yet, mixing her strong vocals with a great Chinese soundscape given a modern twist. (7/10)

Norma Jean Martine - Still In Love With You

'Still in Love With You' is a beautiful, retro-number. Martine's lead vocals are both a delight to listen to and heartfelt. Lovely. (7.5/10)

Sia - Never Give Up 

Taken from the recent 'Lion' the song's actually better than the film. Inspired by the Indian setting of much of the film it combines that sound with Sia's familiar riff into something that works. (7/10)

Zayn and Taylor Swift - I Don't Wanna Live Forever

From the upcoming 'Fifty Shades of Grey' sequel Swift and Malik bounce off each other well vocally on this touching, power-ballad. It's certainly the best of Zayn's solo work. (7/10)

New Music Review #23

Here are our latest ten recommended tracks!

Amy Macdonald - Dream On

It's been a long time since we've heard from Amy Macdonald but this is a very welcome return. Bouncy, poppy and very singable this is a great comeback track and now one of her best. (8/10)

Biffy Clyro - Flammable

Biffy Clyro's recent singles haven't been their best but this feels more like a return to form. It doesn't have the huge chorus that we expect from them but it's good for a quick spin. (6/10)

Bon Jovi - Born Again Tomorrow

'Born Again Tomorrow' is another one of those uplifting little numbers that Bon Jovi occasionally whip out, and if you can overcome the cliched vibe and lyrics it's actually pretty fun. (6.5/10)

British Sea Power - Bad Bohemian

Stripped back and so indie it hurts, the latest from 'British Sea Party' never really steps up above a one-level tune, but it's chorus is pretty catchy and it's one of their best recently. (6/10)

Hayley McKay - Unspoken

'Unspoken' is a beautifully sung track with verses and a chorus that both compliment each other, with plenty of heart injected into the lyrics. Beautiful. (8/10)

Jesse & Joy - Helpless

Their last single 'More than Amigos' was an absolute joy and whilst this doesn't stand up to that song (it was a real corker) this is still a great follow up, delivering a smoother more heart-felt ballad with a bigger country sound and a touching chorus. (7.5/10)

Maximo Park - Risk To Exist 

Even speaking as a big of the Park, it's difficult not to feel that there's been a law of diminishing returns on their albums and though 'Risk To Exist' is in the band's mold and a strong enough listen it's still pretty average compared to their heights. (5.5/10)

St. Paul & The Broken Bones - All I Ever Wonder

'All I Ever Wonder' takes a little bit to get going but when it hits the chanty, layered vocals of the chorus then the heart of this gospel-tinged number shows itself. Nice. (7/10)

Tom Walker - Play Dead

With his husky voice, 'Play Dead' is the breakthrough single from Tom Walker and it's a great little showcase of what is to come. (6.5/10)

Una Healy feat. Sam Palladio - Stay My Love

Here at KBPS we have a soft spot for country, and this ballad is a beautiful example of the genre when the lyrics and vocals are spot on. Beautiful. (7.5/10)

New Music Review #22

Another ten great tracks that we love!

Beaty Heart - Glazed

Built around some sweet falsetto-vocals, this is a gentle, touching little number with a heart at the centre of the indie-pop ballad. (6.5/10)

Black Star Riders - Testify Or Say Goodbye

'Testify or Say Goodbye' is another bouncy soft rock number with a catchy chorus. It's not as huge as some of their previous songs but it's still a good 'un. (6.5/10)

Camila Cabello and Machine Gun Kelly - Bad Things

An addictive mix of sweet and sexy pop chorus and slow rap verses, it's arguably Cabello's vocals that make this record and the lyrics are pretty shallow in their sultriness, but the overall mix works well. (7.5/10)

Fergie - Life Goes On

Slowing down her sound has made Fergie much more appealing in this smooth, surprisingly summery number. It doesn't have a huge USP but is fun in its peacefulness. (6.5/10)

James Arthur - Safe Inside

A vast improvement on his previous single, 'Safe Inside' is still a bit like a slurring drunken man singing karaoke but it's heartfelt enough to carry. (5/10)

