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HAASAN – ‘THIS YEAR’ REVIEW 2018 | ABSOLUTELY AUDIO

Updated: 21st March, 2018                  Written by: Natalya Davies

“‘This Year’ is about proving that you can do it, no matter where you’ve been. It’s where you’re heading that counts… but never lose yourself in it all… You have to stay true to you.”

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FOR FANS OF: DAVE, DRAKE, RAMZ

RATING: ★★★★✰

I stumbled into young Houslow-born rapper Haasan completely by chance as I was rushing to meet friends for one of the few fresher events that I actually attended upon moving to London. It was also completely by chance that within the two minute elevator small-talk we came to the realisation that we shared the same goal in life; to get paid for what we love doing most; music.

Drive and ambition are true gems that can often only be understood by those that have found their purpose in life and upon talking with Haasan, his purpose is clear – do what you love but never lose sight of who you are and those that matter – a truly humbling and wise outlook.

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Debut single ‘This Year’, released in February, is one that comes straight from the heart, not a typically exaggerated overview of the typical rapper life, but an overview which is extremely relatable to almost anyone.

The core meaning of the song is about proving to yourself that you can do it, while forgetting negative impacts or obstacles that may have once obstructed you from getting where you wish to be. “If its your dream then you have to believe it… or no one else will” says the young rapper when asked about the story behind the lyrics, showing that simply practising self-belief can be the first step to reaching your wildest desires.

Alongside the ever-flowing wisdom, there is a pleasing hint of humour delicately weaved into certain lyrics, so as to not make the song too serious but also enjoyable. References to ‘Iceland’ and ‘Charcoal Chicken’, while standing out like sore thumbs among such powerful meaning, are gladly welcomed, reflecting Haasan’s entertaining yet mature nature.

Music is a key form of escapism and self-healing for the best of us – therefore, young inspirations like Haasan are key role models for the future of music. Here’s to the future!

 

Debut single: ‘This Year’

Follow Haasan on social media:

Instagram – @Haasanmusic

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GIVING INTO GHOSTS – “LET THE EARTH SLEEP” REVIEW 2018 | ABSOLUTELY AUDIO

Updated: 29th March, 2018              Written by: Natalya Davies

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FOR FANS OF: ALEXISONFIRE, ARCHITECTS, BURY TOMORROW

RATING: ★★★★✰ 

Cardiff metallers Giving Into Ghosts are back and better than ever with a follow-up to 2014’s explosive ‘Chasing Waves’ EP. Newly released single ‘Let The Earth Sleep’ looks likely to be the start of something extremely special…

 

One of the most special moments a music fan can have is watching an artist or band grow in their musical career and it can be said that Giving Into Ghosts have come very far since their debut. ‘Let The Earth Sleep’ is a wonderful representation of musical growth as it features their usual addictive fusion of metalcore and post-hardcore, however this time, perfectly polished and finely tuned to create an extremely mature track.

An aspect which will likely work in the Welsh four-piece’s favour, is that they have managed to secure a distinguishable sound from very early on in their career which means that it will be easier for them to create a sense of presence and identity within a genre that is so saturated with bands creating virtually identical content.

Guitarist and singer Mikey Thomas’ distinctive and infectious vocals seem to draw the listener further into the song each time they interject into the verses in a manner that is truly hypnotic. As one would expect, the most impressive part of the song is, in fact, the chorus, whereby Thomas’ pop-esque vocal style proves to be a true asset to the band.

‘Let The Earth Sleep’ is likely to be one of the most important releases of Giving Into Ghost’s musical career, one which is on its way to a very bright future.

 

Giving Into Ghost prepare to release their second EP titled ‘Let The Earth Sleep’ on April 4th which will available via iTunes and Spotify.

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: ‘LET THE EARTH SLEEP’

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: ‘CHASING WAVES’

KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH GIVING INTO GHOSTS!

FACEBOOK – www.facebook.com/GivingInToGhosts

TWITTER – @GivingIn2Ghosts

INSTAGRAM – @givingintoghosts

LIKE WHAT YOU’VE HEARD?

FOLLOW THESE LINKS TO SIMILAR REVIEWS >

UPON THOSE DYING – ‘DELUSIONS’ ALBUM REVIEW 2017 | ABSOLUTELY AUDIO

LIFELUST – ‘NADIR’ REVIEW 2018 | ABSOLUTELY AUDIO

NOVELISTS – ‘SOUVENIRS’ (2015) | ABSOLUTELY AUDIO

KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH ABSOLUTELY AUDIO!

FACEBOOK – www.facebook.com/absolutelyaudio

INSTAGRAM – @absolutelyaudio

 

Releasing new music or a new project? Email aamusicblog2017@gmail.com or contact via instagram @ABSOLUTELYAUDIO for review/article enquiries. More information is available via the contact button on the homepage.

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FEBRUARY FAVOURITES | 2018

Updated: 18 March 2018            Written by Natalya Davies

DISCOVERIES 

Killa Yan – Like I Used To

For fans of: Louis Mattrs, Paperboy Fabe, Eros Taylor

If as the saying goes, “Less is More”, then debut single ‘Like I Used To’ from Irish singer/songwriter Killa Yan is certainly the most. The arrangement is pleasantly minimal while the melody is equally as delicate, allowing for the honest and vulnerable lyrics to dwell in the limelight, making it a piece which can resonate with mostly anyone.

The ultimate way to embark upon what one can only assume will be a considerably fruitful musical future for the artist, if all continues as it has started.

 

Iyamah – Cryptic Love

For fans of: SZA, RAY BLK, H.E.R

For any music lover, finding a strong connection with a song upon first listen is sometimes very rare but, nevertheless, a wonderful thing. This, however, was very much the case upon my first listen of ‘Cryptic Love’.

A soulful piece with a delightfully gentle hint of funk, Iyamah’s debut single touches on the increasingly popular topic of the empowerment of women which is executed in a way that is more tasteful and elegant, than irrational or ambiguous.

 

Dan Caplen – Two Fingers

For fans of: Zak Abel, Daniel Caesar, RAY BLK

If you’re a fan of infectious soulful rhythm and blues then look no further; Dan Caplen is bringing Christmas 2018 10 months early! The young singer/songwriter has had a rewarding introduction to the music world by collaborating with well-renowned names like Macklemore, RAY BLK and Jess Glynne.

‘Two Fingers’ is the perfect song to bridge between the glum and gloomy winter days to the highly anticipated spring months where road trips and the best music are once again upon us.

 

Lewis Capaldi – Bruises

For fans of: Khalid, Tom Grennan, Rhys Lewis

The lyrics “It’s your love I’m lost in” thoroughly sums up Scotland hot topic Lewis Capaldi’s debut single ‘Bruises’. Hypnotic, powerful, heartfelt, emotional and sincere, Capaldi serves up everything you could ever want in a conflicted battle of a ballad.

With many reputable collaborations under his belt, 2018 is said, by many, to be the year to watch this artist rise to stardom.

 

Declan J Donovan – Better

For fans of: Lewis Capaldi, Adam French, Tom Grennan

Another one for any of you which may be looking for a rising star, or a star-to-be for that matter, Declan J Donovan’s 2017 release ‘Better’ is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

The essential remedy for those loathsome, figurative rainy days, Donovan’s compelling and distinctive voice is instantly soothing, while the song’s minimal structure is just as appeasing. So, next time you’re in need of some well deserved recovery, put on my February favourites playlist, pour yourself a glass of wine (or ten), and get lost in the music.

