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Monthly Archives: January 2013

isadoraTITLE: Isadora
BAND: Isadora
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: February 19th 2013

New York indie band Isadora were brought to my attention this week and after hearing their debut single On The Rights, I requested to hear more. Their self-titled EP is out next month and it’s an awesome listen. Although they’re a very new band, they’ve already received a lot of attention in their home city and been featured in Magnet Magazine, US Interview Magazine and Under The Radar, due to their melodic bluesy indie.

Comprising of vocalist and guitarist Andrew Mendelsohn, bassist Ian Mellencamp, drummer Jesse Bilotta, guitarist and violinist Nick Burleigh and keyboardist Josh Rouah, they’re a multi-textural, multi-instrumental five-piece writing tracks with so many twists and turns, you’ll get completely lost in their dreamy pop-rock.

isadora1On The Rights opens the EP and the chilled intro tricks you into thinking it will be a calming number but by the centre of the track, you’re into a retro rock ‘n’ roll guitar and a song that has lots of big hit potential. Unexpectedness is what Isadora thrive on and it’s so refreshing to discover a band who still release original, unpredictable music.

Barcelona, which is a long way from its Freddie Mercury name-sake, incorporates the keyboard with the bass and drums in an expert manner. The indie drawl floats over the top as the instruments take centre-stage, resulting in an interesting ditty that shows all aspects of Isadora’s sound. Using the simple piano of the keyboard and the twangs of their rock sound, they’re certainly distinguishing themselves from the rest of their genre.

Falter has a definite jazz edge to it with the riff dancing to the beat. The spaced out vocals allow it to take on a dream-like form with the harmonies adding to the surreal effect. With things amping up in the instrumental, it’s the guitars that once again give it that oomph, which propels it into Handless, another spaced-out track.

More drum-based with a tribal feel to it, Handless is the track that is most like British indie. The instruments take a breather, as the vocals and harmonies become more prominent. A story-telling theme seems to be at play and it shows yet another side to this young but clearly talented band. Continuing the theme of slower tracks for the remainder of the EP, they wind down the record perfectly.

Liar has a slow acoustic opening with a lonely haunting vocal. Despite being very eerie, it’s soothing and could act as an adult lullaby, while the guitars provide all of the rise and fall it needs. A little bit of grit appears towards the end, when the alternative fuzz kicks in but it eventually fades and reverts back to the sway of the acoustic beginning, completing a full circle.

Ending on Mood Is A Bird, where we finally get a clue as to the significance of the EP artwork, shows us their many dimensions once again. It’s a slow, thoughtful hipster ballad with a soft keyboard and drum, whispering through the song. The arrival of the violin transports us to a nineteenth century, aristocratic ball, producing images of grandeur and elegance. Quirky and dainty, it ends on a tinkling musicbox sound and closes the EP with a click.

Isadora will no doubt take you on a magical, mystical journey through their many facets and perhaps inspire and entertain weird and wonderful ideas. The best way to really understand it is to just go along with it and see where you end up.

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Funeral_for_a_Friend_ConduitTITLE: Conduit
BAND: Funeral For A Friend
LABEL: Distiller Records
RELEASED: January 28th 2013

I’ve shared glimpses of this long awaited album this month and I’m so happy that I now get to review the whole thing. Funeral For A Friend are one of those bands that evolve with every album they put out and Conduit is made up of eleven tracks with the longest being just three and a half minutes, meaning it’s full of short bursts of rock energy.

The first single from the album Best Friends And Hospital Beds was released back in November and it got me pretty excited for the album. When The Distance arrived earlier this month with a catchy chorus and a more chilled backing, it suggested that this record was going to be pretty diverse. To be honest, the majority of it is angsty, fierce and has the ability to unleash anyone’s inner post-hardcore self.

ffafBeginning with Spine, which like Grey and Sun-Less, has heart-felt vocals, impressive riffs and such great live potential. Although these are currently album tracks, they’d make perfect singles as they’re full of lamenting riffs and singer Matthew’s infamous screams that shape a lot of what Funeral For A Friend are about.

The fast and furious guitars continue in title track Conduit, which has a strobe-prompting instrumental, Death Comes To Us All featuring a catchy melody to boot and High Castles, which has passionately-delivered vocals and a riff that sticks around long after the album finishes. These tracks are typical of the band’s post-hardcore side and it’s this gritty trait that is ever-present in their live performances too.

Conduit’s stand-out tracks for me are Nails, Travelled and Elements. Nails effectively isolates the lead vocals during the opening seconds and they’re accompanied by nothing but a staccato fuzz from a distant guitar. It then evolves into classic alternative riffs and throat-stretching screams and licks, which leaves you with a “wow” feeling.

Travelled has an awesome pop slant in the vocal and a catchy rhythm like all good pop songs should have. Although the metallic twangs are still there, it’s a step away from the other angrier tracks and gives the record a bit of light-heartedness. Elements is much more chilled than the majority of the album and the rolling repetitive guitars are more than a little bit addictive. Due to its melodic catchiness, it’s another track that I would love to see played live.

