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London

Music

Check out Origin’s dope freestyle ‘Apple Of My Eye’

One of the great aspects of hip-hop and rap is its ability to mix a street vibe with informed and intelligent lyrics, to play the fool but do so with a knowing wink, subvert the listeners expectations and mix the rough with the smooth. This is exactly why Origin’ works so well. It is a balance of groove driven lyricism and skittering beats, it mixes classicism with modernity, deep thought with throw away comments.

Musically it also confounds in the best of ways, tight clinical beats hold everything together but on it is hung smooth distant jazz saxophones and plaintive piano lines. This is the sound of up town sophistication drifting into the workspace of the struggling bedroom artist, of the self-educated street kid with no money but a ton of ambition. It paints a very real picture of the strange collisions and juxtapositions of the modern city and how music itself is often built of such fascinating interactions.

Music

Shannon K – “Lately” gains a whopping 1.5million youtube views!

There was a time when teen pop singles followed very predictable templates, appealed to a very specific age range and were built with a short shelf life. Shannon K reminds us that all that is in the past, we no longer have to take age into consideration and even music aimed at the youngest musical market can be as slick and sophisticated as anything that the more established performers can deliver. A level musical playing field indeed.

Lately is a soulful pop master class built on purposefully lazy backbeats and minimal instrumentation that allows the vocal to become the focal point of the song.  A blend of innocent teen narrative and universal wisdom run through the simple but direct lyrics and the whole package takes pop to new heights of soulful finesse.

As always the joining of an artists musical dots often follows the joining of geographical ones and so it is no surprise that Lately is an effortless blend of London style and West Coast cool, with a wonderful taste of Indian exoticism creeping in around the edges. They say East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet! But when it does, as Shannon K proves beyond doubt, the results are spectacular.

Social Media Links:

IG: @shannonksinger

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/shannon-k/id365650759

 

Words: Dave Franklin

Music

All Female Rock Outfit ‘The Nyx’ Drop Punchy Debut Self-Titled EP

As the disparate strands of The Nyx’s sound collide and blend, mix and match, you realise that away from the lazy labelling and journo driven love of scenes and pigeonholing, it’s all just rock and roll. It always has been and as this ferocious London girl-gang fire off salvos of underground rock swagger, punk attitude, garage rock rawness and grunge intensity you can envisage the nods of approval from everyone from Joan Jet to Courtney Love to…well, even Grace Slick.

It’s fierce, sure but is full of melody, it is snarling and confrontational but in a way that comes naturally. And if Fire Breathing Lady is the track that entices you across the threshold, the remaining songs which make up their recent E.P. don’t disappoint either. Hideaway shimmers and grunts in equal measure, Myself rocks and broods and Home is wonderfully melodic and nothing short of anthemic.

The secret to the continuation and success of guitar bands isn’t going to be found in musicians hell bent on fusing their respective genres into strange new progressive hybrids or who seek to push boundaries that probably only exist in their minds. Salvation lies with bands like The Nyx, bands who aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel but are more interested in taking it out for a spin, enjoying the ride and leaving the street peppered with some hard to remove tire marks along the way.

The Nyx are no strangers to the live music scene and are set to perform on 29th June at Black Heart in Camden, followed by more unannounced dates throughout the remainder of the year. More information about the band and their upcoming live dates can be found on their social media pages.

Music

Secret Lover – Stela Cole – New Release

Sometimes all you need is a fun tune. When you have had enough of the inward looking and earnest indie kids, the cliché riddled rockers and the production line pop, something light, sassy, self-aware and playful is what is called for. Sometimes all you need is Stela Cole.

Balancing the pop infectiousness of Ellie Goulding, the darker undertones of Lana Del Ray and the street smarts of Lily Allen, her “beats from the Bible Belt” are as cool and contemporary as anything currently filling the dance floors, yet they still sounds like nothing else you have heard from any of the competition. Living up to her mantra that “trying to fit in gets you nowhere, standing out is what life’s all about,” Secret Lover is a mercurial and original blend of cartoon theme tunes, wonky, staccato dance grooves and bubble-gum pop beats making the most addictive cat nip for the very coolest of cats.

