#Two4Tunesday: Ariana Grande – ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ & Emma Blackery – ‘Dirt’


   

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Ariana Grande – ‘No Tears Left To Cry’

Ariana Grande is back with the first single to be taken from her upcoming fourth album, ‘No Tears Left to Cry’. Written by Grande herself, alongside Savan Kotecha and its producers Max Martin and Ilya, it is a rather different pop track to her normal style.

Don’t be mistaken, it’s still dance-pop at the core with a powerful vocal chorus, but it’s got some quite 90s pop and R&B influences to it and it’s certainly not an instant and obvious standout hit; this track is much more of a grower.

The video features Grande performing amongst a lot of disorientated scenery (which corresponds with the upside-down text of the single cover and leaks of Grande in a corresponding sweatshirt). It’s an interesting concept for the video, which was directed by Dave Meyers.


‘No Tears Left To Cry’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/no-tears-left-to-cry/1374085537?i=1374087460



Emma Blackery – ‘Dirt’

Emma Blackery is a singer-songwriter, YouTuber and author from Basildon in Essex, UK. To date she has 1.5 million subscribers on YouTube, with 148 million views and in 2016, she supported Busted on their Pigs Can Fly Tour.

Now, in 2018, Emma Blackery is releasing her new single, ‘Dirt’. With a decidedly electro-pop foundation, this track is topped off with Blackery’s rather British-sounding voice (which is quite refreshing!) and some explicit vocals; making it edgier than your normal dance-pop songs.

The video is a bit of fun with it’s quirky dances and neon pink and blue colours throughout; it’s not breaking any boundaries but it’s light-hearted and funky.

This is a great track by a great up-and-coming artist on the pop scene!


‘Dirt’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dirt-single/1353482430


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Milestones – Red Lights


   

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Milestones are a British pop punk band, hailing from Manchester. The quartet, fronted by singer Matt Clarke, have worked with producer, Phil Gornell (Bring Me The Horizon and All Time Low) to produce their debut album, Red Lights; their first full-length record with Fearless Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Milestones - Red Lights.jpg

Milestones are certainly making a mark on the pop punk scene with this strong, punchy debut…but are they bringing anything new to the table? Not really, but nevertheless it works!

The album is quite formulaic with its use of ‘Woah ohs’, ‘Na na nas’ and other gang vocals, amongst a whole host of stop pushes, grungy guitars, semi-cliché lyrics about being against the world and such like, and to top it all off, are some straight-up, damn-catchy choruses.

It’s quite easy to make comparisons with bands like All Time Low, We The Kings and to some extent You Me At Six, but most notably, The Friday Night Boys, due to their pop punk precision and following of the modern tendency to over-produce these types of songs. Furthermore, being a British pop punk outfit, they’ve followed in the footsteps of so many others, by adopting the faux-American accent and referencing places in the USA (probably due to the amount of time the band have spent touring over there), but this band will still undoubtedly have made a name for themselves with this actually, pretty great album.

There are huge, sing-a-long choruses that would easily fill a stadium and Matt Clarke‘s epic vocals are delivered with massive power and heaps of conviction. It sure shows a band who know their sound and have the strength to produce a powerful album.

There are some mammoth highs, with powerhouse songs like ‘BitterSweetHeart’‘Once Upon A Time’‘Paranoid’ and ‘Liar’ and trademark, heartfelt “ballads”, exposing their more vulnerable side, with tracks such as ‘Against The World’‘Hold On’ and ‘Counting Cars’, all of which further fits themselves in to the mould. With its minute-long intro, ‘This Is My Life’ provides a moment of calm amid the album, almost splitting it into two parts, before kicking into the main song and ‘Eighteen’ is just a bit of fun, though lyrically lacking in some ways, whilst ‘Forever Or Never’ is a big track, bringing the album to a good conclusion.

Whilst it might sounds like I’m slating this record, I’m not trying to; I’m merely pointing out the current trends in the pop punk genre, but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it and have had it on repeat since receiving it. There are huge, sing-a-long choruses that would easily fill a stadium and Matt Clarke‘s epic vocals are delivered with massive power and heaps of conviction; he sings ‘Now I’m stuck in this fucking rut’, almost spitting out ‘fuck’ like no one I’ve ever heard. Overall, there are some stunning moments on this album (the harmonies in the middle 8 of ‘BitterSweetHeart’ being one of my favourite) and though it may not blaze trails within the genre or lead to world domination of the market, it sure shows a band who know their sound and have the strength to produce a powerful album.

Rating
3.5


‘Red Lights’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/red-lights/1336609728


Red Lights on Spotify

‘Paranoid’ (Official Music Video)

‘BitterSweetHeart’ (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Milestones’ debut album, but what do you think of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media accounts.


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#EventSpeaks: Erasure @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 19/02/18


   

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On Monday 19th February 2018, Erasure arrived in Brighton, on their World Be Gone Tour, performing at Brighton Dome. The duo were supported by Welshman, Rod Thomas‘ moniker, Bright Light Bright Light – it was an incredible show!


Bright Light Bright Light

Rod Thomas and his band mates took to the stage and put on a fantastic show, performing his own unique brand of electro-pop – it’s a combination of contemporary pop music, with an 80s tint to it; clearly inspired by bands such as Scissor Sisters and Erasure themselves. The use of modern technology produced a really full sound to the performance and filled the concert hall. The songs were well written, but there were a couple of songs that I felt blended into one. Undoubtedly Bright Light Bright Light has a big following and has worked with some incredible people but I was looking for a couple of stand-out tracks that I wanted to come home and listen to, which unfortunately I didn’t really find.

