#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.


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

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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.


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

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#Review: Trophy Eyes – The American Dream 🇺🇸


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerTrophy Eyes are an Australian pop punk band consisting of John Floreani (lead vocals), Jeremy Winchester (bass guitar & backing vocals), Andrew Hallett (lead guitar), Kevin Cross (rhythm guitar) and Blake Caruso (drums). To date, the band have released 2 albums and an EP through Hopeless Records and this, The American Dream, is their third full-length album. Here’s what we have to say…

Trophy Eyes - The American Dream.jpg

The American Dream has a much more mature sound to it than either of the band’s previous releases. It’s somewhere in the vein of Sugarcult‘s Lights Out and You Me At Six‘s Cavalier Youth with some of Thirty Seconds To MarsThis Is War epicness thrown in.

The first track, ‘Autumn’, launches the album with a life-spanning and reflective tune that whilst it doesn’t quite burst into frantic action like so many other pop punk albums, sets a more impressive tone for the rest of the record.

Next comes ‘Something Bigger Than This’, a rather emotive track about being something more than we perceive and how life will make more sense at the end. It’s not crass or overly indulgent in insincerity like so many other bands – this feels real and honest.

In my opinion, ‘Friday Forever’ is by far the best track on the record – from it’s frantic, guitar-driven verses, to its suspenseful build-up into the powerhouse that is the chorus, this track just bursts at the seems with euphoric pop punk at its best. This is definitely a track to keep on repeat!

From epic choruses to emotive lyrics and powerful, pained vocals to punchy guitars, The American Dream is an album that will drive this band forward in their career.

Some of the other, most notable songs include: ‘More Like You’ which is certainly a crowd-pleaser, with its “woah ohs” but has the added depth of scream vocals; ‘You Can Count On Me’ is a definite summer anthem with its massive crescendo and satirical look at band life with the chorus hook, “Some of my friends sell drugs but I just sell sad songs to the ones who feel alone”; ‘Broken’ is a beautiful, ballad-esque track that has a understated yet very catchy chorus – a brilliantly-written track that’s very different to some of the other tracks on the album and ‘Lavender Bay’ feels very nostalgic with mellow, melodic verses and a big gang-vocal chorus singing about how the band won’t rest until they’ve “made it” with the addition of a key change!

The album has a beautifully rich and diverse tone to it – ‘A Cotton Candy Sky’ is an intensely dark and haunting song that feels a little out of place but it’s eerily captivating whilst ‘Tip Toe’ is a great little ballad.

‘I Can Feel It Calling’ is a monumental track, coming in at over 6 minutes in length and going through a range of sounds and displaying a variety of influences, bringing this stunning album to a wonderful close.

This is certainly an album you’ll have on repeat as there’s just so much to love about it! From epic choruses to emotive lyrics and powerful, pained vocals to punchy guitars, The American Dream is an album that will drive this band forward in their career, taking a slightly new direction but picking up new fans along the way. 2018 should be an exciting time for the Australian quintet!

Rating
4-5


‘The American Dream’ is out 27/07/18 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-american-dream/1382478709


The American Dream on Spotify

Available Friday 27th July 2018.

You Can Count On Me (Official Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs_7y0ToBcU


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


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#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: 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.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: Scott Quinn – ‘Run’


   

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Scott Quinn is a Yorkshire-born, soul-synth multi-instrumentalist, whose latest track is captivatingly beautiful with its shimmering synths and passionate vocals.

‘Run’ oozes heartache and despair, tackling the emotionally-driven subject of trying to help and support someone who’s not in the right place to be helped but is already on the path of self-destruction, leaving a trail of demolition in their wake.

Quinn has spent time in the studio, working with the likes of JONES & SG Lewis and has recently toured Europe with Aquilo. All this comes ahead his first, big, headline show at the Camden Assembly on June 20th (tickets available here).

No music video has been released as yet, but as always, we’ll keep you updated if/when one emerges.

What are your thoughts of this intriguing singer-songwriter’s latest single? Do you have 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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‘Run’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/run-single/1364500851


#Review: Hawthorne Heights – Bad Frequencies


   

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Hawthorne Heights are an American emo/rock band from Dayton, Ohio, which formed in 2001. The band currently consists of JT Woodruff (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Matt Ridenour (bass guitar, backing vocals), Mark McMillon (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Chris Popadak (drums, percussion). To date, the band have released 5 studio albums and been through a variety of line-up changes but now, in 2018, the band are releasing their sixth studio album, Bad Frequencies, through Pure Noise Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hawthorne Heights - Bad Frequencies

This is certainly an album of two mindsets; on the one hand you’ve got a new sound that sees the band edging ever closer to pop punk commerciality and on the other hand they are sticking to their more screamo roots. However you look at it, the band are diversifying and growing their sound at the same time as keeping hold on some of what the fans love.

‘In Gloom’ launches the album with a slow, heartfelt intro from vocalist/guitarist JT Woodruff, but after the first minute, we are thrust into the sound of the full band, making their triumphant return.

The nostalgia continues as first single, ‘Pink Hearts’, reflects on past relationships you carelessly work your way through in your younger years.

An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

More old-school, classic Hawthorne Heights can be heard on tracks such as ‘Crimson Sand’ and ‘Just Another Ghost’ with bassist, Mark McMillion’s, screams coming through in full force.

Meanwhile, ‘Edge Of Town’ and ‘Starlighter (Echo, Utah)’ show us the newer, more pop-punk driven sound that moves this record, and indeed the band, forward.

Possibly one of the most stand-out tracks on the record is ‘Pills’; the song deals with the loss of someone you care deeply about but it demonstrates brilliantly, how the band have grown and continue to push their songwriting and sound; where in the past this might have been a heavy, scream track or an altogether more simplistic affair; a great way to finish the album by showing off where the band’s future lies.

That’s not to say the band that people know and love is gone; there are emo lyrics throughout record and still the occasional screaming, it’s just the instrumentation is slicker and more intricate and in places, JT Woodruff uses falsetto in his vocals; something new and interesting for the band’s sound.

There’s no doubt about it; this band know how to write catchy hooks, tying together some of the heavier, more chaotic parts of the record. Armed with a whole load of history and self-reflection plus a strong sense of where they are heading, this record is definitely representative of both their past and the future for the band. An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

Rating


‘Bad Frequencies’ can be ordered here – http://smarturl.it/HawthorneHeights or downloaded from iTunes, here – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bad-frequencies/1351452415


Bad Frequencies on Spotify

Just Another Ghost (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Hawthorne Heights’ new album! What are your thoughts of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it, via our socials.


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

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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