Joseph - White Flag

'White Flag' is a really catchy pop-country song built around a fun and singable chorus and a smooth production of layered up music and vocals. Brilliant. (7.5/10)

Kiesza - Dearly Beloved

Much more poppy than her previous material, the verses may go on a little too long but it's a pleasing little pop number. (6/10)

Melanie C - Dear Life

The only Spice Girl to really have a decent post-band career, 'Dear Life' is less bombastic than we're used to from her but it's a great little pop-ballad with some thoughtful lyrics. (7/10)

Tony Momrelle - Love Me Again

'Love Me Life' is a funky and catchy little pop number delivered by his soulful voice. (6.5/10)

Yes Lad - Walk Away

The lyrics aren't the most thought-provoking but it's all wrapped up in punky energy that is well worth a spin. (6.5/10)

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

KBPS Interview: Hayley McKay

Hayley McKay is a singer/songwriter from Darlington who has immersed herself in music and the performing arts throughout her young life. She has just released a brilliant new single called ‘Unspoken’ and we got to speak to her fresh from filming a slot for television down in Bristol.

How did filming go today?
It was good! It’s my first time in Bristol. It was a nice view and good fun!

Your new song ‘Unspoken’ is out now. How would you describe it?
It’s quite a heartfelt ballad with piano and haunting guitar in the background, and my voice is quite powerful out front with nice reverb on it.

What was the inspiration behind it?
I wrote it with two other songwriters from Brighton – Pete Howard and Matthew Prizzi – who produced it. We were all on the same wavelength for the song [and] we knew what it was all about. It was from, kind of, personal experience. It is something that most people can connect with.

The video is online now, set on quite a windswept beach. Was that enjoyable to make?
It was in Northumberland, just behind Bamburgh Castle. It was in November so it was cold [but] we had a laugh [and it was good fun]. We ended the day with some fish and chips and we were all in there with our coats and hats for half an hour until we had to take them off!

Are you also working on an album?
We’ll soon be working on the next single and at the start of summer we’ll be recording the album. I’m really excited as I’ve got lots of new material and a band now as well. I’m excited to share this new sound and new songs with people!

How is the writing going?
Some of these songs I’ve had for a while, whilst some are brand new. I love the writing and creative aspect of it and seeing my song growing from a few words on the page to the full production is fantastic.

You’ve also had live dates recently put a headline gig next month. How are preparations going for that?
Yes, good! That’s on the 9th February in the Cluny. It’s a great venue. We’ve been rehearsing and we’re really excited for it.

For those who’ve not seen you live yet, how would you describe your live sound?
It’s a range of songs; some upbeat, some slow. We’ve got a violinist who is amazing and we’ve got keys, a bit of synth [and] a bit of piano. My voice is country-ish so some of the songs are British Country, but they’ve all got a pop feel to them [that’s] quite catchy. We’ve got guitar and drums, so it’s a bit of a new sound really! I think people will definitely have a good time listening to the music. We get people up dancing!

Are you a fan of British country?
I love country music. I went out to Nashville a couple of years ago. I Love Dolly Parton; she’s a story-teller. I love listening to country music because of the story-telling aspect. It’s heartfelt. I’d say my voice is quite country, but not all ‘yee-hah’ American country. It’s a new kind of country sound that we’ve got and something that’s naturally formed.

You’ve toured with Scouting For Girls, Tom Jones, Tony Christie and many others. Was it great to be asked to gig with such acts?
It’s been really good and they’ve been fantastic gigs. It’s just been great to support such big acts as you’re drawing in new fans and it’s just a fantastic experience and some of the stages have been brilliant. [The] Tom Jones [gig] was in a massive tent on the Isle of Man and the biggest tent I’ve ever been in! I’ve supported Scouting For Girls a couple of times now. The second time was at the highest pub in England and it was snowing that night, and it was absolutely packed! Each gig is different really!

You studied at The British and Irish Institute of Modern Music. What was that experience like?
I went to the one in Brighton and Brighton was such a creative place. It was great being around such a place as it’s really inspiring, and lots of people inspire you. I was song-writing with like-minded musicians. And I did a course called ‘Access to Music’ about artist development and again that was great to be around like-minded creative people.

