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On My Mind: Thoughts on a Magazine?

So, if you have been an avid follower of this blog, you will know that I’ve been designing and making my own music magazine over the past couple months, and so this blog has taken somewhat of a backseat as I’ve been delving into this – a far more creative approach to music journalism.

What are your thoughts on getting your hands on this mag? It will feature fresh album reviews and industry stories in unique graphics and a fashionable approach to conveying the art of music in a fantastically fun way. I’ve always wanted to delve into this side of things, so I’m extremely excited to catapult this project into its final step this weekend – PUBLISHING IT!

If you would like to see the whole thing so far, just let me know, share your email and I can send it across if you like! I’d love to hear your pearls of wisdom and impressive thoughts on something like this. You guys have been supportive throughout this blogging work and I can only imagine that this will be ultimately doubled during the physical copy work of Man v Music

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John Mayer – “Sob Rock” Album Review

Piquing our interest as he retools and rebuilds his sound, Sob Rock is Mayer’s faithful return to the tail-end of tween soft rock and delightful pop. Known for his eloquent voice, soulful bops and jazz-inspired chords, he is best known for antiques of Your Body is a Wonderland, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room and now, New Light. The next tale in straight-edged music writing. In what others may seem as boring and easy to listen to, John Mayer’s songwriting is simplistic, elegant and perfectly suited to his approach to music. And funnily enough, we listen to easy music for easy listening. It is no wonder Mayer has racked up such a loved and compelling audience, what’s not to love?

Sultry enough for 2am elegance but chill enough for a casual night-in, John Mayer joins in on the fun and shares what he’s been getting up to during the pandemic lockdown. No doubt having your own recording studio helps.

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Sorely Missed: The Work of Joey Jordison

Owing my drum career and music fascination to Slipknot’s initial work, I thought it was important to bear a worthy mention to the drumming legend of Joey Jordison. Ferocious, formidable and horrendously evil when it came to producing drumming doubles, he will be sorely missed within the metal drumming community. Especially with his founding work with Slipknot. A band that were – and still are – one of the biggest and greatest metal band in the world.

Regardless of the downfall he may have undertook due to health issues, the sheer icon he portrayed whilst in the eyes of us on stage is overwhelming. When I first heard the news last night, I was shocked to my very core. With me thoroughly devastated and him – a sorely missed family member of the drumming community.

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Let’s Talk: Do you listen to the radio anymore?

As our attention spans falter, and our music preferences irate, we’re finding new ways to divulge into our music via streaming services and sheer ease of access.

It seems that the radio’s playthrough preferences and inane adverts are being cut out of our music listening as we crave for the instant.

Now, whether we listen more to radio in the car, or in businesses where we have no choice, radio has and is a crucial part of the music industry and how we consume music – radio is a fantastic way of sharing with the creative communities and represents our love for music in a concept that is enjoyable and delectably consumable.

Despite everything, radio is a service we can’t really get with any other music consumption platform and is unique. Not just to its audience, but to its artists the stations play.

Whatever side you’re on, let me know! Radio or Radi-NO?

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WILLOW – ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’ Album Review

As another day passes, another album project involves the punk icon of Travis Barker. It almost goes without saying that Barker will be involved in some punk cross-collaboration with any artist who seems to afford him. There is certainly clique of quality that resonates with him and I’m fairly confident that certain people may only listen to new punk decorum if Barker is on the throne.

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WILLOW’s ‘lately I feel everything‘ is no exception. Shedding away her bubble-gum pout, and flashbacking to her involvements with her mother’s nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom when she younger, she brings along a colossal tarnishing of pop-punk and emo of fistfuls as transparent soul, GROW and Lipstick awaken this punk beauty out from her childhood and into mature musicality and and an ever-growing stage presence.

It’s worth mentioning that the album is not all fast and blurry. don’t SAVE ME and 4ever bring tasteful breaks in the incessant album that add depth and further introspective thoughts to the world of Willow. The transcendent of pop-punk are ever-present too with the dark, drull tones from the likes of The Cranberries and Nirvana crawl through, which is even better for me.
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She also brings childhood heroes of Avril Lavigne and of course, Barker along for the ride.

