#EventSpeaks: LAUREL @ The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 01/10/18


   

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On Monday 1st October 2018, LAUREL came to Brighton in support of her debut album, Dogviolet (check out our review here). Since her last, solo performance in Brighton, the songwriter returned with a full band to delight her audience with offerings from her recent record. She was supported by Another Sky and her guitarist, Polly Money.


Polly Money

It always amazes me how someone with just an electric guitar and their voice can produce such a big sound but Polly Money certainly achieved this with her performance. Just funky guitar riffs and her sugary-sweet vocal (somewhat similar to that of Leah McFall or NAO), wowed the audience. A very humble performance with some lovely melodies.

Polly Money Instagram


Another Sky

This band truly blew me away (and I believe the rest of the audience too!) – they have an incredibly full-on sound with excellent use of backing tracks as well as their live instruments. Each song of theirs was pretty unique – for example, the opening to their set was ambient and airy whilst their next song brought about a huge wave of excitement due to its intensity and just how tight their performance was. The vocalist’s voice is incredibly diverse, whilst mainly quite low-pitched, is capable of a wide range. The guitarist had some funky little moves too. Another Sky are definitely going to be a band to watch out for, and certainly recommend catching them live!

Highlight: The biggest highlight, was this one note the vocalist did, towards the end of one of their songs; it was so loud, high-pitched and perfect that it was all-consuming. It sent shivers down my back.


LAUREL

Having seen LAUREL play a solo set at The Green Door Store (review here) back in 2016, it was amazing to watch her performing with a full band. Although it was a relatively short set, it was amazing to see her playing songs from Dogviolet, with a full sound.

Some of the best songs were: ‘All Star’ for its wonderful guitar riff; ‘Lovesick’, which is just a catchy track to get the audience going, ‘Sun King’ which was beautifully intimate – just LAUREL with an acoustic guitar and ‘Life Worth Living’ – it’s just a downright tune!

Of course I won’t be the first person to say it, but there are great similarities between LAUREL and Lana Del Rey, however there is something much more vulnerable about LAUREL and it feels like she has more integrity about her.

It was also interesting to find out that she has recently released a book called, The Mutterings of a Laurel, which is a journal she kept during the writing and recording of Dogviolet – definitely worth checking out.

Having seen LAUREL perform twice now, I can assure you that she puts on a show you don’t want to miss. You really need to catch her now before she’s selling out bigger shows, especially since she just filmed her appearance for Later… with Jools Holland the morning of the Brighton show…sounds like the start of something big for this little star.

Highlights:

  • LAUREL is a very humble artist with an endearing awkwardness about her audience interaction, you can’t help but love.
  • The hilarious names she has for her guitars, which her manager proudly embarrassed her by announcing. It’s not my place to share them, but go see her live and you might find them out! 😂
  • Her ability to perform songs with such passion that you are drawn in by her every word – she’s a real star.

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Setlist

All Star
Lovesick
Hold Tight
Sun King (Solo Acoustic)
Same Mistakes
South Coast
Adored
Blue Blood
Life Worth Living*

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


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Chris (LAUREL’s manager) and Henry (in LAUREL’s PR team) for enabling this review to happen. A big thanks also to Polly Money, Another Sky and LAUREL herself, for putting on such an incredible, intimate show.


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#Review: LAUREL – DOGVIOLET


   

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LAUREL (aka Laurel Arnell-Cullen) is a British indie musician originating from London. She has had a string of critically acclaimed songs since posting her first demo back in 2013 and gained a lot of bloggers’ and radio DJs’ attention for writing, recording and producing most of her early music in her bedroom studio. Since signing to Counter Records (a division of Ninja Tune Records) in August 2016, she has released an EP and headlined her own UK tour. Now, 2018 sees the singer and songwriter releasing her debut album, DOGVIOLET. Here are are thoughts on the record…

Laurel - Dogviolet.jpg

LAUREL is finally releasing her debut album, DOGVIOLET and it’s a real corker! From the moment it opens with the catchy ‘Life Worth Living’ which bursts into life with its heavy drums, we are taken on a personal journey through LAUREL‘s heart and mind.

Some of the other tracks that really stand out are: ‘All Star’ has a really unique guitar line to it and it’s about putting a partner on a pedestal; ‘Hold Tight’ which has some relaxing, summer-by-the-beach vibes about being close to someone; ‘Adored’ for its slightly more grungy sound; ‘Crave’ which builds to a rather haunting chorus and ‘Take It Back’ for its very different and incredibly catchy chorus that lies somewhere along the lines of HAIM and MUNA.

