#Review: Matt Maltese – Bad Contestant


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Atlantic Records - SmallerMatt Maltese is a piano-led, 21-year-old, singer-songwriter, who pens songs that are both emotionally intelligent and satirical at the same time. Having recently toured with Isaac Gracie (review), he is now releasing his debut album, Bad Contestant, through Atlantic Records. Here are our thoughts…

Matt Maltese - Bad Contestant.jpg

Matt Maltese‘s debut, Bad Contestant, is jam packed full of wisdom beyond his years but served up with equal doses of cutting humour, hilarious irony and pure over-exaggeration. This is an artist who merges, at times, understated yet sultry melodies and retro sounds with stunning lyrical craftsmanship to create his own unique style.

Album-opener, ‘Greatest Comedian’, begins with an unassuming introduction before launching into a fantastic set of back-handed compliments topped off with some intriguing instrumentation and beautiful higher-pitched vocals in the chorus; very similar to something by label-mate, Will Joseph Cook.

Title-track, ‘Bad Contestant’, has some seriously funky synth sounds and sees Maltese take on the character of an overly honest and confessional yet fruitless game show contestant.

This is very much an album where jazz and a touch of britpop meet funky, organ-led soul.

Meanwhile, ‘Nightclub Love’ is deeply satirical look at how Maltese sees the realities of clubbing and finding love there, whilst ‘Less & Less’ is an extremely saddening break-up song that is both beautiful and also attempts to put a positive spin on the situation. Of course we can’t go without mentioning the wonderful track, ‘As The a World Caves In’; a hysterical tale of the unlikely hooking up of Donald Trump and Theresa May, watching the nuclear destruction of the world as they do it; genius!

Other key tracks worth taking note of, include; ‘Sweet Sixteen’, an organ-led track taking a twisted look at a modern relationship – the sound is very much somewhere between Kaiser Chiefs and Blur, ‘Like A Fish’ which sounds like the opening to an old, 80s, British TV show and ‘Misery’ which is a dark and intense track with some reverse-sounding vocals on the chorus. In fact, the latter half of the album appears to get darker as it goes on.

The album features production and collaboration by a combination of Jonathan Rado, Hugo White (Maccabees) Alex Burey.

This is very much an album where jazz and a touch of britpop meet funky, organ-led soul, all dressed up in a hipster outfit and sung with a deep, crisp and crooning vocal. Picture BlurPulp and Jamiroquai creating some sort of spliced-together lovechild that’s been brought into the modern, contemporary age and you get Matt Maltese‘s debut, Bad Contestant. A truly alluring debut that is sure to pave the way for an exciting career ahead.

Rating
4


‘Bad Contestant’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bad-contestant/1365077870


Bad Contestant on Spotify

Greatest Comedian (Official Video)

As The World Caves In (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer-songwriter’s uniquely captivating debut album? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or via our social media.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Will Joseph Cook @ The Haunt, Brighton – 17/10/17


   

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On Tuesday 17th October 2017, Will Joseph Cook, came to Brighton to perform a set in support of his debut album, Sweet Dreamer, as well as play a couple of new songs from his upcoming EP. He was supported by Indigo Husk at the popular Brighton venue, The Haunt.


Indigo Husk

The band took to the stage with their grungy, give-a-damn appearance and although the crowd seemed a bit reticent to begin with, after a couple of songs, they had been worked up a treat, with the band’s funky brand of grunge-pop. The lead singer’s occasional ‘whoops’ and sarcastic quips were amusing, whilst the drummer was possibly one of the most engaging band members I’ve ever seen – he was witty, enthusiastic, provided great backing vocals and oozed personality through his crowd interaction. Sadly the same can’t quite be said for the bassist, who barely cracked a smile throughout and the concentration on Flynn’s face looked almost uncomfortable for him, at times. That’s not to say it was a bad performance or that they’re not a good band; it makes them who they are and they were certainly fun to watch.

Highlight:

The drummer – he was captivating and I particularly enjoyed the moments he stood up whilst drumming, taking every opportunity to interact with the audience.


Will Joseph Cook

Will Joseph Cook is a fantastic performer and his unique blend of indie vibes, electronic synths and pop hooks make for one heck of a funky, dance-infused performance.

The moment he appeared on stage, the audience burst into rapturous applause – one thing’s for sure, Will Joseph Cook has worked incredibly hard to build up a dedicated and loyal following, evidenced by the fact that the show had sold out.

His vocals were on point and his working of the stage was controlled and at times even mesmerising. I like that he is able to switch between playing the guitar and singing (which can be quite static) on some songs, whilst on others, he ditches the guitar and works the crowd – it’s great to see this diversity in his performance.