 

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SONGS

Sam Wills – So Bright

For fans of: Will Heard, Sipprell, James Vickery

Potentially one of my favourite artists of 2017, Sam Wills’ entire So Bright EP (2016) is inevitably a must-listen collective if you’re a fan of electronic soul, or even if you’re simply looking for something slightly unique with ‘pop-esque’ elements.

Single ‘So Bright’ is a pleasing mixture of repressed layers and captivating choruses which makes for an extremely infectious result, the addition of soulful synths only doubles the song’s genius.

 

Xavier Omar – Afraid

For fans of: Sabrina Claudio, Daniel Caesar, Sinead Harnett

Following on from the very ‘soul’ ridden pattern forming in my current favourites, ‘Afraid’ by American R’n’B artist Xavier Omar is a delicate track, overflowing with a vulnerability and uncertainty that is quite compelling as it is so relatable.

In this 2017 single, Omar showcases his fantastic vocal range, varying from a low and moody vocal to hinting ever so slightly at a rather satisfying falsetto as the song progresses. This variety only helps the meaning of the lyrics to be even more enticing and believable.

 

Sinead Harnett – If You Let Me

For fans of: Jorja Smith, Zak Abel, Kiana Lede

With her best selling single ‘If You Let Me’, Sinead Harnett has embodied the essence of romantic conflict that can relate to almost anyone. That feeling of conflict between ‘letting go or letting them in’ is pictured very realistically within her lyrics, so convincingly that if you closed your eyes, you can most certainly feel the dispute firsthand.

 

Press to MECO – Affinity

For fans of: Arcane Roots, Mallory Knox, DON BROCO

My favourite thing about Press To MECO is the clear efforts put in to do one thing only; create quality music for people to enjoy. Being within a genre in which bands are all too but ready to expose themselves to a mainstream audience rather than focus on what really matters can mean sticking out like a sore thumb, but for PTM it is doing many favours.

Affinity, especially, is a musical masterpiece; glazed with the chunkiest of riffs and the most blissful harmonies, a perfect blend of anything and everything a rock fan could possible want. Truly, addictive content.

 

Tom Misch, Loyle Carner – Water Baby

For Fans of: Jordan Rakei, Barney Artist, Xavier Omar

The ultimate duo are back and better than ever in Misch’s newest release ‘Water Baby’ which sets an extremely exciting tone for the highly anticipated debut album ‘Geography.

‘Water Baby’ is an ingeniously soulful piece with an old school touch that is riddled with nostalgia, no matter your age. I can only hope that this is not the last time Misch and Carner collaborate.

 

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ARTISTS

LIV DAWSON

For fans of: RAYE, Mabel, Grace Carter

Since recently finishing a UK tour with Khalid, this young British singer/songwriter is causing quite the stir among pop and R’n’B fans.

Dawson provides an extremely relevant sound (an utter go-to for any Mabel fans) but despite appealing to a large crowd, care and attention has clearly been made to make her music distinguishable among what is quite a saturated genre. Newest single ‘Talk’ is quite typical of pop, however, previous single ‘Hush’ incorporates a muted Chainsmokers-esque electronic chorus, while ‘Still’ incorporates atmospheric layers, both of which are kept minimal so as to not take attention away from her incredible vocal abilities.

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RECOMMENDED:

‘Hush’

‘Still’

 

ZAK ABEL

For fans of: Dan Caplen, Jess Glynne, Jessie Ware

A certain musical icon of the coming years, Zak Abel’s debut album ‘Only When We’re Naked’ is bursting with addictive pop swagger and explosive choruses, perfect for the summertime (which is just around the corner… I certainly hope so).

With a number of credible collaborations already under his belt, including Tom Misch, Wretch 32 and Gorgon City, Abel is coming for you whether you like it or not, no matter what genre you like… and he is killing it.

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RECOMMENDED:

‘Rock Bottom’ Feat. Wretch 32

‘The River’

 

FRANK OCEAN

For fans of: Chance The Rapper, BROCKHAMPTON, Childish Gambino

Frank Ocean is one of those MUST-listen artists that appear every once in a while, and are a true musical gem. While, like in society there are trendsetters and followers, the same goes in music and Ocean is truly in a league of his own, simply because he is not afraid to be himself or break boundaries that otherwise should not even be there.

‘Lost’ from Channel Orange is a particular favourite of mine, especially due to the moody and suppressed vocals which contrasts incredibly to the upbeat nature of the melody and chorus.

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RECOMMENDED:

‘Lost’

‘Super Rich Kids’

 

Click here to view the complete February Favourites playlist!

 

Similar posts:

JANUARY FAVOURITES | 2018

 

Instagram: @natalyaalala 

Be sure to click the ‘follow’ button for regular blog updates via email!

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite tracks of February!

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LIFELUST – “NADIR” REVIEW (2018)

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FOR FANS OF: HEART OF A COWARD, NOVELISTS, SHIELDS

RATING: ★★★★★

Meet Lifelust, the Cardiff based four piece that you should all have your eyes on, and I am simply here to tell you why…

‘Nadir’, the debut single from the metal outfit, was released on January 1st, a truly generous gift to stylishly shift us all into the beckoning New Year. Ironically ‘Nadir’, which translates as ‘rock bottom’ or an ‘all-time low’, is not exactly the future that I see waiting on the near horizon for Lifelust.

Just like a predator hunting its prey, ‘Nadir’ pounces on the listener after a tension-riddled build up, and in this case, even twenty seconds is not enough to prepare the listener for what follows. A well balanced amalgamation of progressive metal and hardcore, the introductory riff is sure to leave your ears bleeding and your head pounding  in the most alluring of ways, all seasoned with an undeniably infectious groove.

Cliché descriptions aside, the overall execution is one which forms a feeling of sweet, sweet satisfaction as it is of the highest quality for a debut single and strikingly close to those already reigning progressive genres. Every element, be it the atmospheric leads dwindling behind the heaviness or the throaty melodic vocals that are much welcomed mid-way,  is added in moderation and with clear attention to detail, making the song as compelling as it is impressive from start to finish.

My only critique would be that there simply is not enough of it, therefore, I will be highly anticipating what is to come… Kudos Lifelust.

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: ‘NADIR’ – LIFELUST

KEEP UP-TO-DATE WITH LIFELUST!

FACEBOOK – WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/LIFELUSTBAND/

TWITTER – WWW.TWITTER.COM/LIFELUSTBAND

INSTAGRAM – @LIFELUSTBAND

LIKE WHAT YOU HEARD?

FOLLOW THESE LINKS TO SIMILAR REVIEWS >

UPON THOSE DYING – ‘DELUSIONS’ ALBUM REVIEW (2017)

CONTINENTS – ‘IDLE HANDS’ (2013)

NOVELISTS – ‘SOUVENIRS’ (2015)

 

Releasing new music or a new project? Email me at aamusicblog2017@gmail.com or contact me via instagram @natalyaalala for review/article enquiries.

Featured

JANUARY FAVOURITES | 2018

Here’s just a slight glimpse of what I have been enjoying this month…

 

DISCOVERIES

VOWS – KNUCKS

For fans of: Kojo Funds, Dave, Mostack

As an avid music fan, it is a personal goal of mine to discover new music and artists as often as I possibly can, daily preferably. Despite the amount of music you listen to or the genres you delve into, each listener will find sparks in different artists dependent on various factors like relatability, lyrics, beats, etc. However, this ‘spark’, so to speak, is exactly what makes finding new music so exciting and the biggest spark I have come across recently was when discovering London rapper Knucks.

