#Review: RAC – BOY đŸ”´

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RAC (aka AndrĂŠ Allen Anjos) is a Portland-based, Portuguese-American Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician and record producer. To date, he has released a couple of studio albums and already had a career spanning 10 years. Now, 2020 marks the release of his third album, BOY, featuring a wealth of guest talent. Here’s what we have to say about it…

RAC - BOY.jpg

BOY is best described by Anjos himself, who pushed his artistic limits by navigating his way through his complex childhood. “This album is about growing up,” writes Anjos. “I was tapping into melodies that remind me of that period of my life. Rooted in a sense of nostalgia, growing pains and coming of age. It’s an elusive feeling but I tried to capture it and ultimately re-interpret it through a modern lens.”

This nostalgia is evident throughout the album, with a series of 80s synths and funky guitar vibes to bring together this collective body of work, whilst still maintaining a contemporary edge to it. Plus, the wealth of guest talent across the album is a testament to RAC’s creative magnetism. “It’s conversational,” he says of his working style with the artists he features. “We find shared experiences and I give them space to tell their story through my lens.”

Whether it’s the bittersweet melodic ‘Boomerang’ (featuring Luna Shadows); the guitar-heavy ‘MIA’ with captivating vocals from Danny Dwyer or the sweet-sounding ‘Oakland’ (featuring Winnetka Bowling League) about leaving someone behind to start somewhere new, there is something for everyone on this rather summery record.

[RAC has] created a wonderful collection of contemporary pop songs that are beautifully understated yet superbly powerful!

Standout tracks would have to be: ‘Passion’ (featuring Louis The Child) for its light, funkiness, vibing along the lines of Foster The People or Two Door Cinema Club; ‘Together’ (featuring Evalyn) which is not only a catchy tropical house-like track but the beat almost double-times part way through, making it quite different; and ‘Sweater’ (featuring Maddie Jay) – a straight-up funk track with great guitar melodies that run alongside the vocals yet both give each other space to play in the gaps between them.

That’s not to forget the previously-released singles from the record: ‘Carefree’ (featuring LeyeT) that has crisp, sometimes fast-paces vocals and simplistic production melodies that make it really stand out; ‘Stuck On You’ (featuring Phil Good) with rap-esque verse vocals and a clearly catchy chorus; and ‘Change The Story’ (featuring Jamie Lidell) – a very bass-heavy track with horns and a David Bowie meets Prince vocal to top it off.

The album has a couple of fillers that could easily have been left off, ‘Next To You’ (featuring Emerson Leif) is fairly mumble sung whilst Solo’ (featuring Gothic Tropic) is chaotic in places and not the best track on the album, by far. ‘Better Days’ (featuring St. Lucia) is a little disappointing too – it’s a strong 80s power ballad and though the blend of male and female vocals is nice, St. Lucia is not featured much.

The album is stitched together by a series of musical intros and interludes all around off-key sorts of melodies with nonsensical vocals. ‘Gomas’ is very much 80s meets Game Boy, whilst ‘Dolores Park’ is probably the most beautiful of them all.

It’s easy to see how this producer has taken the theme of growing up and collaborated with others to tell his story with a deep sense of nostalgia, creating a wonderful collection of contemporary pop songs that are beautifully understated yet superbly powerful! It’ll be interesting to see where RAC takes his next album – will it be as thematic or something different?

Rating
4


‘BOY’ is out now and can be downloaded from Apple Music – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/boy/1500009251


BOY on Spotify

Stuck On You featuring Phil Good (Music Video)

Carefree featuring LeyeT (Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this songwriter and producer’s latest album? 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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#Review: Big Wild – Superdream đŸœ

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Big Wild is the moniker of American producer, composer and DJ, Jackson Stell. Having been producing music since he was just 14 years old, it wasn’t until 2012 that he began producing music under the name Big Wild. It was in 2015 that the electronic music duo, ODESZA, asked him to support them on a couple of dates of their tour, having discovered him on SoundCloud. Now, 2019 sees the release of his debut album, Superdream. Here’s what we have to say about it…

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From the very beginning, Superdream is an album the doesn’t let up for a minute and has some of the most intricately crafted and beautifully delicate production, I’ve ever heard on a record.

‘City Of Sound’ launches straight in, with a funky, disco-like quality and big vocal harmonies that are very reminiscent of Foster The People‘s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’. From there, we’re almost immediately led into single, ‘Joypunks’ – a bouncy, uplifting instrumental track which uses broken-up vocal sounds to create a really unique-sounding, nonsensical hook which you can’t help but try to sing along with.