Although somewhat cringey at times, that somewhat fall flat in places, its pop-punk. Through and through. There’s no disputing that and if you like a bit of pop-punk easy on the ears musically, then look no further.

And it’s another Travis Barker project to add to the roster. Score.

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What are your most looking forward to in music this year?

As we approach the half way mark on a year that has been rife with uncertainty, animosity and yet, great music from all walks of Earth, what are you most looking forward to in the coming summer, and approaching autumn? We have a lot of major albums and festival gossip coming up this year – and so what you looking forward to the most?

I’m excited to hear new Imagine Dragons this year. They have been fairly quiet throughout the lockdown period and I’m excited to hear some quality anthems from the group. It’s been too long! I have to say this because it’s the truth, but I’m also excited for new Coldplay. I was pleasantly surprised over the catchy rhythms of Higher Power, and the teasing trailer they have given us to gloss over seems to feature different elements of Coldplay through the years. To the more grounded tones of Rush of Blood to the Head and back to the eutrophic electronics of chart-dominant A Head Full of Dreams, hopefully we’ll hear some original sounds cropping up in their 11th studio album attempt.

What are you looking forward to? LET ME KNOW!

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Release Radar: NEW MUSIC FRIDAY

Another Friday rolls around, and more yearning continues for new music.

It’s been a fair while since we’ve delved down the rabbit hold of new music in the industry. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Nothing But Thieves are back with their profound, raucous rock under, Moral Panic II. The smaller second act of Moral Panic is here with more disaster-abound music with 5 more instalments with the likes of Futureproof and Miracle, Baby.

WILLOW removes her attachments to the old life of hers, and goes full steaming punk with the help of punk icon and esteemed benefactor, Travis Barker. lately i feel EVERYTHING is another trend-setting punk album that is firmly placed in its genre. WILLOW screeches and screams her away to the pursuit of answers she’s been looking for.

Although not as remotely emphatic and europhic as their debut, The Hunna are added to Travis’s roster, as he inputs his name into another rock album with I’d Rather Die Than Let You In. Their third studio album comes with more darker undertones and a serious mentality to approaching metal music full pace. Hopefully, I will get around to a full album review soon.

The splashy ’70s alter-ego of Grohl enters the scene with Dee Gees. Hail Satin. It seems that the Foos have stripped away their hard-edged rock, and flaunted on stage with disco alternatives. Embracing the sheer fun and boredom of industry lockdown, they just play music because they love it. And that’s why we love them.

Hailing from Dublin, Inhaler made their presence known among the spheres of indie-rock with their new debut album of It Won’t Always Be Like This. With My Honest Face charting pretty much every ad sponsor and TV endorsement that headed the bands’ way, the album allowed the Dublin boys to achieve a heroic position in the charts, and an even more commendable fanbase as them and their music, explode. Shifting from the likes of classics, Radicals from the early 2010s, they’ve brought an adapted, fresh new sound to the world of rock.

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Latitude Festival: First Major Festival since ‘Freedom Day’

Campers for Latitude festival are set to prep camp and arrive today at Henham Park in sweet anticipation for Latitude Festival this weekend (22nd to 24th July) – the first major festival in the UK to go ahead since ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday for COVID restrictions.

Announced as the Government’s Event Research Programme, the 35,000-capacity is set to go ahead this weekend, as thousands flock in droves to see the likes of Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Chemical Brothers headlining.

In order to gain entry to the festival, which runs until Sunday (July 25), ticket-holders will be asked for proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of arrival at the festival, or proof of full vaccination with the second dose having been received at least 14 days prior to the first day of attending the festival. As a test event – it can go ahead with no social distancing requirements.

With this, where many are unsure and doubtful of such festivals going ahead in such vast quantities, many people are loathing at the prospect of missing out, and seeing live music come back in such large volumes again.

What a test event means for COVID:

<a class="wp-block-button__link" href="<!– wp:paragraph –> <p>What a test event means for COVID: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-57895625</p&gt; !!RETURN OF LATITUDE!!

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Hopefully, this is the first of many (test) events that will help provide ample funds to the music industry that so desperately needs recovering from the swollen pit it has fallen itself into.

