#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


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#FeelGoodFriday: The 1975 – ‘Give Yourself A Try’

 

   

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The 1975 have just made a triumphant return with their brand new single, ‘Give Yourself A Try’.

Taken from their upcoming third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (originally titled Music For Cars, the band are now using this as the moniker for this period of the band’s career, with a second album, Notes On A Conditional Form, already in the pipeline for May 2019), the song is set to kick off the band’s new era with a bang.

The track is much more subtle than some of their more straight-up pop tunes like The Sound and ‘Girls’ but has a rather ‘Chocolate’ feel to it; could this album see the band return to the sound of their debut?

I particularly like their interesting take on the world and certain aspects of it, throughout the verses, particularly the part about, ‘And what would you say to your younger self?’ – it’s a great moment in the song. Equally, whilst it’s not an instant pop anthem, the chorus is majorly catchy and I’ve found myself singing it loads already!

The music video is pretty funky too with it’s split-screen and trippy effects. I particularly love Matty’s dancing and new orange hair (is it just me or is there something a bit My Chemical Romance about it?!) and the clear guitars and drums used by the rest of the band.

This is certainly an exciting new era for the band and I can’t wait to hear their next single, and the rest of the album.

What are your thoughts of the new single from the band? Do you like the direction of their new era? Are you excited about the new album? Got 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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‘Give Yourself A Try’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/give-yourself-a-try/1389783331?i=1389783376


#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;“Every night I’m at your window, Wonder when you’re gonna let me in.”A 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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Isaac Gracie @ The Haunt, Brighton – 25/04/18


   

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On Wednesday 25th April, Isaac Gracie arrived in Brighton to play a headline show, in support of his self-titled debut album (review here) with support from up-and-comer, Matt Maltese. It really was a fantastic show!


Matt Maltese

The singer took to the stage, dressed in a retro-looking brown suit, and performed a string of songs taken from his upcoming debut album, Bad Contestant. His songwriting is quite politically-charged and certainly has a folk/indie vibe to it. There’s an excellent power behind his vocals and a real satire to his between-song banter.

Highlight: The hilarious concept behind the final song of his set, ‘As The World Caves In’; the idea of Donald Trump and Theresa May having a final night of lovemaking as they click the red button, destroying the Earth.


Isaac Gracie

Isaac Gracie took to the stage in front of his sold-out audience, to a deafening applause, launching straight into the thought-provoking, ‘All In My Mind’. Isaac is certainly a brooding artist and for the first few songs, you could hear and feel the aching anxieties he pours into his songwriting, with little audience eye contact, show-casing his artistic vulnerability perfectly.

It wasn’t long before he warmed up to the audience, cracking some jokes during his between-song banter, making reference to ‘Terrified’, saying that maybe he is cut out for it after all. He also fed off a couple of audience members calling out, superbly; it brought the audience closer to him and let them in on his dry, almost geeky sense of humour.

You can’t help but marvel at the passion behind Isaac’s voice and lyricism; he is someone who has clearly worked incredibly hard, crafting their songwriting and made every effort to create a collection of songs that are brilliantly diverse yet still remain true to him, as an artist. His show was impeccable! Some of the most stand-out performances included, ‘Terrified’‘One Night’‘The Death Of You & I’‘Running On Empty’ and ‘Last Words’.

At one point, he made reference to the last time he performed in Brighton, at this very venue, when he supported The Japanese House in February 2016 (see our review here) – it was great to see how he’s gone from being a support act, to headlining his own show in such a relatively short space of time, and much deserved too!

This is an artist who is only just scratching the surface of their career, with their honest and genre-blending music; I truly can’t wait to see what he does next.

Highlights:

  • Isaac’s
  • The fact he came straight out after his set, to meet the fans, taking time to have photos with them and sign merch – it’s fantastic when an artist gives back to their followers!

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 📸 All of the photos in this post (except me with the band) are credited to Chloe CZH 📷
Go and give her a follow on Twitter and visit her website.


 Setlist

All In My Mind
That Was Then
Terrified
Telescope
When You Go
Love (Ain’t Always So Good)
All The Burning Lovers
Silhouettes Of You
One Night
Darkness Of The Day
The Death Of You & I *
Running On Empty *
Reverie
Hollow Crown

Encore
Last Words

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


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Hannah Braid for setting up this review and to Isaac Gracie and Matt Maltese for putting on a fantastic show. It was also great to have the chance to meet Isaac too!