The songs he played sounded just as good as his recordings and at times, Will and the band added a nice leading intro into a song, adding something unique that you could only see and hear if you watch him live.

Not only has Will Joseph Cook produced an incredibly strong debut album (Sweet Dreamer) but his performances are remarkably captivating too. He is definitely worth watching live – make sure you catch his show next time he’s near you.

Highlights:

  • Usually I like it when there’s a lot of between-song banter from the band or artist, but Will kept this to a minimum, playing song after song, keeping the audience dancing and singing along.
  • Getting to hear a couple of his new tracks, live, was great!
  • His performances of ‘Plastic’‘Girls Like Me’ and new song, ‘If You Want To Make Money’, all really stood out to me.
  • Will and the band’s abilities to make the live renditions sound just as good as the recordings.

 📷 All of the fantastic photos in this post are credited to Elliot McRae. 📷
Go on and give him a follow – @EMcraePhoto


 Setlist

Biggest Fan
Alive
Sweet Dreamer
Treat Me Like A Lover*
Plastic*
Habit
Take Me Dancing
If You Want To Make Money*
Fish*
Daisy Chains
Beach

Encore
Message
Girls Like Me*

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


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Isobel Williams from Whiteboard PR for setting up this review and to Will Joseph Cook and Indigo Husk for putting on a great evening.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Marianas Trench @ The Haunt, Brighton – 13/05/17


   

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On Saturday 13th May 2017, Marianas Trench arrived in Brighton to conclude their tour around the UK and the band blew me away. With support from Club Drive, the evening was full of fun, laughter and much dancing.


Club Drive

Club Drive were an excellent support band – they have a unique blend of pop, funk and rock that sure know how to pack a punch on the stage. They captivated the audience well and really got them pumped for Marianas Trench. It was clear to see just why the BBC Introducing team have decided to add their song, ‘Spare Time’ to their playlists.

Highlight:

  • The fact that the band really knew how to get the crowd warmed up and had everyone jumping.
  • When Josh (from Marianas Trench) came on stage to give the band drinks to down was brilliant.

Marianas Trench

The band’s set began with the blasting of Michael Jackson‘s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ which got the audience dancing their socks off right away. As the song drew to a close, the band took to the stage with their album opener, ‘Astoria’. Josh was dressed with a hood up so you couldn’t see his face. Part way through the opening song, he whipped back the hood to a rapturous applause from the crowd. It was instantly clear that this lead singer knew just how to work a crowd.

The audience was also one of the most diverse-looking crowds I’ve ever seen at a show – you had a blend of older rocker types; younger scene kids; geeks; even trendy folk – they are evidently a band for misfits and that can’t be a bad thing.

The set just produced hit after hit and had the audience going crazy throughout. Everyone danced and sung their hearts out, knowing the lyrics to every song.

The between-song banter was great too – Josh expressed his gratitude and shock at how the audiences throughout the tour have been so supportive and known so much of their music despite very little promotion over here.

Highlights:

  • Josh’s vocals were so spot-on – he demonstrated really impressive control over his voice and the sheer power he has is remarkable.
  • The interaction with the crowd was great and you could see just how pleased the band were to have such a supportive and loving fanbase.
  • The Haunt has a massive pillar on one side of the stage which was blocking out Matt but the jokes about it were fantastic – Josh told the crowd Matt suggested putting two iPads on either side of the pillar and FaceTiming between them so the crowd could see him.
  • All the fans knew that during the song ‘One Love’ they were to produce paper hearts with the song title written on and hold them up – it’s one of those great moments that only a band and their fans know about. True fan loyalty.
  • Josh getting the fans to do some impressive vocal acrobatics was hilarious – he taught them how to vocally warble before getting carried away but at the same time demonstrated just how diverse his vocals are.
  • Josh’s rather camp and extroverted gestures are brilliant to behold – he’s such a good frontman.
  • When Matt and Mike took lead vocals on the track ‘This Means War’.
  • Josh taking time to do a solo performance to really draw the crowd in to his world.
  • Club Drive returning the favour and rushing the stage to tip shots down the band’s throats. Josh then responded mid-song by singing about how gross the shot was, was genius.

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 Setlist

Astoria
Yesterday
Celebrity Status
Burning Up
All To Myself
Here’s To The Zeros
One Love
This Means War (Matt and Mike on Lead Vocals)
Desperate Measures
Fallout
Stutter
Pop 101
Who Do You Love*
Cross My Heart

Encore
Good To You (Josh Ramsay Solo Performance)
Haven’t Had Enough
End Of An Era

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


Finally, I want to say a big thanks to Steve from EMMS Publicity for hooking me up to review this show and thanks to Marianas Trench for putting on such an amazing live show; you guys were awesome!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Patent Pending @ The Haunt, Brighton – 04/04/16

Here’s our review of the incredibly talented, energetic and fun, Patent Pending’s show in Brighton.


