#FeelGoodFriday: KOOLKID – ‘Feelings’

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Scottish singer-songwriter, KOOLKID, has just released his captivating new single, ‘Feelings’, written by KOOLKID himself, alongside Lewis Gardiner (ex-drummer of Scottish band, Prides).

The single is a soaring, modern pop ballad which flaunts KOOLKID’s emotion-drenched vocals with engrossing, forward-thinking production.

“Falling in love with someone who is already in a relationship is never a good thing. ‘Feelings’ is an upbeat pop anthem that is sure to make you reminisce being in this situation,” says KOOLKID. “You know you have certain feelings, but you only want to feel them with that one person, but you can’t. I feel like we can all relate to being in this situation at one point in our lives. I have and that is why I wrote this song.”

The singer hails from Glasgow in Scotland, where he was surrounded by live music from a young age. Since the age of 15, he has been building his musical identity with constant songwriting efforts, as well as cutting his teeth with live performances up and down the UK.

An accomplished songwriter, KOOLKID has penned tracks for some prominent pop acts, including K-Pop icons BTS. The Scotsman co-wrote ‘Mikrokosmos’ from the group’s chart-topping EP, Map of the Soul: Persona. The relationship between KOOLKID and BTS looks set to continue with future releases in the pipeline!

This latest single sees one of the UK’s most exciting, up-and-coming young artists continue to leave his mark in the contemporary music market.

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter? Got a #MellowMonday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Feelings’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/feelings-single/1493801876


#ThrowbackThursday: Gabrielle – ‘Rise’

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Soulful singer and songwriter, Gabrielle, relesed her single, ‘Rise’ in January 2000. The song (written by Gabrielle, Ollie Dagois and Ferdy Unger-Hamilton and produced by Jonny Dollar), was the second single to be taken from her third, studio album of the same title, Rise.

The track became notable for the rare, authorised use of a Bob Dylan sample (taken from his 1973-song ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’. Apparently, Dylan liked ‘Rise’ so much, that he allowed Gabrielle to use the sample for free, while receiving a co-writer credit for providing the song’s chord progression and vocal sample.

The song reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and stayed there for two weeks, acroos January and February 2000, becoming her second chart-topper.

This is such a soulful song that for the era of mainstream pop, it actually stood out quite significantly for her different vibe, making her stand out as an artist in that era. Subsequently, this track has a rather timeless feel to it.

The music video (Directed by Kevin Godley) sees the singer singing whilst spectating at a boxing match – a nice visual metaphor to accompany the song.

What are your thoughts of this soulful singer’s 2000 hit? Are you still a fan 20 years on? Do you have a #ThrowbackThursday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Rise’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/rise/1440911935?i=1440911940


#Review: Zebrahead @ Patterns, Brighton – 18/01/20

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On Saturday 18th January 2020, Zebrahead arrived in Brighton to perform the first of three, intimate UK shows, whilst on a break from their tour with Sum 41. The band were supported by Welsh rock band, Maddison. Here’s what we had to say about the show…


Maddison

Welsh rockers, Maddison, put on one hell of a show with their heavy guitars, powerful vocals and superb production (with some pretty epic backing tracks, which truly added to the atmosphere).

Their sound is massive – it’s stadium metal meets melodic rock and their onstage chemistry radiates throughout their performance.

The only criticism is that their onstage banter sometimes became tricky to hear when they talked over each other. Other than that, despite not knowing any of their songs, I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

Highlight: It would have to be the incredible use of backing tracks to create a wonderfully full sound – a real quality production.


Zebrahead

As always, Zebrahead arrived on stage to an epic intro – this time it was the Team America theme song – before bursting into their first song, ‘All My Friends Are Nobodies’.

Despite the venue being smaller than some they might be used to, the band used the space to their full advantage. They worked the crowd into a frenzy by performing a string of their hits – both old and new – and getting everyone in the place involved!