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Album of the Summer: Arlo Parks’ Collapsed in Sunbeams

Despite it being a fairly recent release as it came out earlier this year, Arlo Parks’ Collapsed in Sunbeams is a perfect storytelling soundtrack of luscious expressive indie-pop that encompasses the magnificence of British summer beautifully.

I had presumed that I had done an album review to showcase this beautiful album, but it appears not. Fear not, if you wish for me to review this album, let me know and I’ll get right on it. It is a perfect Summers’ collection after all. It is very fitting as we enter record-breaking heatwaves on our British shores. I’ll include the necessary links to have a listen to the album in full before you glance over this review of mine. Thanks all.

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YOUR SUMMER PLAYLIST: Summer Romantics

Hey, folks. Happy Sunday! If it’s like the weather here in the UK, you’ll be lapping up the sun streaks in your garden, at a bbq or if you’re lucky enough, a gathering at your own pool. Let us know where you are and what you are doing on this fantastically gorgeous Sunday. Here is a fantastically depicted and put-together playlist all for those summer romantics at this time who love easy listening music right now. Play this on full and you’ll get summer vibes right through to September.

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Record Store Day: Second ‘Drop’ of 2021 is TOMORROW!

That’s right, folks! The second ‘drop’ for Record Store Day drops tomorrow on the 17th. Rife with deals, discounts, rare finds, treasured and limited vinyls, it is another day to celebrate the world of vinyls.

While independent stores revel in the rise in sales and continuous community turnover, one particular store is hoping to get involved this year – for its 100th anniversary special. That store is HMV. As the store is raised of independently owned chain of stores, they would “love” to be involved with RSD, and feel it would certainly benefit the local music vinyl scene, especially in areas where there is not a presence of such independent record stores. While I think independent and chain shouldn’t belong in the same sentence, it would be nice for such a store that is commercial and massive on a music scale to get involved with the help and support of such an industry. Although, many are saying otherwise. Many feel that HMV’s involvement could very well cause this momentous occasion to lose its independency, style and charm that makes it what it is.

THE FULL LIST OF RELEASES:

Happy vinyl shopping, folks!

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YONAKA – ‘Seize The Power’: Album Review

Don’t Wait Till Tomorrow, get listenin’.

Brash and brazen English-quartet, YONAKA have returned with their second album release, Seize Your Power. With no attempts to slow down after their triumphant debut of Don’t Wait Till Tomorrow back in 2019, the rife punk-ists return with a vengence for heavy riffs and hard punches as Call Me A Saint and self-titled, Seize Your Power takes the band down a path of eclectic electronica, which ultimately shapeshifts into some of their most powerful songwriting they’ve done so far.

Aired with a mist of maturity within its run-through, Seize Your Power demonstrates the bands’ ability to bend their sounds to the current, but still keeping it fresh within their own sound.

Although not as boomy and nowhere near as rocket-fueled as their debut – and no where near the same running time – it still holds its head high however, with a sense of satisfaction of finally finishing. It may be a far cry from the frenzy mish-mash of Don’t Wait Till Tomorrow, but this does come with its own advantages … With the band beginning to gain traction through staying prominent, maintaining track records and creating euphoric music, it seems that they are starting to get it.

Clique can be shafted, though. Big no from me.

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Best British Artists: Voted by YOU

So, I finally managed to get around to tallying up the votes from my blog post about finding the best British artist (according to my amazing readers world-abound) – and you can have a look at the numbers below. Out of 50 comments received, these were the results!

<Also have a gander at my favourite bloggers’ playlist, which denotes all her favourite British artists in one handy collection. Thanks Catnip!>

THE RESULTS

DISCLOSURE: the results of this voting may bear down to listener preference, taste, demographic and influences.

Elton John, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits and Pet Shop Boys all gathered in FOUR votes apiece, resulting in 18 votes overall for this as the TOP FIVE BEST BRITISH ACTS/ARTISTS. There’s some artists that are simply expected to top the lost, but it was surprising for me to see Elton John top the list too, but I’ve never been one to dabble into his music, so there you are.

These pioneers are shortly followed up with Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Queen and The Rolling Stones with THREE votes apiece, resulting in a total of 12 votes for the second list of artists who made the cut. With me being a massive Queen fan, it was disappointing not to see them earn more votes in the long run, but I’m pleased all the same that they were mentioned ample times.