And the odd thing is that for all its apparent throwaway pop nature, this is throwaway pop that you just can’t stop listening to. How do you even do that?

Instagram: instagram.com/callmestelacole/

Twitter: twitter.com/callmestelacole

Facebook: facebook.com/callmestelacole/

Words: Dave Franklin

Music

Bat and Ball to release “Worth” – The third single from their forthcoming debut album

Bat and Ball bring the political and the personal together with Worth, the new release from their upcoming debut album.

Worth is beautiful: vocals so fragile you fear they might break; haunting melodies; delicate synth and guitar soundscapes. Beneath that enchanting surface, though, Worth is a lament for what women have lost and the things they have never had in society.

‘Worth must feed our waist down’ – Abi Sinclair’s unique lyrics explore the ways that body image defines how women are valued and how they value themselves. They combine a personal voice of adulthood, looking back enviously to a time of innocent certainty, and a political voice, despairing at the ways our self-obsessed society’s pressures bruise, break and imprison us.

‘My face is turning, ageing leaving you/youth:’ the elegiac mood and gothic cathedral sounds of Worth reveal another side of the upcoming album. Previous releases, Cruel Cats and Be Mine, were savage, frantic and satirical antidotes to the conventional love song – Worth looks with longing into our dislocated and unforgiving selves: ‘so I forget I love loving wide.’

Bat and Ball’s critically acclaimed debut EP, We Prefer It In The Dark, was followed by Guardian ‘Single of the Week,’ Stops My Mouth. Worth is the third single from their highly anticipated album, which will be released later this year. Worth will be accompanied with a music video directed by Chris and Abi Sinclair. A song-video collaboration with international artist Sarah Choo Jing will follow in the lead-up to the album release.

http://www.batandballband.com/

Music

A&R Factory Present: Vertebrae

Vertebrae, an independent alternative rock outfit hailing from London, has released their latest studio endeavor, a single entitled ‘Half The Time.’ The melodic new track has debuted with an accompanying music video, one that’s actually quite well shot. Thus, between the song and the video, Vertebrae is a bit of anomaly in the alternative indie scene: their sound and visuals are both articulate and well-produced.

Even though their self-classification of “alternative” is technically most apt for their music, it’s worth noting that Vertebrae’s sound infuses more than a bit of pop music as well. The hook of ‘Half The Time’ is absolutely brilliant, conveyed beautifully by a strong lead vocalist. For a three piece outfit, Vertebrae has a massive sound. It’s not clear how much additional instrumentation was added in the production process, but there’s an explosive nature to ‘Half The Time’ that makes it feel especially “full.”

Lyrically, ‘Half The Time’ is about as strong as any other pop-tinged alt-rock track. It delves into navel gazing and self doubt, two themes that are fairly common in the genre. The conviction of the performance, however, is top notch, selling the authenticity of the sound. Visually, the music video is spectacularly excellent. The band has even gone as far to shoot it in 4K, and it’s superb 4K, too. Was that entirely unnecessary? Probably. Is it exceedingly cool? Absolutely.

‘Half The Time’ is certainly the kind of single one could spin endlessly for a long while. The strong production and fantastic performance on behalf of all three members of Vertebrae makes the single one of the stronger alt-rock efforts to come across my desk thus far in 2017. They’d be a band worth taking a serious look at seeing live if you live locally in London or surrounding areas. ‘Half The Time’ is well worth the download.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/vertebraemusic
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vertebraemusic
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/vertebraemusic
Soundcloud: https://www.soundcloud.com/vertebraemusic

Music

A&R Factory Present: Lawrence Hill

Described as an eclectic mix of Cat Stevens and John Mayer, up and coming English singer songwriter Lawrence Hill has become a popular staple of the independent music scene in London, performing at venues the likes of The Spice of Life and the Hard Rock Café. Combining contemporary musings with an ear for their roots, Hill strives to culminate his influences into a cohesive sound that’s authentic and unique unto himself. His latest studio endeavor, ‘Time Keeps Rolling On,’ is an intriguing excursion through singer songwriter infused rock and roll worth taking a listen to. Let’s delve into it.

