Get Your Kit Out – Boom BEOne

Get Your Kit Out – Boom Earwear BEOne

In the latest of our Get Your Kit out series the lovely chaps at Boom Earwear got in touch and asked if we would like to take a look at their latest in-ear headphones. So of course we responded with a bloody yes please.  I hadn’t actually heard of Boom Earwear before, but having done a bit of looking around before agreeing, I could see that the kit appeared to be good quality.  So here we go.

Packaging

The set arrived neatly in really professional packaging, not some crumby plastic case.  The hard back cover was great to ensure the product arrived safe and sound and with minimal risk (important if you purchase online).  The inside was of high quality as well with black coated polystyrene moulded to again ensure no movement.  The earphones themselves were really well secured and a lot of thought had been given to the unboxing experience.

BEOne Headphones Box

BEOne Headphones Box

Design

As with the packaging you can tell a lot of thought had been put in to the design of the earphones themselves.  The remote and microphone are neat and compact meaning that they aren’t a hassle to use when on the move.  The brilliant feature (although pretty basic in the context of modern tech) is the magnet in the earphones themselves.  They ensure that they don’t get tangled up when not in use and make them easy to carry.

If there was a criticism of the design, I would say the lead that goes in to the remote seems a little flimsy as does the remote.  Whilst this is picking at straws, on a lot of use, it does feel like it might become an issues.  There are some neat touches on the finishing with brass looking plug and fasteners.

Get Your Kit Out - Boom BEOne Earphones

Get Your Kit Out – Boom BEOne Earphones

Sound

Considering the Boom BEOne‘s are in ear, the sound is very clear.  Unlike some the clarity of sound is of a good standard and as such no tinniness is present and no annoying rattling.  When you turn your music up, the Boom BEOne‘s hold the bass really well.  Particularly good if you like your music with a dirty bassline, Hip Hop boys these are cool for you.

Set-up

Obviously as these are in-ears there is little set-up required. The good piece around the Boom BEOne is less set-up but an added benefit.  The devices come with spare buds to place over the ends of the ear phones.

The Technical Bit

The speakers in the ear phone are obviously of a high quality, hence the lack of distortion.  We tried them out on a variety of music genres, including Hip Hop, DnB and some techno, all of which reacted well to the tests.

Summary

Nice headphones that RRP at £25.  Good design features and very high quality sound across a variety of music genres.  The addition of the magnetic feature is neat and beyond a gimmick.

Rating: 4/5 – Boom BEOne earphones are tight compact and magnetic, what more could you want?

Better Than Home by Beth Hart (Album Review)

Review of Better Than Home by Beth Hart

Beth Hart has had a lot to deal with by anybody standards.  Enduring the death of her sister to aids and her battling a number of personal demons including drink, drugs and bipolar disorder, Beth has a deep backdrop to contextualise her life and art.  The 43 year old American singer-songwriter who rose to fame thanks to her 1999 hit LA Song is back with her seventh album – Better Than Home.

Review of  Beth Hart Better Than Home

Review of Beth Hart Better Than Home

With the background to Beth‘s life, Better Than Home had the potential to be a start to finish heavy album that would challenge the listener.  Beth however defies such preconceptions by making the opening track Might As Well Smile.  This is a strange concoction as it does feel like blues music, but almost with humour built in.  Backed by a gospel choir and brass section there are times when her graspy voice just jars with the backing.  Never to the degree that you question the production, just to the degree that you question the wisdom of such a strong backing.

The album has a cathartic feeling to it.  Rather than dwell on the problems in her life, Beth Hart chooses to share how she has dealt with them.  Exposing the good parts of her life – accepting and loving her parents for who they really are, appreciating a good husband, facing her fears head on and ultimately finding ways to heal and convert that positive energy into music that moves people.

Better Than Home,  in all honesty, has some great highs.  Sadly, it is met with as many if not more lows.  There are times when the whole composition feels a little pedestrian, like she has landed a seventh album, because she was contracted to do so.

