#Review: Against The Current – Past Lives ūüĎĀ


   

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Against The Current are¬†an American¬†pop rock¬†band from¬†New York, who formed in 2011. The band is made up of Chrissy Costanza (lead vocals), Dan Gow (guitars)¬†and Will Ferri (drums). The band are notable for regularly posting covers on YouTube as well as delighting fans with original tracks too. In 2016, after signing to¬†Fueled By Ramen, the band released their debut album, In Our Bones. Now, 2018 sees the band releasing their second full-length record,¬†Past Lives. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Against The Current - Past Lives.jpg

This stunningly diverse and charming record opens with the almost haunting ‘Strangers Again’, dealing with getting over a relationship and cutting ties. The guitar line is dreamy and the vocal breakdown towards the end is a rather quiet and personal moment that really draws you in. It’s a brilliant way to open a record; it doesn’t go in all guns blazing but instead captivates the audience with its beautiful soundscapes.

Next is probably the best track on record, ‘The Fuss’. With Daft Punk-esque, 80s synths, funky guitar rhythms and one hell of a catchy chorus, this is a track you will just want to play really loud and dance like mad to!

Other significant songs include: ‘I Like The Way’ – a track all about new love that almost reaches EDM territory with its strong piano line. It’s something you might expect from the likes of Sigala‘s¬†Easy Love or¬†Sweet Lovin’; ‘Voices’ is a slightly more grungy offering about being self-conflicted and trying to ignore the internal voices (which is reflected perfectly with whispering backing vocals) – it’s very¬†Paramore¬†meets¬†Fickle Friends,¬†whilst¬†‘Scream’ is a rather floaty and dreamy song – for some reason it evokes images of the perfect all-American family from the 1960s (no idea why!) It’s an uplifting yet subtle track; I keep finding myself going back for more.

‘Personal’ has a Taylor Swift-like quality to it and the production is incredible – the vocal harmonies sit beneath the rest of the production in the chorus, but it’s truly enchanting.¬†‘P.A.T.T.’ (short for Pretty All The Time)¬†is an out and out female empowerment anthem – it’s fast-paced, punchy and relatively simplistic but the message is fun and powerful about girls feeling like they should be allowed to be themselves without having to look “pretty all the time”…calling all, “Girls!”

It’s an impeccably well-crafted record which has very successfully merged the boundaries between dance, pop and rock music, with a sprinkling of 80s vibes on top.

Lastly,¬†‘Friendly Reminder’ is another notable song, it’s certainly an album track rather than a potential single but the use of a phaser effect on the vocals and an epic clap-along chorus towards the end make it really stand out…again, there’s a big 80s vibe to it.

What Against The Current manage to do so well throughout, is take you on a journey with them; when they’re soaring high, you’ll feel all the sparks of excitement with them brought about with big synth sounds, intense beats and tons of reverb but equally when melancholy reigns, you’ll feel their heartache too.

Whilst I could say something about every track on the record, I won’t – you just need to experience it for yourself.¬†I really can’t recommend this highly enough…the only reason it didn’t get a 5 is because there are one or two less stand-out, album-fillers but even those are pretty damn good. It is very much an album which marks a band that have found their feet; they’ve created something wonderfully catchy yet utterly credible with sincere lyricism, interesting melodies and top-notch production.

It’s an impeccably well-crafted record which has very successfully merged the boundaries between dance, pop and rock music, with a sprinkling of 80s vibes on top; it’s difficult to pigeonhole this band…in a good way! It’s a truly exciting time for the band; this will certainly make waves in the genre and undoubtedly pave an exciting path for their future!

Rating
4-5


‘Past Lives’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/past-lives/1425108766


Past Lives on Spotify

Almost Forgot (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s sophomore release, Past Lives? 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: Now, Now – Saved


   

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Now, Now are an American indie duo originally from¬†Blaine, Minnesota (USA), now¬†based in¬†Minneapolis. The band now consists of founding members, KC Dalager (vocals/guitar/keyboard) and Brad Hale (drums/backing vocals) after a recent departure from their line-up. To date, they have had two, somewhat heavier albums and this,¬†Saved, will be their third, full-length release. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Now, Now - Saved.jpg

It’s been a decade since their more thrashy, emo-esque debut album,¬†Cars, was released (back when they were called¬†Now, Now Every Children)¬†but since then,¬†Now, Now have clearly been working hard on mastering the art of slick production.

This is an album that successfully merges emotive, thought-provoking lyricism based upon relatable topics, with warm, summery production; it’s credible songwriting with certain mainstream, pop sensibilities.

Saved is a stunning record. It has everything from catchy choruses and atmospheric synths to chugging guitars and heavy beats.