‘Time Keeps Rolling On’ is in the same spiritual vein of ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me.’ It’s an anthem of friendship, but it avoids the cliché and manages to feel genuinely authentic and heartfelt. Hill’s songwriting is particularly interesting because he uses time as the shifting factor in a grounded friendship. A lifelong friend is someone you can see every day or once a year and the dynamic of the relationship remains the same. That’s what ‘Time Keeps Rolling On’ brings to mind – the kind of friendships that time, uncharacteristically, cannot touch.

Musically, ‘Time Keeps Rolling On’ juggles a few influences successfully. While it’s still most apt to classify it ‘singer songwriter’ music, it’s injected with doses of pop and R&B influence as well. The single sounds like it could have been picked up off the cutting room floor of a Jack Johnson session. It’s infectiously lovable with a sing-along chorus that isn’t kitschy – a difficult feat not to scoff at. Instrumentally, the song is performed exceptionally well, too, with fantastic harmonies, searing electric guitar, and thunderous percussion.

It also benefits Hill that the studio work on ‘Time Keeps Rolling On’ is especially good. I get singer songwriters across my desk on a daily basis that don’t fall within the same ballpark of production quality that Hill does with this new song. Everything is well mixed and mastered, exuding quality without feeling sterile, either. One can’t help but want to see Hill perform it live and see whether or not the intensity of the recording would translate to the stage well.

James Brown once famously said that if something “sounds good and feels good, then it is good.” Lawrence Hill’s ‘Time Keeps Rolling On’ sounds good and feels good, thus accomplishing two of the most important goals of music. It’s worth the time of anyone looking for a lovely singer songwriter pop tune to blast out their car stereo on their way to the beach come this summer.

www.lawrencehillmusic.com
www.facebook.com/lawrencehillmusic
www.soundcloud.com/lawrencehmusic
www.twitter.com/lawrencehmusic

Words By Brett David Stewart

Music

A&R Factory Present: FALSE HEADS

Having been hailed by Iggy Pop as one of his favourite bands of the moment, declared “the future of rock n’ roll” by ex-Ramones manager Danny Fields, signed up by The Libertines drummer Gary Powell to his 25 Hour Convenience Store label, given Pete Townsend’s studio to record in, and named as one of their tips for 2017 by both Fred Perry Subculture and This Feeling, it’s fair to say that there’s a hell of a buzz swirling around the young East London trio False Heads right now.

The Independent, NME, Clash Magazine, Q Magazine, Artrocker, Drowned In Sound, BBC 6Music, Radio X, Kerrang Radio (where the band were playlisted), and BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens have also all waded in with support and praise for the trio’s delinquent, punk-driven assault, that finds them caught somewhere between the early grunge of Foo Fighters, the infectious songwriting of Pixies, and the snotty punk attitude of The Buzzcocks.

Following their remarkable ‘Thick Skin’ and ‘Weigh In’ single releases in 2016, False Heads went on to perform at The Roundhouse in London for the Punk Weekender event, played an acclaimed set at Camden Rocks festival, live sessions for BBC Introducing and Radio X, and were even interviewed by The New York Times. Meanwhile their avid fanbase continues to grow as the excitement around the trio builds.

False Heads will now return in 2017 with their ‘Gutter Press’ EP, featuring a string of hard-hitting tracks, including Iggy Pop favourite ‘Slew’, and two stellar new tracks ‘Twenty Nothing’ and ‘Comfort Consumption’.

The new EP delivers five tracks that capture False Heads perfect riot of energetic, leering bawdiness, and set a huge marker for a band whose remarkable rise is seemingly unstoppable. With their frenetic live shows taking on a life of their own, False Heads have also announced their first dates of 2017, with select shows across this February and March.
False Heads ‘Gutter Press’ EP will be released through 25 Hour Convenience Store on March 10th 2017. The band have also partnered with Pledge Music on the new release, with exclusive signed pre-orders on vinyl and CD, along with other merchandise, available from HERE now.