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On Monday 4th April 2016, I was given the great opportunity to see Patent Pending perform at The Haunt in Brighton, and they were “off da hook” incredible…as usual! The support was Boy Jumps Ship.


The VIP Treatment

I was lucky enough to attend the pre-show VIP experience which honours Patent Pending’s fans with a private, acoustic performance of some of their songs, alongside a meet and greet, photos with the band and even some free merchandise!

It was a unique experience and really does treat the fans to something extraordinary and rewarding! The band then hung around to chat to their devoted “Second Family” (Patent Pending’s fans) and really did make it an exceptional occasion – I was honoured to be a part of it and witness just how dedicated to their fans they are, as the fans are to them!


Boy Jumps Ship

This 4-piece took to the stage and warmed the crowd up a treat, performing a whole range of songs, including their recent single, Burn.

The quartet were powerful performers and took time to promote their upcoming debut album, Wake Up, which is released on April 22nd 2016!

Highlight: The powerful vocals of the lead singer and the great sound they’ve created!


Patent Pending

Where to start with Patent Pending…they’re just amazing!

Since discovering them, when they supported Zebrahead back in November 2015, I have been captivated by Patent Pending! They’re a huge amount of fun and their energy is just immense; it truly is on another level!

The band took to the stage with intensity, ‘Started In My Head’ which chants, “Here we, here we, here we f**king go!”, which had the crowd in the palm of their hands, instantly! They rolled, from there, straight into Let Go, which is just a huge amount of fun – especially when accompanied by Joe’s crazy-cool dancing! The show went on with hilarious moments, both old and new songs and even some emotional moments for Joe.

The Second Family are incredibly devoted too, to the point where some of them turned up in Mario, Princess Peach and Wario costumes and they are always part of the in-jokes and treated just like their name, a second family! One fan, Glen, was brought on stage for a song, which resulted in some hilarious consequences (see the video of ‘The Whisky, The Liar, The Thief’ below).

To tell you how awesome this band are live, is just an impossible task – they have to be seen to be fully appreciated! Coming from a relatively new fan of the band, knowing all their songs doesn’t matter, they just put on an amazing show and make you a part of their vision and their world, for the duration of their set.

This band has many things to offer live; good fun, great music, high energy, comedy, crazy dancing, Super Mario jumps and more! I urge anyone who hasn’t seen them, to do whatever it takes to get a ticket to a show…they’re just f**king AWESOME!

Highlights:

  • Joe’s ability to capture an audience with quick wit and crazy antics.
  • Joe’s awesome crowd swimming – complete with armbands and goggles!
  • Glen (a fan) coming on stage and attempting the Dirty Dancing lift…but in fact dropping Joe!
  • Rob and Marc doing some awesome dance routines!
  • Mario, Wario and Princess Peach on stage!
  • Joe’s awesome Mario jump!

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All of these photos are credited to Elliot McRae (an awesome, upcoming photographer!) – @EMcraePhoto


 Setlist

Started In My Head*
Let Go*
I Already Know (She Don’t Give a Shit About Me)
Valentine (Abridged Version)
Riot Hearts Rebellion
Psycho In Love*
Last Time That I Saw You
The Whisky, The Liar, The Thief (with snippet of ‘I Will Always Love You’)*
We’re Freakin’ Out (Map To Tahiti)
Spin Me Around*
Classic You*
Six Feet
Therefore, I Party
One Less Heart To Break*
Hey Mario*

Encore
Brighter*
Douchebag*

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


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Patent Pending for putting me on the guest-list, so I could come and do this review and interview!

Check out our interview with Joe Ragosta, backstage at the venue –> here.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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Muzik Speaks: An Interview with Joe Ragosta from Patent Pending @ The Haunt, Brighton – 04/04/16

Here’s the incredible, live interview Matt did with Joe Ragosta from Patent Pending at The Haunt in Brighton on 4th April 2016.


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Here is the live interview I did with Joe Ragosta from Patent Pending, backstage at The Haunt in Brighton, before their show.

As with our previous interview, Joe was hilarious and such a genuine person! Unfortunately towards the end of the interview, the support band (Boy Jumps Ship) began to play and so it becomes harder to hear – if you turn the volume down (and maybe wear headphones too) you can actually make it out a bit more clearly.

Most of these questions were submit by Patent Pending fans (aka Second Family), which means this truly is one for the fans!

Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Joe and the rest of the band again for their time and dedication to work with us – I couldn’t be more grateful and appreciative!

