#FeelGoodFriday: Midnight Skies – ‘Falling Apart’

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When Matt emailed me to say we had some Pop-Punk to review, I was on it like skaters on a freshly waxed library fire escape. Anyone who knows me, knows I love Pop-Punk and I’ve ruined a fair few Spotify algorithms whilst DJing in the passenger seat, to prove the point (sorry Allen!). Here’s what we had to make of ‘Falling Apart’ from Pop-Punkers Midnight Skies

‘Falling Apart’ is the third single from Seattle’s Midnight Skies. The trio only formed in the summer of 2018 but have been steadily releasing content and building a decent following in that time. As always, the Pop-Punk scene is awash with bands claiming “energetic live shows”, “fun-loving” and “always up for a party” but at the end of the day, good tracks in this genre need three things and this review is broken down across such things:

Thing #1It needs to be “short and sweet” – and unfortunately ‘Falling Apart’ is a full 4 minutes long. Now it would be wrong to judge purely on the length of a song but it doesn’t feel like the track uses the time well. This single could have easily ended prior to its middle 8 and no one would have noticed, but the change of pace here is welcome and worth the wait. The song then classically falls back into its chorus, as it should, but rather than ending here, there is a 30-second outro that dampens the energy of the song by drawing it out for too long. It feels like the band are trying to crowbar in all the features we enjoy in a good Pop-Punk song, some of which really work, others not so much.

Thing #2It’s gotta be catchy! All great Pop-Punk anthems have great hooks and this is no exception. The chorus has a great melodic and lyrical hook which I haven’t stopped humming around the house since my first listen. Its initial repetitiveness, followed by the falling melody with the title lyrics bring memories back to classics from Hit The Lights and Forever The Sickest Kids, leaning slightly more towards the pop than punk element of the genre. This also comes through in the production of the track, which contains many effects across the track, especially on the vocals. Personally, I have never been a big fan of this, but I know some will love it!

Finally Thing #3Does it get the party started? Absolutely! It’s definitely a track that will at least get your head nodding, but stick it on at a party and I think it would get people dancing. Mostly this is down to the driving rhythm and the use of the double snare hits on the drums that give the track a lot of pace. This only relents within that middle 8 section which slows the pace down and adds some nice dynamics to the track.

Overall, this is a good track but it struggles to stand out in an already dominated field. However, if you saw these guys live and heard this track, you would remember it and hearing it again would send you back to a good night out. It feels like a blank canvas ready for you to attach your own good times and every time you put it on, I hope it would cast you back to a good night out with friends.

For Fans Of:
Forever The Sickest Kids, All Time Low, The Summer Set

3

What are your thoughts of this Pop-Punk band? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media.

Rob Manhire
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‘Falling Apart’ is out on We Are Triumphant and can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/falling-apart/1485448144?i=1485448820


#Review: MUNA @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 02/12/19

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On Monday 2nd December 2019, MUNA arrived in Brighton to perform the first date of their Saves The World Tour – their first ever headline UK tour. They band were supported by Fake Laugh. Here’s what we had to say about the incredible evening…


Fake Laugh

Armed with a fellow band member and a laptop of backing tracks, it’s incredible how Kamran Khan (aka Fake Laugh) creates such a full sound – as if he had an entire band with him. The set was filled with original tracks that could easily sit well in an American teen drama (think maybe The O.C.?!) due to his interesting brand of dreamy indie-pop. That said, he also pulled out a couple of excellent, more rocky guitar riffs that added another interesting depth to the set. Although he is somewhat awkward with his crowd interactions, that doesn’t stop him from getting the crowd moving.

Highlight: There was one particular song towards the end of the set, which I don’t believe is online, but the guitar riff and melody, paired with Kamran’s smooth vocal, was a tremendous thing to watch and dance to.


MUNA

Following a beautiful, instrumental intro, MUNA took to the stage and launched straight into ‘Number One Fan’ to rapturous applause from the crowd! They proceeded to play a string of songs, both old and new, from their debut (About U) and sophomore (Saves The World) albums.

Their Saves The World Tour marks the first headline, UK tour for the band and the Brighton show was their first date of the tour. To say the set was outstanding would be an understatement – the band really were jaw-droppingly brilliant, from their tight performance and engaging stage presence to Katie’s incredible, powerful vocals and they played to a room filled with nothing but love!

It doesn’t matter if you are a massive MUNA fan and know all the words to every one of their songs, or if you are new to them, because the vibes from both the band and the crowd are electric and every single person is able to feel welcome, accepted and a part of something special.