Don’t just take our word for it, Beth Hart is embarking on a UK tour next month (May), details below

UK Tour Dates 2015

Thurs 30 April Cheltenham Jazz Festival
Fri 1 May Colston Hall, BRISTOL
Sun 3 May Philharmonic Hall, LIVERPOOL
Weds 6 May O2 ABC, GLSAGOW
Fri 8 May Barbican, LONDON
Sat 9 May O2 Academy, LEEDS
Mon 11 May Corn Exchange, CAMBRIDGE
Weds 13 May Rock City, NOTTINGHAM

Top 5 on Your iPod – John Barnes

Top 5 on Your iPod – John Barnes

Fresh from his moving appearance on Sports Life Stories, John Barnes speaks to Music Eyz.  Obviously Barnesy could equally appear on a music legends show after his amazing rap in England’s World Cup song World in Motion with New Order.

So in no particular order, these are the jams making twinkle toes John Barnes move.

John Barnes rap in World in Motion by New Order

John Barnes rap in World in Motion by New Order

1. All Night by Damian Marley

Damian has inherited all of his dads quality and brings reggae truly to today’s music fans.  This song is one that really uplifts you and gets you in a great mood.

2. Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars

Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars in John Barnes' Top 5 on his iPod

Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars

What I love about this is how happy it is.  A bit like Pharrell‘s type of music.  The video is great as well, some of the suits reminds me of back in the day. Nostalgia ha ha

3. i by Kendrick Lamar

Bit of a theme to my choices her. This is real Hip Hop, Kendrick could almost rival my lyrical ability ha ha.  Real happy upbeat song with real rapping ability.

4. Juicy by Notorious B.I.G.

Juicy by Notorious BIG is on John Barnes' iPod

Juicy by Notorious BIG is on John Barnes’ iPod

Biggie is without doubt the legend of Hip Hop. Great rapping with amazing music. Juicy is just one of those nostalgic tracks, no matter what age you are, that makes you look back on your youth.  This is particularly powerful for young black men looking back on their youth.  Simply perfect!

5. Still D.R.E. by Dr Dre

I don’t need to say anything.  This intro marked Dr Dre‘s return and showed he is still the best Hip Hop producer around.  Love this.

What do you think of the choices by John Barnes? Let us know by tweeting us at @musiceyz, commenting on the Music Eyz facebook page or by adding your comment below

Certified by Krept and Konan ft Rick Ross (Review)

Review of Certified by Krept and Konan ft Rick Ross

It seems like Krept & Konan have been going around since god was a boy.  So it seems amazing that Certified is the release track from their debut, yes I said debut album The Long Way Home due for release on 6 July, 2015.  This recording has been so eagerly anticipated it got to number 2 on the iTunes chart (as a pre-order).  The Long Way Home is a real mash of US and UK with a huge list of collaborations including Rick Ross, man of the moment Skepta, Wiz Khalifa and more surprisingly Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande and Jeremih.

Review of Certified by Krept & Konan

Review of Certified by Krept & Konan

It is on Certified that Rick Ross, perhaps the biggest hitter of the lot makes an appearance.  Certified is what you would expect from Krept & Konan.  Hard lyrics layered and some dirty hard core hip hop beats and some quality production.  Krept & Konan as we all know, always deliver tight flow and they work so effortlessly together.

My favourite line has to be “tell the waiter I want more cheese on my bolognese” proper London Hip Hop.  Whilst the production does have a bit of American feel, it does have the grimey London beats shining through.  Rick Ross makes a good guest appearance, but such is the strength of Krept & Konan, he probably isn’t need. But we won’t complain, because his verse was something else.

You have to listen to Certified.  When you do, let us know what you think.  Tweet us @musiceyz or comment below.

