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LIVE REVIEW: TOM MISCH WITH SUPPORT FROM BARNEY ARTIST – BRIXTON O2 ACADEMY

Ever dreamt of time travel? Great. Next stop is 1980’s Boogie Wonderland!

 

RATING: ★

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Misch’s highly anticipated Autumn UK tour finds itself in Brixton on a typically glum Thursday evening, leaving budding rapper Barney Artist to figuratively “keep the seat warm” – this seat, in reality, being an even more typically glum London crowd. However, despite his best efforts to engage with the crowd, the rapper was seemingly in over his head – and I do say this with a heavy heart.

Barney Artist did prove to be quite the entertainer, leaving no inch of the stage floor untouched and obviously extremely keen to ensure the audience is moving with him, however, the fault lies elsewhere. For a keen gig-goer, it is particularly frustrating when artists perform with a DJ or backing track as opposed to a live band; although, I do understand that not every artist has the budget or desire to take this route. However, in this instance, the DJ completely drowned out the rapper’s voice with heavy use of sub bass, making most of what Barney Artist was saying and rapping considerably hard to follow.

Despite this, the spirits of the audience were high, anticipating the unknown wonders that were to come.

Tom Misch takes to the stage with a phenomenal performance of “It Runs Through Me”, taken from latest album “Geography”, which is then followed up with FKJ collaboration “Losing My Way”, the first of many unexpected surprises of the night.

Be it the guest appearances from breathtaking talents like Poppy Ajudha and Zak Abel, the stunning addition of saxophone solos, live brass instrumentalists and live violinists, or even the excitement stirred at the revelation of the colossal disco ball hanging over the stage; each element incorporated into Misch’s set left the audience in sheer awe.

So, if you are looking to see a live act, even simply for the escapism factor that comes along with the live experience, then Tom Misch is the one for you. For a moment, the audience had the chance to forget their surroundings and be transported to the Disco-fueled wonderland of a past era; and if you ask me, that is a bargain for the mere £40 I paid for the ticket.

It goes without saying that Tom Misch will be (or arguably already is) an extremely important figure for modern British music, so you know exactly what artist you need to be adding to your live music bucket list!

 

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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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MODERN MUSIC AND MORALITY: THE CONTROVERSY OF CONSUMER EMPOWERMENT

Written by: Natalya Davies        Updated: 17/10/2018

 

Should We Be More Mindful of the Music We Listen to in the Modern Age?

 

Since the debatably controversial movement tested by Spotify regarding hate content and hateful conduct, it appears that the whole industry has been sitting on the uprooted issue of morality – including me. However, just by taking a slight glance at the impact of previous movements in the history of music, it is clear to see that this moral panic is nothing new.

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Mostly the same arguments that are being tested now were also debated in the wake of 1950’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, 70’s Punk, and even the short-lived era of 90’s Grunge. The awareness of music’s ability to reflect our personal qualities, doubled with its potential to influence young minds, is a burden that our modern society carries – one which technology only seems to be complicating, further.

While there is an evident issue of artists securing extreme ‘cult-like‘ power among young audiences through doubling as influential social media figures, the controversy of consumer empowerment in the streaming age seems to be relatively uncharted territory.

In a New York Times podcast discussing late rapper XXXTentacion, Noisey journalist Lawrence Burney introduces this argument, suggesting that the direct role that listeners now possess in the financial success of an artist should lead to more mindful decisions of the music we indulge in. On the subject, he says:

“I really had to arrive at a moment where I realised that even listening to the music, because of how it works now with streaming, is… I’m putting money directly in these people’s pockets […] so I had to come to terms with the fact that, no, I just can’t listen… because if I am listening, I’m supporting. […] every time you hit play, maybe you’re only putting 5 cents in their pocket… but it accumulates”

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In consideration of this perspective, let’s take the time to ask ourselves this: should we be more mindful of the music we listen to in the modern age?

While it is commendable to actively remove yourself from a current trend, deciding that the bigger picture must be addressed, it can be much more complicated than a simple yes or no. When surveying a number of individuals on the matter, it became apparent that there was an inconceivable range of varying opinions, all valid in their own way.

When posed with this question, a contributor suggested that each case is inevitably different and therefore, must be approached and judged completely separately. It is highly likely that the offence and scenario will vary, as well as the level of repentance displayed, therefore, it can seem unfair to place all artists involved with hateful conduct or hate content under one umbrella. Most importantly, it also depends on the degree of what you, the consumer, decide you can look past and what you cannot.