The relationship between the trio is genuine and packed with honest banter – at one point Katie made a small mistake and the others joked with her about it openly to the crowd but it was all taken in good fun and the audience found it hilarious too.

What possibly struck me most about seeing this band perform is the live interpretations of their tracks and just how genre-bending they really are! On some songs you can hear an almost country twinge to their style whilst on others they rock out, with one track even having a metal-style moment to it, which sent the crowd cheering. However at their core, this band are still a dark pop powerhouse with an 80s throwback feel to them.

Whether you’re a long-time MUNA fan or only just hearing about them, I cannot recommend highly enough, to try and catch them live – they will not disappoint and you will not stop moving throughout their entire set!

Highlights:

  • The stunning vocal performance from Katie (Gavin) throughout was breath-taking!
  • The chemistry between the trio (and their touring drummer and bassist) was electric – their actual performance was impeccable too!
  • The energy coming from the band was reflected throughout the crowd, filling the room with love, excitement and a truly euphoric energy.
  • The undertones of various genres being blended together, makes the band a real pleasure to watch – and as Naomi even said at one point, she “really believes [they] are the best f**king band in the world!”
  • It was a really nice touch that the band requested the venue make their toilets gender neutral for the event, to ensure everyone feels comfortable – a really caring touch for their very diverse fanbase.

 📸 All of the photos of MUNA are credited to Chloe Hashemi 📷
Go and give her a follow on Instagram and Twitter, and visit her website.


 Setlist

Number One Fan*
Stayaway
Crying On The Bathroom Floor
Around U
Never
Navy Blue
Everything
Winterbreak
Taken
Pink Light
Good News (Ya-Ya Song)
Hands Off
Loudspeaker*
I Know A Place*
It’s Gonna Be Okay, Baby

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


Finally, I want to say massive thanks to xyz and also Chloe Hashemi for her incredible live photos of the show!


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Snow Patrol @ Brighton Centre, Brighton – 24/11/19

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On Sunday 24th November 2019, Snow Patrol arrived in Brighton to perform a wonderful show at Brighton Centre, on their Reworked Tour. Due to performing two sets, the band opted to have no support act. Here’s what we had to say about the show…


Snow Patrol

As a way of celebrating 25 years of Snow Patrol, the band recently recorded new versions of some of their biggest tracks, on their latest record, Reworked. To accompany the new release and further celebrate their milestone anniversary, the band embarked on the Reworked Tour, stopping for a date in Brighton.

The set was split into two halves – the first with a mellow, stripped-back ambience whilst following a short interval, the second half picked up the pace with a more full-on, upbeat vibe. However, throughout both sets, the band stuck with the “reworked” style, breathing new life into some of their best-loved hits and deepest cuts from their back catalogue.

What actually made the night even more special, was the fact that quite a few of the “reworked” versions of the songs they performed, were not even on the new album (Reworked), so just by being at a show on this tour. you get to experience something very special – these one-off gems may never be heard performed or recorded in the same way again.

The audience diversity at a Snow Patrol show is very interesting too – whilst there are typically middle-aged listeners who have undoubtedly followed the length of the band’s career to date, there are also children being accompanied by their parents, equally pouring their lyrics back to them. It’s quite bewitching to see such a range of fans, across a few generations, and is testament to the timelessness of the band’s work. That, and/or perhaps the newer versions of the band’s back catalogue have picked up a new generation of fans on the way. Either way, they are a band that can be enjoyed by everyone.

The effort and craftsmanship that went into the band’s performance was a wonderful experience and whilst they could easily sell out huge arenas, it was nice to see them playing the smaller scale of (still) big venues without compromising the quality and production of the show. The addition of both string and brass sections as well as an additional percussionist to the lineup, really added an interesting new depth to the songs too.

If you haven’t had the chance yet, there are only a handful of shows left on this incredible tour, to experience this unique take on the band’s long-standing career and I would highly recommend trying to catch one of them, if you can.

Highlights:

  • The banter between songs from Gary Lightbody was pretty dry, honest and hysterical. One of the best moments was during the start of ‘Run’ when someone screamed, “I love you,”, completely throwing him off by making him laugh. He then restarted the song but not before telling a witty anecdote about how he once ruined a television performance of the song, after which one person on Twitter had a go at him for, for “ruining Leona Lewis’ song.”
  • The addition of string and horn sections as well as a percussionist really added an interesting depth to the performance. Furthermore, having the two main producers of Reworked performing on the tour with them was quite a unique idea too.
  • Gary Lightbody took time to introduce all of the various extra instrumentalists on the stage with him, really showing his gratitude for their skills and performances with the band.
  • The energy and new life to the band’s back catalogue of songs was invigorating to watch, demonstrating that even after 25 years, this band are still enjoying performing to audiences…and still have so much to give!