They certainly know how to have a good time too – the band have a pair of guitar techs who dress up as aliens and come on stage intermittently, getting involved in a variety of hilarious antics – from doing a drinking competition between the two of them, to one of them crowd-surfing on a giant rubber ring (as can be seen in the ‘Hello Tomorrow’ live video below). Possibly the most fun part of their set though, was their cover of ‘Baby Shark’ but changed to ‘Let’s Do Shots, during which the aliens passed shots around the band (see the video below).

The band members are tight – their performance is strong, well-timed and they clearly have a great relationship on stage – the chemistry between them is light-hearted and jokey and they just look like they’re having the best time.

If you haven’t had the chance to see Zebrahead live yet, then frankly you haven’t lived yet – they always deliver a high-energy show and regardless of whether you know many of their songs or not, they never fail to get the audience involved.

Zebrahead are a must-see!

Highlights:

  • During one song, Ali asked the crowd to see how many people they could get crowd-surfing during one song – security did not look happy, but it was manic and hilarious.
  • During ‘Worse Than This’, the band brought up two people in the crowd to try and out-drink each other, causing chaos on stage, followed by getting the pair to stage dive off the stage, after the song.
  • ‘Let’s Do Shots’ (‘Baby Shark’ cover)…enough said!
  • The aliens’ antics were pretty funny – in particular the crowd-surfing on the rubber ring.
  • Ali’s powerful scream/rapping is incredible to witness live and Matty (although sometimes not always pitch-perfect) has a great live vocal too.
  • Dan’s moustache!
  • The way the band include the audience and get a real crowd interaction going means that whether you know their material or not, you will always feel swept-up and included at one of their shows.

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 📸 All of the photos in this post are credited to Elliot McRae  📷
Please go and give him a follow on Twitter and Instagram.


 Setlist

All My Friends Are Nobodies
Call Your Friends
The Perfect Crime
Drink Drink
Save Your Breath
We’re Not Alright
Mike Dexter
Seven Nation Army / Wake Me Up
Sirens
Worse Than This*
Hell Yeah!
When Both Sides Suck
Hello Tomorrow*
Let’s Do Shots (Baby Shark)*
Keep It To Myself
Rescue Me*
Party Party

Encore
Falling Apart
Anthem*

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say a massive thanks to Zebrahead and Maddison for putting on a killer show, and to Lout Promotions for enabling the review to happen!


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other live reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: The Darkness @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 10/12/19

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On Tuesday 10th December 2019, The Darkness brought their Easter Is Cancelled Tour to Brighton Dome! The event was packed with people and full of fun, with support from Rews. Here’s what we have to say about the event…


Rews

This duo (accompanied by a drummer) are a riotous, girl-powered pair that are unafraid to pack a punch! For just three instruments and a butt-load of distortion, they sure bring about a lot of noise – they kind of reminded me of a more serious, angry-sounding Pink Slip (remember them from Disney’s remake of Freaky Friday, with Lindsay Lohan?!) Although they’re quite the raucous act, the vocal harmonies between them are nothing short of immense and clearly must have been rehearsed for hours! The bassist is full of charisma too, working the stage with conviction, at times, capturing the most attention. An interesting act with some fairly catchy tunes – they made for a good support.

Highlight: The vocal harmonies – honestly, they were awesome!

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The Darkness

As The Darkness took to the stage, dressed all in white, the crowd errupted with excitement, to see the rock band strike out the first notes of Easter Is Cancelled‘s opening track, ‘Rock And Roll Deserves To Die’. After a couple of songs, Justin explained that on this tour, the band were playing the entirety of their latest album, from start to finish, before doing a selection of their greatest hits…and it was awesome! He made a joke about people only coming for their Christmas single or their older songs but people were lapping it all up – both the new and old material.

If you haven’t already heard it, their latest record (Easter Is Cancelled) is great – it’s packed with the usual The Darkness lyrical wit, falsetto vocals, incredible musicianship and powerful rock anthems and is probably one of their best albums in recent years – so it was amazing to be able to see it all performed live.

