#ThrowbackThursday: Lenny Kravitz – ‘Fly Away’


   

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Lenny Kravitz is well-known for his retro vibes and fusion of various genres, from rock to reggae, folk to funk and soul to psychedelic.

Back in 1998, Kravitz released ‘Fly Away’, one of his most successful singles to date, reaching Number 1 in the UK Charts.

The song was in fact the fourth single to be taken from his fifth album, 5, and due to the huge success of it, not only boosted sales of the album but also earned him a Grammy Award in 1999 for Best Male Rock Performance.

The track is incredibly catchy with its funk bass line and gritty vocals – it’s no wonder it rocketed to the top of the charts.

The music video was directed by Paul Hunter (Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and more) and features Kravitz and his band performing in a club, surrounded by a crowd, dancing and getting frisky. It’s a very iconic video for the artist and shows a real passion in his performance…something he definitely pours into his live shows!

What are your thoughts of this wonderfully unique artist? Did you love this track first time around? Do you still love it now? What’s your favourite Lenny Kravitz track? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Fly Away’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fly-away/723338099?i=723338326


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#Review: Hawthorne Heights – Bad Frequencies


   

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Hawthorne Heights are an American emo/rock band from Dayton, Ohio, which formed in 2001. The band currently consists of JT Woodruff (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Matt Ridenour (bass guitar, backing vocals), Mark McMillon (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Chris Popadak (drums, percussion). To date, the band have released 5 studio albums and been through a variety of line-up changes but now, in 2018, the band are releasing their sixth studio album, Bad Frequencies, through Pure Noise Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hawthorne Heights - Bad Frequencies

This is certainly an album of two mindsets; on the one hand you’ve got a new sound that sees the band edging ever closer to pop punk commerciality and on the other hand they are sticking to their more screamo roots. However you look at it, the band are diversifying and growing their sound at the same time as keeping hold on some of what the fans love.

‘In Gloom’ launches the album with a slow, heartfelt intro from vocalist/guitarist JT Woodruff, but after the first minute, we are thrust into the sound of the full band, making their triumphant return.

The nostalgia continues as first single, ‘Pink Hearts’, reflects on past relationships you carelessly work your way through in your younger years.

An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

More old-school, classic Hawthorne Heights can be heard on tracks such as ‘Crimson Sand’ and ‘Just Another Ghost’ with bassist, Mark McMillion’s, screams coming through in full force.

Meanwhile, ‘Edge Of Town’ and ‘Starlighter (Echo, Utah)’ show us the newer, more pop-punk driven sound that moves this record, and indeed the band, forward.

Possibly one of the most stand-out tracks on the record is ‘Pills’; the song deals with the loss of someone you care deeply about but it demonstrates brilliantly, how the band have grown and continue to push their songwriting and sound; where in the past this might have been a heavy, scream track or an altogether more simplistic affair; a great way to finish the album by showing off where the band’s future lies.

That’s not to say the band that people know and love is gone; there are emo lyrics throughout record and still the occasional screaming, it’s just the instrumentation is slicker and more intricate and in places, JT Woodruff uses falsetto in his vocals; something new and interesting for the band’s sound.

There’s no doubt about it; this band know how to write catchy hooks, tying together some of the heavier, more chaotic parts of the record. Armed with a whole load of history and self-reflection plus a strong sense of where they are heading, this record is definitely representative of both their past and the future for the band. An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

Rating


‘Bad Frequencies’ can be ordered here – http://smarturl.it/HawthorneHeights or downloaded from iTunes, here – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bad-frequencies/1351452415


Bad Frequencies on Spotify

Just Another Ghost (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Hawthorne Heights’ new album! What are your thoughts of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it, via our socials.


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#FeelGoodFriday: Shawn Mendes – ‘In My Blood’ & ‘Lost In Japan’


   

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March 2018 saw the return of Shawn Mendes, who brought us not just one, but two brand new singles, both of which vary greatly in style but have equally brilliant Feel-Good Friday vibes. We just couldn’t decide which one to share, so figured, why not share both?!

