Sunday, 30 April 2017

New Music Review #45

Ten more great songs we've personally picked for you!

Pink Noise Party – Queer

A mid-tempo number whose opening and choral lyrics will perhaps spark a little controversy, outside of this it’s a disco-influenced funky little number complete with vocal tricks, piano riffs and other refreshing elements. A cool little number. (7/10)

Reggie N Bollie - This is the Life

Talent shows singers Reggie N Bollie return with this summer-friendly number which fits in neatly with the tropes of Caribbean music. It perhaps doesn’t plough its own unique furrow but it’s fun and enjoyable enough while it lasts. (6.5/10)

Saint Motel – Move

Another one of my favourite songs around at the moment, this catchy and dance-focussed number boasts memorable lyrics, a solid production style and a building verse that leads to an enthusiastic chorus. A brilliant, poppy, radio-friendly number. (8/10)

Shakatak - Carry On

Sounding like a mixture of Simply Red and the Bee Gees ‘Carry On’ is a retro-sounding funky number with a calming, chilled-out vibe and a very welcome keytar breakdown. Fun. (7/10)

SQRD – Together

‘Together’ is a chilled out number with a catchy, electronic riff and simple, but complimentary, lyrics. (6.5/10)

Steps - Scared Of The Dark

Another band returns after a while away, and though it’s pretty much the Claire show this is a catchy, classic-sounding Steps song complete with electronic drums, synthesized strings and soaring bridges. Fitting perfectly into their established discography, this is pop-dance at its cheesy finest. (7.5/10)

Tayfun – Figo

A musical backing that sounds like a cross between a Christmas carol and something by Enigma, is what makes this song. The rap laid over the top is good too but familiar, but it’s when it’s matched with the audio that it comes alive, especially in the multi-layered chorus. Full marks to the producer for bringing the best out of the song. (7.5/10)

The Allergies feat. Andy Cooper - Love That I'm In

‘Love That I'm In’ is another funky little number from the Allergies, the mixture of vocals and rap, disco backing and electronic riffs all working together to create a bouncy, joyful atmosphere that will put a smile on your face. (7/10)

Train - Play That Song

Building its riff from the famous piano piece from movie “Big”, this is cheesy, poppy and commercial but that’s not always a bad thing when it’s wrapped up in a song as fun and friendly as this. Cool. (7.5/10)

Tuxedo - 2nd Time Around

With echoes of Chic this is a seventies-sounding funky number with a positive vibe, catchy riffs and a sunny optimism, and a very singable chorus. A great throwback sounding number. (7.5/10)

Saturday, 29 April 2017

New Music Review #44

Ten more songs that you must hear today!

Fazer - I Woke Up (Radio Edit)

Another riff on the grime genre, ‘I Woke Up’ is well produced and balances the modern feel of urban music with a classical-influenced backing. The lyrics are familiar, of course, but the package is fun and enjoyable to listen to. (7/10)

Felin – Shackles

‘Shackles’, written for International Women’s Day, is another soaring and touching number from the very promising talents of Felin. Beautifully sung and going straight to the heart, you have to love Elin’s lead vocals. (7/10)

Gavin James - I Don't Know Why

‘I Don’t Know Why’ sounds like one of those songs that you think you’ve heard for a long time. With a simple but alluring chorus, this stripped back song is delightful in its delivery and lyrics, and continues to highlight the big promise of Gavin James as the Passenger of 2017. (7.5/10)

Hands of Industry - I Swear

With hints of Depeche Mode, this dark dance track brings back the 1980s and fits well into that sound with stronger modern production values. With some good effects and vibes, this is a distinctive and strong number. (7/10)

Harrison Bond - Fallen Out Of Love

‘Fallen Out of Love’ is a song with two personalities: there’s the slow pondering verses and the fastest, poppier choruses, and both work well to complement each other. A musical journey in three minutes, it’s an experience you’ll want to enjoy. (7/10)

I See Rivers - DA RAM

Short but sweet at two-and-a-half minutes, this song is quirky in its delivery and sound but pretty memorable because of it. Jaunty with oriental hints, this is a sweet little piece that plugs a small gap in your playlist thanks to its harmonies and optimistic feel. (7/10)

James King & The Regals – Murphy’s Law

A sunny, indie guitar led number, it’s not quite as memorable as their last single but once you get to the energetic guitar breakdown mid-song the song shows its hand and becomes a great fun indie banger. (6.5/10)

