#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: The Story So Far – Proper Dose ūüŹĒ


   

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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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#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: With Confidence – Love And Loathing ūü•Ä


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerWith Confidence are a pop punk band from Sydney, Australia, who formed back in 2012. Having been through some line-up changes, the band now consists of¬†Jayden Seeley (lead vocals & bass),¬†Inigo Del Carmen¬†(lead guitar & backing vocals) and¬†Joshua Brozzesi (drums).¬†In 2016, the band signed to Hopeless Records and released their debut album¬†Better Weather. Now, in 2018, the¬†band are back with their sophomore record,¬†Love And Loathing. Here’s what we have to say about it…

With Confidence - Love And Loathing.jpg

This feels very much like the band have studied and followed the recipe for making the perfect pop punk record, down to a tee…and that’s not even a bad thing! Somehow, the record feels timeless within the realm of the genre but without sounding like a carbon copy of so many others. After only a couple of listens, it feels just like returning to an old favourite that has been in my collection for years!

Opening track, ‘That Something’, is a stunning way to kick off an album – it’s got catchy vocals (but not obviously so) about finding a new love interest, paired with strong instrumentals of varied tempos, topped off with superb and subtle production flourishes.

Other huge tracks to take note of, include: ‘The Turnaround’ is a massive tune about making a change in your life and grabbing it by the horns, all accompanied by seriously incredible falsetto vocals; ‘Jaded’ which is a fast-paced thrashing track that you might find from the likes of Simple Plan; ‘Better’ is probably my favourite song on the record – about the desire to improve yourself with it’s occasionally satirical lyrics and soaring high-pitched vocal melodies, it’s a track you can easily get lost in.

Diversity spans the record: ‘Spinning’ is much calmer tune that has ‘woohoos’ and the subtle catchiness of a We The Kings or Maroon 5 track;¬†‘P√Ęquerette (Without Me)’ wishes an old love well with mellow acoustic vibes and¬†‘Icarus’ is a far grungier and more aggressive song that bares a resemblance to something by You Me At Six – it’s got heavy guitars and screamy vocals and adds a new depth to the record.

After only a couple of listens, it feels just like returning to an old favourite that has been in my collection for years!

Even in its lower moments, this is an album that feels overall, positive and like a band that’s been revitalised. The tracks each sound unique and interesting in their own ways; some outright pop punk anthems, other mellow, heartfelt ballads and even a couple of slightly more experimental numbers…yet it all still comes together as a cohesive record. Love And Loathing is just that – a record of two halves, covering the excitement of new relationships and hatred of old ones.

It is a tight, well-produced album that, despite some recent, tumultuous events, feels like a band now set for even bigger things! Could this be the next All Time Low or 5 Seconds Of Summer? If you’re a pop punk fan, you will love every second of this record!

Rating
4-5


‘Love And Loathing’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-and-loathing/1388719305


Love And Loathing on Spotify

That Something (Official Music Video)

Moving Boxes (Official Music Video)

Jaded (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s second album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Review: Death Cab For Cutie – Thank You For Today ‚ėĀÔłŹ


   

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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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#MellowMonday: Drake – ‘Don’t Matter To Me’ featuring Michael Jackson


   

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Having recently released his new album, Scorpion, Drake has made a huge impact once again, this time by using an unreleased Michael Jackson sample on track, ‘Don’t Matter To Me’.

The critical reception for the track has been great and it has been hailed as one of the standout songs on the album. It has a distinctly stripped-back, R&B flavour to it with Drake singing rather than rapping and falsetto vocals from MJ on the chorus.

The posthumous vocals from Michael Jackson are taken from part of a unreleased session between Jackson and Canadian singer-songwriter, Paul Anka in 1983.

The track has reached Number 2 in the UK Charts, making it Drake‘s 15th UK Top 10 and Michael Jackson‘s 44th! A remarkable collaboration, in our opinion and it’s great to still hear something new from the King Of Pop!

No music video has been released for this track yet.

What are your thoughts of the unreleased Michael Jackson sample on this track? Is this a good collaboration? Have you got a #MellowMonday 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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‘Don’t Matter To Me’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dont-matter-to-me-feat-michael-jackson/1405365674?i=1405366968


#Review: Chromeo – Head Over Heels ūüφ


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerChromeo are an electro-funk duo from Canada, consisting of David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel. To date, the pair have released four studio albums, but Head Over Heels marks their fifth album and debut release with our pals over at Atlantic Records.

Chromeo - Head Over Heels.jpg

The first I knew of Chromeo, was their remix of Maroon 5‘s ‘Wait’ (as featured on our re:MIXTAPE playlist), so I must be forgiven for not having heard much of their back catalogue. However, taking this album at face value, it is a strong release with a stunningly contemporary take on disco and funk music.

Having worked together for the past 15 years, it’s clear to see that these guys have perfected their sound, which is a perfect amalgamation of modern, electro-pop music with synth-driven disco and bass-slapping funk.

This is certainly an album that doesn’t take itself too seriously – it’s intentionally fun and funky, with its saucy innuendos and genre-perfect production qualities, the likes of Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rogers would be proud of.

The album kick-starts with the tantalising¬†‘Must’ve Been’¬†(featuring¬†DRAM) – a slap bass, groovy-guitar, vocoder-infused anthem, that excellently demonstrates what’s in store throughout the rest of the record.

With the music up and a house to yourself (…or packed with friends), there really will be no holding you back!

Other memorable moments include the wonderfully repetitive¬†‘Don’t Sleep’ (featuring French Montana¬†and¬†Stefflon Don)¬†with its laid-back 80s vibes and sensational vocal harmonies, whilst¬†‘One Track Mind’¬†is an understated yet seriously catchy track consisting of beautiful talk box, vocal melodies towards the end – it’s very similar to something you might hear by¬†Charlie Puth.

Meanwhile,¬†‘Bad Decision’¬†is all about splashing the cash on a girl and has a definite¬†Prince-esque vibe to it; high-pitched vocals on top of some superb little guitar riffs and¬†‘Right Back Home To You (Interlude)’¬†is a track you can get surprisingly hooked on – think funky soul meets jazz lounge, topped with sweeping high-pitched vocals; there’s a real 70s quality to it.

Towards the end of the album, it all comes together on the two-part, ‘Bedroom Calling’. Part One is a truly anthemic mellow jam with atmospheric, reverb-driven bass notes and slow drum beats, whilst Part Two¬†(featuring The-Dream) is a much more upbeat, pop tune that is oozing with shimmering synths.

To those who say quality disco music doesn’t get made any more, I would simply reply, “Chromeo”. This is definitely not an album you can listen to without, at the very least, bobbing your head and tapping you toe, but in reality, with the music up and a house to yourself (…or packed with friends), there really will be no holding you back!

Rating


‘Head Over Heels’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/head-over-heels/1380944674


Head Over Heels on Spotify

Must’ve Been featuring DRAM (Official Video)

Juice (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed this review! What do you think of this duo’s latest record? Does it fulfil all your funk needs or leave you wanting more? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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