‘In My Blood’ is a (pop)-rock ballad that transcends from a soft, despairing beginning into a thunderous, passionate anthem by the very first chorus and continues to soar from there. This track shows off just how incredible Mendes’ vocals are with their raspy tones that show just how intensely meaningful this song is.

Meanwhile, ‘Lost In Japan’ is a melting pot of contemporary funk with R&B and pop flavours too; it’s very reminiscent of something by Justin Timberlake. This track is also passionate but in a very different way; lyrically the song expresses how Mendes would happily travel the globe just to be close to his lover, all of which sits atop a heavy bassline and groovy guitar rhythms.

Sadly, no music videos have been released as yet, but as soon as they do, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of Shawn Mendes’ two new singles? Are you as much of a fan as us? Have you got a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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Shawn Mendes – ‘In My Blood’


‘In My Blood’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/in-my-blood-single/1359906692



Shawn Mendes – ‘Lost In Japan’


‘Lost In Japan’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lost-in-japan-single/1360548138


#Review: Drones – Exiled


   

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Drones are a London-based, in-your-face, all-out, old-school punk rock band made up of Lois McDougall (vocals), Rob King (guitar), Tim Kramer (guitar/backing vocals), James Kerr (bass/backing vocals) and Mitchell Thomas (drums). They’ve just released their album, Exiled, and here’s what we thought…

Drones - Exiled.jpg

Exiled is very much a hardcore, politically-charged, punk rock, concept album, inspired by the current refugee crisis across Europe and as such, is attempting to deal with a very relevant issue. Vocalist, Lois McDougall, further explains,“Exiled is a collection of songs that we began writing after being struck by the misery of the European refugee crisis. Some of the songs are written from the perspectives of fictional characters of those impacted by the crisis, and others of those who prefer to distance themselves from it. Millions of people are suffering every day and it’s a subject that should be kept at the forefront of all of our minds. Music is a great platform for personal connection. We’ve taken a subject that can so easily be viewed as a distant-seeming ‘world-issue’, and tried to make it more personal. In doing so, we hope that people may feel more compassion for the victims, and that those suffering may find an ounce of comfort in these songs. Exiled is dedicated to those fleeing any war-torn country.”

It certainly has managed to deliver this and lyrically addresses the issues it set out to face, however in places, I find the lyrics a bit frank; too obvious and not necessarily clever, however that is often the nature of punk music. In spite of this, it is a fast, furious and fun record, with some very chantable choruses and moshable guitar riffs, particularly the likes of ‘For Those Who Care’‘Inferno’‘Rorschach’ and ‘Anchors’. Then, towards the end of the record, it gets even thrashier.

They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues.

Conversely to this, the band have a couple of tokenistic ballad-like songs, with the acoustic-driven ‘Black Blood’ and the Metallica-esque, ‘Sickbay’, which add a little depth to this otherwise intense album.

Despite Drones being very much an traditional, politically-fuelled punk band, the production is top-notch, yet still hasn’t lost the charm that an old-school punk band would have had. It’s not over-produced and there a slight imperfections, which all add authenticity to the record. In places, this band remind me of 2004, punk rockers, The Fight (remember ‘Can’t Be Bothered’?).

This is certainly an album you would want to see live, to let yourself lose by bouncing around to your heart’s content. They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues, but unfortunately they are not going to set the world alight or make any significant changes to music, or punk. However, they know their sound and they execute it well.

Rating
3


‘Exiled’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/exiled/1317378913


Exiled on Spotify

Rorschach (Official Music Video)

Territories (Official Music Video)

Inferno (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Drones’ new album, Exiled! What do you make of it? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Crypitus


   

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Crypitus are a thrashing death metal band from Vermont consisting of four friends, Doug Friend (Guitar/Vocals), Joe Minard II (Bass), Peter Snee (Rhythm Guitar) and Zach Patch (Drums). Find out more about these rockers in our interview below…


Hey guys, how’s it going?
Zach: Hi. It’s going great.
Pete: Hi I’m good.
Joe: Hi. It’s going alright.
Doug: Hey guys! I’m doing well!