It kicks off with the acoustic-led, summer tune ‘SGL’ (short for Shot-Gun Lover) which would be the perfect road trip track, through the open roads of America. From there, you’ve got the captivating ‘MJ’, which makes reference to Michael Jackson‘s ‘Billie Jean’ topped off with a galloping beat (somewhat similar to MJ‘s ‘A Place With No Name’ from 2014’s Xscape)

Another significant track is ‘Window’, with its shimmering synths and manipulated vocals, that continually ascend. It’s a song about desperation for someone;‚ÄúEvery night I‚Äôm at your window, Wonder when you‚Äôre gonna let me in.‚ÄĚA truly atmospheric track.

Just listening to this album, puts you in an instantly good mood due to its stunning production and uplifting vibes.

‘Powder’ is a massive tune and a superbly powerful and passionate close to the album; it has a catchy, fun start with delicate guitars and subtle synths but as it goes on, descends into a very interesting and heavy breakdown with gritty synths.

There are certainly a lot of resemblances that can be made across the album too: ‘Can’t Help Myself’ has whispery vocals, somewhat similar to Geowulf; ‘Knowme’ is a house-like track with calm, electronica vibes, with elements of Chicane to it; ‘Set It Free’ makes cheeky reference to “wandering hands” and has a certain something about it that reminds me of a cross between The Cardigans and Sixpence None The Richer; ‘Drive’ has a beachy, Lana Del Rey vibe and ‘Holy Water’ is a song which I find merges MUNA with early Dido (with the use of industrial-like sounds) – it’s beautiful and euphoric. That’s in no way saying that they are copying other artists but perhaps making a nod to them; if anything it just goes to show what an eclectic record they have managed to create, with a little something for everyone.

As far as albums go, this is diverse and interesting with a real excitement about it. Just listening to it, puts you in an instantly good mood due to its stunning production and uplifting vibes. They have managed to craft a sound that is somewhere between airy beach-pop and grungy rock, evoking nostalgia and varying emotions throughout. This is fantastic record that is sure to be the soundtrack to many people’s summers this year.

Rating


‘Saved’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/saved/1365088448


Saved on Spotify

AZ (Official Video)

SGL (Official Video)

Yours (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review; what do you make of this band’s latest album, Saved? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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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‚Äôs, 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


#EventSpeaks: Jake Bugg @ Brighton Dome, Brighton – 13/03/18


   

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On Tuesday 13th March 2018, Jake Bugg concluded his acoustic, UK tour at Brighton Dome, in Brighton. The set was packed with a string of hits and supported by up-and-comer, Georgie (interview here).


Georgie

Georgie took to the stage with quiet confidence and launched into her first song, which by the end, had the audience in the palm of her hand and breaking out into waves of cheers. Her voice is beautiful and powerful and her inspiration from the likes of Sheryl Crow, really shine through. Her songwriting is honest and humble. She is a raw talent that is surely headed for big things.

Highlight:¬†The sheer power and tone behind her voice was something very special to watch. ‘Too Much TV’ (her latest single) was great to see live too!


Jake Bugg

By 9pm, the audience were ready for Jake Bugg to take the stage, and he did so to massive applause and cheering from the crowd.

I must confess that I only knew a couple of his tracks prior to this show (namely ‘Lightning Bolt’) but this show proved he is SO much more than that! His songwriting is exceptional and considering this was an acoustic tour, each song really held its own as a stripped back version.

His voice is incredibly distinctive with a real stamina behind it and he was note perfect from start to finish; not something to brush off, considering he was so exposed by doing an entirely acoustic set. Some of the intonation and speed of his vocals is impressive too.

His guitar-playing was sensational too and by doing this stripped-back show, really allowed you to marvel at how talented you have to be (and he is), to sing and play the guitar at the same time. I actually came away wishing that he would put out a live album of the show, or even just an acoustic studio album, of all the versions he sung; something I really think he should do.

If you haven’t seen this guy live before or only know a couple of his songs, I can’t recommend going to see him, highly enough; he doesn’t disappoint and you’ll come away waning to hear more.

Highlights:

  • The sheer stamina and speed behind Jake’s voice were remarkable.
  • Variation between the songs was remarkably dynamic, considering it was solely him and a guitar.
  • The tones, rhythms and volumes he produced on his guitars added further diversity to his set.
  • About half way through the set, Jake asked the audience what they wanted to hear but from then on, whenever there was an opportunity, people shouted out requests. His responses to some of the calls were witty and well handled.

¬†ūüďłÔŅľ All of the photos in this post are credited to Damon Peirce¬†ÔŅľūüď∑
Go and give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter.