Finally do you have any big ambitions for the rest of the year?
It would be great to get some of my songs played on national radio and have a wider audience. I love travelling with music so to travel more with the band and get some big festivals [would be great]. It’s all very exciting and last year was full of great gigs and opportunities so things are looking really bright!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

KBPS Interview: Alonestar


Jethro Sheeran is better known as Alonestar, a pioneering writer, producer, rapper and once model who has teamed up with long-time collaborator Rosie Ribbons on new single ‘LoveLorn’. We caught up with Alonestar as he landed in Denmark for a promotional tour to ask him about the new song out in February.

It’s a song about the pain of unrequited love where two people are having a relationship at the weekend and having lots of fun, and one falls in love with the other but it’s unrequited, he doesn’t love her back. It’s an experience that myself and singer Rosie Ribbons went through at separate times and we came together [to write the song]. I wrote the verses and she did the chorus and you can hear the pain in her voice at what she went through in her relationship. It’s about the feeling of being in love but someone not loving you back and that pain you feel when you can’t eat, can’t sleep and you love them so much that it hurts!

When you write songs, is it mostly from personal experience or that of your collaborators?
I always write straight from the heart as I feel so much, and I write mostly when I’m in pain, when I feel loss or pain. Sometimes I’ll get the idea from the collaborator with the chorus and if I can relate to it and write my verses alongside it, and I think it’s a great song, I’ll do that. But usually it’s me that starts it and it will come from a place of emotion or pain and I’ll send it out to my collaborative artists or I’ll just write the hook myself and sing it or rap it. That’s usually how I work. When I’m happy I don’t write as much, which is a problem, as I generally like sad songs in minor keys!

Strong emotions lead to strong songs…

You mentioned Rosie Ribbons, who appears on the track. What was it like working with her?
She’s amazing. I’ve been working with her for years. She was signed to Telstar after appearing on Pop Idol back in the day! She made Pete Waterman cry, and I saw how she was so amazing and blew them away with her vocals. I was modelling at the time and I got a call saying I’d been picked to be in her new music video, as the love interest! I met her the day after and we got on really well. We shot the video, spending the whole day working together, and from then on started working on our own stuff together. This time it’s one of the best vocals I think she’s ever done for me and when she was writing it she had so much emotion. She’s just such a great, powerful singer, a really lucky girl. It was a real pleasure to have her [on the record]. She lives in Wales now so I hadn’t seen her in a while. She came to the studio in Bristol, we sat down, I played her the song and what I’d written and she just started writing, and we worked it out together. Her voice is amazing; she has such talent.

You mentioned your role as a model, but you’re a writer, rapper and producer. Does having those skills help you make the music sound like you want it to?
Exactly that. When I was just rapping and writing poetry and raps I was paying producers to produce the backing tracks and the music for it, and I could never really get across what I wanted. I gave them reference songs and really tried to get into a studio with them, but all the sequencing programs baffled me. I didn’t know how to use it, but I felt so frustrated as what they were doing wasn’t how I wanted it, so I started learning to produce myself. So I continuously learnt and started producing the tracks I wanted, and things got on much better, and then I started producing for other artists [as well].

Do you prefer doing your own material or working with others?
I don’t really have a preference. Coming from Bristol I have been brought up on Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead, and these very bass-heavy acts. Bristol is known for its bass heavy music. It’s influenced me. The lyrics are always real and raw, and underground and very dirty and edgy. I’m a fan of fusion. In the early days there was reggae mixed with hip-hop mixed with punk music, so it’s a massive melting pot of styles, so I kind of developed that myself. I went to Trinidad to work out there, working with live musicians, brass players, calypso artists, chanters and reggae [acts] and mixed that with classical music I’d sampled, or I’d sample Native American flutes. I love all music. I just try to take the best bits of each genre that I really like it. My cousin Ed (Sheeran) when he was a kid was into folk singer-songwriters and guitar and I was into hip-hop and drums, so I’d program the drums, he’d play the guitar, I’d rap and he’d sing, and we’d put it together and again it was a fusion of different styles of music and to me it just works. Personally I thought that was amazing. I’m developing my style and you can’t really pigeonhole it as it’s got so many style influences and genres, and that’s what I am as Alonestar, a massive melting pot, and I collaborate with lots of different artists, from my back catalogue of music.