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📷 All of the photos are credited to Michael Hundertmark 📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

First Set
You’re All I Have*
New York
You Could Be Happy
Warmer Climate
I Think Of Home
Crack The Shutters
Lifening
Take Back The City

Second Set
Spitting Games*
Chocolate
A Dark Switch
Run
Heal Me
Set The Fire To The Third Bar*
Empress
Called Out In The Dark
Shut Your Eyes
Chasing Cars
Open Your Eyes

Encore
What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?
Just Say Yes

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


Finally, I want to say a HUGE thanks to Warren Higgins and Charleigh Egan from Chuff Media for sorting out this review and to Snow Patrol themselves for putting on such a remarkable show.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Kesha – ‘Raising Hell’ featuring Big Freedia

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It’s been a couple of years now since Kesha released her rather open, honest and clearly very healing 2017 album, Rainbow.

Now, 2019 sees the pop songstress release a downright catchy-as-hell new single, ‘Raising Hell’ (featuring Big Freedia), which also comes alongside the announcement of her next record, High Road.

This latest song sees Kesha return to a more fun-filled pop sound but with a fresh feel and something seriously uplifting about it! The brass-led breakdowns are funky and will get a crowd moving, whilst gospel-like moments really raise the spirit of the track. It’s definitely the kind of track you can keep on repeat.

It also arrives with a music video directed by Luke Gilford, where Kesha assumes the role of a big-haired, ’80s-style televangelist, preaching her own unique message and making the congregation speak in tongues…that is before things take a very dark turn! Well worth a watch (below)!

Her new album, High Road, comes out 10th January 2020, and is set to feature the likes of Sturgill Simpson, Brian Wilson, Dan Reynolds (of Imagine Dragons) and Nate Ruess (of fun.) – personally, I can’t wait!!!

What are your thoughts of this pop songstress’ new track? Are you as much of a fan as us? Do you have 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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‘Raising Hell’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/raising-hell-feat-big-freedia/1484385866?i=1484385869


#Review: John Newman @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 15/10/19

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On Tuesday 15th October 2019, John Newman arrived in Brighton, to play a sold out show at Concorde 2, to promote his new EP, A.N.i.M.A.L. He was supported by sibling trio, Tors. Here’s what we have to say about the show…


Tors

I remember being fascinated when I first saw Tors support Tom Walker a couple of years ago, so was pleasantly surprised to see the trio of brothers return to Brighton. They still amaze me with just how full their sound is, despite there just being three of them, partially due to the (standing) drummer and his clever use of drum pads.

The three-piece sibling outfit produce some captivating sounds and somehow evoke a sense of nostalgia – they could easily fit on an emotive film soundtrack. If you haven’t seen them; I would highly recommend at least giving them a listen on Spotify, or heading to a show of theirs, near you.

Highlight: The three-part vocal harmonies produced by the guys is remarkable and adds a really interesting depth to their performance. It’s a wonderfully special thing to hear done live.


John Newman

The lights went down as an evocative instrumental and rhythmic lighting got the crowd pumped up for John Newman to take to the stage. As the track came to an end, he arrived to great applause and did something quite unexpected and unusual, performing the first part of ‘Not Giving In’ as just him and an acoustic guitar – upbeat but not a full-on sound to arrive on stage to…but it worked so well! It really showcased his incredible talents, before the full band joined him on stage to finish the rest of the track.

He proceeded to play a range of his biggest, most well-known tracks, including his collaborations with the likes of Rudimental and Sigala, all the while, getting the crowd singing and dancing along. He sure likes to move himself too, as he constantly puts his utmost energy into every song, including busting out his rather quirky yet distinctive dancing.

His vocals were fantastic as well – although a little raspy in places (however this is somewhat part of his trademark sound). He was accompanied by two brilliant female, backing vocalists and a tight band too.

However, possibly one of the best bits about the show, was his candid sharing of anecdotes and opening up about his feelings. He talked about his recent struggles with his physical health, as well as issues with his mental health too; making promises that he will get stronger and never allow people to take control of his creative processes again (which comes after a couple of songs he released that he felt were not true to himself). He also shared how he is coming out of himself a lot more now and wanting to perform more intimate shows and chat more to fans, than he did in the past – showing a great deal of growth.

One thing’s for certain, John Newman could quite easily pack a small, local venue or a huge stadium but regardless, he would have everyone in the place dancing and singing like mad, the whole way through. His energy is relentless and set list is packed with upbeat songs which you can’t help but lose yourself in. You must go and see him live when you get the chance!