What future plans have you got? Any new singles or an album in the pipeline?
Zach: Well the big future plan is world domination, but were working on putting together our next tour for spring/summer.
Pete: One last show this year and we have plenty of shows planned for next year.
Joe: One more show this year and a tour next year.
Doug: We are heading to Portland, ME on 12/8/17, planning on working on a new single this winter and working on setting up our spring tour!

Where do you take inspirations from when making your music?
Zach: My biggest influence is Blake Richardson from Between the Buried and Me, but I also take notes from Terry Bozzio with Frank Zappa and Mike Portnoy.
Pete: The mountainous woods we live in. Some of my favorite artists are Frank Zappa, Roger Waters, Chuck Schuldiner, Aaron Marshall.
Joe: Old Metallica, Primus and System Of A Down are some of my inspirations.
Doug: I take inspiration from how screwed up this fucking world is.

What’s your usual process for writing/recording?
Zach: We usually just start jamming on something, and when we play something that really sounds good, we start to build on it and fine tune it. As far as recording goes, we just try to lay down our parts as best we can.
Pete: We usually jam to a certain riff or riffs over time and they get fleshed out into full songs.
Joe: I just go with the flow.
Doug: Every song has been made on accident.

If you could do a collaboration with anyone, who would it be and why?
Zach: I’d really like to work with the guitarists from An Unction in Braille. I bet we could come up with some sweet Schmidt.
Pete: Any of the incredible musicians I meet at open mic nights in our home town.
Doug: I’d love to collaborate with Black Absence for a track!

What music have you been listening to most recently?
Zach: Blotted Science, Between the Buried and Me, Plini, Sithu Aye.
Pete: Scale the Summit have been blowing my mind for a little while.
Joe: Animals As LeadersMadness of Many album.
Doug: Unflesh, Kreator, Blotted Science and Death Angel.

If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
Zach: I wouldn’t.
Pete: Like Top 40 charts? Fuck that noise.
Doug: Never.

What makes a great show for you?
Zach: A really enthusiastic crowd. Even if it isn’t a big one.
Pete: An energetic, responsive crowd. Not breaking a string too.
Joe: A fun and energetic crowd.
Doug: A good line, inviting audience and headbanging.

Do you have any pre-show or post-show rituals?
Zach: I have to stretch. Otherwise my body will now do what it needs to do. Caffeine too.
Pete: A few minutes by myself to mentally prepare for melting faces.
Joe: Drinkin’.
Doug: Not particularly I like to wear my guitar for like ten minutes before I play though hahah.

Has anything scary ever happened to you on tour?
Zach: Not scary, no.
Pete: I popped a tire going 85 on a snowy highway. That was fun.
Doug: One time Pete road with me, I never wanted to get to a venue so fast.

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
Zach: I like fishing.
Pete: Star Wars, DC comics, nature, movies.
Joe: Video games, beer, and just chillin’.
Doug: Hiking and exploring mostly. I like to see new things.

What really grinds your gears?
Zach: Idiots.
Pete: Lack of lubricant can grind gears pretty bad.
Joe: Not a lot.
Doug: Bad drivers.

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
Zach: Natural Born Killers.
Pete: I really liked Justice League.
Joe: I don’t watch movies often.
Doug: I’m with Joe on this one.

If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Zach: Nobody could fill these shoes.
Pete: Well, anyone acting now wouldn’t be the right age. I’d want someone new to the mainstream acting scene.
Joe: I don’t know and don’t care.
Doug: Leonardo DiCaprio.