On the other hand, many that were for Burney’s argument testified that choosing to listen to a controversial artist allows them to thrive, undeservedly. As Burney perfectly established, listening means supporting, and as artists are now paid per play, it seems that many feel they are personally contributing to their financial success – or even the victory of a potential offender.

While this is a very interesting prospect, the next question which only seems natural to explore is: How much of an impact do we really have?

Is the power really in the hands of the consumer?

Spotify operate under what can be described as a ‘parimutuel payment system‘; or in simpler terms, a system whereby subscription fees and other revenue streams are combined before royalties are paid out to artists. This also means that the more popular artists of a given time period will earn a large percentage of this figurative ‘money pool’.

This may seem quite apparent, so allow me to support my point with a simple example: Not long ago, CDs were a booming musical format and to obtain them, you would most likely visit a record store, online or offline. Let’s say I visit and purchase “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” by Drake, I pay approximately £9.99 of my money in return for a physical product by an artist of my choice.

 

“In a way, it could be suggested that if you are investing into companies like Spotify, then you are supporting its entire catalogue.”

 

Now, because of this tangible element, the purchase of a CD is much more simple than the streaming world. In this make-belief instance, my money was collected for Drake, and Drake is exactly what I received in return. However, with streaming services, you pay for an entire catalogue of music, which in turn, is what you receive. However, as a result of this “money pool” your money is not just going into the pockets of the artists you are listening to, but also getting paid out to the most popular artists of that period.

So with this illustration in mind, I will reiterate the prior question: Is the power really in the hands of the consumer?

My assumption is no.

With this payment system in place, the consumer’s money is invested wherever necessary, meaning that you most likely are contributing toward the success of an artist you may be abstaining from, to honour your own moral boundaries. So, in a way, it could be suggested that if you are investing into companies like Spotify, then you are supporting its entire catalogue.

The only way to be truly removed from this is to opt out of streaming altogether.

Recognise this as an extreme vantage point, an opportunity for me to be the devil’s advocate. My point does not place the responsibility of a controversial artist’s financial success on any one but the artist itself, and their team, however, it is simply some food for thought for those that enjoy speculation.

 

“With great power comes great responsibility”

 

Now this leads me to my final question, one which I feel we all should take the time reflect upon: Do we have the right to make a moral judgement towards media figures?

This is such a broad question, but its importance should not be underestimated. While I plan to further explore the subject of celebrities and moral obligations at a later date, it has to be expressed that the high expectations entrusted upon them must be a weighty burden to bear; one which many do not wish to carry or even have the option to opt out of.

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My belief is that no one really has the right to make a moral judgement on the occurrences of another’s life, despite it being a large part of human nature to do so. Yes, it is wise to evaluate your personal morals in conjunction with the entertainment that you are indulging in, but it is important to recognise that no one ever really knows the full extent of a story; particularly when it is circulated by press who may have their own preconceptions.

As the famous saying goes: “with great power comes great responsibility“, therefore, you could suggest that, yes, the access model that has spurred the rise of consumer empowerment in the music industry does require greater responsibility from the behalf of each individual consumer. However, if you are comfortable with listening to any and all music, simply for its enjoyment factor, then that too is completely plausible – that is the beauty of morality.

 

 

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RAP RADAR: 10 UK RAPPERS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT…

Updated: 23/08/17          Written by: Natalya Davies

Since the breakthrough of Grime into the UK mainstream’s consciousness around 2016, the nation’s rap scene has flourished into something very exciting for music lovers. This breakthrough made way for an appreciation of the drill, dancehall and afrobeat fusions of artists like J Hus, Yxng Bane and IAMDDB, making UK music a serious contender globally.

As a homage to this recent success, I wanted to spend some time putting together a collective of my favourite UK rap talents across a number of different genres, however, I wanted to use my platform to do this differently.

We all know that the AJ Traceys and Giggs’ are HOT on the music scene, so picking artists like this would make for a completely predictable listing; despite their worthiness to be entitled the hottest UK rappers of the modern day. No, for this piece, I wanted to challenge myself to feature only artists with under 100k monthly listens on Spotify* so that I could truly showcase the underground kings and queens that you may be missing out on!