Entering the territory of those artist underdogs or under-appreciated artists, we have: The Who, The Cranberries, The Smiths, U2, Kate Bush, The Kinks, Massive Attack and Duran Duran and rather surprisingly, Fine Young Cannibals. These artists clocked up TWO votes apiece, with resulting in 16 votes in total. While The Smiths somehow outmanoeuvre their Manchester counterparts of Blur and Oasis to earn more votes, the overwhelming appearance of Fine Young Cannibals solidifies my need to have a listen to their music catalogue as I am not aware of them as an artists, as much as I’d like to be.

The final recommendations come with earning ONE vote apiece, resulting in 17 votes in total. Bearing in no particular order: The Cure, Blur, Simply Red, Ed Sheeran, Amy Winehouse, Jess Glynne, Adele, John Newman, Rudimental, Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, Tears For Fears, PJ Harvey, Joy Division, New Order, Duran Duran, Electric Light Orchestra, Judas Priest and Def Leppard.

What’s missing?

While this is a highly commendable line-up with some fantastic music artists involved, many aren’t mentioned at all. Britpop giants, Oasis, Leicester local-lads Kasabian and fanatic funks of The Police were all missed out. But this is the use of saying such a thing like the Best of something, which usually refers to us thinking about the classic artists from back in the day, rather than the present ones we see and hear today in “popular”music.

1.

ELTON JOHN

THE BEATLES

LED ZEPPELIN

DIRE STRAITS

PET SHOP BOYS

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What’s the Greatest Music Album created?

Another day, another discussion.

It’s time to drop trowel and get dirty with this one. Any album, of any genre, of any decade – what’s the greatest made? Now, that may be a tall order, but I know you can at least suggest a few contenders. Or, maybe you’re ballsy and know the greatest music album created already. Whether it be from a forum you read impartially or whether it’s from your own intellectual thoughts of music knowledge and understanding, pit them against one another in the comments and we can get angry with one another. I mean, if it comes to that. I doubt it would though, as you guys are all great.

Anyway, I digress – GET TO IT!

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Song of the Day: Bad Nerves ‘Palace’

If listening to ferociously fast distorted pop songs with seriously addictive melodies for a hook and sinker, I’d recommend having a listen to Bad Nerves, and their impressive quota of sticky floors, sweaty rockers and knackered earholes from their gigs. With their debut set to land in November, get used to their profile of raucous singles before they release as whole load more. This also one of those songs that I love drumming to. An instant relish in enjoyment and a release of fury whatever I’m feeling that day. Perfect.

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Is integrity everything in music?

With a lot of our favourite artists staying true to their roots, to their music and most importantly, to their fans, we take a look into if integrity is the integral part to music. Do you listen to an artist just for their music? Or do you listen to an artist on the way they portray themselves, being whole and undivided to us as avid listeners, fans and consumers?

It may be the very fact that makes us connect to the music more, or it may be a little extra something we like about them and their personality as a music artist. Either way, tell me your stories, your troubles and your artist favourites regarding integrity.

Thank you kindly.

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Artist Spotlight: Badflower

Committing blood, soul and mind to their art, Badflower are a cathartic Los Angeles-bred quartet that you require to be on your rock radar.

Hailed for their triumphs of their debut album, OK, I’M SICK in 2019, their rock stardom catapulted to them to unimaginable scenes, as they achieved commercial success with their hauntingly powerful punches of Ghost, Heroin and The Jester.

The confessions of musicality are in droves as the album implores the discussion of sleep, sex, sadness, mania and pain in doses of hot flashes. Relevant, fresh and fresh, Badflower are continuing to be the thorns in our side as the rock powerhouse we have to listen to as part of our rock ritual.

Recent releases of 30 and Family in 2020 has allowed them to clock up to 280 million streams collectively, and they only plan to go further with their music.

Even if you don’t believe the hype as such, be sure to not miss it – because you can be sure you will. I almost did.

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Has Ed Sheeran “sold his soul” to the industry?

Long gone are the days of intimate acoustics of Small Bump, and now, Sheeran is causing rather large bumps in the ripple of music consumers, as people are feeling like he’s lost himself in the glamours of fame and money with music composition.