Machine Gun Kelly & Camila Cabello - Bad Things

The lyrics may be a little provocative and un-radio-friendly but it’s all wrapped up in such a great package from Cabello’s sweet, innocent vocals, and Kelly’s gruffer rap. A great, sexy number. (8/10)

Mike + The Mechanics - Don't Know What Came Over Me

Like Blondie and Deep Purple mentioned previously, Mike + The Mechanics have returned with another song that sounds like it could have just been ripped from their back catalogue. A modern classic, this touching and well-produced soft rock number is touching both lyrically and in its music. (7.5/10)

Ninajirachi feat. Freya Staer - Pure Luck

With hints of AlunaGeorge, this is an eastern-sounding quirky pop number that using its production as an instrument to create a flowing and smooth little piece that is cool in its vibe. (7/10)

Friday, 28 April 2017

New Music Review #43

Another ten songs you need to hear!

Billionaire - Reasons to be Fearful

Set to a mid-tempo swagger ‘Reasons to be Fearful’ switches up lyrics about buying beer with the sort of thing you’d expect from the Daily Mail. It lacks a big chorus and shows its hand within the first minute but it’s a good mix of simple, evocative production and good lyrics. (6.5/10)

Blondie – Fun

Blondie are back with a new album (“Pollinator”) and this is the lead single ahead of it. Catchy, poppy and danceable this is just what you’d expect for and hope from the band, and they don’t disappoint with this strong first-cut. (7.5/10)

Brenda Veila – Trouble

Sometimes I get a song in my review list that immediately jumps out at me, and this is one of them. A very promising early single from a singer whose young age doesn’t correlate with the power of her voice, though some lyrics are a little clunky in parts. ‘Trouble’ boasts one of the most memorable choruses around at the moment and doesn’t spoil the party elsewhere in the song. Great. (7.5/10)

Callaghan and Vincent Duffy - I Don't Know How To Lose You

Callaghan has a really beautiful voice and once more is showcased well on this song. Lyrically and musically it’s quite slow and dark, and rather short, but it’s nicely put together and emotive. (7/10)

Clean Bandit feat. Zara Larsson – Symphony

Like Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of Me’, there are certain songs that are getting overplayed at the moment, and this is one of them. But if you can get over the overfamiliarity this feels like Clean Bandit back on form, a strong mix of classical influences with Larsson’s delicious vocals and some sweet, loveable lyrics. Very well done. (7/10)

Cornerstone – Northern Light

With a Fleetwood Mac-sounding rock riff this has a throwback sound to the seventies, held together with the fragile voice of the lead singer and the chunky guitars. It might lack a certain spark to make it a classic, but it’s a solid pop-rock number with a neat chorus. (6.5/10)

DJ Premier X Miguel - 2 Lovin U

Though the single does sound like they’ve stolen the bass riff from an Arctic Monkeys song this mix of smooth rnb vocals, throbbing bassline, DJ effects and general confidence make this a great punchy number that crosses genres and mashes them up into something very listenable. (7.5/10)

Don Elito feat. Nado – You Alright Yeah (Radio Edit)

Switching up between grime and rnb, this is a poppier sounding entry into both genres with a cheeky confidence in its lyrics, which swerve between and around the genre clichés. The verses perhaps last a little too long between choruses, but it’s a promising quirky little number that embraces its London slang. (6.5/10)

Elea Calvet – Lust

Delivered in a slurry fashion, ‘Lust’ is a warbly affair which is not usually something I enjoy, but there’s something likeable about the flow of the lyrics and music throughout the song, not so much a structure as a journey. Definitely a grower, but it’s not a song that fits comfortably into a particular box. (6.5/10)

Emeli Sandé - Highs & Lows

Emeli continues on strong form with another bouncy, up-tempo song that gets your foot tapping and your vocal chords into overdrive. Poppy, catchy and, to roll out another cliché, radio friendly. A great pop number. (7.5/10)

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Album Review: Alison Krauss – Windy City

With a discography that’s already an arm length’s long, American country singer Alison Krauss returns with the ten-track LP ‘Windy City’ that mashes up bluegrass, soul and country into a heady package of strong, relaxing and very listenable songs, beginning with the simple yet heart-breaking ‘Losing You’, that sounds like the best Nina Simone country cover you never heard. Well written and emotionally delivered, with subtle hints of country, this is a delightfully touching introduction to the album.