It must be good to have all those inspirations to keep things fresh?
Absolutely. It keeps things interesting and alive for me. I like rock music, and some forms of heavy metal. I love Led Zeppelin. It’s not just hip-hop. Being a rapper, people think ‘who’s this white, old guy from England rapping’ but when they hear the music they go ‘I didn’t expect that’. When you hear the word rapper you think ‘bling, bling, 50 cent, bitches, ho’s, cars’, that sort of thing from gangsta rap. But it’s not really. I call it spiritual hip-hop. It’s very conscious. I speak about real issues [and] real life and I think that’s why people relate to it so much. For instance [with] ‘LoveLorn’ who hasn’t fallen in love or had someone not love them back or had the pain of missing someone. A lot of people can relate to that. I kind of shy away from the pop angle though. I do like popular music, [but] personally I’ve not collaborated with that many pop artists as sometimes it’s a bit generic and made for younger people. I make music for my peers. An artist has to give me a buzz or a feeling inside for me to really want to work with that person.

As well as the song you’re also working on a video for LoveLorn?
We’ve put the video back now as we scrapped the first one but we’re just about to film a new video because we came up with a new treatment, which we think is amazing, and we’ve got Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud playing a part in it. We’ve just got a really raw, organic and creative concept that I really wanted to put forward to the director, so we are shooting it in a week’s time and it should be out in the next few weeks.

You have a launch party for the single in London in March. Can you reveal anything about that?
I don’t want to reveal who’s coming as there’s quite a lot of celebrities that are going be performing and be there. It’s on the 10th March at a Fu Man Chu, [which] is a great little club. It has an underground tunnel vibe. We’ve got some really exciting artists that are going to come and play music and support throughout the whole night. Our last two completely sold out. The last one was on my birthday on a boat! There’s going to be all sorts of music people there; it’s always such a great fun night!

What was it like performing on a boat?
I got a bit sick! I was playing for forty-five minutes and there was really bad wind as it was in January and it was swaying side-to-side. But it was packed out and we had the Gogglebox girls there and they made me laugh all night!

You also released your album ‘Cornerstone’ last year. How did that go?
Really well. It got to #3 in the iTunes chart and was received really well, and I was really proud of that body of work, working with people from all over the world. I went a bit darker, working with a lot of the Massive Attack band members. I just went into the studio to make what I wanted to make. I didn’t really think about who I was selling the music to or who would like it; I just made it for myself and dedicate to my grandmother who passed away, who I never met. Her face is on the album cover. There’s a song on it called ‘Lillian’ which is my favourite song out of all I’ve written and that’s dedicated to her, and again Rosie Ribbons sang on that, and it was a great, haunting track. I was really proud of that.

Finally, do you have any big ambitions for 2017?
To perform more! I want to go out to the States. Last year I made a conscious decision to focus on the studio, making more music, and I produced ‘Bars and Melody’ from Britain’s Got Talent. I executive produced their whole album; they have such an incredible fan base. I was focussing on producing other artists and writing songs for myself so now I have a big body of work which I can go and perform, so this year I am going to do all the festivals. I’ve booked up for Glastonbury and a whole bunch of private gigs. Then after the summer I’d like to go out to LA and New York and perform, and maybe get some more gigs out in the states and talk to some labels, get some radio play. I’d also like to do more in Europe as well.

Plenty to keep to busy then?

Absolutely, non-stop. That’s how I like it. I work great under pressure and I like being busy. So I’m excited about this year!

Find out more about Alonestar on Facebook.

KBPS Interview: January

January Thompson was born in Los Angeles, California but now based in the UK after working with a host of underground DJs and producers. Often compared to the likes of Kate Bush and Bjork, January has released a brand new single called ‘Too Soon’, which we love here at KBPS, and we caught up with her to chat about the record.