With the release of electro-dance mish mash of Bad Habits sounding hardly like the orange-coloured popstar, people are starting to lose their way and have doubts with him. It’s certainly no surprise though. After amassing such a following worth 60 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and generating billions with one of the biggest worldwide tours ever held with his divide album in 2017, it is any surprise his sound has changed into global mainstream pop mania when it has made one of the most successful pop artists in the world?

With this said, thousands of artists become popular, mainstream global artists but still keep their original sounds, integrity and formalities, allowing them to stay grounded and more importantly, true to the music. With Sheeran speaking in interviews, his thoughts on his music and others around him – aswell as seemingly buying property in the entire Suffolk region, it seems he has certainly lost aspects of both integrity and staying grounded.

But, what are your thoughts on Ed Sheeran and his music?

Has he really lost himself to the music?

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Saving the Music Industry: Mainstream Artists set to perform at Grassroot Level

In a bid to ultimately save the music industry – and its affiliating grass-root music venues – mainstream ‘popular’ artists will be seen to plan their touring around grassroot venues across the UK, to allow these once forgotten and bedraggled venues to flourish and to thrive once more in our communities and culture of music.

With the stated date of 19th July confirmed that events and gigs can return to our venues and festivals, we are slowly beginning to plan a course for the Autumn for the return of music. With this news that it is a huge positive for grassroot venues, we can only hope of the return sooner rather than later!

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Imagine Dragons: Return of the Indie Mythicals

Following on from the subsequent singles of Follow You and Wrecked, Imagine Dragons announce their long-awaited return to the music limelight with their new album, Mercury – Act 1. Set to land in our ears in September, the album will hopefully draw on empowering lyrical ingenuity we’ve seen since Night Visions in 2012, but also draw on the love and design in creating hideously addictive hits we saw in 2017’s Evolve.

Their most recent single release, Wrecked, was produced by the band and ultimately inspired by singer Dan Reynolds’ late sister-in-law who tragically died from cancer. In way to deal with it all, through the refuge of music – as it has always done for Dan – it is a song that is the wish for an eternity with those that he loves. A figure of sentiment that we can understand and feel passionately, too.

After not expressing any depth of new music since 2018, it has been a quiet for the Dragons, but it’s a reassuring sign that they are back to their fearsome and fiery self. Roll on the autumn, I say.

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Hey, you! YEAH YOU. Fancy a New Playlist?

Well hear it is, folks. Unprecedented access to my flavourful playlists I subsequently drum to over the weekends. Complex funk – my favourite enlisting in a genre, encapsulates the very best of talented, and musical artists all in one funky cherry-bite.

Featuring entries from Covet, Larnell Lewis, Polyphia and Dave Weckl – find your new funky favourite below!

That’s all from me today, folks. After a hectic Monday at work, it’s not too full on this evening. Do let me know your thoughts and what you would like to see moving forward, regarding future music playlists.

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Tenacious D: The Beatles Tribute

Whilst on the topic of The Beatles, Tenacious D have returned to the rambunctious escapades of their lyrical ingenuity and musicality with their cover of You Never Give Me Money / The End by The Beatles. Fun and simply stupid in all the right places, it’s a fantastic depiction of the terrible twosome who make fantastically hilarious music, and a fantastic little nod to one of the greatest bands in the world that ever decided to pick up their guitars and start playing music.

If you grab a couple minutes, I implore you to have a watch and a listen, it’ll be sure to crack up a smile on your weekend.

Thanks folks, do enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

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Are The Beatles Overrated?

This is a common choice of topic that keeps cropping up among my group of friends. Many believe that their worth, musicality, popularity and overall God-like aura are simply exaggerated, and over-simplified. Question is – is this true? Love Me DO or love me DON’T: Are The Beatles overrated?

50 years on, they are quite possibly still the most popular, most loved and notorious band to ever grace our stages, cameras and earholes of music. Quite rightly too – known for their music inventions in songwriting, their commercial success is next to none, becoming the best sold group than any other in just a short span of 13 years of recording thirteen studio albums.

But, whether the bands’ reputation precedes them, or simply their music doesn’t do it for you, let me know your thoughts on the Liverpudlian legends.

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Who’s the WORST British musician?