Second song ‘It’s Goodbye and So Long to You’ is a much more upbeat affair, its jaunty country-jig rhythm and very hooky sing-a-long chorus make this a stand out track. The title track that follows shifts the tempo back down again for a smooth country-ballad whilst the darkly titled ‘I Never Cared for You’ is a Mamas and the Papas sound-a-like with a stripped back vibe that gives way for something a little more sultry. ‘River in the Rain’ is a more traditional slow song with plenty of power and heart in Krauss’ delivery of the words.

Into the second half and we get the Dolly Parton-like ‘Dream of Me’, which is one of my favourites album, thanks to its well-produced harmonies, touching lyrics and spot-on delivery. ‘Gentle on my Mind’ is another well-pitched gentle ballad with story-telling lyrics and feels much older – nay, classic – than you’d expect. ‘All Alone Am I’, track eight, goes a little Broadway musical with soaring strings’ whilst country is the order of the day for ‘Poison Love’, another foot-stomper with a great rhythm.

Final track ‘You Don’t Know Me’ ties up the album well with a beautiful, slow, stripped-back closer, shutting the door on a relaxing and evocative album that’s a must hear. (7.5/10)

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Album Review: Maximo Park – Risk To Exist

After struggling with diminishing returns on their last two albums that, outside of their cracking singles, I didn’t enjoy as much as their core opening three, the Park are back on form with this surprisingly political sixth entry in their discography that appears to be the soundtrack to a general election they wouldn’t know was being called at the time of recording.

‘Risk to Exist’ boasts eleven core tracks that flow well from one another, starting with the funky swagger of ‘What Did We Do to You to Deserve This?’ with its catchy chorus-led question. It’s superseded by the anthemic second track and sophomore single ‘Get High (No, I Don't)’ that already feels like a confirmed entry in their eventual greatest hits, with its addictive base line, progressive bridge and live-friendly chorus.

‘What Equals Love’ ventures into the closest they ever get to pop with its bouncy, piano-enthused chorus and mathematical allegories. Lead single and titular track ‘Risk to Exist’ comes in at number four, it’s gun-like guitar riff, sing-along style and poppy chorus winning over before you have a chance to listen to the lyrics heavily focussed on the treatment of Syrian Migrants, all coming together to form a radio-friendly hit with a message.

‘I’ll Be Around’, with a hefty synth vibe, is another favourite of mine on the album and it’s hooky line of ‘with a government that’s out of touch’ stands out as a sly dig slotted into what seems to be a love song. ‘Work and Then Wait’ is another strong entry, once more with musical swagger and some well composed lyrics, alongside some top riffs fighting within.

‘The Hero’ switches up elements of electro-funk in the background and lifts up the political lyrics a little more, the chorus being surprisingly catchy in its indie vibe. Musically ‘The Reason I Am Here’ really works but it’s the lyrics that once more grab you, and though ‘Make What You Can’ and ‘Respond to the Feeling’ are good but don’t feel quite as great the album redeems itself with a gentle and noteworthy closer in the form of ‘Alchemy’ with a joy of a chorus.

For fans who slap some extra cash for the bonus disc get some nice extras. The opening bonus tracks ‘My Sharp Tongue’ and the electronic ‘A Brief Dream’ are more interesting curiosities but the throbbing ‘All Been Done Before’ feels like an unfair casualty of the main LP. The rest of the extras are made up of acoustic or stripped back versions of four of the best tracks on the album which are well worth hearing.

Maximo Park may not quite have surpassed their incredible second release with ‘Risk to Exist’ but it’s certainly an album on the upturn from the last two, with plenty to enjoy and some really stand-out songs. (7.5/10)

Album Review: Steps – Tears on the Dancefloor

Five-piece British pop-dance group Steps return with their fifth studio album four-and-a-half years after their last reformation (they released a Chrismas-themed long player in late 2012), now back to mark their 20th anniversary. ‘Tears on the Dancefloor’ is a ten-track album that doesn’t really break much new ground: Claire is still the central voice, the songs are unashamedly pop, and even more so than on previous albums H and Lee Latchford-Evans might as well have stayed at home as they barely register on the 38-minute LP.