Isaac Gracie & Matt Wright.JPG


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Isaac Gracie – Isaac Gracie (Self-Titled)


   

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Isaac Gracie is an incredibly talented singer-songwriter, hailing from London. From humble beginnings, his 2016 demo, ‘Last Words’ caused a big stir online, leading to the head of Universal Music flying over from LA just to see him perform, resulting in his signing to Virgin EMI. Now, in 2018, the songsmith is releasing his debut, self-titled album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Isaac Gracie.jpg

Every so often an album comes along that is both exciting, inspirational and sonically diverse; groundbreaking even…this is definitely one of those albums! (The last album I felt like this about was Will Joseph Cook‘s Sweet Dreamer.)

Whilst growing up, Gracie’s father left the family home and since signing to Virgin EMI, his longterm relationship sadly ended, but out of the ashes of these life-influencing events came some fantastic songwriting material, resulting in this incredibly powerful debut. As such, throughout the album, there are strong themes of abandonment, guilt and heartbreak; this honest approach and willing exposure of his emotional vulnerabilities is nothing new to songwriting but the way it marries up with the instrumentation is simply marvellous.

Opening track, Terrified’ (think Elbow meets Harry Styles‘Two Ghosts’) chronicles Gracie’s own fears and insecurities surrounding the hype about him, singing, “I’m terrified that maybe, I wasn’t cut out for this.” He really needn’t worry though; he certainly is cut out for this!

‘Last Words’ is a huge track for him; it’s the song that kick-started the buzz about him and whilst it’s very different from the demo, he admitted that he spent quite some time playing around with different versions before settling on the one that’s now on the record. He’s managed to strike a great balance between the original demo, maintaining some of it’s raw essence but also brought more depth to it with the addition of strings. Imagine a track by The Beatles that’s been countryfied and you get this!

The brilliant blend of highs and lows, and fusion of indie, rock, country and latin flavours has genuinely created one of the most genre-bending albums heard in a long time!

‘The Death Of You & I’ is a personal favourite – it’s got an almost latin beat behind it before it unleashes a hidden ferocity. The calm verses that erupt into the heavy, chaotic choruses make this an intense and fun song which you can’t help but want to thrash around to, wildly. There’s even an almost salsa-esque breakdown before the final chorus, making this one of the most intriguing songs I’ve heard in years.

Other stand-out tracks include; ‘Running On Empty’, which is relatively mainstream and quite indie (like something you might expect to hear from The Killers or Maccabees), ‘Telescope’ with its beautiful overlapping vocals at the end, ‘That Was Then’, which has stunning, dynamic vocals, ranging from deep to falsetto, topped off with a powerful and melodic chorus and ‘When You Go’, which is a track you would expect to hear from the likes of The Barr Brothers or Vance Joy and be accompanied by a music video shot with an old, handheld, film-reel camera; it’s strongly folk flavoured.

Gracie has been quoted as saying that he set out to create the best record of all time and whilst there are bound to be people who have differing opinions, he certainly has created a masterpiece! The brilliant blend of highs and lows, and fusion of indie, rock, country and latin flavours has genuinely created one of the most genre-bending albums heard in a long time…yet somehow it still works as a comprehensive body of work that is uniquely identifiable as him. This is an album I am certain will make a big impact this year and will definitely carve out an exciting future for his music career. Utter brilliance!

Rating
4-5


‘Isaac Gracie’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/isaac-gracie/1345686455


Isaac Gracie on Spotify

Terrified (Official Video)

Silhouettes Of You (Official Video)

Last Words (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Isaac Gracie’s self-titled debut album? Are you as much of a huge fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our socials.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Fickle Friends – You Are Someone Else


   

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Fickle Friends are a Brighton-based, indie-pop band who have gone from strength to strength, since their humble beginnings. Now signed to Polydor, they are releasing their long awaited, debut album, You Are Someone Else. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Fickle Friends - You Are Someone Else.jpg

It’s been a long time coming, but Fickle Friends have finally released their eagerly anticipated, debut album and it certainly doesn’t disappoint! This is an album packed to bursting point with catchy choruses, groovy guitar licks and salacious synth sounds.

The record opens with the darkly addictive and super chant-able, Wake Me Up’ and manages to maintain momentum throughout, whether it be the huge pop anthems like ‘Glue’ (a personal favourite!) and ‘Swim’ or the more placid, mellow offerings such as ‘In My Head. This is an incredibly diverse album that has a little something for everyone, yet still manages to come together as a superb collection of hard work, perfectly crafted and super skilled songwriting. It is also nice to see that the band haven’t followed the current trend of putting out a standard 10-track album, with a special deluxe edition, but instead have just the one version with a very decent, 16 tracks.

There are strong resemblances with the likes of The 1975 (on ‘Say No More’ and ‘Bite’), MUNA (on ‘Hard To Be Myself’ and ‘In My Head’), Shura (as with ‘Hello Hello’) and Rae Morris (on ‘Swim’) and it would certainly fit well with fans of theirs, but could equally find a place in any trendy, pop or indie-lover’s music collection too!

