Old Kent Road by Lucky Elephant (Review)

Review of Old Kent Road by Lucky Elephant

 
London collective Lucky Elephant are to release their new album The Rainy Kingdom through Sunday Best on September 8Produced by Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart, The Bees), the album features the track “Old Kent Road” which, along with the already aired “British Working Man“, is available as instant grat upon pre-order of the album: http://smarturl.it/TheRainyKingdom
 
The album’s first single “British Working Man” was nearly the title track, “…but we didn’t want to spend a year explaining to people that it’s not a BNP record.” Both this song and “Old Kent Road” are accompanied by stop-motion animation videos set in a recognisably modern London (the DLR and the London Eye are both visible, as is an Apple laptop), depicting the life and repetitive routine of an office drone. The visual style will evoke nostalgic associations with – depending upon your generation – Trumpton/Chigley/Camberwick Green, Postman Pat or Bob The Builder, all set in an ordered society where everything turns out alright. In Lucky Elephant‘s world, however, there’s always the unsettling suggestion that things won’t turn out so well: the sight of a passenger plane passing overhead is accompanied by the sound of a WW2 bomber.
Lucky Elephant

Lucky Elephant

 

A slow burning yet hypnotic piece that drags you in to its melody and then wont let go. The fusion of sound and video come together well to tell a simple tale of a street that everyone knows.

Lucky Elephant’s Deptford-born and bred keyboardist Sam Johnson knows the neighbourhood in the film intimately. His band-mates, however, bring more of a distance: fellow gadget-twiddler Paul Burnley is from Bradford, and the line-up is completed by North Londoner Laurence Clack on drums, and vocalist Emmanuel ‘Manu’ Labescat, from the south-west of France. Together, on this album, they pursue the relatively-uncharted “band as social historian” role also explored, in recent years, by Public Service Broadcasting, British Sea Power and Eccentronic Research Council.

 
Johnson discovered Ken Ashton‘s We Was All One documentary more-or-less by accident. “It was probably a bored internet moment, clicking around, you go down these weird alleys. And immediately, I said ‘This is amazing’. We all became slightly obsessed with it. When you’re writing you need a spark, and usually it’s heartbreak or lost love, but we used this. It was a microcosm of so much that is going on.  Not just in South East London or London or England even, but the whole of Europe.”
If you want to see Lucky Elephant, in action a good opportunity is coming up at the end of this month Thu 31st Jul – Sun 3rd Aug at Camp Bestival. 
Review by Doug Duffin




World Peace is None of Your Business by Morrissey (Review)

Review of World Peace is None of Your Business by Morrissey

Morrissey is best remembered for his time in The Smiths and weirdly dancing round with flowers.  He has a back catalogue  longer than the arms of a man with extremely long arms.  Morrissey, doesn’t do things in the normal way. In 2010, the star published a list of the top albums from his back catalogue and termed it, “the albums I am most proud of”. To the surprise of many, not one reference to any of his albums with The Smiths or even for his critically acclaimed solo album Viva Hate.  What could be considered a deliberate attack on the commercialism facing music, even courting his own music as a demonstration, I prefer to think, its just another indication of Morrissey eccentricity.

Review of Morrissey new album

Review of Morrissey new album

Musically, for me, World Peace is None of Your Business, is a little difficult to grasp.  Perhaps understandably and deliberately by Morrissey and his backing band, given the top list.  The backing provides as much gusto as it does unorganised (or perhaps organised) chaos.  Sometimes there is just noise, sometimes there is expert composition.  The noise and distortion is part of the production but to be completely honest it feels a bit distracting.  The drumming is expertly executed, but at times there seems to be an effect added.  In short, whilst the music is at times brilliant by the backing band, it sometimes flatters to deceive.

The brilliant thing about World Peace is None of Your Business is exactly what makes his music special.  In I’m Not a Man, Morrissey sings about why he doesn’t conform to standard macho expectations of being a man.  Although, I am not sure he really had to explain himself, his demeanour, lyrics and build hardly make you think he is anything but a creative, thoughtful soul.  Not the type you would expect to see brawling down the pub on a Saturday night.