Running from the nautical theme of yesterday, it’s time to decide your worst British artist. Whether it be from something you read in the news, an artist meet-and-greet turned sour, or just overall distaste for the music they create, which artist do you tend to stay clear from?

Whether it be the crude undertaking of glorified simpleton-pop, Coldplay or the work of banjo-playing Mumford & Sons, or simply Liam Gallagher for being a full w*nker, let me know YOUR CHOICES. I promise I won’t judge you too much for your decisions muahaha.

Now, I’m thinking about it for me – this is quite a hard feat to acclompish. Despite them not making the same idealistic music I particularly like, I could never place any British musician under the umbrella as WORST. We just have too many good musicians that do what they do so damn well. But, by all means, try and persuade me …

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Best of British Music: Who tops YOUR list?

Hey folks, in a new series for a new month, we’re exploring the BEST OF BRITISH in an ultimate face-off regarding the Best in British Music.

Whether it be the crafty workings of stage presence or the sheer scale of anthems and hits they’ve written, what makes the music better than all the others? We’ll be scaling up each comment, and thoughts and see if they’ll top the list. So, join the discussion and get involved.

Would we see the Bohemian-dwellers of the mighty Queen grace our list? They had the lot in terms of bravado, iconic soundtracks and sheer fame and fortune with the one, Freddy Mercury.

Or would we see the Mancunian duo of Oasis? Rampant, chaotic and not giving a damn, they stood for everything British, and took the world by storm with their iconic Britpop. Will they litter the queue, too?

This week, we start with number ten – give me your artist picks below, and we’ll methodically think, question, argue and hopefully … agree on our Best of British!

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I’M MAKING A MAGAZINE!

Yes, you heard right. With the help of Adobe, and creative management, I’m making Man v Music an eclectic magazine for worthy collection. Featuring some of my favourite write-ups regarding industry insights, news and reviews, it’ll be exquisitely wrapped up in a delightful package of graphic delight. Of course, stay up to date among my socials and on here, of course, where I shall be updating as I go …

Watch this space.

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LIVE MUSIC INDUSTRY SUES UK GOVERNMENT

YES, YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT. With the Government seemingly withholding the results from the festival pilots, the Live Music industry has taken a great stride in representing all the creatives by actively suing the Government for its lack of transparency, and overall willingness to come forward, with what we need to view, test and learn from.

Download Pilot 2021 with 10,000 capacity occurred a couple of weeks ago, showing that it can be done.

What’s the point in festival pilots if the Government won’t release the data?

Legal action was launched today (June 24) to force the publication of a report from Phase 1 of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).

The purpose of the ERP is to study “the risk of transmission of Covid-19” from attending sports and entertainment events, and business conferences. Despite the glowing reports of the research programme being a “glowing success”, still, many people ponder why restrictions are still being held in place with the arts and entertainment sector still held within lockdown until at least July, despite mass sporting events are occurring right in the city at Wembley and at Wimbledon. It also comes with another blow to the industry – not only are they refusing to release the research synopsis, but also no insurance scheme has seemingly been put in place – despite numerous calls for change when so many events had to cancel, with no insurance in place to ultimately cover the cancellation costs.

And now here we are, actively suing the Government. There seems to be some serious underappreciation or understanding from the Government, simply unaware how much the LIVE MUSIC INDUSTRY brings to society, culture and the overall economy year on year, without fail.

Time for change. Again. Is this the way forward? Will they FINALLY listen to us now? Only time will tell.

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Song of the Day: Sueco’s SOS

Adding to his punk roster, Sueco enlists the help of Travis Barker again for his feature-length return of SOS. It certainly seems that Barker is yet again making his presence known within the punk world, being the leading man with the sticks. Anarchic, contorted and brazen, the triumph of punk’s return is a blistering one. And with the unfortunate news of Mark Hoppus’ diagnosing cancer, it’s certain that all these music artists and avid old-school fanatics of Blink, are doing their best to revel in loyalty and honour to one of the OG’s.

Perfect for a intrepid rock list, a scrum or a scuffle in the playground, it comes with all the tips and tricks that you expect from punk.

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Why do we love writing about music?