The album kicks off with the lead single, the bombastic pop hit that is ‘Scared of the Dark’ which is easily the best song on the album, feeling both like classic Steps and a more modern dance track. Lyrically it’s a step up from much on the album and the dance focus works well, alongside the powerful builds of the verses and bridges thanks to Claire’s vocals. It’s the sort of song you could slot back into their earlier greatest hits and it wouldn’t look out of place.

Second track ‘You Make Me Whole’ is a slower number which has a similar successive tempo build that keeps it rolling well, but the repetitive chorus feels like a wasted opportunity, and it’s too close to bland modern club-dance for my personal tastes. Track three ‘Story of a Heart’, which looks to be the second single, was written by the two male members of Abba back in 2009 for their own album and boy does it sound like it is. Though lyrics like ‘as I stare at the back of a bus’ give it a slightly unintentional comic angle, this certainly feels like a lost Abba song and the group deliver the goods in a very Abba-esque sound, all together creating a strong harmonised ballad.

‘Happy’ switches up to something much more clubby and the beat and progression make for a catchy song with a slightly bittersweet feeling to the chorus. The lyrics are pretty bland but it makes for a fun enough pop song. The title inspiring ‘No More Tears on the Dancefloor’ follows and the influence of writer Darren Hayes is clearly audible in the opening, it’s just a shame that Hayes’ strong song-writing ability sees what could be a nice power ballad transformed into a bland Europop number but I suppose that’s the territory of the album. That said it’s one of the best tracks on the album and should be single number three.

Reaching the second half of the album ‘Firefly’ is another catchy pop song but combines the over-repetitive style of ‘Happy’ with a lyrics sheet that is very by-the-numbers. If you can forget the cheesiness of the words and the radio-friendly, but bland chorus, it has some redeeming features. ‘Space Between Us’ feels a little less dance-focussed and is all the better for it. The verses don’t really stand up but the touching well-written chorus makes up for it.

‘Glitter and Gold’ ramps up the drum machine and takes a style from ‘From Paris to Berlin’, firmly nailing its colours to the Europop mast. This is actually one of my favourites on the album. It doesn’t do anything huge but plays out nicely, whilst penultimate track ‘Neon Blue’ slows things down and offers more light and shade to create a stronger pop number.

The album closes with ‘I Will Love Again’ which is an OK power ballad that wraps things up nicely.

‘Tears on the Dancefloor’ is a welcome return for Steps and fits in nicely next to their core first three albums though it doesn’t have as many big hitters as those earlier releases, some of the songs here a little closer to filler than I would like, but overall it’s a fun, perky dance-pop number that is the perfect album to sit down and put on when you want something uplifting and undemanding. As you’d expect it’s pretty much Claire’s album with Faye and Lisa on harmony duties whilst H and Lee will be cashing their appearance cheque for little work. A good return and an album that does what it needs to do. (7/10)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

KBPS Interview: Alex Hulme

Having stormed the stages of Folk on the Dock Fest, Kendal Calling, Green
Meadows and many more in 2016, Alex Hulme comes banging on our door in early
2017 with his latest single, ‘Family Tree’. We spoke to Alex about his new song and began by asking him the most crucial question…

Your bio mentions you wear odd socks. What’s behind that?
That came about entirely by accident when I was starting off when I was 16 or 17 years old. I was playing in a lot of bars or clubs where they weren’t necessarily up for acoustic music and I was playing in one that was particularly empty and a big hen party came in and they immediately came in and there was this lone person, playing guitar. The club was empty as it was quite early in the evening and they turned round to leave and they’d all had a fair few to drink and one of them turned around and said ‘look, he’s wearing odd socks’ [after] which] they stayed for one song and then the entire night. So I thought if it was going to work once it was going to work again! I’ve worn them ever since.

Your new single is called ‘Family Tree’. How would you describe it?
It comes out at the end of this month, this Friday. It’ll be available on Spotify and all those sort of places. The track is in the indie-folk / new-folk bracket. I’m really into bands like Seafret, Kodaline, and Bears Den, it’s all in that similar vibe. It’s slightly more left-field than straight singer-songwriter pop like Ed Sheeran, but not as far as alternative as real proper traditional folk.