The album is lifted further by great tracks such as Smiler With Knife and Staircase at the University, both of which demonstrate Morrissey at his best.  Brilliant melodies and accomplished vocals.  These aren’t isolated tracks and several other highlights on the album are present.  The album is more upbeat than its predecessors and Morrissey seems much more an intrinsic part of the overall sound rather than being the only part of the sound with the rest revolving around him.

The back half of the album goes a little darker.  Several rants appear to bring us closer to Morrissey of old, but World Peace is None of Your Business never seems to transcend in to the depths of depression and political rants of previous Morrissey albums.  He does seem to display a bit of an issue with kids though.  Not sure Morrissey is a fan, so don’t let him babysit for you.

Overall though, World Peace is None of Your Business is a good record.  Whether or not the mood change is enough to get you dancing or even to lift your mood, it is a good album.  Not my usual cup of tea, but nonetheless worth a listen.

 

Eminem Live At Wembley Stadium (Gig Review)

Review of Eminem Live At Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium is the home of many historic moments, some great gigs and amazing boxing bouts that drive arena passion.  Of course it is the spiritual home of football with major English Cup Finals taking place here over the years and of course home to the England football team.  Whom, after their recent World Cup have a lot to make Wembley a happy place.

Review of Eminem Gig at Wembley

Review of Eminem Gig at Wembley

Well fear not, one Marshall Mathers, became the first rapper to headline the huge 90,000 all seater arena.  This was also the first gig the Detroit born rapper had played in the city for over a decade.  The crowd made up largely of a huge contingent of white middle class males, was hyped beyond belief.  The atmosphere was electric and definitely befitting of the huge backdrop.

Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, may have as many critics as he does fans, but one thing is certain, he is a legend across musical genres.  Eminem still plays the bitter, twisted adolescent to a tee, despite the fact he is now a mere 41 years old.  This was underpinned across numerous elements of the set, but not least by his stirring rendition of My Name Is.  The performance of the track was so strong, that you could be forgiven for thinking this was fresh from his head and the current state of his life.

The set had a little bit of everything, Eminem, courted controversy by appearing with a chainsaw and symbol of his past Friday 13th hockey mask.  It was disturbed as well by gay and women’s rights activists, something that has followed the rapper throughout his career.

The set was moving along strongly as Eminem grew in confidence.  The crowd really rocked though when (not such a) surprise guest Dr Dre came on stage to perform.  Next Episode, Still Dre, Nuthin But a G Thang and Forgot About Dre were accomplished performances by the duo who seem to be made for each other.  Dre, despite being a multi-millionaire after the recent acquisition of his small headphones business by Apple, performed like the master that he is.  In fact, sometimes Dr Dre surpassed the young apprentice.

For me, Berzerk was the performance of the night though.  The hints of old skool rap permeated the stadium and made the crowd rock as one.  Other highlights and definite crowd pleasers included Toy Soldiers and Sing For The Moment.  Whilst the show was definitely a bit more high budget than the early rap battles, captured so well by 8 Mile, Eminem still delivers the kind of show that would befit a freestyle king.

The underlying feeling that you never quite knew what might happen next during the show added a little spark.  Eminem displayed menace and passion in is performance, a definite highlight of the live music calendar this year.

The Boom Needs You

Sonic Boom Six – The Boom Needs You

The likes of Pledge Music and Kickstarter have been propelling the music industry through new waters for some years now. Artists have been trying to cut out the middle man and perfect the art of DIY music for what seems like an age, offering up incentives and prizes if their loyal fan base will part with some of their hard earned cash, placing it directly in to the hands of the artists rather than the whole stream of people that each take their slice of the metaphorical pie, often leaving artists with just the crumbs. These days, more and more bands and artists are trying out their own ‘fan funded’ projects, and quite a few of them have had some incredible results.