Writing, talking, discussing or .. arguing about music. It’s my go-to conversation starter, my avid favourite talking point about a person and their personality. It immediately tells me a lot about a person dependant on what music they like. Which may be very shallow of me to put on a person, but music is a defining characteristic to a persons’ identity for me. I really enjoy the passionate displays of people hating on a particular genre, a particular story or attitude towards the industry and is captivating to hear a rant on anything music. Especially when you know that they’re serious and their heart is in it. Blogging about music is my little escape from it all and gives me a fantastic platform to release my thoughts, opinions and views on albums, playlists, stories, news and adventures in the music world. And I know I’m not the only one. There’s hundreds of creatives on here who feel exactly the same. Whether they’re avid musicians themselves, or complex journalists willing to escape their current field, the topic of music is a topic everyone can get on board with. Because everyone can listen to music, and have a validated opinion – just for listening and being a fan of some sorts. Before I met my current girlfriend, liking the same music as me was the be-all and end-all, it was simply the defining characteristic for me, because I knew that that would shape our whole conversations, based off gigs, festivals and favourite music artists. Luckily, my girlfriend has favourite genres and festivals that match mine, so it was certainly comfortable during our first couple of meetings with one another. So, if you want some advice from me, save your thoughts on music you like, write them down, and share them with others just. like. you!

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Tyler, The Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST: Album Review

A true connoisseur, Tyler The Creator has created his Igor-follow up with CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST.

Best picks: CORSO, WUSYANAME, WILSHIRE, LUMBERJACK

Gorgeous, hip, outlandish and perfectly Tyler, the seemless – and quite frankly, flawless – album transitions from one breadth to another, with the outros blending perfectly into another deflective motion of the album dialogue. This time, it’s the bodacious star of Sir Baudelaire.

The wacky, indigenous instrumentals and the lyrical ingenuity that we hear in Hot Wind Blows, MANIFESTO and RISE! is the perfect radio soundtrack riding in our Cadillac’s and Pegassi’s in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto.

In what may have been a difficult turnaround for Tyler to adapt from after writing the stellar concept of Igor, Tyler has made the executive decision of blending the elites of Goblin, Cherry Bomb, Flower Boy and Igor into a fantastic trope of easy-listenin’ lo-fi hip-hop that just is so fun to play. You can certainly he had fun making it, too.

With many others thinking that CMIUGL is the apotheosis of his past art, I couldn’t agree with them more. It has glimpses of old Tyler and new Tyler that is beneficial to all fans of the artistic evolution that is .. Tyler, The Creator.

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Twin Atlantic’s Free: An Album that Sparks more than just Music

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Ah, Twin Atlantic’s Free.

An epic album watermarked and etched forever in the cornerstones of my music fanciful tastes when I was merely a boy.

After scooping this album in its CD form simply for the love of its delightfully intriguing album cover, I had no idea I would even play it once – never mind fall in love with its whole entirety.

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Created in the summer of 2011 – when phones were not eclipsed to the surface of our skin, and there was certainly less pressure in society for kids – Twin Atlantic‘s glossy supremacy of Free was the game changer for me and I instantly loved the band, the euphoria and the music.

With the Scottish angst chard, the vital chords struck home and it is, to this day, my favourite album of all time. Whether that be the nostalgic memories tainting my thoughts and values on the quality of the music, but it is a perfect album throughout.

Apart from knowing every minor fragment of the songs, all lyrical moments and drum parts, the album just has absolute monstrous bangers included.

Time For You Stand Up, Make a Beast of Myself, Eight Days just to name a few that can rip your arms right out of their sockets. The momentum of the album is waded brilliantly too with moments of beauty – Crash Land and Wonder Sleeps Here. Not to mention Serious Underground Dance Vibes which may very well have been my morning alarm for years, come to think of it.

The utter obsession of course worked, and made me unequivocally purchase the next album in 2015, Great Divide, which happened to be just as compelling, just as cut-throat and beautiful all in the same breath.

The invention and soon-to-be discovery of Spotify from myself, led me into a rabbit hole of everything Scottish rock, and of course, I had to listen to the predecessor of Free, which was Vivarium in 2009.

Old-school Twin Atlantic (when long hair was cool)

A buoyant and boyish album all about making music for fun, classics like Lightspeed and You’re Turning into John Wayne, certainly catapulted their fanatics and ultimately led them on to create Free a mere two years later.