Lyrically it’s quite a personal song; was it difficult for you to write and perform?
Yeah, [and] it still is. A lot of the tracks on the EP coming out next month (Family Tree is the title track) are revolving around my nephew, who sadly passed away when he was only four. It took me a while to finish the song. I tend to write the guitar and melody first and add the lyrics later, but this song felt like it was the right vibe and feel to talk about the topic. It was hard and it is still hard playing [it] now. I have three or four songs that revolve around a similar topic and even though I’ve performed them a lot they’re still hard to sing at times, but I feel that’s what a good song should be, from experience and from the heart. I hope people can connect with it in some way or another.

The single is taken from an EP; when is that out?
The EP is called the Leaves EP – you can see the link with trees and leaves (I’m a big fan of trees) – and that’s out on the last Friday of May. ‘Family Tree’ is the title track of the EP and there are another three tracks on it, all of which will be coming out as singles over the next two or three months. It’s all really exciting! We’re just in the middle of the regional tour at the moment, now in the last week of the North West in the UK. Over the next couple of months we’re jetting around the rest of the UK which should be really exciting!

The video is out now and is very dramatic in its use of light; was it fun to be involved with that?
It was wonderful! A couple of my old family friends – the Pace Brothers – are now professional wildlife photographers: they work for the BBC; they travel around the globe – they’ve just been up in Norway doing a documentary on the fjords. They said that they want to get into the music video game and whether I’d mind being their guinea pig, to which I said ‘yes please!’. Both of them are ex-army and we went really far into the Northern Highlands, up towards Angus county.  We went on a two-day hardcore off-road video shoot, and they had me up at 4 in the morning and threw me in the sea in October in Northern Scotland! There are some dolphins in the video that we came across. We went on a two-day hike essentially and we were dragged through streams and scrounged for food. It was a crazy experience but wonderful and brilliant to be part of!

It’s even been picked up by the local tourist board; do you think it will be encouraging people to visit?
That was fantastic and really good to be part of. I’m getting messages from people asking where it was shot as the locations look so ridiculous. If you’ve never ventured up, it’s worth [going].

You did lots of festival stages last year; what was that experience like?
It was a really good experience. I’ve loved doing the festival circuit for the last couple of years. Normally we’d do a set of festivals then take a break for a year, alternating year-on-year. I’ve got some good ones in the pipeline, in Liverpool, Stoke on the Dock, which is an awesome festival. I should be down at Green Meadows in Peterborough later this year. I do quite a bit of touring over the Isle of Man as I was fortunate to make a connection over there. They’ve got a big festival over there in August that I should be a part of.

How’s the current tour going?
It’s been really, really good fun. This month has been my home and regional tour so I’ve been doing a lot of the venues that I’ve done over the past few years. There’ve been some really good turns up. I’ve been blessed to have a really strong and committed fan base who come to a lot of gigs and they get a lot of EPs and know all the words. I tend to do a lot of singing at my gigs; I’m a big fan of sing-a-longs!

How would you describe your live sound?
It’s often very hard to capture what you do live on the recording. I’m a loop station artist; I don’t have a full band with me. I do everything vocally and on guitar. I have a stomp box which is essentially a giant piece of wood that I stamp on as a bass drum, and I do a lot of live layering and looping, so it’s all very loud, and pretty much what you hear on the record, except instead of drums it’s guitar beats. I tend to use the guitar to fill out the other parts like the banjo as sadly I can’t do both at the same time, as cool as that would be! My show is similar but not with a full band. The aim will be at some point towards the end of the year to get a band together to do a short set of gigs, which the full sound of the records. I love doing the tour with just me; I get to meet other people and make lots of noise!

What are your future musical plans?
I’ve yet to do my debut album yet. That’s something I’m hoping to get round to doing, finishing recording it at the end of this year, and then that’ll be released next year. Basically my aim this year is to get as many singles and tracks out there as physically possible so there will be definitely another couple of singles after this EP towards end of the summertime and the autumn. I’ve got a backlog of songs now that I’m dying to get used, and if I don’t use them now they’ll get buried under new ones, so I want to get them recorded and get them out there! There’s plenty of new music coming from me in the next six months.