Knucks resides in a league of his very own, serving us modern rap with a clever retro twist. ‘Vows’ portrays the rapper’s audacious boyish charm, similar to likes of AJ Tracey,  fused with an authentic jazz inspired sound that acts as a nostalgic time machine, taking anyone that listens to a past musical era. With UK rap and R’n’B being as well received as it is currently, artists like Knucks will have no problem standing out from the crowd.

Future releases from Knucks will be very highly anticipated, no doubt.

TROPICAL – SL

For fans of: AJ Tracey, K-Trap, Harlem Spartans

Similar to Knucks, Croydon rapper SL is proving to be a contender in the UK music scene with his latest single ‘Tropical’ which was released on December 25th, 2017; quite the Christmas present. Again, my favourite part about SL’s sound is that he has taken such a relevant sound and added an innovative twist which sets him apart from the rest of the rather saturated crowd.

Grime is often perceived as an intimidating or even aggressive genre, which is why the unlikely contrast of the minimal and mellow music works so well behind SL’s daring lyrics. The future seems very bright for the young rapper, I can only hope that we see more of this.

THE WEEKEND – SZA x CALVIN HARRIS

For fans of: Daniel Caesar, Miguel, Kehlani

It’s important to remix mostly because sometimes you have to be sure that there is no better version of you to be attained… and then sometimes you realise that there are definitely better versions to be attained, and you have to get in and attack those moments. Commit yourself to being something better.(SZA)

Whether this recent reflection from SZA is talking about music or something much much deeper, the meaning rings true. Experimentation can go wrong, but it can also go so right and the latter can definitely be said for the recent remix of SZA’s hit ‘The Weekend’ by Calvin Harris. This version exposed SZA’s well-known R’n’B sound to an infectious funk flare that has recently come to the mainstream eye through the likes of Bruno Mars and Tuxedo. While her original hit is an incredible song by itself, this remix proves that a better (or different) version of you really can be attained through a different outlook.

LIFESTYLE – BELLY SQUAD

For fans of: Lotto Boyzz, Big Tobz, Nafe Smallz

Donning the sound that is currently booming from the streets of London, Belly Squad have fused the best of Afrobeat with UK rap elements, a sound which is sure to catapult the trio into the forefront of the musical limelight in the coming year.

Recent release ‘Lifestyle’ is the epitome of an infectious club classic that is sure to grow in popularity throughout the coming year. With one listen of this track, you will certainly be humming along to the chorus and reaching for a beer (trust me, I was).

EXCELLENT DONUT – JAM BAXTER x ED SCISSOR

For fans of: Dabbla, Hopsin, Verb T

If you’re a fan of lyrical content, then this is the one for you. A perfect collaboration between UK rap heavyweights Jam Baxter and Ed Scissor, ‘Excellent Donut’ will leave you feeling reflective as the clever musical poetry poured into the music sinks into your mind.

With much of the music that I have recently discovered or is currently in the mainstream charts, it is clear to see that lyrical content often goes overlooked or is viewed as not as important as aspects such as melody and beats. Jam Baxter and Ed Scissor, however, are a much needed reminder that lyrical poetry is still very much present in modern music as a beautiful art form of its own.

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SONGS

DON BROCO – COME OUT TO LA

For fans of: Mallory Knox, Young Guns, Lower Than Atlantis

The fifth teaser unveiled for the much anticipated third studio album ‘Technology’ from Bedford based four piece Don Broco, ‘Come Out To LA’ is the perfect representation of why the rock scene needs bands like this. Rather than following the crowd with their sound or visuals for that matter, Don Broco are experimenting with electronic influences, pop choruses as well as hard rock heaviness to create something completely new and exciting.

With such a broad genre as Rock, it is extremely easy to get lost in the crowd, especially with how rapidly fan bases can be cultivated in modern times, however, Don Broco, as well as others such as Enter Shikari, are just a few acts that threaten to be here for a long time. Here’s to February 2nd!

ITS A VIBE – 2 CHAINZ, TY DOLLA $IGN, TREY SONGZ, JHENE AIKO

For fans of: Pusha T, A$AP Ferg, Juicy J

In these unfavourable winter months when the days are short and the weather is far, far too cold, sometimes relaxing just needs to be on the agenda which is why this song has landed into my favourites this month.

‘It’s a Vibe’ is a track that should be a favourite of any R’n’B lover because it really is a ‘fits all’ sort of song. Whether you’re relaxing by yourself after a hard day or getting some drinks in before a heavy night, this song will set the tone perfectly and makes you want to sing along in a world of your own.

KNOW MY TING – GHETTS x SHAKKA

For fans of: Kano, Giggs, Wretch 32

With the uprise of grime in the UK mainstream, it is unbelievable that an artist like Ghetts has been so undeservedly overlooked, however, ‘Know My Ting’ featuring hot topic Shakka stands to shake up the game.

In comparison to a large number of grime records released within the last year, Ghetts serves us something that truly stands out as unique and even catchy with it’s repetitive hooks.

LET IT RING – MOSTACK

For fans of: J Hus, MIST, Kojo Funds

Mostack is just one of the many British artists catapulting ‘Afrobeat’ and UK R’n’B into the musical forefront which has caught the attention of many.

‘Let It Ring’ features such a relevant sound in current UK music and proves to be much of a modern club classic which comes as no surprise when listening to its catchy and repetitive chorus. Even one listen will leave you humming along.

IN MIND – PARTING GIFT

For fans of: Holding Absence, Noija, Glass Tides

The black horse of my five favourite songs for January, Parting Gift are post-hardcore newcomers based in Manchester that threaten to take over the UK rock scene. ‘In Mind’ instantly evokes emotion due to the contrast of its soft reflective verses and chaotic, pleading choruses.

As cliche as it is to say, ‘In Mind’ takes the listener on a journey through which different thoughts and feelings are provoked. Rather than being consistent, the song progresses and retracts, which is reflective of the troubled lyrics. There is a certain power when a song is so convincing to its listeners and this is a power which Parting Gift have in the bag.

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ARTISTS

SHAKKA

For fans of: Not3s, Avelino, WSTRN

Within the last few months, Shakka has been making his presence recognised in the UK R’n’B/Afrobeat scene through many collaborations with artists such as Not3s, Wretch 32, Ghetts, Young Thug and many, many more. Shakka has fallen into my January favourites as he is one to watch in 2018, an artist that I am finding very interesting watching grow musically. He is living proof that innovation is alive in modern music as he brings a distinctive sound to the table with an energy that is certainly infectious.

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RECOMMENDED:

‘No Drama’ Not3s Feat. Shakka

‘I Heart The Weekend’

 

LOYLE CARNER

For fans of: Tom Misch, Casisdead, Rejjie Snow

Another exciting career that is developing right before our eyes is that of Loyle Carner, a UK ‘Hip-Hopper’ with an authentic neo-soul touch that differentiates the rapper from his competition. Having been nominated for a Mercury award in 2017, alongside various other awards, Carner has been the topic of conversation in the music world and you can bet this is just the tip of the iceberg for the artist.

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RECOMMENDED:

‘Ain’t Nothing Changed’

‘Crazy Dream’ Tom Misch Feat. Loyle Carner

 

MABEL

For fans of: RAY BLK, Stefflon Don, Not3s

Without a doubt, Mabel has been one of the stand-out stars of 2017, with ‘Finders Keepers’ dominating every club, shop and radio station in the UK. Having been brought up by parents that have already had a fulfilled and successful career in the music industry, many would feel that there are massive shoes to be filled, however, Mabel takes it all within her stride and uses her parents as drive to become one of the biggest modern stars in the world, and she is very much so on her way there.