Highlight: The incredible harmonies Rod performed with himself (using his pads) as well as the brilliantly vibrant suit he wore.


Erasure

Erasure were incredible! Having been in the public eye since the 80s, this duo are clearly professionals at what they do, but it seems to come so naturally to them; Vince Clarke, although almost a silent partner when it comes to fronting the duo, clearly puts a lot of effort into his performance and production of the backing tracks, whilst Andy Bell is the camp, extroverted individual, fronting the outfit. Somehow though, it just works – whilst they might appear to be polar opposites of stage personality, I loved it…and so did the audience!

The pair were accompanied by two sensational backing singers who produced some incredible vocal harmonies alongside Andy and altogether, they performed a string of hit after hit.

The stage lighting was excellent and felt a bit like a club and the different combinations of light movements and colours helped add some visual diversity to the set. Andy‘s gradual removal of his clothes, down to his catsuit was very funny and lead to screams and cheers throughout the building.

Naturally, performances of songs like ‘Chains of Love’‘Phantom Bride’‘Sometimes’ and of course, ‘A Little Respect’, brought the house down, but they made sure to not only pack out their setlist but fill it with a wide range of career-spanning tracks to ensure there was something for everyone.

I can’t recommend seeing Erasure highly enough – whether you know just a track or two, or their whole back catalogue, they do not disappoint. You are guaranteed to have a fun-filled evening of dancing, singing and laughing.

Highlights:

  • Andy Bell‘s sassy, between-song banter, was on point! He knew his audience and was hilarious from start to finish.
  • The sheer tightness of their performance just highlighted how professional this duo are.
  • The vocal harmonies between Andy Bell and his backing singers was marvellous.
  • The string of hits they performed has the audience singing and dancing throughout the show.
  • Andy Bell‘s gradual removal of his clothing, down to his catsuit, was hilarious – it certainly made a statement.
  • Lastly, the set design was pretty cool too – the lighting was amazing and I particularly loved that Vince Clarke was able to do his thing from an elevated platform throughout the set.

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 Setlist

Oh L’Amour
Ship Of Fools
Breathe
Mad As We Are
Just A Little Love
In My Arms
Chains Of Love
Sacred
Sweet Summer Loving
I Love Saturday
Victim Of Love
Phantom Bride
World Be Gone
Who Needs Love Like That
Take Me Out Of Myself
Blue Savannah
Atomic (Blondie Cover)
Drama!
Stop!
Love You To The Sky
Always
Here I Go Impossible Again
Sometimes*

Encore
A Little Respect*

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


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Thom Williams for setting up this review and to both Erasure and Bright Light Bright Light for their incredible performances. Oh…and Alan Carr for taking the time to have a couple of selfies with me!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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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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#ThrowbackThursday: Lily Allen – ‘LDN’


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I can’t believe that Lily Allen‘s single, ‘LDN’, is now a decade old, but it’s still as amazing as ever; it’s timeless!

I remember first hearing this song and being captivated by her lyrical genius; it’s pop but with a humourous, honest twist to it and that’s what makes her stand out. She’s British, edgy, cool and quirky and that’s what makes her so damn epic!

The video for the song was excellent; perfect for the song and the song was brilliant for its originality. I admire Lily Allen greatly and hope for some new material from her soon. Everything she releases is brimming with brilliance so I have no doubt any new releases will be the same.

What are your thoughts of Lily Allen’s ‘LDN’? What was your favourite track on ‘Alright, Still’? Which has been your favourite album of hers? Let us know in a comment below or share your own #ThrowbackThursday choices with us via our social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘LDN’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ldn/id726141687?i=726141815


#MellowMonday: Shura – ‘Touch’ featuring Talib Kweli


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Shura is an English singer, songwriter and producer popular for her electropop/synthpop/indietronica sound.

‘Touch’ was actually released back in 2014 but since her popularity has been rapidly growing she has re-released the song, with the addition of America hip hop artist, Talib Kweli.

The video has been re-worked too – the original video featured a whole range of couples, straight, lesbian and gay, kissing but this newest video is animated and the style is rather intriguing and looks traditionally animated.

This relaxing song is the perfect way to calmly start off the week.

What do you think of this re-release with the addition of Talib Kweli? Have you got a #MellowMonday track for us? Please post it in a comment below and share this post on your social media accounts.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Touch’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/touch-feat.-talib-kweli/id1081866114?i=1081866117


#WildCardWednesday: Jack Garratt – ‘Breathe Life’


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Jack Garratt is a British singer-songwriter who is currently gearing up to release his debut album in February 2016. He has also just topped the BBC Sound Of 2016 list.

To date, he has released a string of singles and in 2005, entered the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

This song, ‘Breathe Life’, is his most recent release and it’s all over Radio 1…maybe because it’s incredible!

He’s my Wild-Card Wednesday choice because he’s got a cool, edgy sound that is about to break into the mainstream, but so far, I’m taking a punt on his tip for big things.

What do you think? Please share your #WildCardWednesday song with us, below or on social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Breathe Life’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/breathe-life/id1046954979?i=1046955273