Finally what are your big ambitions for the rest of 2017?
Just more touring and gigs really. I’m desperate to gig as much as physically possible this year. I’ve had an eight or nine month break from heavy gigging whilst I’ve been recording all these tracks. I’ve been dying to play them live, and that’s probably my favourite part of the job. I want to get out to as many places as possible and travel the full length of the UK. I do a lot of jumping between London and the North West, that I tend to miss out the midlands, though not on purpose! I’ve just not been able to find as many connections there, so my aim is to hit every major city across the UK. That would be awesome!

Monday, 24 April 2017

KBPS Interview: Harrison Bond

Milton Keynes based Indie Pop artist Harrison Bond broke onto the London indie scene in late 2016. With his debut EP ‘Wonder In Aliceland’ being well received, he earned his name on the bill at some top venues including London’s O2 Academy Islington. We spoke to Harrison and began by asking him about his new single ‘Fallen Out of Love’

It’s quite influenced by my favourite artists like Lana Del Rey. Lyrically it’s influenced by artists like Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys. I like it; it’s quite different from my EP from October 2016. This song’s a little bit more upbeat than the EP but I like how it’s turned out.

When you create a song is it the lyrics that come first?
I think a lot of the time it goes together. I’m usually writing at my piano or on my guitar and it kind of flows. For this song it was the music that came first and I wrote the lyrics around it so it was a slightly different approach to what I’m used to, but I quite enjoyed working that way to be honest so it’s something that I’ll look at when writing in the future.

What was your EP like to record?
A lot of it was recorded at home as it was the first thing I’d really released and I’d done a lot of work on it at home: a lot of writing, and I had quite a lot of songs to choose from but for that EP I picked five. I enjoyed it. Compared to the single the recording process was very different. I had a serious producer on board with the single so in that sense it was more professionally produced but I enjoyed working that way.

Are there any plans for a video for ‘Fallen Out of Love’?
Yeah. There will be a video, with footage of me in the studio recording the songs. I was down in Cornwall for a few days recording some tracks so there’s videos from Cornwall to come out of the studio sessions, of me playing the tracks. Hopefully that’ll be out in the next week or so.

Previously you’ve supported your releases with live dates; have you got any other gigs coming up?
I’m hoping to do a bit of a UK tour in a couple of months. During the summer I’m working with a group of other musicians to make sure we’ve got the songs down, because with the EP a lot of it was me performing solo and I felt that with the new releases I should get a band behind me so that’s what we’re working on at the moment: getting to know each other. We’re looking to play all around the UK maybe in a couple of months, in July or August time.

So your live sound will be big?
In terms of the single, we will be trying to get as close to the studio sound as possible but previously I’ve done a lot of solo stuff; it was just me with an acoustic guitar and it wasn’t necessarily a reflection on how the actual track sounded. I think that’s why I wanted to get other musicians on board so we could get it as close to the track sound as possible.

What are your musical plans after the single?
I definitely want to do a second EP at the end of this year. I’ve been doing a lot of writing at the moment so I feel like I’ve got a good amount of songs I can work on and get some good material out by the end of this year. I’d like to have another single before that as well.

Finally what are your big ambitions for the rest of the year?

I’d really just to like to introduce myself to new areas in the UK and start to build up a slightly bigger fanbase. With the EP last year it was mainly just in London that I was gigging and I’ve built up a good fanbase in London but I just want to branch out into some new areas and hopefully for 2018 that’s when I want to get an album out and hit the festivals.

New Music Review #42

10 more songs you really need to hear!

Alex Hulme - Family Tree

With shades of Seafret in its delivery this is a surprisingly building indie-rock number. (6.5/10)

Blondie - Long Time 

Not quite as memorable or powerful as their last single but Blondie still prove to have an ear for a good little radio-friendly tune. (6.5/10)

Clean Cut Kid - Leaving You Behind

Clean Cut Kid delivery another fun and friendly pop-indie crossover. (6/10)

Dan Auerbach - Shine On Me

'Shine On Me' is one of those poppy, upbeat songs that proves catchy after just the first listen. With a catchy hook-filled chorus this is excellent and a must hear! (7.5/10)

Deep Purple – Johnny’s Band

Back after many years in the wilderness Deep Purple are back with this incredibly catchy pop-rock number that sounds like an instant classic. Singable, well written and fun this is just the sort of new song summer 2017 needs. (8/10)

Erasure - Love You To The Sky

Erasure have had a bit of a come back recently and this new song is a strong follow-up to their recent work. It's not a huge departure but it's very poppy and fun. (7/10)

