Music Eyz Interview with Emma Stevens

Music Eyz Interview with Emma Stevens

When we were given the opportunity to interview the amazing Emma Stevens, of course we jumped at the chance.  Emma has been getting the attention of critics and music fans alike and is regularly championed by BBC national radio stations.  We caught up with her on her national headline tour.

Emma Stevens interview

Emma Stevens interview

Tina Robinson had the chat with Emma Stevens.  In a really honest and open chat, they discuss Emma‘s mum and the influence she had over her career. Inspirations and about Emma‘s music, including her debut album Enchanted.  Have a look at the interview on the video below and let us know what you think.

Interview by Tina Robinson

 

Song of the Week – 4 April 2014

4 April 2014 – Song of the Week by Steve Noble

Red Eyes by The War On Drugs

 

Every six months or so, my brother Ian, our good friend Al, and Brian Wilson disciple Sean retire to my brother’s home village in darkest Somerset. We’ll eat a lasagne, go to the pub to drink hoppy brown stuff, and then go back to my brother’s house. The curtains are drawn, the fire is lit, and the beers and snacks are on the table. It’s Vinyl Night and all is well with the world.

 

I started buying records again about 8 years ago. CDs were dull, MP3’s were nothing like as ubiquitous as they are now, and records were just…nicer. A proper piece of sleeve art in your hand, a circular slab of wax for your ears. I invested a couple of hundred quid in a deck, retrieved my collection from a bunch of black bin bags under the stairs, and bathed in the snap and crackle of Pop.

Barbados Rum the power behind a Somerset playlist

Barbados Rum the power behind a Somerset playlist

 

One New Year’s Eve Ian and I stayed up most of the night playing old 7”s, seeing in the New Year with Barbados Rum. We decided to invite friends to do the same thing and started theme nights – normally, a set of prompts to draw out interesting answers.

 

“This record reminds me of my first relationship.” “This is my song of the summer.” “I had a holiday in Cyprus.”

 

One time we even wrote and read out a drama, with our tracks as soundtrack.

 

Two weeks ago the theme was just…things we liked from 2013. (It didn’t have to date from 2013, just had to be something that you liked in the year.) Seany discussed his Talking Heads rediscovery, Al gloried in the wonder of John Grant, Ian played us his discoveries from the Green Man Festival.

 

You’re always listening out for something interesting and different and a good new discovery gets rewarded with a round of applause and a handshake. A couple of the tracks I played that went down the best were Music Eyz discoveries for me – the brilliant John Smith, the very noisy Drenge.

 

And then there was ‘Red Eyes’ by The War On Drugs. I put it on and from the first propulsive drumbeat we leaned into the sound. I’m a sucker for a pushbeat; the warmth of the jet engine pushing you, pressing you forward, like you’re standing in the heart of the speaker. I heard it on 6 Music first, and it stood out for its kineticism, its muscularity.

Song of the Week- Red Eyes by The War on Drugs

Song of the Week- Red Eyes by The War on Drugs

 

“You’re all I’ve got to wait / Running in the dark / I come to my soul / You can see it through the dark/It’s coming my way.” The lyrics are echoed, fed back, deliberately obscured. (They’re not even written on the inner sleeve of the album, and web-based lyrics sites resort to self-admitted guessing.) But throughout there’s that sense of hurry, of rush, of a journey to an impatient destiny.

 

Mainman Adam Granduciel is a contradiction. The song is fast, urgent, hook-filled, wanting you to like it – but his vocals are relaxed, setting in a different tone. There’s a yearning and an excitement but also a sense that the journey, rather than the destination, is what it’s all about.

 

It streaks and it turns and it loops and in the end there’s a sensation that you’re moving forever, the song could loop and loop and you’d watch the scenery fly by like the middle eight, returning with diversions to that powerful start time and time again.

 

Candles are guttering – heads are nodding gently in the room. It’s gone 4am, and beer bottles litter the coffee table. Fantastic mix of tunes tonight, from the cracked electro-pop of St Vincent, to the cough mixture tones of Bill Callaghan, to the lonely psychedelia of Beach House, to the perfect pop of Wire. It’s time for sleep.

 

I get up, say goodnight to the assembled gentlemen, walk in the direction of the bedroom. I look in the mirror. I’ve got Red Eyes.