‘Empty Kisses’ is a beautifully melancholic track too about a relationship that’s essentially over and the passion’s gone.

There’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice – it’s stunningly imperfect.

Undoubtedly, comparisons could be made with the likes of Lana Del Rey or Florence Welch due to her ethereal vocals and melancholic tones but there’s something beautiful about the occasional cracks in her voice too – it’s stunningly imperfect.

The production is artistic and evokes imagery of an artistic independent film; it certainly serves as a soundtrack to this period in her life, with real, introspective lyricism and reflection that must have taken her to some deep, dark places in her memories. This is surely the start of a wonderful career ahead – with her intensely mesmerising vocals and remarkably honest and personal writing style that certainly stands her out from so many others right now. This year is certainly going to be a big one for LAUREL and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next.

Rating
4


‘Dogviolet’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dogviolet/1373664343


Dogviolet on Spotify

Coming soon.

Same Mistakes (Official Video)

Life Worth Living (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of LAUREL’s debut album, DOGVIOLET? 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 chat to us about it via our social media.


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#Review: Death Cab For Cutie – Thank You For Today ☁️


   

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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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#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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#Review: Geowulf – Great Big Blue


   

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Geowulf is a duo comprised of members Star Kendrick and Toma Banjanin, originally from Australia. They started writing music a few years ago and released their first track, ‘Saltwater’, in July 2016, which now features on their debut album, Great Big Blue. Here’s what we had to say about it…

Geowulf - Great Big Blue.jpg

Self-described as ‘Beach Pop’, this album is exactly that; it’s hypnotic, easy listening music with a brilliant blend of laid-back guitars, floaty vocals, subtle synths, down-tempo beats and all-round melancholic vibes.

This album is Americana through and through and could quite happily be the soundtrack to a lazy afternoon around a Californian pool-side or whilst hitting the open road in a big convertible, wind through your hair, driving down an American highway. It has a strong resemblance to some of Lana Del Rey‘s music too…just with a slightly more light-hearted feel to it.

Great Big Blue is hypnotic, easy listening music with a brilliant blend of laid-back guitars, floaty vocals, subtle synths, down-tempo beats and all-round melancholic vibes

Prior to its release, the album enjoyed several successful singles but some of biggest highlights on the record include; ‘Sunday’, which is a beautifully mellow ballad, setting the tone for what’s to come (plus the opening lyric gives the album its title), ‘Saltwater’, is slightly more up-tempo with a real summery warmth to it, ‘Get You’, has an almost African rhythm, topped off with Star’s long, drawn-out notes, whilst ‘Drink Too Much’ is probably one of the most conventionally pop tracks, with a tongue-in-cheek look at how drinking a little more than you should, whilst on a night out, can land you in trouble when you get home, with the simplistic yet honest lyrics; ‘Coz I get myself in trouble when I drink too much, Think too much, And you’re somehow on my mind when I drink too much, Think too much.‘ At face value, it sounds cheerful and uplifting but when you listen to the lyrics, it’s a real oxymoron to the sound.

On first listen, the songs tend to blur a little into one, however it’s after a few plays through that you can begin to detect the differences between each track and truly admire Star’s euphoric vocals, Banjanin’s stunning melodies and understand the complexity behind the simplistic-sounding, psychedelic production, appreciating just how much time and effort must have gone into producing Great Big Blue. I have to say, whilst I really did enjoy this record, from start to finish, it is not necessarily an album that you will want on repeat for weeks on end; it’s a very good album but will it stand the test of time? Sadly, I’m not convinced.

Rating
3.5


‘Great Big Blue’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/great-big-blue/1316527015


Great Big Blue on Spotify

‘Saltwater’ (Official Video)

‘Don’t Talk About You’ (Official Video)

‘Get You’ (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Geowulf’s debut album! What do you think of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media to talk about it.


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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Charly & Faust


   

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Charly&Faust are a band who mix psychedelia with blues to create a very unique sound. We had the chance to chat to them and find out a bit more about what inspires them, how they go about writing and recording their music and what they get up to before a show. It’s all here…


Hey, how’s it going?
Faust: Good thanks for spending some time with Charly&Faust.
Charly: Hello! It is going pretty well. Thanks to take the time to interview us.

What future plans have you got? Any new singles or an album in the pipeline?
Faust: We just released our EP ‘Wild World’ on all the music platforms. We are also about to record a new song that we are very excited about! We are lucky to work with two incredible people: Peace S. Nistades for the artistic production and Gerhard Westphalen for the mixes and masters.
Charly: We have a music video out called ‘No Rush’ which got nominated in a lot of festivals now. We are really proud and really lucky we were able to work with talented people (Mariano Schoedorff Ares as director, Zoé Pelloux as Producer and Ines Coca as Cinematographer).