Highlights:

  • The sheer energy John Newman gives the audience is highly infectious and his vocals are incredible to hear live!
  • The set list was sensational and packed with hits to get the crowd moving, constantly!
  • His honest and open approach to interacting with the crowd is refreshing and to talk about his own struggles makes him very relatable – and he clearly has a lot of love for it, as people constantly call out, “I love you John!”
  • It may sound odd, but the stage lighting really made the performance stand out too – Concorde 2 is a great, local venue with about 600 capacity but the lighting could easily have worked in a stadium, but it was amazing to see that work at a smaller venue.
  • The backing band and vocalists just make the experience even better – it would be quite easy for him to use backing tracks but it adds something for him to vibe off.

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📷 All of the photos are credited to Michael Hundertmark 📸
Why not give him a follow on Instagram and Twitter or check out his website.


 Setlist

Intro
Not Giving In
Give Me Your Love*
Feelings
Cheating
Losing Sleep
The Hardest Word Is Goodbye
Forever’s Not Long Enough
Mama
Animal
Tiring Game
Come And Get It*
Blame
Feel The Love*

Encore
Without You
Stand By Me
Love Me Again

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


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to John Newman and Tors for putting on incredible performances and to Warren Higgins from Chuff Media for setting this review up for me.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Against The Current – Past Lives 👁


   

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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: The Story So Far – Proper Dose 🏔


   

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The Story So Far are a five-piece band from Walnut Creek, California, consisting of members; Parker Cannon (lead vocals), Kelen Capener (bass), Kevin Geyer (guitar & keyboards), Will Levy (Guitar) and Ryan Torf (drums/percussion). The band are currently signed to Pure Noise Records and Proper Dose (produced by Sam Pura, mixed by Eric Valentine) marks the band’s fourth studio album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Story So Far - Proper Dose.jpg

In honesty, this is the first album I’ve listened to by The Story So Far (I’ve failed as a pop punk fan…I know!) but right from the very first listen, you can tell it’s something special; at its core, it is a pop punk album but there is something incredibly mature about its sound too. I remember being blown away by Sugarcult when they released their album, Lights Out; this feels just like that!

This is an album that doesn’t mess around; right from the start, it kicks into gear, exactly as it means to go on! Title track, ‘Proper Dose’, is a beautifully chaotic introduction to the album which continuously builds into a euphoric crescendo that you just can’t help but be consumed by.

It leads straight into ‘Keep This Up’; a personal and intense track that sees singer, Parker Cannon, look at disconnecting himself from the world around him, using drugs to help, but facing the fact that he could lose those around him.

Some of the must-hear tracks include: ‘Take Me As You Please’ – a rather enchanting track, led by the hum of the acoustic guitar, seeing Parker Cannon facing some relationship woes; ‘Let It Go’ is rich in texture and tone due to the blend of acoustic and electric guitars – it’s a track you just want to play loud, drive fast, windows down, with the sun in your face and wind in your hair whilst ‘Need To Know’ is more a traditional pop punk song with it’s fast-paced, double-time drums that are so indicative of the likes of early New Found Glory, yet towards the end it completely changes pace and becomes far more mellow and reflective.

It’s a self-reflective look at finding your way from the person you were and paving the way to the person you want to be.

Other tracks that also grab your attention are ‘Out Of It’ with its rather in-your-face verses that switch up to a far more epic, drawn-out chorus, ‘Upside Down’ is a truly tear-jerking ballad that will bring a tear to the eye and ‘Line’ is a really wonderful interlude that leads out of ‘Need To Know’ – it has great drum pads, beach-like guitars and hauntingly distant vocals; it’s like something you’d expect to hear from the likes of Moby or The Avalanches but it’s a welcome difference from the rest of the record…only adding further dynamism to it.

This is an album that truly takes you on a journey – it’s a self-reflective look at finding your way from the person you were and paving the way to the person you want to be; it’s about transformation. Evolution. Maturity.

I truly believe this record has achieved something incredible – it’s managed to maintain a well-loved and often, over-saturated genre but at the same time, taken it in a completely new direction, with a wonderfully dynamic sound to it. This is sure to be a very exciting time for the band – it is certainly a very exciting record to listen to!

Rating
4.5


‘Proper Dose’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/proper-dose/1412097802


Proper Dose on Spotify

Upside Down (Official Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgc8a7ikd2w

Let It Go (Official Audio)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2hrXCeXtrY


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s fourth offering? 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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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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