I could go on because there is just so much to love about this album, however there are four tracks that really stand out above the rest:

‘6’s To 9’s’ is a huge track; the production is truly top-notch – there are these wonderfully understated verse vocals, married with high-pitched harmonies that build from a calm intro and verse into a gargantuan chorus, with sensational, gospel-like elements – it’s a truly epic track with a stunning performance from Rationale. There’s something almost sensual about the song.

‘No Words’ has some serious St Lucia qualities to it, with a big, gang-vocal chorus and some natural, night sounds during the breakdown.

The whole record feels as though there are religious undertones throughout; maybe it’s just because it sets such a high standard for the genre?!

‘Alley-Oop’s infectious beat courses right through you, giving off some reggae-like vibes and features vocals from iDA HAWK. The chorus is huge, which a big instrumental push behind the “Oop” to really emphasise it. There’s something a little Paloma Faith about the vocal, in places.

The last of the four biggest tracks has to be ‘Purple Sand (My Home)’, a song with broken-up pan flute/whistle sounds riding throughout, giving it a real organic feel and tropical flavours. It’s a very reflective song, looking back to a place you miss and long to be.

There’s lots of other things to love about Superdream too – ‘Pale Blue Dot’ is a bizarrely captivating instrumental that weaves together a gritty bass line, retro, horror organ notes and a chopped-up accordion-like sound. ‘Maker’ is truly ethereal and sounds like a modern-day ABBA track, with the vocal melodies and some of the instrumentals. ‘Heaven’ features a big drop and is pretty club-like but with more depth and diversity than most modern club tunes – it’s very refreshing.

The album draws to a close with ‘Awaken’, another instrumental that has large, spacious moments to it and a modern, religious-like style to the big moments. In fact the whole record feels as though there are religious undertones throughout; maybe it’s just because it sets such a high standard for the genre?!

Some of the best things about Big Wild‘s production are the way he takes ordinary sounds and distorts them, to the point they’re almost unrecognisable, yet become instantly captivating. It’s also quite evident that he loves big bass booms to really hit the listener, but they’re used just the right amount, making for a massive impact!

This is already a contender for album-of-the-year, within the genre, and 2019’s only just begun! Big Wild has set the bar high for himself with this truly electrifying debut and this is surely set to catapult his career to new heights. I just can’t wait to see what he puts out next and watch as he continues to grow and evolve. Superdream is super sensational!

Rating
4-5


‘Superdream’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/superdream/1438818174


Superdream on Spotify

Superdream (Audio Video Playlist)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this producer’s debut album? 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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#Review: Death Cab For Cutie – Thank You For Today â˜ď¸


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerDeath Cab For Cutie are an alternative, indie rock band hailing from Washington, USA, consisting for five members; Ben Gibbard (lead vocals, guitar & piano), Nick Harmer (bass guitar & backing vocals), Jason McGerr (drums), Dave Depper (guitar, keyboards & backing vocals) and Zac Rae (keyboards & guitar). Thank You For Today is the ninth studio album to be released by the band since they started, over 20 years ago, in 1997. Here is what we have to say about it…

Death Cab For Cutie - Thank You For Today.jpg

This is an album that sees the band further perfect their unique blend of forlorn airiness with breezy, somewhat understated pop hooks that have inspired so many other bands since; Vampire Weekend, Foster The People and Foals to name a few.

The record begins with the solemn ‘I Dreamt We Spoke Again’, a track laden with hauntingly beautiful, shaky and untuned keys (an effect also used on the piano of dark and contemplative closing track, ’60 & Punk’; taking a candid approach to mortality) that perfectly reflects the mood of being disturbed by an ex’s unwanted appearance in your dreams. A track that could easily fall between The Cure and Lana Del Rey.

There are certainly a couple of moments on this record that appear to be influenced by Pet Shop Boys too; ‘Summer Years’ and ‘When We Drive’ both have similar vocal styles and spacey instrumentation, to the iconic 80s duo. Easily a couple of the best tracks on the record!

All-in-all, this is a strong, reflective, honest and sentimental album that will not only have old fans immersed but is bound to pick up and grip new alternative and indie fans along the way.

Lead single, ‘Gold Rush’, is a wonderful country-inspired, modern-folk sounding take on the renovation of aspects of the world, whilst ‘Near/Far’ is a synth-driven, 80s-inspired, euphoric tune that is truly nostalgic and reflective.