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 rappers you need to know about…

 

10. NOVELIST

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Monthly Listens: 28,000*

For Fans of: Asco, Ambush Buzzworl, Youngs Teflon

First in the list, but last in my ranking is Novelist, a 19 year old MC and producer who has certainly put his stamp on Grime culture in London. Through features with the likes of Skepta, Kanye West and Tom Misch, he is rapidly proving his versatility and potential despite being such a young artist.

“So, if Novelist has worked with the greats, why is he so under-the-radar?” – you may ask. Well, this is likely the result of his devotion to the underground rap scene, assuring that a traditional route (not dominated by social media strategies and D2C marketing) is the way he wants to keep things. Who can blame him?

Recommended track: 10/10

9. JAM BAXTER

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Monthly Listens: 46,000*

For Fans of: Fliptrix, Verb T, Dabbla

If you’re looking for something truly underrated, Jam Baxter’s poetically cryptic and mysterious lyrics versed with atmospheric Hip Hop beats and dark imagery makes for a very interesting mixture – indeed.

“Excellent Donut” featuring Ed Scissor was the track that originally brought my attention to the rapper, its alluring layers yet minimal structure are bound to instantly hold you captive.

Recommended track: For A Limited Time Only

 

8. BARNEY ARTIST

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Monthly Listens: 80,000*

For Fans of: Loyle Carner, Alfa Mist, Chris McClenney

Barney Artist, from East London, is different to anything else featured on this list – a very special addition, in fact. If you are a fan of  Hip Hop, chill vibes and relaxing soul beats, then look no more, Barney is exactly what you have been looking for.

After numerous collaborations with Neo-Soul royalty Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei and Alfa Mist, Barney is quickly becoming one to know within this scene.

Recommended track: I’m Going to Tell You

 

7. NADIA ROSE

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Monthly Listens: 98,000*

For Fans of: Stefflon Don, Lady Leshurr, Yungen

One thing that is apparent in the behaviour of young rappers is the need to be daring  and harness a confidence that is indestructible, however, with Nadia Rose, this captivating swagger is so convincingly natural. Rose, who also happens to be the cousin of Stormzy, has a striking dexterity in the rap game, similar to the likes of Lady Leshurr.

If you want a taste of this addictive prowess, simply head over to her video for “Stations” where you can see her rapping on train tracks – without permission!

Recommended track: Skwod

 

6. MAXSTA

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Monthly Listens: 48,000*

For Fans of: Ghetts, P Money, D Double E

Despite being a rather underground artist, Maxsta is a well renowned and experienced name in the Grime scene – however, his position says nothing about his talent; simply that he is unwilling to compromise his sound to appeal to a larger audience.

His music perfectly encompasses the brutal essence of Grime, in a way that is extremely authentic. For anyone that is even merely interested in UK rap, Maxsta is a must-listen.

Recommended track: Guns and Roses

5. REEKO SQUEEZE

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Monthly Listens: 39,000*

For Fans of: Recky, SL, Harlem Spartans

Originally a member of popular Drill crew ‘Section Boyz’, Reeko Squeeze is a UK rapper that is proving to be one to watch over the next year. Despite finessing the ego and hard edge that is essential in the rapper aesthetic, Reeko possesses a likeability and drive that is likely to win you over, even if the music is not for you.

This infectious drive is sprinkled throughout Reeko’s tracks, mixed with a boyish cockiness, making for an unforgettable combination.

Recommended track: Diablo

 

4. REEKZ MB

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Monthly Listens: 48,000*

For Fans of: AJ Tracey, Abra Cadabra, MoStack

Reekz MB is another truly underground artist, his music often shedding light on the harsh reality of growing up as a young black male in the nation’s capital – without filter. There is an undeniable aggression to Reekz’ style accompanied atop hypnotic drill beats, making him a great listen for those that are big fans of the underground rap scene.

With Drill groups like Harlem Spartans and 67 dominating London’s South-side, it is likely that this is not the last that you will hear of rappers like Reekz.

Recommended track: Blueprint

3. SUSPECT

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Monthly Listens: 86,000*

For Fans of: Avelino, Fredo, Skepta

Labelled an “underground king” by many,  Suspect isn’t your average UK rapper. Not one interested in the fame and fortune that haunts so many younger rappers, Suspect is truly here to establish himself as a serious artist – making music worthy of respect and high regard.

You don’t need to do your research to learn this, however, a quick listen to his albums “Loading” (2017) and “Still Loading” (2018) will tell you this about the rapper. There is an evident natural aggression yet certainty to his sound, similar to the likes of Skepta, projecting the “no messing” attitude which has captured the attention of American audiences.