The stage set was visually stunning too – with three, church window-shaped screens, surrounded by flashing lights, the backdrop for each song was unique, diverse and sometimes just outright bonkers (think cartoon dancing cows moshing!)

After finishing the run-through of their latest album, the band retired for a very quick costume change, before coming back to perform an array of their back catalogue, to much enthusiasm from the crowd. They performed a selection of tracks from nearly all their albums, from ‘Japanese Prisoner of Love’ and ‘Solid Gold’ (from 2017’s Pinewood Smile) to ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ (from their 2003 debut, Permission To Land).

It didn’t matter whether they were playing new or old material, people were singing along with every word, jumping around and having the best time! They perform with high energy, good humour and flawlessness, ensuring their audience come away from the show feeling euphoric. The Darkness are a lot of fun to watch live and whether you know all their songs or not, you are guaranteed to have the best night with them – I really can’t recommend them highly enough!

Highlights:

  • Justin‘s live vocals are powerful and flawless, whilst his charisma oozes with dry humour and a stage presence like no other.
  • The band themselves perform to perfection with impeccable professionalism and high energy and their individual talent for each of their instruments is spell-binding.
  • Justin doing a headstand in front of the kick drum during a song, before casually returning to the microphone to finish the song, was pretty damn impressive!
  • There was one point that someone did something to make Justin laugh at the start of a song, which was touching to see.
  • During the set, Justin brought up that it was Dan‘s birthday coming up and the audience spontaneously burst out with a round of ‘Happy Birthday’ which Justin then led into ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’.
  • The ad-libs between songs, like a funky riff and vocal melody Justin bust out with before ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ (in the video below) and some of the between-song banter is pretty amusing.
  • I just highly recommend watching them live – already, I would love to see them again!

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📷 All of the photos in this post are credited to Damon Peirce  📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

Easter Is Cancelled
Rock And Roll Deserves To Die*
How Can I Lose Your Love
Live ‘Til I Die
Heart Explodes
Deck Chair
Easter Is Cancelled
Heavy Metal Lover
In Another Life
Choke On It
We Are The Guitar Men

Greatest Hits
One Way Ticket*
Barbarian
Growing On Me*
Japanese Prisoner Of Love
Love Is Only A Feeling
Solid Gold
Givin’ Up*
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Get Your Hands Off My Woman
I Believe In A Thing Called Love*

Encore
Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)*

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say a massive thanks to The Darkness and Rews for putting on a great show as well as Warren and Charleigh from Chuff Media for enabling this review to happen.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other live reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: MUNA @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 02/12/19

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On Monday 2nd December 2019, MUNA arrived in Brighton to perform the first date of their Saves The World Tour – their first ever headline UK tour. They band were supported by Fake Laugh. Here’s what we had to say about the incredible evening…


Fake Laugh

Armed with a fellow band member and a laptop of backing tracks, it’s incredible how Kamran Khan (aka Fake Laugh) creates such a full sound – as if he had an entire band with him. The set was filled with original tracks that could easily sit well in an American teen drama (think maybe The O.C.?!) due to his interesting brand of dreamy indie-pop. That said, he also pulled out a couple of excellent, more rocky guitar riffs that added another interesting depth to the set. Although he is somewhat awkward with his crowd interactions, that doesn’t stop him from getting the crowd moving.

Highlight: There was one particular song towards the end of the set, which I don’t believe is online, but the guitar riff and melody, paired with Kamran’s smooth vocal, was a tremendous thing to watch and dance to.


MUNA

Following a beautiful, instrumental intro, MUNA took to the stage and launched straight into ‘Number One Fan’ to rapturous applause from the crowd! They proceeded to play a string of songs, both old and new, from their debut (About U) and sophomore (Saves The World) albums.

Their Saves The World Tour marks the first headline, UK tour for the band and the Brighton show was their first date of the tour. To say the set was outstanding would be an understatement – the band really were jaw-droppingly brilliant, from their tight performance and engaging stage presence to Katie’s incredible, powerful vocals and they played to a room filled with nothing but love!