All in all, Conduit is a record that not all current Funeral For A Friend fans will love but it’s perfect for blasting out, when nothing is going right. The gorgeous tones in Matthew’s voice are lost a little on this album but they do still make appearances, so it’s not a total change of direction. In fact, this album could even win them fans by proving that they’re not just another pretty-boy Welsh alternative band.

Welsh alternative bands always seem to pretty much fit my musical preferences down to a tee but We Are Animal are certainly not your typical alternative band. However, there’s something intriguing about their new single and it’s making me want to listen to it as part of a whole record. Currently touring with The Joy Formidable across the UK and Europe, they’re set to release a new album this year with Royal Wolf being the first single to come from it. Check it out!

Mary at Midnight 4TITLE: Heads Will Roll
ARTIST: Mary At Midnight
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: February 18th 2013

You would be right in thinking that since the outbreak of Gagaism, we’re pretty crowded when it comes to quirky female artists. Make way for another recruit in the form of London based singer-songwriter Mary At Midnight. Having recently emerged as a “bedroom producer”, Mary At Midnight is hoping that 2013 will be her breakthrough year. To be honest, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be!

Try to imagine an understated Florence and the Machine paired with the tones of Robyn and a sprinkling of the East on top of that. That’s sort of what Mary At Midnight’s debut single Heads Will Roll sounds like. Mercury Award winning Talvin Singh is on board and together, they have indeed created a rather pretty masterpiece.

mamA strange, haunting melody comprises of a dreamy rhythm and rather dazed sighs of “oh, uh uh uh oh’s” with a very catchy hook. Relaxed and ethereal, it incorporates the best of traditional Indian sounds and it has a very pretty folk vibe. It’s quite simply a magical, mysterious dream with a lot of colour and variation.

References to nature and folklore are scattered all over the lyrics, which tell the story of a beautiful romance. Mary At Midnight’s voice really resonates in your ears and it lends itself to the kind of old-fashioned lament style of song, which Heads Will Roll certainly has an essence of. It’s about being in love and doing absolutely everything in your power to hold onto it, told in an intricate and engaging manner.

Popjustice said that the track was “swooshy and delicate but big on the tune front with pop charisma in no short supply” and with a lot of critical praise already, be prepared to hear this everywhere in the second half of February.

The Lonely Island have been entertaining me via YouTube since I was a teenager. I just love their satire and tongue-in-cheek parodies, which are always so clever. Their latest takes the mick out of the teenager mantra of YOLO or You Only Live Once. Along with the Maroon 5 frontman’s signature almost-autotune style vocals and the upcoming rap star Kendrick Lamar, the whole notion is ridiculed and torn to pieces in three minutes to a catchy pop melody. Have a listen!

slkI’ve had this Canadian guy hanging around on my Twitter for a while and when he sent out a plea for some press coverage, I thought I should step up to the plate. A cheeky electro-pop sound, a voice that just melts and let’s be honest, a very pretty face are all perfect starting ingredients for a modern day, edgy pop star. With a lot of internet support already, Jake who performs under the alias Something Like Kites, managed to give me a quick Q&A.

Who is your biggest musical influence?
Owl City and Ed Sheeran.

Which genre would you put your music into?
Electro hip hop indie pop (that’s pretty much everything then!)

Tell me about your favourite Something Like Kites song.
It would have to be the remix of Go Soft Into The Night because I wrote it with one of my best friends.

Which other new artists or bands do you like?
Tyler Hilton and Ed Sheeran (Hey -I’m thinking he likes Ed Sheeran!)

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
A funny mischievous monkey!

Have you ever been to London?
No but I would love to!

Do you have any new releases or gigs coming up?
Yes, my new self-titled album is on iTunes -go grab a copy please?!

What would you be doing if you weren’t in music?
Snowboarding and something else creative mixed with business.

Have a listen to Something Like Kites’ original track Snowflake and visit his YouTube for plenty of Ed Sheeran covers!

You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

abbeyroadIf you think you could write the number one smashes of tomorrow, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss! To celebrate 25 years of bringing the best recording products to the world, the people at the iconic Abbey Road Studios have teamed up with audio-visual technology company Avid to launch a talent search for the next big thing in the precious art of songwriting.

It will be judged by Greg Wells who has worked with the likes of Adele and Katy Perry, John Feldmann who has produced music for Good Charlotte and Tricky Stewart, who masters Mariah Carey and Beyonce. Greg Wells says:

“The hardest thing for an aspiring musician is to get their songs heard by the right people. This competition is the perfect way for artists to get their music out there and I’m really looking forward to listening to an eclectic mix of songs”.

The song contest gives aspiring musicians and producers across the globe the chance for their work to be judged by the panel of music industry experts, as well as fans online, during the voting period between March 14th until March 21st 2013. The three winning artists, chosen by the judges, will receive the ultimate package of having a track of their choice being mixed and mastered online by Abbey Road Studios as well as an Avid Pro Tools HD Native system. The winner of the Fans Choice award will receive an Avid MBox audio interface with Pro Tools software.

So, how do you enter? Artists can upload their original song to “Submit A Track”
from today until March 13th 2013 with the winner of the Judges’ Choice, Fans’ Choice and the Judges’ Choice runner-up being announced on April 10th 2013.

Let the competition commence. Good luck!