 

By Steve Noble

 

Hear the Spotify Playlist for Vinyl Night at http://open.spotify.com/user/steev_nahrbl/playlist/0rcGE0EUx7ZHAiUVFJdb3m

 

X Factor Shocker

X Factor Shocker

Music Eyz has breaking news from an insider relating to this year’s X Factor.  As widely covered, Cheryl Cole (Tweedy, or just Cheryl) is returning as a judge.  The speculation as to the other judges has been rife with names including Rita Ora, Rihanna, Robbie Williams and Simon Cowell himself returning.

Well whilst some of those maybe true, we have just learned that Louis Walsh has confirmed he is leaving the show.  And Surprise Surprise Cilla Black has been lined up as a judge.  The scouse queen, is thought to split the public feeling due to her age and years out of the spotlight.  A spokesperson for the show said “we need somebody that has been there and done it. The reaction to the experience Sharon brought last year was incredible and we think that Cilla has the same qualities”.

Harry Styles joins X Factor judging panel

Harry Styles joins X Factor judging panel

In addition to Cilla, Harry Styles from One Direction has been lined up to replace Gary Barlow.  The show wants to keep true to its core audience of teenage girls and Simon has pushed out all the stops to secure Harry‘s signature.  What this means for X Factor boyband One Direction remains to be seen.

In other news, X Factor also aim to emulate what rival show The Voice are doing with Social Media and bring it more in to the mainstream of the show.  Legendary TV duo Paul Daniels and chef Rustie Lee are being lined up to fill the public feedback slot.

What do you think to the news? Is it good that Cilla brings experience? What do you think to the developments with Harry Styles? Is it great to get Rustie Lee back on TV?

Rustie Lee joins X Factor

Rustie Lee joins X Factor

Let us know what you think.  Add a comment here or Tweet us @MusicEyz

Heaven’s Basement at The Electric Ballroom, London (Gig Review)

Review of Heaven’s Basement Gig at The Electric Ballroom: 9/10

I saw Heaven’s Basement for the first time in Download 2013 where they put on a very energetic and somewhat flamboyant acoustic set that I reviewed waaaay back. This time however we got to see the proper hard rock show and, as awesome as the acoustic set was, this is definitely the way to see them!

 

Heavens Basement Gig

Heavens Basement Gig

The boys only have the one album Filthy Empire plus a previous EP that I must admit I’m not familiar with so you can imagine it wasn’t going to be a long set. We got off to a great start with my absolute favourite Heaven’s Basement track Welcome Home which shot by in a flash. Sound quality was decent, a bit distorted at the beginning but it improved greatly as the show went on. I’ve only seen one band at the Electric Ballroom prior to this which was symphonic metal sextet Epica, I will admit they topped Heaven’s Basement in the sonic clarity department but it was pretty close. Heartbreaking Son of a Bitch and Straight to Hell translated into the live show very well and both were definite highlights of my evening. A couple of songs that pre-dated the Filthy Empire album also made it onto the set. Paranoia was particularly memorable if only for the fact that guitarist Sid Glover took over on lead vocals and not a bad effort I might add. Then there was the fast and decidedly more furious Reign on my Parade which I definitely want to listen to again if I can get my hands on a studio copy.

Aaron Buchanan has all the makings of a terrific frontman, he has great control of a crowd and a somewhat manic demeanour on stage. He’s engaging, great fun to watch and the crowd surf/handstand combo towards the end of the set is definitely worth a mention. Aaron and Sid are something of a dichotomy, they have a great back-and-forth chemistry on stage and between the two of them they stole the entire show.

If there had to be a nadir to this whole experience it was the ballad The Price We Pay. Not a song I’m particularly fond of but my own opinions aside it was pretty clear that everyone from the halfway point backwards showed similar disinterest as people began to talk loudly amongst themselves. Saying that the boys and girls down the front clearly kept their attention focused and a few (at Aaron’s request) even raised their lighters to the sky. My companion tried activating the strobe setting on his phone’s torch for the occasion but that didn’t pan out very well… especially when he couldn’t figure out how to turn the fucking thing off!

In summary, Heaven’s Basement once again put on a high octane and seriously energetic show. Tight sound, strong stage presence and a great audience response. I would definitely see these lads again… oh yeah and they’re incredibly British!