How would you describe your new song?
‘Too Soon’ is ambient electronica. It’s song driven so it has a pop element and the lyrics are more about a longing and playing on the feeling of whether something is too soon or too late.

As well as the writing do you work on the production of a record?
Absolutely. I do all of it. The music is very important to me because my mother was a classical musician so I go into a song thinking how it will sound musically and then write the song.

In terms of the sound there is that classical element but a more contemporary feel too. Was that something you set out to do?
Art is a funny thing, as it just sort of happens, and you pull it in if it’s in your heart. It seems accidental but the Copenhagen Cello Quartet was on it and it ended up having this classical influence to it, and that was not intended consciously, but it did end up that way.

You also have a great video out for the song which has an atmospheric, artistic feel to it. What was that like to be involved with?
Videos are, again, a different type of process. I’m not a huge fan of the camera but when you have photographers and directors [onboard] it’s their art form and so it takes on a life of its own, and I adore the photographer I worked with, she’s fantastic. Everything takes on a great vibe and I’m happy how it turned out.

‘Too Soon’ is taken from your album ‘Whelmed’. What’s that like as an LP?
Just even doing an LP these days is tricky. It takes a lot of time and energy as most people are doing EPs and singles. But it’s kept building. We started at three [tracks] then another song would come and then another song. Again, the Copenhagen Cello Quartet, the songwriters and the producers were all classically trained, and it was a snowball effect. There’s a lot of ambient, cinematic sound to it but I think the first two singles are strong, driven songs and great for radio!

Musically you’ve also collaborated with other DJs and musicians on electronica. Has that shaped your sound?
It has shaped how I learned to write songs as again I’m driven towards the sound of the music more than writing the songs, so it’s basically how I learned to write. When I was classically trained it was more backing vocals or ambient sounds. I find electronica music a much more vast genre that you can play with.

Alongside your single and album do you have any live plans coming up?
We don’t have anything set yet, but the festival season will have a few things in Copenhagen in the UK as well, but that remains to be booked!

Alongside your music you post a lot about environment issues on your social media. Is that important to you?
Animals have always been something I’ve been passionate about but now we’re in something of a crisis with the wildlife and the extinction crisis. I’m drawn to elephants particularly and the Wildlife Trust is very valuable and do incredible work. The orangutans in Borneo is another one, so if I can use my voice in any way that can help these incredible creatures I hope I can.

Finally do you have any big ambitions or dreams for 2017?

I would love this album to get the recognition it deserves as there was so many incredible people on it. I’d love for it to get a stage, and I think it will be an incredible live act, but keep doing what I’m doing and be part of making beautiful music.

KBPS Interview: Adam Lanceley

Adam Lanceley is a singer-songwriter who has just released a new single called ‘Those Rose Tinted Days’. Coming back from a childhood car accident to record a succession of great albums, we caught up with Adam to ask him about the single.

How would you describe your new song?
I’d describe it as old-school alternative-rock. My influences are old-school [too]; kind of old fashioned, kind of retro like the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and Roy Orbison. I take the bits of the music that I listen to, the song that make a real impression on me. Suddenly one day I realised I can put this together and make it sound unique to me!

The song is taken from your fifth album. What was that like to record?
The more I record, and the better I get at it, the more stressful it is! But it’s really rewarding. I remember when I was first starting to record and I just thought ‘man, this is so cool, I’m in a recording studio’. But then I started to realise, that if I put a bit of work in, I can do a good job here. Then I started putting more pressure on myself, but it’s really rewarding doing it when you’ve got all your ideas down and you can think ‘this sounds alright!’.

Do you enjoy the production side alongside the writing and recording?
When I write my songs I have a good idea of all the instruments I want to try. I like to try as many new and different, or unusual, instruments that I can, that I think will work in each song!

You like to use older equipment in the recording process; does that analogue effect give you the sound you’re looking for?
I think it suits my music more. It makes it sound more authentic to the era that are my main influences.