Sonic Boom Six

Sonic Boom Six

An electro ska band is next up to try their luck and, so far, Sonic Boom Six appear to be doing pretty well for themselves. In order to raise funds for their fifth album ‘Operation Boombox’, the London based band are offering up a whole range of colourful and wonderful incentives to their fans in exchange for cash, love and support. These tantalising treats range from a fiver to over two grand, so depending on your budget and love of all things electro, there’s something for everybody! Fancy a t-shirt? A vinyl? A download? What about a house show or your name in the album credits? If all of that is a little too mainstream for you then you could always hand over a grand and get your name tattooed on lead singer, Laila K. The choice is yours!

With over 200 days left of this pledge, Sonic Boom Six have already reached 61% of their goal with no signs of slowing down. Fans have gobbled up much of what the electro band has offered, including a launch track ‘The Boom Needs You’, apparently so popular with fans that the band has added it to the list of incentives free of charge ( just a little social media love in return). SB6 are also promising to donate 5% of money raised after the goal has been reached to a Teenage Cancer Trust, which does seem a pretty low percentage especially after a goal has been reached but is still quite an honourable gesture.

The band promises that their new album will be full of bouncy reggae beats, a bit of a switch from their electro ska roots but something to get the body moving none the less. Whatever happens and wherever they go next, it’s obvious that Sonic Boom Six have done an excellent job in building themselves a fan base that will back them all the way.

You can check out the Sonic Boom Six Pledge page here.

By Hev Bailey

Fresh by Babyface Monster ft Ace Da Vinci & Kenlo Key (Review)

Review of Fresh by Babyface Monster ft Ace Da Vinci & Kenlo Key

Right first off, when people normally ask us to listen to their music via Twitter we normally have to decline.  Not because we are some music snobs or think we are too good for people pimping their sounds out, more the fact that invariably it is average at best.  We, at Music Eyz have a value, don’t rip apart new acts, as they are starting out, as they can still develop.  We would rather not cover them.

Review of Fresh by Babyface Monster

Review of Fresh by Babyface Monster

So when Babyface Monster sent us a message on Twitter we thought the worse.  Here we go, another stateside rapper who thinks he is the next LL Cool J or Ice Cube.  Then when we opened the link to the sounds, my god how wrong we were.

Babyface Monster with the help of pals Ace Da Vinci & Kenlo Key deliver some real Hip Hop, in the shape of Fresh.  This is what we have been crying out for. Beats cut back to basics, some nice basic music and clear lyrics delivered with some passion.  The three rappers compliment each other perfectly, bouncing off each other.  The track changes as the chorus is delivered with some old skool feel.  The addition of some genuine sounding scratching on the track is also a welcome for me, this has been badly missed on modern music.

Each and every verse on Fresh is delivered with real skills.  These boys have real flavour and the intro of some bells or similar, really does have hints of LL Cool J.  Now I never knew anything about any of these boys until the link was sent, needless to say, they are ones to watch and have Babyface Monster has been followed on Twitter.

I can’t wait to hear some more, stripped back, rugged NYC real Hip Hop from these boys.  Well done Babyface Monester et al

They Don’t Want It by DDark (Review)

Review of They Don’t Want It by DDark

Its been a while since we listened to any new material from British rapper DDark.  Its not like the boy has been quiet though, he has been honing his skills and ensuring he keeps his place at the table of underground UK Hip Hop.  So what is They Don’t Want It actually like?

Review of They Dont Want It by DDark

Review of They Dont Want It by DDark

The video  kicks off in a bit of a weird fashion with an intro to a video from an artist that seems more like a public service announcement for the use of recreational drugs. (Don’t do drugs kids!)  After that DDark kicks in with some uncharecteristic singing, hitting you with the title straight away.  Then we get on to DDark‘s lyrics.  He opens with some rhymes about how he has worked at his craft rather than just being one of those spotted and making it big.  Naming no names.

Throughout the track we are treated to some dark beats and some eerie sounding EDM style music.  I know this is the trend at present, but I can’t wait until Hip Hop gets back to proper dirty beats, heavy bass and under produced music.  Hip Hop is more difficualt now the rules around sampling are in force but we shouldn’t lose the base of hip hop.