It doesn’t matter if you are a massive MUNA fan and know all the words to every one of their songs, or if you are new to them, because the vibes from both the band and the crowd are electric and every single person is able to feel welcome, accepted and a part of something special.

The relationship between the trio is genuine and packed with honest banter – at one point Katie made a small mistake and the others joked with her about it openly to the crowd but it was all taken in good fun and the audience found it hilarious too.

What possibly struck me most about seeing this band perform is the live interpretations of their tracks and just how genre-bending they really are! On some songs you can hear an almost country twinge to their style whilst on others they rock out, with one track even having a metal-style moment to it, which sent the crowd cheering. However at their core, this band are still a dark pop powerhouse with an 80s throwback feel to them.

Whether you’re a long-time MUNA fan or only just hearing about them, I cannot recommend highly enough, to try and catch them live – they will not disappoint and you will not stop moving throughout their entire set!

Highlights:

  • The stunning vocal performance from Katie (Gavin) throughout was breath-taking!
  • The chemistry between the trio (and their touring drummer and bassist) was electric – their actual performance was impeccable too!
  • The energy coming from the band was reflected throughout the crowd, filling the room with love, excitement and a truly euphoric energy.
  • The undertones of various genres being blended together, makes the band a real pleasure to watch – and as Naomi even said at one point, she “really believes [they] are the best f**king band in the world!”
  • It was a really nice touch that the band requested the venue make their toilets gender neutral for the event, to ensure everyone feels comfortable – a really caring touch for their very diverse fanbase.

 📸 All of the photos of MUNA are credited to Chloe Hashemi 📷
Go and give her a follow on Instagram and Twitter, and visit her website.


 Setlist

Number One Fan*
Stayaway
Crying On The Bathroom Floor
Around U
Never
Navy Blue
Everything
Winterbreak
Taken
Pink Light
Good News (Ya-Ya Song)
Hands Off
Loudspeaker*
I Know A Place*
It’s Gonna Be Okay, Baby

These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say massive thanks to xyz and also Chloe Hashemi for her incredible live photos of the show!


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other live reviews here:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Steve Aoki & Darren Criss – ‘Crash Into Me’

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Steve Aoki is known for being an incredible musician, DJ and producer, for having worked with countless incredible artists and for his unique brand of EDM music. Darren Criss is known for his acting and singing talents in Glee and for portraying Andrew Cunanan in the second series of American Crime Story. But, together they have created this incredibly catchy, upbeat and all-round feel-good version of Dave Matthews Band‘s classic track, ‘Crash Into Me’.

23 years after the original release of the song, the pair have created a rather unlikely cover that just works so well! They have beautifully blended real instruments (acoustic guitar) with some incredible dance elements, Darren Criss‘ smooth, pop vocals plus one hell of sick drop, to turn this ballad into an EDM powerhouse of a track that is just all-out, unapologetic fun.

It certainly isn’t an obvious choice of cover but the pair have made a song that I just can’t get enough of – put it on, turn it up and just enjoy every moment of it.

Check out the quirky, yet rather funny video (below) too – the animation is pretty hilarious!

What are your thoughts of this EDM cover of Dave Matthews Band’s classic track? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Crash Into Me’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/crash-into-me-single/1472425666


#Review: Pick It Up – Ska in the 90s

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Following the success of his previous feature documentary (Here’s to Life: The Story of the Refreshments), director, Taylor Morden – an on-and-off trumpet player in ska bands for over 20 years – has returned to the world of ska to help bring the story of 90s ska to the masses. With a very successful Kickstarter campaign, the documentary took full flight and could not have been better produced, more thorough or more interesting to watch. Here’s what we had to say about it…

Pick It Up! Cover

From the very start, there are some wonderful aspects to this film, that instantly jump out at the viewer. Firstly, there is the fantastic animation weaving its way seemlessly throughout the documentary – some of it flows over footage of the various interviewees and other sections are entirely animated – but it all works so well! Secondly, is the truly amazing cast of stars from the genre, talking about their experiences with anecdotes and opinions that  they lived through during the ska scene in the 90s. Lastly, is the fact that the film is entirely narrated by Tim Armstrong (best known as the singer/guitarist for the punk rock band Rancid, and before that, the ska band, Operation Ivy – considered instrumental for the genre, despite only ever releasing one album).