Check out our review of the show, complete with videos!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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Patent Pending‘s releases are all available:


Enjoyed this? Check out our other interviews with:

Joe Ragosta from Patent Pending
Ali Tabatabaee from Zebrahead
Lucy Spraggan
Frankmusik
Race The Horizon
Life Of Dillon
Platnum
David Ford

#Playlist: February 2016


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G’day fellow Speakerz!

So, February has been just as incredible as January was! We’ve done another interview, with singer-songwriter David Ford and been to review The Japanese House‘s gig at The Haunt in Brighton as well as shared a whole heap of songs.

We hope that you have enjoyed this month’s songs and you can find both the Spotify and YouTube playlists below!

We hopefully have a couple more interviews and gig reviews lined up for March too, including Lucy Spraggan and MEST, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

As always, please keep sharing our posts and remember to share your song choices with us by commenting on our posts or talking to us on Twitter and Facebook.


OUR CONTINUED AIM

We’d like to ask you, to go ahead and ‘like’ our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/muzikspeaks) and ‘follow’ us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/muzik_speaks). Then if you could please post a status or send a tweet to your followers and friends to ask them to check us out, we’d be really grateful! We want to grow this community and we honestly can’t do it without your support!

Lastly, please, please respond to our posts on Facebook or leave comments on each of our blog posts with your own tracks for each of the daily themes – we want you to share what you’re listening to because we love music as much as you, and we really enjoy finding out about new tunes. Thanks so much!


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: The Japanese House @ The Haunt, Brighton – 27/02/16


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Last night (Saturday 27th February 2016) I was given the great opportunity to see The Japanese House perform at The Haunt in Brighton, and they (well, she really) was incredible! The supports were Kamran Khan (from the band Fake Laugh) and Isaac Gracie.


Fake Laugh (Kamran Khan performing solo)

Usually performing as a band, Kamran Khan (singer and guitarist of Fake Laugh) took to the stage to play a decent solo set. The guy has nice vocals and showed off a decent range to his voice. He stated how there are usually more of them and that their set is usually “more rockin'” – presumably supporting The Japanese House, they were asked to strip it back?! It was a great way to start the evening.

Highlight: The performances of ‘Kinda Girl’ and recent single, ‘Mind Tricks’.


Isaac Gracie

Next to take to the stage was Isaac Gracie, a melancholic singer-songwriter from Ealing with the whole American hipster thing going on.

This guy captivated me instantly with his beautifully haunting yet powerful voice, which he seems to use gracefully and effortlessly! I was left in awe at how he utilises his vocal range and is able to tell stories of woe, through his music. I came away wanting to hear more and would love to hear an album from this guy – however, I am left disappointed to find that only one recording is available online; I guess I will have to wait patiently for the album to surface.

Highlight: The beautiful vocal melodies he weaves throughout his musical stories in each and every song.

IMG_1246 (2)


The Japanese House

Lastly, was The Japanese House, who made a full-on entrance with the epic sounds, created by the synths and drums before Amber entered the stage to big applause.

Despite her growing success, Amber appears to remain a humble and modest, if somewhat shy, person with her rather endearingly meek speaking voice and small stature. However, the same can’t be said for her singing; she applies power and conviction when it comes to her music and makes sure she puts across her music with the utmost integrity. She isn’t without her quirks though; she plays a right-handed guitar, left-handed! That’s talent!

The rather melancholic nature of her songs has clearly captivated a wide audience; the room was filled with young, teen hipsters, festival-goers and even a few older music-lovers; it’s amazing to see how her music clearly resonates with so many people. She joked about playing, “Another sad one for you, but then there will be a more happy one,” or words to that effect.

Amber Bain has deliberately remained rather elusive about who is behind The Japanese House, in order not to detract from the art and her androgynous vocals make the sound an interesting one.

I thoroughly enjoyed this performance and remained transfixed throughout. Although her stage presence may not be your typically over-energetic, must-entertain-the-audience style, she still had me entertained and I recommend anyone to try and see The Japanese House live; people of all ages will love her sound, no matter what genres you’re into; she’s got something to offer everyone.

Highlights:

  • The use of synth and sounds to enhance the music and maintain the magic of the studio versions.
  • The strobe lights during the breakdowns of ‘Pools To Bathe In’.
  • Harmonies on Amber’s vocals throughout and the use of synths to sample her vocals.
  • The fact Amber is able to layer and loop her guitar parts, usinga whole magnitude of pedals.
  • Amber playing a right-handed guitar, left-handed.

The Japanese House – Cool Blue (Live)

The Japanese House – Leon (Live)


 Setlist

  • Clean
  • Pools To Bathe In
  • Teeth
  • Letter By The Water
  • Sugar Pill
  • Cool Blue
  • Still
  • Sister
  • Leon (New Song)

Lastly, I want to say a massive thanks to The Japanese House and their management for putting me on the guest-list, so I could come and do this review!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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