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RECOMMENDED:

‘Finders Keepers’ Feat. Kojo Funds

‘Fine Line’ Feat. Not3s

 

Want to get involved? Comment below your January favourites!

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CELEBRATING… DAVID BOWIE (1947-2016)

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Of all the music and great artists that I have come across in my lifetime, David Bowie is completely one-of-a-kind. Vulnerable yet confident, intriguing, mysterious, inspiring, unique… genius.

I was always aware of Bowie’s presence and impact in music, however, it wasn’t until I was sixteen years of age that I became curious to know what really made one of the most influential musicians of all time. Little did I know that this newfound curiosity was going to pay off as one of the biggest learning curves of my musical journey.

At the time I was in the middle of writing a dissertation for a performance course that I was taking which delved into the subject of ‘Does image and attitude detract from the importance of music?’. As the rather musically narrow-minded teen that I once was, my answer prior to any research on the subject would have been yes, image and attitude does detract from the importance of music.

My reasoning behind this thought process was that publicity seen in magazines, newspapers and social media from the likes of Justin Bieber or similar figures completely takes the attention away from what is truly important, the music. However, I soon realised that maybe, just maybe, modern mainstream genres were not the best cases to be generalising and drawing conclusions from.

That is when, in much desperation, I stumbled across the documentary ‘Sound and Vision’ which touched on the particularly colourful career of Bowie and the many personas that he undertook. In just under an hour and a half, it seems, my mind was exposed to something so much more meaningful than what you see in the tabloids. Something extremely special.

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What I’m really trying to say here is that, in discovering Bowie my faith in music and artists was renewed. Just that slight bit of research into his career and creations made me realize that there is a total other world out there beyond the mainstream and those that try to reject the mainstream.

There is no agenda. It is all simply about artistry.

After all, David Bowie is and was all about the beauty of art; the incorporation of various creative mediums in order to convey something truly unique and compelling. It was never about strategically utilizing a striking image like that of Ziggy Stardust in order to shock or gain the attention of the public. The image was the music and the music was the image; two components that were not sold separately but only come as the whole package.

It also wasn’t about being cool, either.

Because let’s face it, Bowie was never cool (which ultimately made him a superior level of cool).

It was all about portraying these alien alter egos in a way in which the average person could understand and relate to -in a truly unforgettable fashion. It’s this truly unforgettable, stellar, unique, and enigmatic fashion which stole the hearts of us all and which provides the kind of immortality that only the most spectacular beings could ever achieve.

Rest in peace, Starman.

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My Top Picks…

    1. Let’s Dance (Let’s Dance – 1983)
    2. Life On Mars (Hunky Dory – 1971)
    3. Oh! You Pretty Things (Hunky Dory – 1971)
    4. Starman (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars – 1972)
    5. Cracked Actor (Aladdin Sane – 1973)

 

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THE ULTIMATE NYE PARTY PLAYLIST! (2017)

NYE

New Years Eve is a special time of year because it is dedicated to having a good time despite the year you’ve had and despite the year that’s looming closely overhead. It’s all about embracing the moment, letting loose, over-indulging before those typical New Year’s resolutions kick in and celebrating whatever suits you.

New Year’s Eve is potentially one of my favourite events of the year and it is safe to say that without music, NYE really wouldn’t be much at all. Therefore, this has inspired me to put together a playlist showcasing some of my favourite party music in order to celebrate the ultimate party occasion.

On a day-to-day basis, I will listen to absolutely anything from heavy metal to soul, however, my favourite genres to delve into at parties or clubs is R’n’B and grime because these genres typically offer the best beats and most infectious hooks that you can’t help but sing along to.

This playlist offers party classics like ‘Gold Digger’ by Kanye West (which just so happens to be one of my favourite party anthems of all time), ‘P.I.M.P’ by 50 Cent and ‘All The Way Up’ by Fat Joe and it also offers newer club anthems from the likes of Drake, J HUS, Big Shaq and Tyga for those that prefer the modern side to rap and R’n’B.

No matter what your  plans are tonight, whether you’re working, staying in with family or partying like there’s no tomorrow, when the clock strikes 00:00 its a new chapter for us all so lets do it in style!

Here’s to the New Year!

Click here for my ULTIMATE NYE PARTY PLAYLIST

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite party anthem of all time!

 

1. DAVID BOWIE – THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS (1972)

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Image result for david bowie the rise and fall of ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars

And here we are finally!
My number one favourite album of all time; and for those who really know me, this one is not a surprise at all.

David Bowie was inevitably going to fall into the number one position because in my opinion, no one compares. The hard part, though, was figuring out which album of his was my favourite because they all differ greatly in comparison.

As you can see, ‘The Rise of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars’ was the one that I have decided is the best in my eyes and while this may seem like a cliche answer but I do have my reasons.

Firstly, Ziggy Stardust is hands down the coolest character that has ever been created, and you know it. An androgynous and mysterious alter ego with a striking red mullet and the glitziest of skin tight uni-tards but regardless of what Ziggy Stardust looked like he would still be cool because of what he represents – and that is to simply be you and love being you.

As an openly bisexual figure in the music industry around the 1970’s, Bowie was one of the first to stand up and fight for, not only acceptance for himself, but so many other British youths who battled with hiding their true identities in what was such a sanctimonious society. This album signifies the start (or at least even had a small impact) of change in the thought processes of society which I feel is an extremely special thing.

Secondly, the album from ‘Five Days’ right through to ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ is the very definition of a masterpiece. Bowie had the rare talent of being able to catapult the listener into his very own world and when I listen to this album, I do find myself often lost among his stories and words.

This is an album I will most certainly treasure for my entire life.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Starman’

‘Lady Stardust’

‘Ziggy Stardust’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

2. DON BROCO – AUTOMATIC (2015)

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When it comes to music, one of the things I appreciate most is when an artist or band strays from the crowd and strives to create something completely original, or at least infuse their own style into a genre. This is something you will see is especially the case with my top two favourite albums.

Don Broco hit the UK music scene with a pretty standard hard rock album ‘Priorities’ in 2012, quickly becoming, somewhat, the sweethearts of British rock. Although an impressive debut album, what followed completely changed my thoughts on the four piece.

‘Automatic’ which was released in the summer of 2015 is exactly the rock album I had been waiting to stumble upon for years. It is the perfect fusion of pop and rock with an unexpected but much appreciated hint of funk that is bound to leave you mind-blown.

Album opener ‘Superlove’ braces the listener for the quirky, pop riddled anthems scattered throughout, while self-titled track ‘Automatic’ follows which is the closest thing to the ‘sound of summer’ that I have ever heard. There are also unexpected heartfelt ballads such as ‘What You Do To Me’ and ‘Nerve’ which are just as infectious and euphoric as the more upbeat numbers.

After what feels like the longest wait, Don Broco are finally unveiling their third studio album ‘Technology’ in February 2018, so if you like what you’ve read so far, the best is yet to come.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘What You Do To Me’

‘Superlove’

‘Nerve’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

3. BRUNO MARS – 24K MAGIC (2016)

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If 24 karat gold is the purest form of gold then the same can be said of Bruno Mars and his 2016 release ’24k Magic’. He is of the purest form of modern musicians currently in the mainstream limelight and his music is nothing less than just right.