Setlist

Welcome Home
Can’t Let Go
Fire, Fire
Heartbreaking Son of a Bitch
Straight to Hell
Nothing Left to Lose
I am Electric
Paranoia
The Price We Pay
Jump Back
Reign on My Parade
-
Executioner’s Day

Review by Al Westlake

RIP Frankie Knuckles Aged 59

House Legend Frankie Knuckles Dies aged 59

We woke this morning to the really sad news that one of the founder fathers of house music, Frankie Knuckles has unexpectedly passed away.  The news of Frankie‘s passing,  aged 59, has been confirmed by long-term business partner Frederick Dunson.

RIP Frankie Knuckles

RIP Frankie Knuckles

 

Knuckles passed away yesterday afternoon, with details of the cause of death expected later today.  Early signs are that his death was likely to be linked to complications from Diabetes.

Frankie was inducted in to the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005.  In 2004, 25 August was declared Frankie Knuckles Day in Chicago with help from then-senator Barack ObamaFrankie is known as a global superstar DJ but also had some great production credits for big name remixes (including Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson) and also his own tracks Your Love and The Whistle Song.  Only last weekend, Frankie played a huge set at London’s Ministry of Sound.

Bronx born DJ, Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House, will be sadly missed.  RIP Frankie Knuckles.

 

Song of the Week – 30 March 2014

30 March 2014 – Song of the Week by Ed

Song of the week comes from an album I reviewed a little while back.  It is the brilliant title track from Ziggy Marley‘s upcoming album Fly Rasta.

The track is a look back to the good old days of reggae.  It is upbeat and has a real Jamiacan flavour,  not like some of the more modern/contemporary tracks.  The production is quality and Ziggy really shines through with us stunning voice.  With the sun out recently, this really gets you in a good mood.  Have a listen to Fly Rasta by Ziggy Marley, I defy you to not get in a good mood.

Fly Rasta by Ziggy Marley Song of the Week

Fly Rasta by Ziggy Marley Song of the Week

 

Franz Ferdinand Dublin Gig, March 2014 (Gig Review)

Review of Franz Ferdinand Dublin Gig 23 March, 2014

There’s something I really don’t like about getting older and it’s this, Me: “Fancy heading to see Franz Ferdinand in March?”

Him: “Yeah, cool but get seated tickets ‘cause my back’s in bits and I won’t be able to stand at it.”

Franz Ferdinand Gig at The Olympia Dublin

Review of Franz Ferdinand Gig at The Olympia Dublin

 

!!! Arrrrrgggghhhh

 

The packed out gig at Dublin’s Olympia kicked off with the Eagulls. I liked their sound. Their drummer kept control of pace well and apart from a little awkward shyness from one of the guitarists I relaxed into my ‘seat’ waiting for the Franz Ferdinand squad to appear onstage. Bang on 9pm they did and I grinned. “Nice outfits lads and looking very fresh I must say :)” is what I thought as I took a swig of my Heineken and then they took off, ripping the Olympia apart with their opener, Bullet. The crowd? Well they just loved it and straight away there was a vibe that this was going to be a cracking gig.

Next up, The Dark Of The Matinee and there’s one thing about Ferdinand, you can sing the guitar strings as was proven by the audience just then. “Find me and follow me through corridors refectories and files you must follow, leave this academic factory. You will find me in the matinee, the dark of the matinee.” And the Olympia tore into song right then and follow them we did  dropping any ounce of academic nous among us as we picked up our air guitars and joined in, clapped, stomped our feet and sang out. Alex and Nick started to look assured right then that this Irish crowd were up for it and very much willing to enjoy what was being offered to it. Tell Her Tonight and Evil followed and then, Do You Want To. I looked around and behind me they were out of their seats and ‘yer man’ sitting the other side of me smiled at me and said, “yeahhhhhhhhhhh”.

Each tune just rolled into the next No You Girls, Fresh Strawberries, Walk Away, Stand On The Horizon. At this point band and crowd were dovetailing from the roof of the Olympia. They played to us, we played to them. They sang to us and we sang back and himself with his sore back was out of his seat!

I know bass guitarists are cool dudes but Bob Hardy has the patience of a saint. How the man stands so stoically beside the charisma and infectious energy of Nick and Alex is beyond me. Those lads go hell for leather for 90 minutes and keep a connection with the audience at a max for the whole duration. I saw the same over the years at gigs with the Stereophonics, One Republic and the Coronas.