Would you say your music has changed in sound over your five albums?
I would say it’s better, but that’s down to the individual listener. It’s definitely got more complex [with] the melodies; the arrangements are more complex; and the writing has developed and come on a lot.

Do you have any video plans for the future?
I wouldn’t rule it out, but I think a video will be more likely on one of my songs I’ve yet to release.

As well as music, you’re a keen runner. What was it like running the London Marathon?
That was good for the first fourteen or fifteen miles but then the rest was a real, real struggle. I tore some tendons in my right foot and I have a pressure sore on my left heel from when I had a broken leg and I was in hospital for a long time. It’s very painful to walk! But I got through it!

You do a lot of fundraising for charity. Is that important to you?
Mostly I support the Brain and Spinal Foundation because the more I’ve got to know about the charity the more I’ve come to realise that if it wasn’t for charities like that, my kind of head injury, would have been completely untreatable, so that’s why I want to raise money for them,

Has music helped you recover?
It’s definitely an outlet for emotion and it can be therapeutic. It helps me cope. I draw inspiration from it.

Finally do you have any big ambitions for the rest of 2017?

I don’t know, it’s a bit early at the moment. We’ll see what happens! I am planning on releasing an EP for the charity in the next few months but I prefer not to look too far ahead!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Simple Minds - Acoustic

'Acoustic' is, as you'd guess from the title, a collection of acoustic versions of Simple Minds songs from their previously albums. As someone who is not that familiar with the work of the band outside of their big hits I found this a really enjoyable and strong album of nicely delivered numbers.

Favourites on the album include opener 'The American' and KT Tunstall-featuring lead single 'Promised You A Miracle'. There are also great moments scattered in songs like 'Sanctify Yourself', 'Alive and Kicking' and their big song 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' but there's not really a track on it I didn't enjoy, delivered in a great style. Well worth picking up. (7/10)

New Music Review #21

Another ten new tracks that we love this week!

The Amazons - Little Something

'Little Something' is a dark and gritty slice of indie-rock with a growling guitar undercurrent and a crisp vocal line. (6.5/10)
Anteros - Breakfast

'Breakfast' is a great catchy piece of pop that is great to listen to anytime of day. With an understated but memorable chorus this is a great uplifting track for the time of year. (7.5/10)

Caravan Palace - Lone Digger

A track from a while back that has got a new lease of life, this is a dance-led, catchy, jazz number that mixes throwback riffs and sounds into a fast-paced catchy number. (8/10)

Crystal Fighters - Good Girls 

Crystal Fighters can be often replied upon to provide a great, bouncy, uplifting pop song and 'Good Girls', though not that different from their usual style, delivers on that. Very warming for a cold January! (7.5/10)

Dua Lipa - Be The One 

A catchy slice of indie-pop from one of the stars of 2017, it's not her biggest single and it gets a little repetitive but it's still a good listen. (6.5/10)

Dwayne Johnson - You're Welcome

Taken from the latest Disney film 'Moana'. Dwayne Johnson doesn't have the greatest singing voice but he delivers this song well and it's pretty catchy. And certainly less annoying than 'Let It Go'. (7/10)
Ed Sheeran - Castle On The Hill / Shape of You

Our Ed is back with two new tracks. They may be lacking the energy or originality of, say, 'Sing' but are some great comebacks. 'Castle on the Hill' is the better of the two with a strong building vibe and chorus and a certain pop-catchiness. 'Shape of You' is a bit more Sing-like with a rap vibe though the lyrics are a little shallower and drab, but the vocal effects are catchy. (7.5/10)

Halestorm - I Hate Myself For Loving You

A cover of a Joan Jett song this a solid rock version which keeps the classic song whilst injecting a bit of life into it. A good cover. (6.5/10)

Surfer Blood - Matter of Time

'Matter of Time' is a raw slice of indie but with some catchy licks and riffs and a fun, driving vibe. (7/10)

The xx - Say Something Loving

The XX continue with their strong pop-indie crossovers with this retro-throwback packed with harmonies any nicely evolving synths. It's more of a rolling track than building to anything but that still proves to be worth a listen. (6.5/10)