Ratchet Commandments by Tink (Review)

Review of Ratchet Commandments by Tink

Tink has been making some noise on the UK scene.  Played out on 1Xtra and Capital Xtra among others, she is starting to gain momentum and forging a path for herself.  With the release of Ratchet Commandments its clear to see why.

Tink manages to transcend delivering her lyrics in both a credible rap but also with a decent vocal as well.  She has a slight dancehall twang to her delivery (and I mean slight) and unlike a number of female rappers, she can deliver at pace.  Yes the production does have a commercial edge, but it doesn’t work to the detriment of Tink‘s skills.

Ratchet Commandments by Tink

Ratchet Commandments by Tink

The track, Ratchet Commandments, is constructed in line with the theory of its bible compatriots, but is based around a whole different route.  Whilst I am sure everybody knows what Ratchet means (don’t worry, I won’t patronise anybody with an explanation), the track does help define it.  It essentially shows the rules that a young lady should play by, no matter what her man says or does.

For me, this is a great track and has a real accomplished sound to it. Real good production, good rapping and nice vocals.  Tink is one to watch and Ratchet Commandments is a great track for both the ladies and the gents.  Above it all, it does make you bounce.

Have a watch of the video and listen to the track below.  Tell us what you think by tweeting us @MusicEyz or by making a comment below.

Arrive Alone, Leave Alone by Girl Friend (Review)

Review of Arrive Alone, Leave Alone the new EP by Girl Friend

If there’s one thing Manchester’s great at it’s producing some of the most unique and obscure music. It’s good to see that in 2015 the city and it’s bustling scene of musicians still hasn’t lost it. Girl Friend, Manchester’s latest indie-pop-disco band, received recognition last year from the likes of XFM radio and DIY magazine for their debut singlePerfume‘ and debut EPEveryone Wants to be Wanted’, and have been raking in the love ever since. They even scored a slot touring with indie legends The Kooks across the UK and the rest of Europe.

 

Review of the new EP Arrive Alone, Leave Alone by Girl Friend

Review of the new EP Arrive Alone, Leave Alone by Girl Friend

This year the group are unleashing their latest EPArrive Alone, Leave Alone in hopes of recreating last year’s success.

 

The first trackMonte Carlo is a sensational summer jam in the making for sure. It’s a little bit disco, a little bit 80’s but crammed with that modern indie energy. This leads seamlessly in to the next trackLead The Way, the track they’ve chosen as their EP taster. This song is three minutes of chilled out synth bliss, boasting odd little ripples of an Ian Curtis vibe in the vocals. That 80’s glitter chorus is back in the next songStyle and Substance, which actually in parts has huge reminders of bands like Human League. It’s poppy and bright, another summer feeling in this song just like ‘Monte Carlo’. ‘Stop’ is the aptly titled finishing track for this EP, and it’s smoky sexy groove is the perfect ribbon to wrap around this little gift, tying in each track which stand strong on their own but flow beautifully together.

 

With so many sounds pressed in to just four tracks you’d think this EP would end up a mess of genre and re-hashed glitter pop – and made by anyone else it just might have ended up that way. Yet Girl Friend seem to have pulled it off quite happily.

 

2015 promises to be a great year for these unique mancunians and with a full UK tour through out April, their empire should keep on growing.

 

The EP ‘Arrive Alone, Leave Alone’ by Girl Friend is out April 27th.

Review by Hev Bailey


Nicki Minaj at O2 Arena, London (Gig Review)

Review of Nicki Minaj Gig at the O2 Arena, London

So credible rapper? No.  Champion of advancing women’s rights? Probably not. Entertainer that doesn’t take herself too seriously? Potentially yes.

So Nicki Minaj is often criticised within music critics for what she brings to the music scene.  Yes she has an element of swagger about her, but she is trying to deliver rap music, albeit to the masses.  Yes she does show off more flesh than your average feminist or even vegetarian might approve of.  But you know what, she can put on a bloody great show.