But, what is ska?
Well, a lot of the cast of the film, brilliantly sum it up as “fast reggae with horns”.

Near the beginning of the film, we’re treated to a journey through the origins of ska, back in the 1950s, with a beautifully descriptive piece about what nights of ska music would have been like in its native Jamaica and then how it made its way over to the UK, settling in places like Brixton, Notting Hill and Coventry and on from there. This whole segment is accompanied by that wonderful animation, to bring it to life. It’s also interesting to know that reggae music actually wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for ska music being slowed down, and that also two-tone and ska punk both found their origins in ska.

This is a truly engaging film that is easy yet interesting to watch. It’s split into sections, looking at specific aspects of the genre like “skanking” (the very limb-orientated dance); the horn section (in particular, how in magazine photos they would often hold their horns to show it’s a ska band); and the DIY ethic of the genre – from posters to merchandise, bands would do pretty much everything themselves, such as designing logos, posters for shows and more, as cheaply as possible.

It’s fascinating that many consider 90s ska to have been brought to the forefront of the mainstream market due to No Doubt signing to a major label (Interscope Records) and releasing their hit album, Tragic Kingdom – which interestingly wasn’t very ska in style but due to their roots in the genre, helped highlight it to the masses.

I can’t recommend this documentary highly enough – whether you’re into ska or not, if you’re interested in music, this is a film you can learn a lot from.

We also learn that others had a big impact on the genre – Goldfinger were entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for playing 385 gigs in a single year; The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ made an appearance in the cult movie, Clueless; and the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games introduced ska to a new generation too.

The film looks further into the “ska scene” and how instrumental live shows were, not only for bands and their friendships but the fans and creating shared experiences too. Additionally, despite touring extensively, money for ska bands was often in short supply due to the number of members in a band, but often small indie labels would release compilation CDs to showcase some of their band’s best work, to generate further interest in them. A lot of these smaller indie labels would operate as mail order services.

One of the most postive and interesting things about ska is the unity within the genre – black and white people would work in bands together, in harmony, so if anyone demonstrated any racism at shows, bands wouldn’t stand for it, however fights would frequently break out at shows as a result. This is one of the main reasons that the black and white checkers became a thing of ska. Also, there are a fair few women in genre and they address how these women would often have to hold their own with their strong characters and no-nonsense attitudes.

Unfortunately, by the turn of the millennium, as major labels had almost made ska a parody of itself, the ska bubble burst and the scene had become saturated with similar bands. As a result, people started to turn their backs to it and bands themselves started adapting to new sounds and dropping their horn sections.

There will always be a subculture for ska – just like with punk rock – but it’s not as mainstream as it was in the 90s. However, there is a bit of nostalgia resurge for ska at the moment (as well as 90s music in general), so whilst bands like Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish are making new music ,they have a lot of fans reliving their youths by coming to shows. That said, across Mexico, Japan and Europe there is still a lot of love for ska and there’s hope for a ska revival in the near future, as the world could use some positivity right now.

I can’t recommend this documentary highly enough – whilst I like ska, it’s not a genre I know tons about but whether you’re into it or not, if you’re interested in music, this is a film you can learn a lot from, not only about the genre and it’s origins but from first-hand accounts of the scene during the 1990s, in an engaging and humourous way. Plus, you actually find yourself absorbed in the music itself – in fact I’ve had the playlist from the movie (below) on repeat ever since!

Rating
5


‘Pick It Up! – Ska in the 90s’ is out now and can be ordered/downloaded from the official website – https://www.skamovie.com/shop-1


Listen to the ‘Pick It Up! – Ska in the 90s’ official playlist on Spotify


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! Have you seen this SKAcumentary yet? What did you think of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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