Where do you take inspirations from when making your music?
Charly: Someone told me few years ago, “You can’t create music and Art in general if you stay in a recording studio and don’t live!”. It is exactly that. You need to live and get hurt to have things to say. I also discovered a new way to get inspired, which is making researches about events and topics I want to talk about. I am currently using this method for my solo EP and it is really fascinating where you can go by just reading other people.
Faust: Life is pretty much what inspires me, my experiences, my demons, my fears, my happiness…There are no rules really of where I take inspirations.

What’s your usual process for writing/recording?
Charly: In Charly&Faust, Faust is the one coming to us with lyrics and then we are working all together on the structure and the melodies. For the recording part, we are usually starting with the rhythmic section (Coralie Hervé on Drums and Eric Reymind on Bass), then we are recording my rhythm guitar, Jefferson Fichou does the lead guitar and finally Nathan Lorber comes in for the keys. After all that we are focusing on the lead vocals with Faust, which can take some time because we are always trying to improve our harmonies and melodies. After all that recording part, we are producing the songs by adding several other instruments with Peace S. Nistades.
Faust: I like to be by myself usually when I’m writing a song, in a quiet space. I need to be in my own bubble. When the lyrics are ready, I work on the melody with Charly. This part is so important in our band. We need to be just the both of us first to really be able to present a piece that Coralie, Eric, Jeff and Nathan can work on. Because of all that preparation and work, the song pretty much ready before we get to the recording session. 

If you could do a collaboration with anyone, who would it be and why?
Faust: I’d love to do a collaboration with Lana del Rey! I love her style and she inspires me lot as well
Charly: Tracy Chapman, P!nk, Tegan & Sara

What music have you been listening to most recently?
Faust: For the last few days, I have been listening to James Brown.
Charly: We just lost a wonderful French artist called Johnny Hallyday. I am rediscovering his music now. He was an extraordinary singer and an amazing showman.

If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
Charly: ‘Dommage’ from Big Flo & Oli, or ‘What About Us’ from P!nk.
Faust: I don’t know if ‘Stay’ by Rihanna is recent enough but that would be a good one for a cover. I just love the vibes and the melody of that song, I can already see how to make this one with Charly&Faust’s style.

What makes a great show for you?
Faust: Connection with the band members and the audience.
Charly: A stage, an audience, and a lot of alcohol and cigarets *laughs*.

Do you have any pre-show or post-show rituals?
Charly: Having a drink with the band, jamming with them, and Faust doing our tribal make ups. You are going to be able to discover all that in our Vlog #2 on our YouTube channel!
Faust: I like jamming before a show and doing some warm up voice exercises. 

Has anything scary ever happened to you on tour?
Faust: Not really because I haven’t done a tour with Charly&Faust yet, but maybe soon!!
Charly: Couple of stuff happened when I was touring for other artists, but not with Charly&Faust yet. My biggest fear would be to loose my guitar during the trip! It would be a real nightmare! 

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
Charly: Food, gardening, my pets! I know I am already a grandma!
Faust: I love dancing, this is the best way to actually express yourself universally. You don’t need words! But I love writing songs though *laughs*. 

What really grinds your gears?
Faust: Violence towards animals.
Charly: Tags! Who needs to be tagged by someone else to find who they really are? 

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
Faust: Logan Lucky by Steven Soderbergh.
Charly: The Broken Circle Breakdown by Felix Van Groeningen. 

If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Charly: Myself! I think nobody else would be interested in the role *laughs*. My life is boring and I am working hard to keep it this way!
Faust: Alicia Vikander.

If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be?
Faust: Dark chocolate almond.
Charly: A chocolate bar from Switzerland because they make the best quality chocolate. And I’m half Swiss.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Charly: Do what you want to do and if someone is judging you they can go fuck themselves!
Faust: Never have any regrets!


Charly & Faust‘s releases are all available:


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#MellowMonday: Lana Del Rey – ‘Love’


   

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Lana Del Rey has just released her first new music since 2015’s Honeymoon album and people are going crazy for her new single, ‘Love’. I’ve actually not been a huge fan of Lana, until now – this track is just too good to ignore!

It’s an incredible song with its epic soundtrack feel; subtle sweeping strings, pounding drums, a beautiful melody and of course Lana’s haunting vocals. It’s a truly brilliant piece of art.

The artwork for the single resembles an old movie poster; it’s the perfect depiction for the song. The music video has emerged and is a masterpiece in it’s own right; check it out below!

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‘Love’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-single/id1207579025