Recommended track: One Way

 

2. DOUBLE S

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Monthly Listens: 33,000*

For Fans of: Ghetts, JME, Black the Ripper

Double S is another one of these incredible talents that successfully manages to slip under the radar – making him more stylishly distant than underrated. However, despite being somewhat isolated from the public eye, the London MC’s monthly listen count reflects nothing on the gems that are waiting to be discovered in debut album “Double Vision” (2017).

With collaborations from Grime heavyweights JME and Wiley, “Double Vision” is a release fueled with the fastest lyrical flows and an infectious bravado, making this a release which should be on the radar of all grime fans.

Recommended track: Secret

 

1. KNUCKS

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Monthly Listens: 95,000*

For Fans of: Big Tobz, KwolleM, Yung Fume

For an avid music fan, I appreciate nothing more than an artist striving to infuse their own unique flavour into their work, and this much can be said for North-West London rapper Knucks. If his witty yet staggeringly suave nature isn’t enough to have you hooked, then his self-produced soul infused beats should surely do the trick.

Despite releasing a rather typical ‘Afrobeat’-inspired track “Hooper” featuring Not3s, Knucks is one of very few UK rappers that can not be defined – quite similar to rap’s lovable rogue, Dave. Knucks does not limit himself to certain styles and beats, instead, his experimental nature makes for some of the most interesting sounds currently circulating the London scene.

Recommended track: Vows

 

 

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INSTAGRAM… THE MUSIC INDUSTRY’S FRIEND OR FOE?

Updated: 26th July 2018         Written by: Natalya Davies

“It is justifiable to suggest that Instagram is Facebook’s second chance at reaching out to social media users effectively; and music is the answer”

 

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With explosive, new releases from Ariana Grande and Twenty One Pilots, Drake dominating the charts and Cardi B’s baby making an appearance, it must be said that July has already been a busy month for music news. It comes without surprise, then, that other stories have seemingly slipped through the cracks, somewhat unnoticed.

On July 9th, self-proclaimed life guru, Jaden Smith played a role in creating what could be a new potential route for the modern artist; an Instagram exclusive album release. The young artist revealed “SYRE: THE ELECTRIC ALBUM” via his social media page accompanied by six alluring visuals, forming a larger picture, with Instagram being the sole platform of access, at the time. Despite this being a music industry first, so far very little has come from Smith’s creative attempt, therefore, has it simply fallen short by recent music news or is it really just an ineffective method?

 

 

In an attempt to compete with YouTube and its staggering 1.57bn monthly active users, Instagram has recently launched IGTV, an attempt to reach out to content creators of all kinds that are naturally gravitating to the visual worlds of these popular social platforms. However, this is not Instagram’s first effort to bridge the gap between the creation and its audience; in late June, a music sticker was added to its features, allowing their 400 million users to add a 7 second clip of fully licensed music to their posts via Instagram Stories.

With the awareness of the important interaction between Instagram users and music, music has become a key strategy for the enhancement of the social media experience, reinforcing the company’s relevance in the marketplace. Alongside this, as users begin to adopt the music sticker as a soundtrack to their featured moments, a new, potentially effective way for artists to gain compensation and exposure has been created.

“This heavy adoption of music could potentially lead to yet more power in the hands of the IT sector – and with this power, you can never assume that the music industry’s best interests will be taken into account.”

 

It has been argued previously that Facebook’s audience has become increasingly disengaged, particularly with music artists and content creators as the medium lacks the personal touch that Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube encapsulates. In light of this, it is justifiable to suggest that Instagram is Facebook’s second chance at reaching out to social media users effectively; and music is the answer.

The issue that has been identified, however, is that this heavy adoption of music could potentially lead to yet more power in the hands of the IT sector – and with this power, you can never assume that the music industry’s best interests will be taken into account. This move does suggest to be something potentially disruptive, especially considering that the industry has only recently regained stability with streaming services growing in popularity.

While it is easy to predict that users will embrace the fusion of social media and music, it is unlikely to predict whether the Instagram exclusive release will be as successful. It has recently been argued that the opportunity for music windowing (whereby artists release music exclusively to one platform for a limited time) has long gone – it seems that consumers no longer mind the wait for the new music to arrive on their favoured platform. Therefore, this is likely to be an explanation for the lack of success in Jaden Smith’s Instagram “window-like” release.