That last paragraph may have been seen as a slur, it wasn’t meant to be.  DDark is using a sound that is current and for that he should be credited, I just don’t believe in EDM connected to Hop Hop.  DDark does peoduce some strong lyrics in They Don’t Want It and his flow is tight as always.

This won’t be a commercial hit for DDark despite the EDM leanings and the sung chorus, but its still a quality track.  Keep up the good work DDark.

 

Problem by Ariana Grande ft Iggy Azalea (Review)

Review of Problem by Ariana Grande ft Iggy Azalea

Ariana Grande is quite an accomplished artist, without really setting the scene on fire.  We here at Music Eyz quite like the way she can adapt her style and delivery to different types of music.  A bit of pop, dance and a little more on the urban tip.

Review of Problem by Ariana Grande ft Iggy Azalea

Review of Problem by Ariana Grande ft Iggy Azalea

Problem probably combines them all, in a bit of a roller coaster of a track.  Within the track there are some horns, mainstream beats and a nice pop hook.  Add to that Ariana‘s sweet voice and a bit of a male vocal whisper, underlying the entire chorus and you have a bit of a winner upbeat pop track.  That is to do Ariana a dis-service though, she actually shows a pretty good vocal range on Problem.  Oh and lets not forget the added spice.  Yes Iggy Izalea appears.

Unlike on a number of these tracks, the rapper is a bit of a filler.  Weak rhymes just there to add credibility to the track and to aid sales.  The verses normally stink of being pasted over the track at a later date.  Not here.  IggyIzalea‘s rap really cements the track and feels like it belongs.  It breaks up the pop balance and lifts the pop backing.

Overall, the track is a good pop number which deserves significant airplay and a slant at chart success.  Watch this space.  Lets just hope this slice of pop pureness, Ariana Grande, doesn’t do a Miley on us.

Champion by Princess Nyah (Review)

Review of Champion by Princess Nyah

Princess Nyah has been getting a lot of exposure thanks to her new track Champion, premiered on DJ Target’s 1Xtra show.  Champion starts off hard and gritt, with dirty beats and a real deep male vocal, not what you mght expect from a Princess.  Don’t worry though, Princess Nyah is on the track quickly and demonstrates that she belongs on such a heavy track.

Review of Champion by Princess Nyah

Review of Champion by Princess Nyah

She delivers strong vocal rap from the off.  Kind of like how we might have thought Rita Ora may have developed until she became really commercial.  Champion is a big tune thanks to Princess Nyah, displaying good vocal ability and an almost dancehall style tone to her voice as the backing changes for the chorus.

Champion is unmistakably British and is excellently produced.  Perhaps the biggest crticism is the fact that it is over pretty quickly, I would love love to hear a few more verses and see her extend her vocal a little.  The beats were brilliant and definitely befitting a successful urban hit.

Introducing The Merrylees

Introducing Merrylees

Although Edinburgh has never been a city particularly noted for its brimming music scene, exuberant nightlife or abundance of underground subcultures; scratch a little beneath the surface and you may well find more than you bargain for.
Understandably, local bands are something of a hit-and-miss in almost any city. Such is the nature of any group of young lads who fancy a stab at being the next Gallagher brothers being able to write, record and release at their fingertips while booking venues to play – spotting an occasional burst of raw talent can be a somewhat dragging affair. Nonetheless, it takes nothing away from when something a little bit special does come along.
Review of Forever More by The Merrylees