And so the repertoire continued … Can’t Stop Feeling, Brief Encounters, Take Me Out, Love Illumination, The Fallen, Lucid Dreams, Michael, Outsiders and finishing up with Ulysses. The old and new stuff was nicely mixed and proved to me that over the last ten years the Ferdinand sound is well and truly established and still very much enjoyed and appreciated by its listeners.

As for the encore, we called upon the band to return their posteriors to the stage and equally so we removed our from our pews and joined in on Right Action, This Fire and quite fittingly Goodbye Lovers and Friends.

If you ever get a chance to see these guys live, do. You won’t be disappointed and for €28 or the equivalent of you’ll have the best craic playing air guitar beside your neighbour and you’ll forget about your backache. The fact that you might not know the exact words doesn’t matter, just sing the guitar chords and that will do.

Oh and if you’re heading to their final gig in Norway as part of the Pstereo Festival, let me know if they’re knackered and Bob’s propping them up :)

Review by Nicola Timmons

New Jon Connor Mixtape

Jon Connor Mixtape- The Late Registration Of A College Dropout Who Had A Dark Twisted Fantasy Of 808s And Heartbreak

Connor has released a surprise mixtape  onto the net with the spit and polish of a top end artist. The recently signed Aftermath artist even announced his linking up with Dre with his freestyle Cypher at the BET awards back in September.

http://www.bet.com/video/hiphopawards/2013/cyphers/jon-connor-and-others-uncut.html

Jon Connor release new mixtape

Jon Connor release new mixtape

The mixtape uses a selection of some of the biggest beats from Kanye West’s albums including one of my all time favourites ‘College Dropout’ album. The Flint, Michigan native just flows effortlessly, with clever storytelling and word play. He switches up his speed of rhyme in each track, showing he can go slow or speed it right up like he does in his verses for ‘Touch the sky’, ‘Power’ and ‘Black Skinhead’,  where he rocks it hard in the speed flow with such a great intensity.. In fact, I prefer Jon Connors version of Black Skinhead and Flashing Lights over Kanye’s.. What I will say though is those beats he emcees over are gold.. those tracks are Kanye GOLD.. and throughout the mixtape Connor salutes Kanye because the level of craftsmanship that has gone into these tracks it what has propelled Mr West into superstardom..

He released his first album independently, he has the drive and talent to go to the very top and on this showing will sweep aside a lot of the less talented emcees making a name for themselves in the buinesss. It’s his intensity that gets me, its angry, raw yet polished and arrogant, constantly calling himself ‘The best in the World’, its an attack on the senses..I for one cannot wait for his first album under Aftermath Records.

By Michael Wilkins

Bristol’s The Flies Cover Ruby Tuesday

Bristol Band The Flies Cover Rolling Stones Ruby Tuesday

The Flies Cover Ruby Tuesday

The Flies Cover Ruby Tuesday

The Bristol band The Flies released this week video for a cover of The Rolling Stones song “Ruby Tuesday.” When asked about the song and video the band stated:
“We got the idea to record Ruby Tuesday when Tim (Norfolk), after listening to The Rolling Stones version the night before, suggested that the lyrics of the song would compliment a slower, more melancholic backing track. We all immediately saw the potential of this and began recording it. Literally, by the end of the evening we had recorded and mixed the entire track. We then applied the same ‘let’s do it in one night’ approach to the video which was the first video that we shot ourselves. The video was shot at Christchurch Studios in Bristol, where all our music is recorded. As with most of the videos we have made, we directed, lit, filmed and edited it ourselves. We use one camera and one or two lights. We like to shoot and edit the same day, keeping an immediacy and simplicity. Shooting into the light gives the videos an aesthetic that we like.”

Its a great cover of a classic track and showcases the band prior to the release their new single, ‘One Day My Baby Will Leave You’, on 24th March 2014 on Library Music Recordings. It’s a darkly beautiful, emotive song and the first to be taken from the band’s forthcoming second album Pleasure Yourself, due for release in late spring. The B side is the tender ‘One Less Heart Beats’.
The Flies formed in Bristol in a very loose and incremental way, when production team and Emmy Award winning soundtrack composers The Insects (Bob Locke and Tim Norfolk) joined forces with vocalist/musician Sean Cook. Sean had been a key player in Spiritualized (notably on their seminal record Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space) as well as the band Lupine Howl.