On the other hand, however, in the past, Instagram has been used as a beneficial tool, particularly for artists seeking high engagement, with little marketing. The method of the “surprise” album release through social media has been a concept adopted by the likes of Drake and Beyonce, and has seen to create large amounts of traction through the audience’s excitement. While Drake and Beyonce are two of the world’s most successful artists of the modern day, this is a great example of how Instagram and similar social media platforms can once again bring the audience closer to music.

However, as the saying goes, everything must be in moderation!

 

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RISING STAR JORJA SMITH BAGS NO. 3 POSITION IN OFFICIAL CHARTS WITH DEBUT ALBUM ‘LOST AND FOUND’

Updated:  5th March 2018        Written by: Natalya Davies

“Have previous associations with modern music royalty lead to an unfair level of expectation? It is likely.”

 

Image result for jorja smith lost and found

FOR FANS OF: RAY BLK, KALI UCHIS, MAHALIA

RATING: ★★★✰✰

There is an extremely famous proverb that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, or in fact, even a wonderful thing. However, for Jorja Smith’s debut album ‘Lost and Found’, it seems that the former is more fitting.

While the album has been successful in reaching a number 3 position in the official music charts, despite being the singer’s debut solo collective, it could be argued that the outcome simply was not enough to meet the high expectations built around Smith’s previous collaborations. Having previous associations with modern music royalty including the likes of Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Stormzy is an incredible achievement for a budding new artist like Jorja Smith, however, has this lead to an unfair level of expectation? It is likely.

‘Lost and Found’ is undeniably a strong release, especially being that it is the first complete solo-release of her career. The issue is that, maybe, it was simply too much, too soon from the artist, when an EP would have been sufficient. This conclusion has been brought about by the lack of differentiation within the heavily ballad-based album, causing few songs to stand out in a refreshing manner.

 

Image result for jorja smith

 

On the contrary, when carefully listening through ‘Lost and Found’, it is clear that there are many incredible pieces of work that, ironically, seem to have lost their way. Opening track ‘Lost and Found’, sets a compelling tone, particularly with the introduction of Smith’s alluring vocals in the line “Why do we all fall down with innocence still on the ground?“.

While also following the ballad-like, controlled trend that dominates this release, ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘The One’ are two phenomenally written and produced pieces, with choruses powerful enough to blow your mind. Much can be said about many of the other pieces, however, it seems a shame that these musical gems are somewhat misplaced among tracks that fail to boost the listener’s attention on them.

 

“‘Lost and Found’ is a release which is sure to strengthen the rising star’s career and reinforce her reputation as a credible modern artist, worthy of the limelight that is being received.”

 

‘Lifeboats (freestyle)’, ‘Where Did I Go?’ and ‘Blue Lights’ seem to be the album’s saving grace, as they supply the differentiation that has been neglected, no matter how minimal this differentiation is. ‘Where Did I Go?’ is a particularly engrossing listen as it seems to be the only major attempt within the collective to incorporate an upbeat, pop-esque break to the restricted yet gloomy theme.

Over all, ‘Lost and Found’ is a release which is sure to strengthen the rising star’s career and reinforce her reputation as a credible modern artist, worthy of the limelight that is being received. The main critique, here, is simply that maybe ‘Lost and Found’ just is not memorable enough in it’s current state, however, with the consideration of track-listing rework, this would be a release which you would never want to forget.

 

Track List Rating:

1. Lost and Found – 

2. Teenage Fantasy – ★✰

3. Where Did I Go? – ★✰

4. February 3rd – ★✰✰✰

5. On Your Own – ★✰✰

6. The One – ★✰

7. Wandering Romance – ★✰✰✰

8. Blue  Lights – ★✰✰

9. Lifeboats (freestyle) – ★✰✰

10. Goodbyes – 

11. Tomorrow – ★✰

12. Don’t Watch Me Cry – ★✰

 

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: ‘Lost and Found’

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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

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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’

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

LIFELUST – ‘NADIR’ REVIEW 2018 | ABSOLUTELY AUDIO

NOVELISTS – ‘SOUVENIRS’ (2015) | ABSOLUTELY AUDIO

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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.

 

feb songs

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.

Image result for liv dawson

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.

Image result for zak abel

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.

Image result for frank ocean

RECOMMENDED:

‘Lost’

‘Super Rich Kids’

 

Click here to view the complete February Favourites playlist!

 

Similar posts:

JANUARY FAVOURITES | 2018

 

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