There are also a few other tracks that embrace a similar feel to each other; ‘Your Hurricane’, ‘Autumn Love’ and ‘Northern Lights’ all have a very laidback vibe with moments of soaring melodies; I wouldn’t say they’re the most stand-out tracks on the album, but certainly captivating in their own ways.

All-in-all, this is a strong, reflective, honest and sentimental album that will not only have old fans immersed but is bound to pick up and grip new alternative and indie fans along the way. One thing’s for sure, this band are definitely a long-standing inspiration to many of their successors and still continue to push forward with their well-deserved and lengthy career.

Rating


‘Thank You For Today’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/thank-you-for-today/1396106377


Thank You For Today on Spotify

Gold Rush (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s ninth studio offering? Is it up there with some of their best work? Are you a long-time fan or only just discovering them? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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#WildCardWednesday: Wallows – ‘Pictures Of Girls’


   

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Wallows are an American indie/alternative rock band from LA, consisting of Braeden Lemasters (best known for his role in Men Of A Certain Age), Elliot Rose, Cole Preston and Dylan Minnette (the main character in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why).

The band have actually played together for quite a few years, under many different names but having released a few successful singles, independently, are now signed to Atlantic Records.

‘Pictures Of Girls’ was the band’s first single taken from their 2018 Atlantic-released EP, Spring. It’s an indie track that serves as a great summer anthem and is in some ways similar to something by The Strokes or Foster The People

The music video deals heaps of nostalgia with its authentic use of Super 8 film and sees the band getting up to various antics around the suburbs; its a fantastic companion piece of video art to go with the song itself.

Great track, wonderful EP, let’s see what exciting things they bring over the next few months and years!

What are your thoughts of this up-and-coming band? Got a #WildCardWednesday 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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‘Pictures Of Girls’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pictures-of-girls/1366473264?i=1366473279


#FeelGoodFriday: The Knocks – ‘Collect My Love’ featuring Alex Newell


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The Knocks are an electronic music duo from New York, consisting of Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson. Their name actually comes from when the pair made beats in their apartment and would get “the knocks” from their neighbours, to keep the noise down.

They’ve earned recognition for their productions and remixes for a whole host of bands and artists, including Ellie Goulding, Britney Spears, The 1975, Jack Ü, Foster The People and Haim.

They’ve since gone on to record a string of singles and their debut album, 55, which features an incredible array of acts, including Alex Newell, St Lucia and Walk The Moon.

‘Collect My Love’, which features Alex Newell‘s trademark vocals, is one of the singles they released from the album and it’s got some serious funk going on – it’s reminiscent of Daft Punk‘s ‘Get Lucky’. The video for the song is pretty quirky too – it’s got that urban feel but with an air of “getting ready for a night out”; it’s just good fun!

What do you think of these guys? Has it given you that #FeelGoodFriday vibe? Please share this link on your social media sites!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Collect My Love’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/collect-my-love-feat.-alex/id1073325719?i=1073325727


#MellowMonday: Muzik Speaks’ 1st Birthday Playlist

Here’s a playlist of all the #MellowMonday songs we’ve featured during our first year…enjoy!


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This week, Muzik Speaks turns 1 year old and to celebrate, we’re giving you a themed playlist, for each day this week. The playlist will contain all of the songs we’ve featured on our blog during the past year, all themed around the corresponding day.

Today, it’s #MellowMonday and our playlist includes:

  1. Chris Malinchak – So Good To Me
  2. Coldplay – Magic
  3. OneRepublic – Can’t Stop
  4. Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks
  5. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Same Love
  6. Miley Cyrus – Adore You
  7. You+Me – Unbeliever
  8. The Barr Brothers – Even The Darkness Has Arms
  9. ODESZA – All We Need featuring Shy Girls
  10. Passenger – David
  11. Lucy Rose – Our Eyes
  12. Shura – 2Shy
  13. Jesse Boykins III – Plain
  14. Grimes – Entropy
  15. Sigma – Changing featuring Paloma Faith (GoldSmyth Edition)
  16. The Pierces – I’ll Be Dreaming
  17. Janet Jackson – No Sleeep
  18. Chris Brown – Liquor
  19. Randy Newman – You’ve Got A Friend In Me
  20. Lana Del Rey – Once Upon A Dream
  21. Vindata – All I Really Need
  22. Sam Feldt – Show Me Love featuring Kimberly Anne
  23. Lost Frequencies – Are You With Me
  24. Etta James – At Last
  25. Hayley Kiyoko – Girls Like Girls
  26. Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?
  27. Timeflies – Stuck With Me
  28. Ryan Adams – Bad Blood
  29. Chicane – Ibiza Strings
  30. The Japanese House – Cool Blue
  31. The Fray – How To Save A Life
  32. Years & Years – Eyes Shut
  33. Celtic Woman – The Voice
  34. Ella Eyre – We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off
  35. Cher – You Take It All
  36. Said The Sky – Nostalgia featuring Missio
  37. Will Young – What The World Needs Now Is Love
  38. Hearts & Colors – Fireflies
  39. Alex Parks – Get Out
  40. Snakehips – All My Friends featuring Tinashe & Chance The Rapper
  41. Maroon 5 – Animals (Gryffin Remix)
  42. Yuna – Tourist
  43. Sia – Breathe Me
  44. Timbaland – Don’t Get No Betta featuring Mila J
  45. Shura – Touch featuring Talib Kweli
  46. Lisa Goe – Still In Love