Setlist

How Soon The Dawn
Saffron
Strange Creatures
Slide
Indigo Blue
Taste It
Two Fingers
Bigger Lover
Someone Told Me
Old Man (Neil Young Cover)
Simple As This
Me And You
Country Song
Trouble Town
There’s A Beast And We All Feed It
Broken
In The Event Of My Demise
Slumville Sunrise
Seen It All
Waiting
Lightning Bolt*

* This song can be viewed in the YouTube video, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Thom Williams for setting up this review and arranging the interview with Georgie. Also, massive thanks to Jake Bugg and Georgie for putting on a fantastic show Рthe crowd loved it!


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#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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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Weesp


   

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Weesp¬†are an electronic/alternative rock band from Minsk, Belarus, that have formed their own unique style. Since 2008, the band have received numerous publications and performed many concerts around the world, including festivals in Belarus, Russia and Poland. They’ve taken time out of their busy schedule to chat to us about their upcoming album,¬†Black Sails, and here’s what they had to say…


Hey Stak, how’s it going?
We all are in great mood and can’t wait to share our news with you!

That’s awesome! What future plans have you got? Any new singles or an album in the pipeline?
We’ve already written a new album named Black Sails. Right now we are finishing the mastering, and pushing out new music videos, to support the release of this album. It is going to [be released] 24th March 2018. We released the first single, ‘Illumination’, and three more are coming!

Where do you take inspirations from when making your music?
It comes from everyday. All the events and people around. We like catching a mood, a condition of mind, a feeling – you know, all that short moments when you feel alive. All our songs are created from feelings, emotions, experiences that guided us. Each song has some kind of history or strong experience under it – this is the main source of musical inspiration. When we just started we also found an inspiration in such bands as Tool, Deftones, Nine Inch Nails and this kind of stuff.

What’s your usual process for writing/recording?
We divide the process of writing and the recording process very much. Often there is a long enough time between composing a track and recording it. Maybe a couple of months, maybe a year! Writing music from track to track always goes differently. Sometimes it starts from a jam, sometimes everyone composes his own part at home, sometimes we all get together and do the musical brainstorm.

As for recording, for the second time we recorded an album at the magnificent studio ‘Hertz’ in Poland. We lived there for a few weeks until all the instruments were recorded.

If you could do a collaboration with anyone, who would it be and why?
On the LP, The Void, we made two tracks featuring Cory Brandon of Norma Jean as guest vocals. We really like these tracks and we are very happy with how they turned out. For the new LP, we decided not to invite guests, although there were very interesting options. And of course, I would really like to get a feature with Jonathan Davis.

That would be cool! So what music have you been listening to most recently?
I use Last.FM Scrobbler, so it will not be difficult to answer this question – I just have to look…so, this is Lil Peep with album Hellboy.

If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
I‚Äôm thinking about ‘Triple Beam’ by Machine Head or ‘Less Than’ by Nine Inch Nails. These songs are pretty new and absolutely amazing. I don‚Äôt know about positions in any charts, but I don‚Äôt give a shit about charts anyway.

Haha! Fair enough. So what makes a great show for you?
Of course, first of all it is a crowd. The mood of the audience is quickly transferred to the musicians. And to play a show with a good mood is what makes a great show.

Do you have any pre-show or post-show rituals?
Before the show our singer Lex always drinks 4cl of brandy, and everybody does a lot of sport exercises. And after the show – we bow, as in a fucking theatre.

Haha! I love it! Has anything scary ever happened to you on tour?
Returning from the last tour, we’ve got in a car accident and have seriously damaged the rental bus, and all because the car-rental forgot to give us a bus without a working ABS. This was really scary, especially since I have never been in a traffic accident before.

Yeah, that sounds really scary! Do you have any other passions outside of music?
Each of the members of course has other interests besides music. Mi, our Bassist, is fond of super low cars and builds his STANCE project. I like to humiliate enemies in the Call of Duty playing online on my PS4, and Lex is a big fan of drinking =)

What really grinds your gears?
You know, nothing grinds my gears worse than some chowderhead that doesn’t know when to keep his big trap shut… like that movie said!

Haha! What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
For sure it’s ‘The Greatest Showman’ with Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron¬†in the main roles. We’ve even decided to add some musical dances to one of our new videos, inspired with this film!

Wow, that’s pretty cool! I wasn’t expecting that answer either. I’ve still not seen it but heard amazing things about it. If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
I would say – young Jackie Chan, but I’m too fat to pretend…so I’ll choose Sammo Hung!

Ha! If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be?
Because me and my brother (he plays bass in our band) are twins, so it’s going to be delicious white chocolate Twix!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Stand your ground whatever is happening! And listen to Weesp!

Haha! Love a shameless plug! Well thanks very much for taking the time to chat to us today.
Thank you.


Weesp‘s releases are all¬†available:


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