If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be?
Zach: A nutty one.
Pete: An Almond Joy.
Joe: A Milky Way.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Zach: Always keep a jar of marbles. Don’t lose them, cause what are you going to do when you lose your marbles?
Pete: “Get yourselves a bass player.”
Joe: Practice makes perfect.
Doug: Hey, don’t eat that.


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#Review: ROAM – Great Heights & Nosedives


   

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ROAM are a British pop punk band from Eastbourne, consisting of members Alex Costello (vocals), Alex Adam (lead guitar and backing vocals), Matt Roskilly (bass), Sam Veness (rhythm guitar) and Miles Gill (drums). The band formed in 2012 and since then have performed on the Warped Tour ’16, signed to Hopeless Records and have now just released their second album, Great Heights & Nosedives.

ROAM - Great Heights & Nosedives Cover2.png

The band’s new record opens with the hard-hitting track, ‘Alive’, and doesn’t really let up from its high-energy, bounce-inducing pop punk for the majority of the album. It is undoubtedly a good effort from the band and a strong follow-up to 2016’s debut, Backbone, however it’s not really taking any great strides to revolutionise the already saturated world of pop punk.

Sadly, ‘Curtain Call’ feels a little like it’s trying too hard to be profound but slightly missing the mark, whilst ‘Home’ is quite a letdown – it really doesn’t finish the album in as strong a way as it started, with just a quick fade out at the end, making it feel like the band weren’t sure quite how to finish the track – I really expected some long and explosive grande finale.

This is an album which is undoubtedly going to sit well within a hardcore, pop punk lover’s collection.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some really great moments on the album too, such as the banger that is ‘Alive’, thundering guitars and mosh-inducing rhythm of ‘Left For Dead’, the grungy, fast-paced ‘Open Water and the varying tempos of the somewhat funky, ‘The Rich Life Of A Poor Man’, which overall, make it quite a thrilling record, however I still feel like it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. I find myself reminiscing some of the earlier days of New Found GloryAll Time Low and We The Kings and at points even Four Year Strong.

The album was produced by Kyle Black (who’s worked with the likes of State Champs, New Found Glory and Comeback Kid) in Los Angeles, California. This explains the authentic American sound to the record and might account for Alex Costello‘s pseudo-American accent throughout. Whilst this is synonymous with the genre, it’d be nice to hear an English-sounding pop punk band, just for a change.

This is an album which is undoubtedly going to sit well within a hardcore, pop punk lover’s collection…and it should; it’s a decent record. I just think that in order to really stand out from the masses of similar bands and achieve longevity in their career, they’re going to have to really push the boundaries of the genre on their next album; consider the likes of ParamoreFall Out BoyGood Charlotte and All Time Low.

Rating
3


‘Great Heights & Nosedives’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/great-heights-nosedives/id1270970229


Great Heights & Nosedives on Spotify

Alive (Official Video)

Playing Fiction (Official Video)


We really hope you’ve enjoyed our latest album review! What are your thoughts on ROAM’s Great Heights & Nosedives? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#WildCardWednesday: Naives – ‘Crystal Clear’


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Naives are an exotic-sounding pop group who blend massive tropical beats with huge synth sounds, topped off with funky bass and dynamic vocals, all of which is showcased perfectly in their latest single, ‘Crystal Clear’.

The song is an uplifting electro-pop affair with some very intricate production; the tempo gives the appearance of change throughout the song as it weaves amongst some really funk-filled grooves; it’s a very powerful track which has lead to airplay on BBC London and can be heard in high street stores such as H&M and Topman.

The vibrant single is accompanied by an equally flamboyant video, laden with visuals of exploding volcanoes and vast mountains among psychedelic textures that help to convey similar themes to the sound of the song. Watch the music video below.

What are your thoughts of this track? Have you heard anything else by Naives? Make sure you check out their self-titled album (due out 27th January 2017). Leave your thoughts or own #WildCardWednesday song choice in a comment below or via our social media using the hashtag.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Crystal Clear’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/crystal-clear/id1181006985?i=1181007191