What differs this album to his previous releases ‘Orthodox Jukebox’ and ‘Doo-Wops and Hooligans’ is its clear homage to R’n’B throughout the ages and what is most impressive is that he manages to make it appeal to a younger audience that may not have been interested in this music otherwise.

Personally, I grew up around lots of R’n’B and Soul music of the mid 80’s to early 90’s such as New Edition and Boyz II Men so this release was like a refreshing hit of nostalgia from my childhood, except with the addition of the glitzy, luxurious and sexy finish that Mars is known for.

He has successfully encapsulated the ‘old school’ retro vibes throughout this stunning album, from the upbeat party tracks like self-titled track ’24k Magic’ and ‘That’s What I Like’ to the more thoughtful and typical ‘school dance’ slow songs like ‘Versace On The Floor’ and ‘Calling All My Lovelies’. Since the album’s release, Mars has been the subject of much speculation due to recreating a sound that was once so popular, but what’s to criticise about an artists passion towards their favourite music?

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Finesse’

‘That’s What I Like’

‘Straight Up and Down’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

4. ASTROID BOYS – BACON DREAM EP (2016)

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If you haven’t already jumped on the Astroid Boys hype then fear not, their exciting journey has really only really just begun.

A boyish five piece outfit from Cardiff, South Wales, Astroid Boys are one of the handful of bands that I have had the pleasure of watching grow into something extremely promising. Their fusion of hardcore and grime influences create a sound unlike anything currently in the UK music scene, more effective than any fusion of metal and rap that I have ever stumbled across previously.

‘Bacon Dream’ is a collection of songs that differ so much in contrast but manage to compliment each other perfectly at the same time. There are grime influenced electronic songs like ‘Rinsa’ and ‘Tayluh Swift’, hardcore influenced songs like ‘Dusted’ and ‘Mingin’ and just when you thought they couldn’t do any more, they even included some experimental downbeat hip hop influenced tracks like ‘Giggs’ and ‘Hungerstrikes’.

Despite the fact that they are doing something completely different, what I find most attractive about this act is the energy and attitude displayed in their music. It’s raw, loyal to it’s roots, all mixed with a cheekiness and cocky certainty that any aspiring band should have.

So, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you give this EP a listen.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Rinsa’

‘Tayluh Swift’

‘Dusted’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

5. DRAKE – IF YOU’RE READING THIS ITS TOO LATE (2015)

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There is absolutely no need for me to introduce this artist. Drake has some of the biggest modern party hits under his belt, you’ve undoubtedly heard them whether you like him or you don’t – but believe it or not, these are nowhere near the best of his work.

If you like gloomy and moody R’n’B then this one is for you.

‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ appeared completely out of nowhere in the middle of the night. Its marketing strategy was to not involve any marketing at all, to simply let the music promote itself which is a very clever concept for someone as prominent in the genre as Drake.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this mixtape is the allusion to the subject of suicide. The album art itself is scrawled out messily looking much like what you would expect a suicide note to look like.

As well as this, the entire tone throughout this mixtape seems to be the many troubled voices battling each other in the artists’ head. The lyrics are irrational but self certain, filled with an inflated ego but anxious, hopeful but hopeless. This clear conflict in the lyrics makes for an extremely interesting and relatable listen as Drake takes you on a journey through troubles which tick in almost everyone’s mind at some point or another.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Energy’

‘Know Yourself’

‘Used To (feat. Lil Wayne)’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

6. DAVE – GAME OVER (2017)

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For me, one of the most exciting things about music is discovering young artists that threaten to break boundaries and change games. Dave, a rapper from South London presents us with, by far, one of the most exciting releases of 2017, ‘Game Over’ which definitely threatens to menace with the modern rap scene.

I have mentioned honest and real artists quite a lot throughout these reviews of my favourite albums, however, Dave is in a league of his own. He manages to balance relatable and thought provoking lyrics with just enough bravado to be believable but not too much so as to make him seem cocky. ‘Question Time’ especially is a stellar track that will leave you reflecting thoughtfully over intense subjects such as politics and morals.

While it is an extremely accusatory piece, Dave’s execution was dignified and mature, making it hard not to consider his viewpoint on the subjects he touches on. This is why Dave has the power to be the ‘voice of youths’. More youths should be encouraged to get involved in matters like politics without feeling like they are too young to understand or that it simply ‘isn’t cool’. The world needs more role models like this for young people, and that’s the sore truth.

What is most spectacular about the, now, 19 year old rapper is that like most London youths, he grew up around influences that were extremely troublesome but instead of getting caught up in it, he pursued something more meaningful; the piano. A nice reminder that no matter what background you come from, you are in control of your future.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘No Words’

‘Question Time’

‘Game Over’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

7. FALL OUT BOY – INFINITY ON HIGH (2007)

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Just as with the previous blog post, this one is rather sentimental and therefore will most certainly come across as more of a personal account rather than a review of the album.

‘Infinity on High’ by Fall Out Boy was the first ever album that I bought with my own money which I see as a very special thing and unfortunately, I live amongst the last generation of people that will be able to reminisce on such a thing.

Granted, I was nine years old by this point and already had quite the collection of cassettes and CDs including Lionel Richie’s ‘Back to Front’, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and every single Westlife release. I realised from as little as three years of age just how incredible music can be, but this album signifies the start of my personal musical adventure and experimenting with different tastes.

(I was even probably the youngest music pirate. Burning my favourite cassettes onto blank ones and sharing them with my friends because I wanted others to hear what I heard. I swear I didn’t know it was completely illegal.)

Anyway, I digress.

This album screams nostalgia to any of the ’emo’ or alternative kids’ of the mid 00s and I can safely say, without it, my tastes, and more importantly, my musical experiences may have be completely different.

Who knew Fall Out Boy could have done something so right?

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘The Carpal Tunnel of Love’

‘G.I.N.A.S.F.S’

‘Fame < Infamy’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

8. GLAMOUR OF THE KILL – THE SUMMONING (2011)

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Today’s review is a very funny one for me, admittedly.

I haven’t had the heart to listen to this album for a few years but nevertheless, it is very important to me. I discovered Glamour of the Kill at the young age of 13 and was a devout fan right up until they decided to call it a day, by which time I was 18.

As much as the thought now makes me cringe, at the time I was the definition of a superfan. I went to as many shows as I could, I interacted with them online daily. But the most beautiful thing about them was that they made me feel part of something special. They recognized me at shows, making sure to stop by and say hi. They even guestlisted me for a Portsmouth show a few years ago which may cost the band nothing but is such a nice gesture to receive from your favourite musicians.

What was refreshing and new about Glamour of the Kill, though, was that it mattered to them to give back to those that put so much into their musical careers. A note which I think a lot of young bands could do with taking into consideration. You’re only as good as your fans think you are, you’re only worth what fans are willing to put into you and your career.

Listening back on this album, it is as good as I remember it. However, if I’m being critical, there’s not much that makes them, or this album, stand out from similar metalcore bands that were dominating the scene at the time.

Regardless, the 14 year old ‘fangirl’ within me is hoping that a GOTK reunion is somewhere on the musical horizon.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Supremacy’

‘Dying From The Inside’

‘Here, Behind These Walls’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

9. TOM MISCH – BEAT TAPE 2 (2015)

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Consider the modern music industry.

If you’re not sure what I mean by that then I will tell you what I’m getting at. The digital revolution, around the late 90s to early 00s, completely disrupted the music industry as we knew it. The Internet became more and more accessible to the everyday household as prices of computers began to reduce and music essentially became free. Consequently, the role of marketing in music became much more significant as artists now needed that help to breakthrough the online clutter and to be noticed by their target audiences. Tom Misch, however, is an exception.