LIVE

23 Feb – MANCHESTER – Dive NQ

24 Feb – LEEDS – Milo Bar

25 Feb – SHEFFIELD – The Rocking Chair

11 Mar – LONDON – Nambucca

17 Mar – BRIGHTON – Bleach

WEBSITE / SOCIAL NETWORKS;

www.facebook.com/FalseHeads

www.falseheads.com

Music

A&R Factory Present: Jose Otero

Jose Otero was born in Gran Canaria in 1990, Jose says “I was was a very active kid and lover of soul music because of the influence of my parents who loved jazz and soul. My vocal inspiration are Etta James, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and Stevie wonder. ” Jose started singing when he was 16 and moved to London in 2012 to study music, since then he has reached the final of Open Mic U.K. coming 4th out of 12.000 applicants. He then got a production deal and the outcome was this powerful track “I told you”

Currently Jose is working as a songwriter in a music studio in central London for other singers and is also concentrating on his own material.

Jose is about to release his first ep and music video in February.

Music

A&R Factory Present: Elle Exxe

Feisty and fabulous electro-clash heroine Elle Exxe unleashes her much-anticipated debut album Love Fuelled Hate this year, mixed by Joe Kearns (Ellie Goulding, Little Mix, One Direction) and mastered by John Davis (Lana Del Rey, U2, Bat For Lashes).

It sees Elle blossom into a major pop contender after the fast-rising starlet first turned heads with her kicking-and-screaming November 2015 debut EP Love To Hate You, which was a riotous explosion of her fearsomely unique attitude and striking pop-shock style. On Love Fuelled Hate she’s now spread her wings into a formidable and fully fledged pop star, flipping the genre on it’s head.

In fact, it’s safe to say that Elle Exxe doesn’t make cookie-cutter pop music. Her sound is bolstered by big beats and formed with filthy bass and grit-ridden guitars with the crucial centrepiece being Elle Exxe’s fierce catchy vocal smothered with sass. She calls it “dirty pop” or “pop with attitude”..depending on the day.

From almost foetal murmurs, music has always been the pulsating, glittering heart of Elle Exxe. Growing up in Edinburgh, bass and treble became her second language. She was performing in public piano competitions by the age of six, encouraged by her doting Grandmother who bought Elle her first microphone and would sing her to sleep. Tragically when Elle hit seven her Grandmother passed away, with an effect that rippled through Elle. Evenings of hearing her Grandmother’s voice sing her to sleep were replaced with dreams of projecting her own voice.

By 15 Elle’s dreams were beginning to be realised. She bravely busked on the streets of her hometown Edinburgh and finally her talents were recognised when she was invited to perform nightly in a local church during Edinburgh’s infamous Fringe Festival.

One month after the success of her Fringe Festival debut Elle announced that she was dropping out of school to pursue her musical ambitions. Apprehensive at their daughter’s optimism of being scouted by a record label exec on the streets of Edinburgh, Elle’s parents insisted she found further education or employment. Following this Elle applied and was accepted into the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, which meant leaving her family, moving down South and calling a YMCA home for a year.

Songwriting had always come naturally to her, but initially she didn’t quite know what kind of music she wanted to make. Starting with emotive piano-based ballads Elle honed her songwriting skills and passionate performances in a small venue called The Boileroom. The heartfelt performances would often garner emotional outpourings from fans but seeing her audience with watering eyes filled Elle with sadness. During her second term at the Academy, Elle studied heavy-rock music and started to find her groove. However it wasn’t until a songwriting trip to Los Angeles that Elle’s dirty-pop style was born. Upon returning from L.A. she ditched her piano and put posters up all over London hunting for musicians to form a band to support her new style. With well over 100 applicants Elle, in true perfectionist style, held three days of intensive auditions to select musicians of the very highest calibre to form her band. You can now see her chosen members, renamed ExXterminators, at Elle’s popular ExXtravaganZza events held monthly in London.

The band don glowing white pop-art inspired outfits (designed by Elle and handcrafted by her mother) highlighting Elle’s high-octane and all-encompassing artistic vision. This vision hyper-extends to Elle Exxe’s soon to be released debut album “Love Fuelled Hate”. The 14-track LP inspired by Elle’s obsession with opposites and contradiction promises to be her most immersive and dynamic creation to date.

With a host of critical acclaim and a rabid fanbase steadily building behind her, it won’t be long until Elle Exxe is recognised as one of the most irresistible and creative new stars today.

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