Nicki Minaj

Her latest gig in London proved no exception to this rule.  Nicki Minaj is like a rapping version of Lady Gaga.  Alter-egos a plenty but still really passionate about her art form.  So her latest tour – Pinkprint tour – allows the fan no shocks when Minaj appears in a delightful pink wig.

So fans of Nicki Minaj will know her music isn’t all bluster.  She actually shares some moments that are quite personal in her music.  Whilst this may not always come across in her recorded material as terribly emotional, when you see her live, this empathy for the content and with her audience really oozes in to her performance.  Whilst saying this translates in to an emotional roller coaster is over cooking it  a little, it does show a different side to those of us not as close to the Nicki Minaj catalogue as others.

The show is brilliantly produced, has great choreography and Minaj is very good throughout.  The gig seems to be split in to distinct sections.  Whilst a number of the crowd seemed indifferent to the stretch of pop ballads, I actually thought this was OK, and was actually quite impressed by her delivery.

Nicki Minaj the great performer she is, did save the main bit until the end.  She managed to end the show on what felt like the biggest house party I have ever been to.  Minus geeky teenager throwing up, or mums best ornaments being broken.  Dress in quite a revealing outfit and striding around in long thigh high boots, which belied her actually short height, Minaj was in her element.  Whipping the crowd in to a frenzy.

Tracks such as Lookin’ Ass, Flawless and Dance (a$$) were great rebel rousers.  She gave the obligatory booty shakes, she was as provocative as ever and in terms of her performance as tight as can be expected.

As long as you don’t take Nicki Minaj too seriously, then you can appreciate her for what she is.  The queen of pop-rap.

Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna (Review)

Review of Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna

So the title of Rihanna’s new track suggest a little diversification.  Is our Bajan beauty going in to the debt collection business?  Whist I don’t doubt RiRi can look after herself, I think she may be of slightly the wrong build to go that route. Hence its welcome relief the words mean something far less sinister.

Now, there has been nothing wrong with Rihanna’s previous albums or singles.  They have featured great pop hooks, plenty of hints towards EDM, which is successful here and something of the currency stateside.  She has even displayed her vocal range on most of the singles. However, there hasn’t really been anything stand-offish.

Rihanna, arguably, has been playing the commercial game.  This notion supported by various commercial tie-ins, notably her ill-fated tie-in with British fashion retailer River Island.  However, who can blame her? Cash in while you can.  She is only following the well trodden path of other millennial taste makers such as Beyonce.

Review of Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna

Review of Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna

But, her music has lost its edge. She sounds more and more american and polished than when she started.  That is until now!  Like a punch in the ribs (just to remind you she is there), she hits you with the new single Bitch Better Have My Money.  Straight from the off, this is different to recent releases.  The beats are stripped back a little.  The composition is more focussed and not designed for a packed arena, an Ibiza club or an advert for a car company.

The Bajan twang is back.  Rihanna’s vocal are laced with her heritage and Caribbean upbringing shining through.  She delivers her lyrics with her usual prowess, demonstrating what a great singer she is, but with a difference.  RiRi also gets her attitude back.

The chorus of Bitch Better Have My Money is delivered with attitude.  Whether she is referring to somebody that hasn’t paid the latest instalment on their car loan is irrelevant.  Rihanna delivers it with such fierceness you believe she is going to tackle the target of the chorus.

Rihanna, I don’t think I owe you any money.  But if I did, I would be round like shot just to ensure you don’t kick my sorry butt.

Simply, Rihanna is back. If you prefer the big dance sound you may not like this.  For me Bitch Better Have My Money feels genuine and like its the real Rihanna.  I love this.