His album ‘Beat Tape 2’ is an excellent example of how breaking conventional boundaries can be rewarding. The lead up to it’s release was completely void of any clever publicity stunts or creative campaigns to engage with its audience. Also, if you consider the album art and title, it is all very simplistic. It has been suggested that this was a conscious effort by the artist so as to not create anything which has the potential to divert attention from the music.

If you look closely at other artists that fall into this new wave of neo-soul/contemporary R&B then you will see a similar pattern. It is all about celebrating the beauty and complexity of music.

Another extremely interesting fact about this piece is that while it is an album jam-packed with his creations and production, Misch only features his vocals on one track ‘Colours of Freedom’, despite his phenomenal and unique vocal abilities. Other songs are simply gripping instrumentals or collaborations with some of music’s most exciting and uprising artists such as Loyle Carner, Jordan Rakei and Zak Abel which is a very humble move.

There is something extremely beautiful that is extracted when a number of talented artists bring their ideas together and are able to each tell their own stories. Beat Tapes 2 is the perfect representation of this.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Wake Up This Day (Feat. Jordan Rakei)’

‘Beautiful Escape (Feat. Zak Abel)’

‘Colours of Freedom (Feat. Bearcubs)’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

10. JME – INTEGRITY> (2015)

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In recent years, the UK based genre ‘grime’ has worked it’s way to the foreground of mainstream attention thanks to the likes of viral online dramas (usually involving Chip), novel content via social media platforms and breathtaking releases from Wiley, Skepta and Stormzy. However, not all artists agree that an underground genre could ever be, or more importantly, should ever be monopolised.

‘Integrity>’ could not have been more to the point with JME’s opinion on this matter. This album represents staying true to oneself and your morals, never compromising for benefits like popularity or money, the very definition of integrity.

JME delivers in a brutally honest fashion, void of any connotations or lyrical metaphors to ‘beat around the bush’, so to speak. This urges the listener to believe and, more importantly, respect his views on major labels and the music industry because he doesn’t hold back or contradict through his actions. Everything he says is real and this lack of ‘sugar coating’ in lyrical content justifies that he is completely okay with being held accountable for his opinions, if necessary, as long as he sticks to his guns because that’s what really matters.

This album is not about flaunting money, expensive cars and gold chains like so much Rap turns to once in the mainstream limelight, it’s about glorifying and celebrating the role of the underdog which is such an important message to spread among youths. JME really is one of the UK’s finest modern role models and deserves a lot more recognition than he has received.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Integrity’

‘Man Don’t Care’

‘Taking Over’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

11. JUSTIN BIEBER – JOURNALS (2013)

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Flashback to 2013.

Justin Bieber was the talk of the town. He was still harbouring the success of previous album ‘Believe’ (2012) in which he collaborated with various big names in the industry, instantly hitting number one on the US Billboard charts. However, away from his musical success, the singer was reaching an all time low. His very own Britney moment.

Bieber’s reputation was reminiscent of pure dirt. He was arrested, sued and charged for assault, accused of spitting on fans, caught drink driving, abusing drugs, you name it. The whole thing was pretty ugly to watch yet despite this hard time, the singer released what I feel to be some of his best work to date.

Although not technically an album, ‘Journals’ is a collective of records which are surprisingly mature, laid back and even sullen, completely unlike anything previously released. Granted, there are a few, let’s say… ‘questionable’ pieces included in the collection like ‘Backpack’ which I’m sure the majority of us, and probably Bieber himself, would like to forget exists.

Critiques aside, to release such a dignified and grown up record like this among such controversy and obvious struggles with his quick-earned fame is something that I respect highly. If desperate times call for desperate measures then ‘Journals’ is saturated in desperation. The kind of honourable desperation that has the potential to turn careers around.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Hold Tight’

‘Flatline’

‘Heartbreaker’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

12. BLEED FROM WITHIN – EMPIRE (2010)

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I have touched on the subject of Deathcore quite frequently throughout my past blogs, but this time, its different.

Like any niche or sub-genre, a collective of elements are usually set in stone which many artists will incorporate into their music because they feel that this is what defines it as that particular genre. For example, Deathcore is known for breakdowns which bands will often incorporate into songs, however, when a lot of bands or artists in the same genre start doing the same things, this then becomes generic. That is where Bleed From Within stand out from the crowd.

No matter what album you decide to delve into, Bleed From Within stick to a formula that works for them, not one that everyone is currently tapping into. Their 2010 release ‘Empire’ is an impressive catalogue of truly original ideas which represents musicianship worthy of much respect. It is harder than you think to stray from popular ideas, especially when operating in a core genre.

Another thing which differs them from much of the music in this genre is the added element of vulnerability which is intensely scattered throughout much of this album. In Deathcore there is a clear forced bravado heavily adopted among the bands and music as well as tendencies to delve into disturbing subjects, simply for the novelty of ‘being brutal’.

Despite this, BFW continue to prove that being generic really isn’t all that. In songs like ‘The Healing’ and ‘Nothing Left to Lose’ they validate that the raw intensity that is created by such vulnerability can make for an even more brutal and intriguing formula for a song.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘The Novelist’

‘Last of Our Kind’‘Last of Our Kind’

‘The Healing’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

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UPON THOSE DYING – “DELUSIONS” ALBUM REVIEW (2017)

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FOR FANS OF: BLACK TONGUE, HEART OF A COWARD, THY ART IS MURDER

RATING: ★★★★✰

I’m going to cut to the chase with this one.

Upon Those Dying are everything that is right with modern Deathcore and their recent release ‘Delusions’ is one which is bound to earn the Cardiff based outfit well deserved recognition as a serious contender in the metal community.

Delusions is a stunning piece from start to finish, reminiscent of bands already dominating the metal scene like Thy Art is Murder and Black Tongue. There is a captivating energy in songs like ‘Backstabber’ that will leave you with a sore neck, mind-numbingly heavy breakdowns like in ‘Savage’, all of which are fused flawlessly with simplistic lead layers that seem to linger hauntingly somewhere in the background. Nothing is overdone, overworked or out of place which is a rarity in extreme or niche genres like Deathcore.

From my very first listen I realized that no matter how much UTD seem to ace a particular song, they continue to top it time and time again as you continue working through the album. So if you haven’t already, I strongly urge you to take a listen. Upon Those Dying are ones to keep an eye on, exciting things are on the horizon for these guys, guaranteed.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS:

‘Disgraced’

‘Ambience (Feat. Phillip Cross [Continents])’

‘Vague Memories’

13. SKEPTA – KONNICHIWA (2016)

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Alongside Grime pioneer Wiley, Skepta is a good example of one of the finest innovators of modern pop culture. Not only is he one of the faces of the most exciting genre of the year, he has been named one of the ‘Top 10 Rappers in Fashion’ by HypeBeast and he has completely rebranded himself and his music, becoming one of the most important names in UK music.

Konnichiwa is a flawless representation of grime and it’s culture which will inevitably be that must-listen album of the subgenre for many years to come. It can be a very intense listen when considering the clear anti-authority and non-conformist theme that is plastered throughout songs such as ‘Shutdown’ and ‘Crime Riddim’, however, the sincerity in the lyrics and the angry but clear tone of Skepta’s voice seems to draw the listener into his stories like nothing else.