Fickle Friends - Hello Hello

With hints of Tegan and Sara and Chvrches, this is a great catchy little pop-indie number with a funky, catchy beat. (7/10)

Paramore: Hard Times

Paramore are back with another great quirky pop track with interesting production and a simple, yet catchy, chorus. Great. (7/10)

Rick Astley - This Old House

Not the song you might be expecting from the title, this is another great cut from the album but with a slight club-theme added to the familiar ragga piano. Fun. (6.5/10)

Two Door Cinema Club - Lavender

It's been a while since I've heard anything from the 'club, but this is a catchy little pop hit thanks to its 'gravity's got a hold of me' chorus. Great. (7/10)

Sunday, 23 April 2017

New Music Review #41

Another ten tracks you need to hear!

Disciples - On My Mind

Much of the song falls firmly into generic dance but it's the hooky, deeper chorus that means the track stays more on my mind. (6.5/10)

Harry Styles - Sign of the Times

Heavily influenced by the late David Bowie, this is quite a brave first single from the former 1D member. A little slow and ponderous but it grows on you, and feels pretty mature. (7/10)

JP Cooper - Passport Home

'Passport Home' is another smooth, lighters-out song from JP Cooper that is well written and produced. (6.5/10)

The Kooks - Be Who You Are

Taken from their new greatest hits compilation, this isn't quite up to their classic big hits but it showcases their ear for a great tune really well and has that fun sing-a-long indie-pop chorus they're known for. (6.5/10)

Melanie C feat. Alex Francis - Hold On

Mel C can usually be relied on for a few single and though this is more slower than her usual release it has a good heart to it. (6.5/10)

San Cisco - Hey, Did I Do You Wrong?

If you want a gentle, summery indie number then you can't go far wrong with this little number. (6.5/10)

Sigrid - Don't Kill My Vibe (Acoustic)

Much more emotive in its acoustic form, this is a delightfully stripped back little number. (6.5/10)

Tinie Tempah feat. Tinashe - Text From Your Ex

Mr. Tempah continues his journey moving away from his urban routes to something much more commercial and though this song isn't a patch on his early work the balance between his raps and Tinashe's perky choruses works well. But I long for his Labrinth collaborations. (6.5/10)

Urband Soul - Struggle

Coming to our attention after a bit of a gap this is a cool, slow rap with some solid metaphors making a cracking chorus. (6.5/10)

Will Joseph Cook - Beach (I Wanna Make You Mine)

Cook has yet to find a song as brilliant and poppy as 'Girls Like Me' but he's still doing well enough with this single which balances his indie and pop loves. (6.5/10)

Saturday, 22 April 2017

New Music Review #40

Ten more tracks you need to hear today!

Amy Macdonald - Automatic

'Automatic' is another great indie-pop song from Macdonald that fits in neatly with her older material. (7/10)

Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) - Runnin' Home To You

Taken from the Flash TV show, there's something a little bit Disney about this release but it's a simple, stripped-back, little love song with a pun in the title. (6.5/10)

DNCE feat. Nicki Minaj - Kissing Strangers

After the catchy 'Cake in the Ocean' comes another fun, tongue-in-cheek little pop tune. Minaj doesn't really add much to it, but elsewhere it's a nice little radio-friendly ditty. (7/10)

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - Vampires

With a strong breakdown, a hook-filled chorus and a driving rhythm this is a surprisingly perky soft-rock song. (7/10)

Imelda May - Should've Been You

A little bit of a change of direction for Imelda but this is a catchy, spunky little number. (7/10)

Little Mix feat. Machine Gun Kelly - No More Sad Songs

It's a little bit generic as per their recent material but it's got enough of a poppy heart to win you over. (6.5/10)

Michael Bolton - Cupid

Let's be honest, it's not a million miles away from the original but it suits Bolton's voice and the gruffness in his delivery gives it a new angle. (7/10)

The Shires - Drive

'Drive' is another catchy pop-country crossover from the Shires that is, fittingly, a good tune to put on whilst you go and drive. (7/10)

Texas - Tell That Girl

'Tell That Girl' is another bouncy slice of pop from a resurgent 'Texas'. (6.5/10)'

Tinashe - Flame 

'Flame' is a laid back little number that showcases Tinashe's sultry vocals. (6.5/10)