This is an album packed to bursting point with catchy choruses, groovy guitar licks and salacious synth sounds.

One thing is for certain, the band have managed to produce a fantastic sound that is both contemporary, modern pop yet strongly 80s tinted at the same time; something which is even reflected in their music video imagery and album artwork.

Although the sound throughout is fun and uplifting, that is contrary to the deeply personal lyricism, which finds singer, Natti Shiner, touching upon topics like self-doubt and anxiety, as can be heard on ‘Hard To Be Myself’ or rocky relationships, like that of ‘Wake Me Up’.

Other songs to take note of include the beautifully soothing ‘Paris’, the incredibly pop-tastic, ‘Bite’, the incredibly funky ‘Lovesick’ and the mammoth banger that is ‘Glue’. However, ‘Rotation’ is the only track I find to be somewhat disappointing; it’s quite repetitive and stands out from the rest of the album (and not in a particularly good way). That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just not particularly memorable and doesn’t seem to fit nicely amongst the rest of the, otherwise perfect, album.

Fickle Friends have undoubtedly created one heck of a masterpiece; this is not simply shallow, meaningless, throw-away chart hits but rather, relatable pop music with a purpose. The band have made good-quality and fun songs with real depth and meaning, that is definitely going to get stuck in your head. This is sure to be just the beginning for the band. I’m certain this will pave the way for a long and successful career; one which I can’t wait to witness as they continue to grow.

Rating
4.5


‘You Are Someone Else’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/you-are-someone-else/1312920152


You Are Someone Else on Spotify

Hard To Be Myself (Official Video)

Glue (Official Video)

Brooklyn (Official Video)

Swim (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Brighton-based, Fickle Friends’ debut album, You Are Someone Else! What do you think of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Editors – Violence


   

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Editors are an English rock band from Birmingham who have enjoyed many career successes, including two platinum studio albums (out of five, to date), a Mercury Prize nomination and two albums entering the charts at Number 1. Now, in 2018, the band are releasing their sixth studio album, Violence. Here’s what we think of it…

Editors - Violence.jpg

Let’s just start by saying that this album is a far cry from their post-punkesque, 2005 debut, The Back Room, yet somehow they’re still recognisable…but then maybe that’s the beauty of this band; they’re always growing and always changing, but manage to still be the same, iconic band.

The lead single, ‘Magazine’ is a bold, electro-rock song that is like something you might expect from Depeche Mode, whilst ‘Hallelujah (So Low)’ is acoustic and melodic in places, yet very heavy and industrial-sounding in others; it’s like the lovechild of Coldplay and Nine Inch Nails – not two bands you’d ever expect to be put together, but oddly…it works! Whilst the album has moments of purposeful, off-key darkness, there is just as much positivity and lightheartedness. ‘Darkness At The Door’ is probably the most out-and-out electro-indie/pop song on the album, whilst ‘Cold’ is a stadium-filling, lighter-waving ballad.

This feels like something very different, very new and very exciting for the band.

In other places, this album has similarities with Take That (‘Nothingness’) and even a melody from Chicane‘s ‘Come Back’ struck me in the title track, ‘Violence’. That’s not to say the band are copying from others; they’ve actually just produced an incredibly diverse and eclectic album, that truly has a bit of something for everyone. It has been largely supported by a guy called Blanck Mass (aka Benjamin John Power), who is known for making heavy electronic music and produced by a man named Leo Matthew Abrahams, who has worked with the likes of Imogen Heap, Brian Eno and Florence And The Machine. That’s perhaps why this album has so much distinctiveness to it.

Having worked closely with the two, singer, Tom Smith, said, “When it’s electronic, it’s very electronic. But then when it’s guitar-y, it’s very band driven. I think we’ve managed to find the balance of those two things better than we have done before.” He goes on to say, “I think there’s a balance here between melody and brutality that I don’t think we’ve managed to get before,” and that’s very true; this feels like something very different, very new and very exciting for the band.

This is an incredibly strong album from a well-established band. For so many others, it’s easy to slip under the radar by your sixth album but that won’t be a worry for Editors with this release. Whilst the band have not had a Number 1 album since their third record, In This Light and on This Evening, they’ve managed to create something special with Violence. In fact it would be very surprising if this doesn’t reach enter the charts inside the Top 3, if not Number 1.

Rating
4.5


‘Violence’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/violence/1328602125


Violence on Spotify

Magazine (Official Video)

Hallelujah (So Low) [Official Video]


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Editors’ sixth album, Violence! What do you think of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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