One thing that can be appreciated about Skepta, and which should also be celebrated, is that no matter the success, or even the failures, he remains devoted to his background and heritage as a Londoner. Although being branded as a modern club classic, ‘That’s Not Me’ represents something a lot more humble and from the heart. A firm reminder that you should always remember where you came from.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘It Ain’t Safe’

‘Ladies Hit Squad (Feat. D Double E, A$AP Nast’

‘Man’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

14. INGESTED – THE ARCHITECT OF EXTINCTION (2014)

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Brutal. Death. Metal.

This genre is exactly what it says on the tin so if it doesn’t sound like your thing then put down the tin opener and back away slowly. For any of you brave enough to delve into this sinister and dystopian world then hello, proceed with caution.

To say that this album isn’t for the majority is a massive understatement, however, there is something I particularly like about Ingested’s attempt to take the closest thing to brown noise and structure it in a musical format.

On a serious note, The Architect of Existence is Deathcore goodness at it’s very best. With clear influence from bands like Acrania and Whitechapel, this album takes the listener through layers of pure brutality, minimal melodic elements to act as a break from the intensity, all topped with vocals that no organism should be capable of creating. If you don’t believe me about the vocals I suggest you head over to the link below for ‘I, Despoiler’ and skip along to about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Ingested, the purest form of absolute quality filth.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘I, Despoiler’

‘Endless Despondency’

‘The Divine Right of Kings’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

15. AJ TRACEY – LIL TRACEY EP (2016)

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Before continuing with this blog, do one thing for me. Process the essence of Grime. What is Grime about? What subjects define Grime, if any at all?

I’m sure many of you will have come to the conclusion that Grime is often times about the struggles of London youth culture and gang crime, however, rising star AJ Tracey proves that this doesn’t have to be the case.

With his 2016 release ‘Lil Tracey’, West Londoner AJ serves us up an exhilarating concoction of simplistic but catchy grime beats laced with crude and cheeky connotations, fun, energy and even a massive middle finger to those who simply didn’t believe he could escape the possessive London streets.

He even surprises us with catchy hooks like the one in “Pasta” which seems to embed itself into your brain from the very first listen but despite taking the genre down his own unique route, AJ is, in my opinion, extremely understated in the grime community. However, with the recent release of his breathtaking EP “Secure the Bag!”, his future is bound to be fruitful.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Pasta’

‘Luke Cage’

‘Capri-Sun (Feat. Chip)’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

16. MARTYR DEFILED – NO HOPE NO MORALITY (2014)

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If you’re part of the minority that enjoy bands that aim to embody hell into a musical format, then this one is for you.

From the very start, No Hope No Morality claims itself as a Deathcore piece to be taken very seriously. Album opener ‘LVCIFER’ wastes absolutely no time in cutting to the chase, setting the sinister and menacing tone which only deepens further throughout the following songs.

One of the things that I find most interesting about Martyr Defiled’s music is that they have taken such a niche genre as Deathcore and implemented commercial elements such as hooks and repetitive lyrics in choruses while still coming across as hard as ever. This can be seen in songs such as ‘616’, ‘No Hope’ and ‘Under the Influence’.

It is important to note though that repetition of lyrics such as “Wonder how many lies you’ll speak, when you’re lying six feet deep” don’t have quite the same ring as “Drop it like it’s hot”. All jokes aside, the use of repetition in music is an extremely powerful tool which engages the listener in a borderline hypnotic and ritualistic fashion – and if that doesn’t make this music more ominous, then I don’t know what will.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Demons In The Mist’

‘Under The Influence’

‘Of Sheep and Swine’

17. LOWER THAN ATLANTIS – SAFE IN SOUND (2017)

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Like other artists mentioned so far on my blog, Lower Than Atlantis were definitely not a band that I ever thought would click with me. For a long time I immersed myself in anything heavy, nothing else whatsoever. This tunnel-visioned behaviour lead me to disregard that softer rock bands could ever possibly make worthwhile music. The truth of the matter, though, is that they deserve a lot more recognition than they get…

The problem is that the British music scene, especially, is saturated with bands of all kinds, making it very hard for their music to stand out from the crowd. However, with every release, I noticed LTA becoming a force to be reckoned with, straying from the hard rock stereotypes and becoming a rightfully respected rock outfit.

Although their previous self-titled album was a success, fifth studio album and most recent release “Safe In Sound” stands out due to the maturity and quality of the writing. An infectious fusion of their usual hard rock sound with anthemic pop, this album takes the listener on a journey through immaculately punchy tracks such as ‘Had Enough’ and ‘Work For It’ to the more laid back and thoughtful songs like ‘Boomerang’ and ‘Long Time Coming’. No song feels out of place. It is a stunning catalogue of writing that is sure to gain the band even more recognition in the rock world.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Long Time Coming’

‘Dumb’

‘I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore’

Want to get involved? Comment below you favourite albums of all time!

18. WILEY – THE GODFATHER (2017)

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“Oi big up Wiley, man haffi pay homage to the Godfather, yeah?”

Stormzy hit the nail on the head in his track ‘Know Me From’. If you like Grime then you have to pay homage to the Godfather, right?

Despite being described as a reckless soul by many, Wiley has been credited with creating possibly one of the newest and uprising genres since the Internet disrupted the world as we know it. A true entrepreneur of the music world, therefore, I had to include him in my favourite albums of all time.

Although this is his 11th studio album, I have included this as one of my favourites due to the track ‘Bring Them All / Holy Grime’ featuring fellow grime artist Devlin. This is one of those tracks that is just right on a number of levels and is potentially one of my favourite tracks of all time.

Grime is known for its simplistic and repetitive beats and instrumentals and this follows that theme. However, its the vocals that are the centre of attention. The lyrics are clever, the flow is infectious, and this grips the listener from the very first vocal.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Bring Them All / Holy Grime (feat. Devlin)’

‘Can’t Go Wrong’

‘Name Brand (feat. JME, Frisco & J2K)’

19. J HUS – COMMON SENSE (2017)

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J HUS is definitely not an artist that I ever thought I would be including in a blog about my favourite music simply because I once viewed him as something of a gimmick. However, latest release ‘Common Sense’ has made everything make sense to me.

The thing that I love most about this album is that every song is completely different, making it quite an intriguing listen. Also, despite a slight connotation of humour in much of his writing, it is still a piece of work that can and is taken very seriously by enthusiasts of this genre and this is what makes it stand out from other similar artists. Its pure genius.

J HUS seems to be part of a new wave of British R’n’B artists prepared to redefine the genre as we know it. ‘Did You See’ has seen the artist grow rapidly in popularity and is definitely a club classic of the future, however, the songs that I think deserve recognition are ‘Common Sense’ and ‘Closed Doors’. If you fused J HUS with Tom Misch or FKJ then this is inevitably what you would get (by the way, that is the feature of my dreams). These songs feature a clever mix of funky beats and instrumentals, the catchiest of choruses and modern rap. Stop what you’re doing and check it out for yourself.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Common Sense’

‘Clartin”

‘Did You See’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

20. HEART OF A COWARD – SEVERANCE (2013)

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The reference to the progressive metal sub-genre ‘Djent’ will almost always be welcomed by an extreme rolling of the eyes – if you know what it is, at least. However, Heart of a Coward are an exception.

Instead of following the often pretentious technicality of fellow Djent bands like Periphery and Reflections, HOAC have prioritised intense vocals and mind blowing riffs which makes them stand out of the crowd as champions of modern UK metal.