For their second album The Flies worked with Andy Spaceland, a producer and musical collaborator who had worked with both Sean and The Insects with his previous band Alpha – and drummer Damon Reece who was also in Spiritualized and Lupine Howl.

After many late night sessions and in-between many other projects, (Sean and Damon are currently playing with Massive Attack and Elizabeth Fraser, Andy is working with Butch Vig and Mark Stewart (The Pop Group), the album was completed at the end of 2013.

By Doug Duffin

Arch Enemy Releases New Single with a new Vocalist

Arch Enemy releases new single with a new vocalist!

The melodic death metal band Arch Enemy has recently come out with major news that they have changed vocalists. Renowned and revered female screamer Angela Gossow has stepped down from the role after a 13 year career spanning 6 album releases. Angela will continue to work with the band in a managerial role.

War Eternal by Arch Enemy ft new singer Alissa White-Gluz

War Eternal by Arch Enemy ft new singer Alissa White-Gluz

So who is both ferocious and mad enough to fill this gaping void? Montreal’s straight-edge, vegan, cobalt-haired metal siren Alissa White-Glutz of The Agonist fame is who! Apologies for that convoluted sentence, it’s the most concise summary I could come up with. To coincide with this news Alissa has also released a shock statement of her own to say that The Agonist has now disbanded. Alissa will feature on Arch Enemy’s upcoming record War Eternal which is due out in June. The title track was released the other day as the opening single.

It’s difficult to know how to react to this as I’m a big fan of both ladies and their respective groups. Losing Angela from Arch Enemy and The Agonist altogether are two major blows in themselves however Alissa joining forces with Arch Enemy could well be a match made in heaven.

Anyways, on to the new song! It’s contemporary Arch Enemy at its best and not a far cry from their work on Khaos Legions. Crunchy riffs saturate the intro and verses and while it’s certainly heavy it would not be Arch Enemy without plenty of melody which is provided by some very clean guitar work on the choruses plus an extensive solo around the 2.40 mark.

So how does our new leading lady hold up? I had an idea of what to expect purely because I’m already very familiar with Alissa’s vocals but she never ceases to surprise and amaze. Some fans expressed concern that Alissa’s voice might be too ‘metalcore’ for Arch Enemy’s sound. This is probably owing to the fact that her previous band was often associated with that genre (can’t understand the association myself but whatever), anyone with doubts can lay their fears to rest… this is going to work just fine! Her deliveries are more feral yet higher in pitch than both her predecessors (not gonna lie, was never a fan of Johan), if Angela is a lion then this woman is a fucking banshee! However, to say Alissa is an outright improvement on Angela would be a serious disservice to the latter. I’d say the two ladies are on par with each other albeit wildly different.

In short, War Eternal is a really strong track and if it’s in any way indicative of the rest of the record then I’m very excited!

Talking a little more about Alissa, her USP is that she has great command of both harsh vocals and melodic singing. While she isn’t the only woman to incorporate both styles into her music she’s the only one, in my humble opinion, that genuinely excels at both. Alissa guest appeared on the Kamelot song ‘Sacrimony (Angel of afterlife)’ which featured Elize Ryd of Amaranthe on clean vocals while Alissa handled the harsh stuff. I’ve seen some very impressive videos of the band playing this one live with Alissa singing both roles essentially performing a beauty and the beast duet… with herself.

This brings up another question: will she employ clean vocals at any point for Arch Enemy?

Angela was not a fan of melodic singing in metal generally but also stated that growling ruined her head voice which was another reason she never sang normally while in the band. Alissa does not appear to be bound by either of these factors so I’m not ruling anything out. Also for any symphonic metal fans out there Alissa will also be featuring on the awesome Delain’s upcoming record The Human Contradiction. I’ve already heard a sample of the track in question and I’m more than optimistic. Check out Delain’s facebook page for the sample. Now if she could just guest perform on a Nightwish or Epica album too, I can always dream.

PS. To Alissa, in the statistically insignificant chance you end up reading this – PLEASE sing ‘Dead eyes see no future’ when you play in London. I’ll buy you a teddy bear or something… like a really big one!

By Al Westlake