Review of Forever More by The Merrylees

For the moment, that burst of excitement in Edinburgh comes from a band called The Merrylees. A potent blend of western psychedelia, melodic pop and blues-rock. They have already attracted some well deserved attention from some pretty well-known figures – having been produced by Bill Ryder-Jones of The Coral on their single ‘For You’ last year; and more recently by Richard Hawley (Pulp/Longpigs) on their latest release ‘Forever More’. Fronted by Ryan Sandison and Simon Allan – whose harmonies act as kingpin to the band’s distinctive sound – the band have also held notable support slots for the likes of Temples, Babyshambles and – more recently – Paul Weller. Merge all of the above together with messages of support on Twitter from Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting/Filth) and Vicky McClure (A Room For Romeo Brass/This Is England), to name but a few – not to mention a nomination for ‘Best New Band’ at The Scottish Variety Awards – and The Merrylees have many a reason to be cheerful indeed.
I was fortunate enough to catch the single launch of ‘Forever More’ at a packed Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh, last month. I had initially caught on to the band last October when they supported Temples at Electric Circus – and catching a full set while familiar with the tunes themselves certainly didn’t disappoint. Musicality and professionalism pours from this lot – as does a tightness onstage you could only come to expect from the very best. Their closing number, ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’ is a fitting tribute as a cover and offers a touch of class, while most certainly doing justice to the previous versions.
The Merrylees have stayed particularly true to tradition by offering their single releases on vinyl. Breaking through in the industry (whatever your definition of such a phrase may be) is harder now than ever. The digital age is making it inreasingly difficult for authenticity and talent alone to carry you through. However, at the end of the day; quality still talks – and if it is anything to by – there is still a bright future ahead for Edinburgh’s finest.

There are links below to The Merrylees‘ video for the latest single, ‘Forever More’ and the chance to purchase the 7″ vinyl which includes the B-side ‘The Wind That’s Following Me’.

Links:

‘Forever More’ video.

http://themerrylees.bigcartel.com/product/forever-more-vinyl – ‘Forever More/The Wind That’s Following Me’ 7″ vinyl.

By Robbie Thomson

Crazy Stupid Love by Cheryl Cole ft Tinie Tempah (Review)

Review of Crazy Stupid Love by Cheryl Cole ft Tinie Tempah

A Charleston beat with a Mardi Gras sax mixed with a street style dance in an urban setting. Yep, the girl’s on fire, looking smoking hot in her new video for Crazy Stupid Love in one of those fabulous bralettes you see the lingerie designers pushing at the moment, teamed with a pair of harem trousers that look, ohhhh so good on her. This rosy assed, fit, edgy lady has released a rather catchy first track from her anticipated and at the moment untitled fourth studio album which is expected to be released in the autumn.

Review of Crazy Stupid Love by Cheryl Cole

Review of Crazy Stupid Love by Cheryl Cole

When I first heard the tune I had a vision of a cheerleader themed video but no, it’s the opposite of what I expected. When I watched the video it starts off setting the viewer up for watching and listening to a different style of track altogether. When Cheryl opens up with that liner “La la la la la la la la” I could imagine people who hadn’t heard the tune first going, “huh?”.

The sound doesn’t seem to fit the setting at all but as it transpires that’s exactly what the objectives of the visuals are at this stage of the game. To give you the run down, Cheryl arrives at a bar where the mood of it is low. She’s in love which radiates from her thereby lifting the vibe and gets the bar rocking.

The lyrics reflect that time in your life when your head has been turned by someone and you just can’t stop thinking of them. You float about your day with your mind consumed with thoughts of that person and this makes you smile or so you think because in actual fact you’re just sporting a great big stupid grin on your face. Your head is completely distracted, you can’t focus on anything and as Cheryl quite rightly puts it, “Well I don’t know how you do it to me. You make my brain just stop. Sink my heart to my feet. It’s like a rollercoaster but I’m only going up. I’m in crazy stupid love.”

Ahem, yeah, well we’ve all been there so swiftly moving on and Cheryl is sitting on the back of a couch now and we get a chance to check out the makeup, that bralette and of course the hair. God she’s gorgeous all the same, lucky bloke whoever her love interest is. The dance section takes off and the choreography is wickedly cool before Tinie Tempah makes an appearance.

He brings with him a breath of fresh coolness to calm this lot down as Cheryl has managed to create a fever in the bar. Cole and Tempah look droolingly good together in Crazy Stupid Love and when he’s done with his lyrics Cheryl raises the roof again with the tune finishing up in a passing band type fashion, the good vibe continuing on into the early hours.

So there you have it. She’s back looking fantastic , sounding fresh and oozing pheromones. I love my rock but she’s my guilty pleasure.

Review by Nicola Timmons