Their second release ‘Severance’ has earned it’s place in my top 25 favourite albums of all time as it truly is a musical masterpiece. Songs like ‘Distance’ and ‘Mirrors’ contain a mixture of pure heaviness, staccato riffs and unexpected outbursts of haunting vocals that are hard not to sing along to. What makes Heart of a Coward stand out from other bands is that everything is done in moderation; a rare, and even alien, concept in progressive genres.

The shame with this band, however, is that their future, for now, seems very uncertain. With the departure of high regarded vocalist Jamie Graham in March this year it is difficult to foresee how, or even if, they will get back on track. I can’t be the only one feeling that this isn’t quite the end.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Distance’

‘Psychophant’

‘Nauseum’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

21. CONTINENTS – IDLE HANDS (2013)

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Continents are just one piece of evidence that Wales really is the ‘land of song’.  Their metalcore fused with progressive influences and low tunings is one held with high regard by any fan of the South Wales music scene, because they are the Kings.

As a musician that once played in this music scene, I can safely say that Continents made an unthinkable impact on all aspiring bands of similar genres. They were the goal, the ultimate influence, and this album was the soundtrack to their success. After all, not just anyone can bag a place in the ‘Top 100 Bands You Should Know’ (Alternative Press, 2013).

If I were to sum up this album in three words, they would be “raw, heavy, real”. “Raw” and “Heavy” undoubtedly speak for themselves but what actually defines “Real”? For me, this realness is based on the production. It is simple with a ‘D-I-Y’ feel that adds an edge like no other. This sounds like exactly what you would expect at a Continents gig in a small dingy venue, probably in the middle of lonely Merthyr Tydfil, and I love it.

 

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Pegasus, Pegasus’

‘Regrets’

‘Inhale’

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

22. JORDAN RAKEI – GROOVE CURSE (2014)

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Everybody’s got the groove curse

These lyrics taken from the iconic “Add the Bassline” are symbolic of exactly how you will feel after taking a listen to this EP, or any track Jordan Rakei track for that matter. This stunning fusion of authentic soul and R&B is sure to get anyone moving, whether you like it or not.

Rakei started out as a humble artist, recording beats in his bedroom and has quickly grown into a highly regarded creator, worldwide. I was very lucky to see him perform in London in October and despite having been an avid gig enthusiast for the best of nine years, this event was unlike any other that I had attended. People stood in silence, and those that didn’t were hushed quiet. It was like something of an art exhibition, all were there simply to pay homage to an extremely talented artist and speculate upon his stories and expression.

His second LP ‘Wallflower’ was released in September of this year so even if funky soul isn’t your regular thing, I would definitely urge you to give it a chance. Artists like Rakei are diamonds in the rough.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Add the Bassline’

‘Alright’

‘Street Light (feat. Gwen Bunn)’

 

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

23. NOVELISTS – SOUVENIRS (2015)

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If I could sum up the perfect album of 2015, for me, this would be it. An intriguing amalgamation of heavy prog riffs, soft intervals, infectious choruses and pure groove that only progressive metal could possibly think up and to no one’s surprise, Novelists killed it.

I had the sheer fortune of working with vocalist Matteo Gelsomino on a past project (which will be linked below for those of you that are interested) and can honestly say he is one of the nicest guys in the world. And he’s French which makes him ten times cooler, again.

Back to the music: the reason that this album has made into my top 25 favourite albums is because of the inspiration that it made me feel. I think it is a truly beautiful thing when a song, album or artist moves you to also want to create. Even listening back on it now makes me reminisce on the projects I was once involved in and the people that I was so lucky to work with musically. Therefore, this album is definitely going to be special to me for years and years to come, no doubt.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS:

‘Gravity’

‘Ouroboros’

‘The Lichtenberg Figure’

Collaboration with Matteo Gelsomino

 

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

24. THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS – A BEAUTIFUL LIE (2005)

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For any lovers of visual arts, raw edge and infectiously catchy choruses out there, this band is for you. Fronted by Artist, Songwriter, Actor and Director Jared Leto, Thirty Seconds to Mars have been taking over the rock world since the release of their debut self-titled album in 2002.

“A Beautiful Lie”, released in 2005, is said to have taken the band to another level, earning them a platinum award just over a year after its release, according to the RIAA. 

I discovered Thirty Seconds To Mars way back when I was about 11 years of age while starting to branch out and discover a musical style of my own. Although my tastes have changed and broaden drastically since this time, there is no dispute that this is a musically exceptional album and deserves all the recognition it gets.

 

Recommended Songs

‘A Beautiful Lie’

‘The Kill’

‘The Fantasy’

 

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

25. KHALID – AMERICAN TEEN (2017)

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Since its release in March of this year, ‘American Teen’ has blown up and taken Khalid soaring with it. To be just nineteen years of age, the proud owner of a hit debut album, nominated for five grammys and named one of the ‘30 Most Influential Teens of 2017’ by TIME is an incredible achievement and you can bet that this is only the tip of the iceberg for the R’n’B star.

I discovered Khalid while  studying on a rainy London night, flicking through various playlists via Spotify, simply because the idea of any form of procrastination was readily welcome at the time. The song that I stumbled across was ‘Location’ (a hit that Kylie Jenner herself has featured on her Instagram) and what made me pause from skipping ahead was the sheer simplicity and soul it contained.

As I continued listening on through Khalid’s album, I found that this ‘Less Is More’ approach was a recurring theme throughout his work. However, instead of being monotonous it created a rawness and sincerity similar to the likes of Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper. This stripped-back version of R’n’B makes every word stand out, catapulting the listener into the calm and serene world that Khalid’s lyrics depict.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS

‘Location’

‘Saved’

‘American Teen’

 

Want to get involved? Comment below your favourite albums of all time!

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#MyMusicAdventCalendar

Pinch, Punch, First of the Month!

I don’t know about you, but I cannot get to grips with the fact that we are already in December! Christmas is only 24 days away, let that sink in…

Anyway, to celebrate this wonderful season and to truly launch my music blog, I have decided to present to you my very own music advent calendar!

So here’s how it works:

Every day until Christmas I will be posting a blog/review on some of my all time favourite albums and why you need to immediately stop what you are doing and give them a listen.

It sure beats the chocolate advent calendars, right?! No?

First post will be up at 6pm tonight!

Stay tuned!

 

Welcome to my blog!

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If you have taken the time or interest to find yourself here then, hello and thank you!

My name is Natalya and my two favourite things in life are music and writing (excluding food, of course), hence why I have decided to finally take a massive step and share my work with the world, or anyone that cares for that matter.

Before I get to the actual music blogs though, here’s a bit about myself.

I am currently studying music business in university but my love for music has been with me since birth, practically. At two years of age I was already a fervent music fan, begging my mum to take me to see Westlife (not my finest moment, admittedly).

Since that point, my passion has only grown. I had the fortune of growing up in a variety of countries, surrounded by an array of cultures and music, from europop to arabic to country. Not all of it was to my taste, however, it opened my eyes to a massive world of music and expression that I just had to be a part of.

It lead me to dabbling in performance; writing my own music, gigging with bands, recording content, collaborating with my favourite artists. I also went on to study technology, taking on the role of the roadie, sound engineer, producer and live sound and lighting technician. And now I find myself experimenting with journalism, music management and marketing.

The more I learn, the more I want to know more and now I want to share that with you.

The content that I intend to share on this blog are things such as my favourite music, my thoughts on industry subjects, etc, so if you are interested in keeping up-to-date with my thoughts and feelings then be sure to follow my Instagram (linked on my homepage) and keep an eye on any updates!

Thank you.