Listen to Bitch Better Have My Money by Rihanna here. Let us know your views by commenting below, tweeting @musiceyz or by hitting the Music Eyz Facebook page

Wonder Woman by Lion Babe (Review)

Review of Wonder Woman by Lion Babe

Hailing from the underground scene of New York, Lion Babe are an experimental duo who took the music world by storm in 2014 releasing a series of spell binding tracks. The duo contains the genius work of producer and instrumentalist Lucas Goodman and the hypnotic, powerful voice of Jillian Hervey (who just so happens to be the daughter of Vanessa Williams).

Review of Wonder Woman by Lion Babe

Review of Wonder Woman by Lion Babe

These two twenty something’s have combined their incredible talents to create one of the biggest ‘To Watch’ acts of 2015.

Their debut EP did extremely well last year, backed up by a whole catalogue of rave reviews from fans and industry peers alike. A collaboration with Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) on the lively track ‘Jump Hi’ didn’t hurt either, giving this unique duo even more attention and adoration.

With their latest single ‘Wonder Woman’ they’ve teamed up with the legendary Pharrell Williams and, still over a month away from its release date, the single already boasts praise from Annie Mac of Radio 1 and enough twitter fans to make the track a worldwide trend – not to mention over 50 thousand views for the teaser on YouTube.

The track itself is three minutes of pure beat and soul. The lyrics are as powerful as the title suggests, and Hervey’s voice is dark, smooth and sexy. From start to finish, listening to this song is like watching warm honey being poured from a clear glass jar – it just feels so satisfying. Rhythmic, steady and a constant flow this is the sort of music that works anywhere from a dance floor to a car stereo. You can put this song on repeat and completely lose yourself without a single moment of boredom.

Hitting the UK at the end of May and then off to a string of US festivals, Lion Babe promises to be a ferocious force to be watched and we can’t wait to see what they come up with or who they collaborate with next.

Review by Hev Bailey

The single ‘Wonder Woman’ will be released on May 3rd.

Chaos and the Calm by James Bay (Album Review)

Review of Chaos and the Calm by James Bay

For anybody that uses the Brits as a barometer for quality or taste making, James Bay is a big deal.  James Bay not to be confused with floppy-haired, middle aged, buffoon James May of Top Gear has many fans.  None less than the likes of Taylor Swift , Zane Lowe and Kodaline.  Swift publicly praised Bay’s track Let It Go (the track he won Critics Choice for at this years Brits).

Review of James Bay Chaos and the Calm album

Review of James Bay Chaos and the Calm album

So all is well for James Bay.  The critics love him. Top music tastemakers love him. Credible musicians love him. Oh and Taylor Swift also loves him.  So the release of his new album Chaos and Calm couldn’t come at a better time.

Well commercially the sentiment on timing is spot on.  Bay should take advantage of the momentum being generated around him at present and in turn release his pivotal piece of work. Does Chaos and the Calm do that.  Well in my eyes, sadly not.

Listen the guy can play the guitar.  He is no Jimi Hendrix or Prince but he does have skills.  He writes and sings his own material so for that, he should be applauded.  Sadly though his album feels a little bit rushed, like he took a cookie cutter approach and rehashed old ideas.  As the album suggests he does cover ups and downs, he does attempt to exploit opposite ends of the spectrum, however, the gusto and passion that the title suggests is somewhat lacking.

There is no doubt the album will sell, so if its released as purely a commercial exercise I think James Bay’s team has nailed it.  Its safe, its harmless and is easy to listen to.  However given the title and the expectations built up around James Bay, I expected more.

The whole format seems to have been done.  The biggest culprit is Collide.  The track seems to be an attempt to replicate Justin Timberlake or touch upon a guitar version of what Pharrell has done.  Sadly it falls way short of either icon.

The light at the end of the tunnel though is, you can still feel James Bay’s talent crying to come out.  Sadly it feels as if some record label executive somewhere decided to throw a big blanket over it for now.  The tracks will sound better live as James Bay will be able to play around with the composition.  On that basis, I wouldn’t waste your money on the album but wait until you can see James Bay really shine.  Go see him perform when he gets near you.