If you want to download the songs and use a custom cover for them, here’s one we’ve made for you 🙂

SONY DSC

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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Follow the playlist – https://open.spotify.com/user/muzik5peaks/playlist/5n77gdqWl0MDJ87zxNLxcz

#FeelGoodFriday: St Lucia – ‘Elevate’

St Lucia Banner

St Lucia (aka Jean-Philip Grobler) is a South-African-born musician based in Brooklyn, New York. The musician takes influences from Michael Jackson, Phil Collins, Sting and more.

This song, ‘Elevate’ was released in 2013 and the video is brilliant – Grobler and his band were evicted from their rehearsal space and decided to host one final party on the rooftop and filmed it as the video for their single release.

Whilst Grobler is a solo musician, he uses a live band for performances and has supported the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and remixed tracks for Passion Pit, Foster The People and Charli XCX.

Sadly, St Lucia have not officially released the single or album in the UK and therefore it can’t be downloaded from iTunes or listened to on Spotify, but it is definitely worth checking out!

Is this song giving you that Friday feeling? Have you heard of St Lucia before? What do you think of this track? Please share this link amongst your social medias.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Playlist: March 2015

So, rather like a ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ compilation, I thought it might be cool to do a YouTube and Spotify playlist of the month’s songs from now on, instead of each week’s playlist on a Sunday, that way you get the whole month’s songs to look forward to at the end of the month. What do you think?

I can’t believe this blog has been live for a month already! You’ve had tracks from Dappy, Jess Glynne, Justin Timberlake, All Saints and more.

I hope you enjoy these songs (sorry some are missing from the Spotify playlist – some haven’t been released yet and some haven’t been allowed on Spotify by the artist). It’s a little look back at March 2015.

Note: You can view the whole YouTube playlist by using the dropdown menu at the top corner of the video, or skip a song using the ‘next’ button.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Madeon – ‘Pay No Mind’ featuring Passion Pit

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Madeon (aka Hugo Pierre Leclercq) is a French music producer; a very young, talented one at that! His debut EP (The City) was released back in 2012 (when he was 17!), and this week sees the release of his debut album, Adventure, at the remarkable age of 20!

This song, Pay No Mind, was released this week and features the American indietronica band, Passion Pit – the accompanying music video is the second in a trilogy. The song itself is a fantastic fusion of indie, electronica and disco. It’s superbly uplifting and majorly reminds me of Daft Punk in their Discovery era (similar to their songs Digital Love and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger) – such an incredible song, so much love for it!!!

It’s such an amazing day today and this song is making it all the better! What song’s floating your Friday boat today? Share by replying below and RT the link to this page 🙂

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: Foster The People – ‘Pumped Up Kicks’/Jaden Smith – ‘Pumped Up Kicks (Like Me)’

Foster the People Banner

Pumped Up Kicksis such a sensationally catchy track with an odd psychedelic, beach-like quality to it, which just captivates me. I can’t get enough of it!

It was initially recorded by Mark Foster (Foster The People) as (what he thought was) a demo, on a day when he wasn’t feeling at all inspired to write a song…and this was the product! If a song like this can be written on an uninspired day, imagine what an inspired day would sound like!


This song has also managed to inspire a whole host of other people and has been remixed, covered and parodied by the likes of Taylor Swift & Zac Efron, Kendrick Lamar and “Weird Al” Yankovic. One of my favourite versions, which I’ve also decided to include, is by Jaden Smith – I haven’t previously rated his rapping, but this particular song made me take notice of him and actually, he’s quite a talented kid – it’s got good lyricism and his rapping skills are pretty decent! A great cover/remix…er, thing!


Happy #MellowMonday to everyone and I hope you all have a good week! What track is easing you into this week?

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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