Although the recent album works of GLA (2016) and POWER (2020) have certainly not had the same impact (possibly down to life getting in the way, and with these albums not being released in my adolescent years, too, for that matter) their catalogue is still highly commendable and certainly paves a way on how to achieve commercial success in Scottish rock.

For me, it really was the stepping stones (or one of them at least) that made me rethink my music taste, my musical journey, habits and hobbies in life and most importantly, made me tune in less to those fanciful chart radio stations and tune into to some actual stations. Thanks boys.

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Happy World Music Day 2021!

21st June: Happy World Music Day!

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Link: The unsung musicians of India

As a day to encourage young musicians and young learners from every community and every city to perform outside, World Music Day has returned today on the 21st June. Celebrated with over 120 countries worldwide, it’s a fantastic sight to see as musicians across the globe pick up their instruments, sharpen their vocals and simply play, perform and just enjoy themselves simply for the love of music.

Despite the pandemic restricting a lot of events to showcase our love of music outside, there’s been plenty of community collaboration and live performances done solely online. Emphatic music works have been going on since the early hours of this morning and despite us being confined to our time zones witnessing live music first-hand, we are undoubtedly drawn together with our love for music.

So, despite the often rare fanatic exploration of World Music annually, take some time out today – no matter how long you have left of the Monday – … and enjoy some music that is culturally, and artistically, inspiring.

You can view some fantastic performances below!

Thanks folks x

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Benjamin Francis Leftwich – “To Carry A Whale” Album Review

Sombre, enchanting but entirely beautiful, Leftwich takes us down a bewildering path of human nature as an alcoholic addict tells us his tales of sobriety.

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“It’s an observation on what it’s like to be a sober alcoholic addict a couple of years in. A whale is heavy to carry.

It’s gonna hurt you to carry it. But it’s also beautiful, and it’s a miracle to be able to carry all that at all.”

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Beautiful harmonics of Cherry in Tacoma, Slipping Through My Fingers and Full Full Colour bring this fantastically calm and serene album to a disclosure of triumph and struggle – and is certainly worth the entire trawl through the 10-track listing.

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Latitude Festival 2021: More artists are added to line-up!

https://www.latitudefestival.com/

After confirming it will indeed go ahead this year after COVID restrictions, Latitude Festival have added more to the artist roster, as the festival is set to take place at Henham Park from the 22th to the 25th of July. It’s certainly a close call, as it is set to go ahead just 3 days ahead of Government plans to uplift all lockdown rules and regulations.

But that won’t stop the expansive line-up of Bastille, Wolf Alice, Supergrass and Chemical Brothers to set the fields alight with the return of live music. Finally – it’s been too long. After the Download Pilot this weekend, there will be even more anticipation and excitement for festivals to go big and go large this Summer, as safety and caution prevails for all on site.

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Let’s Talk: Can you imagine a car journey without music?

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Cause somebody stole my car radio
And now I just sit in silence

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Another provocative thought that recently occurred to me when I trawled the journey to London the other day. Being just on the road within a minute, the silence was deafening and I just had to put on some music.

This time, as I was driving, I had to whack on the radio, and that justified my music fix enough to take me to the heart of the capital.

So, my thoughts for Friday is this: can you imagine a car journey without music? If so, is it peaceful to you?

Or, if not, what are your PERFECT car playlists?

Car journeys certainly hit different.

Let me know!

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Download Pilot: The Return of Live Music!

To help open up live music from the uncertain future, the three-day camping festival of the Download Pilot begins tomorrow, and ends on the Sunday.

Befitted to a 10k capacity, featuring alcohol limits, with all festival go-ers having to take lateral tests before attending, the Download Pilot is the first of many of the Government’s Event Research Programme for the arts and entertainment sectors to reactivate once again. With no social distancing or masks required once on site too, you can be sure that hugging, moshing and galavanting with fellow Downloaders will be prevalent. I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic sight to see. I wasn’t lucky enough to grab tickets for this delightful event of live music returning …

but I’m sure I’ll see avid glimpses across social media and via the official festival website, too.

You can view the expansive line-up below, and view the stage times via the official Download website.

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https://downloadfestival.co.uk/download-pilot/

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HAVE FUN, DONINGTON!

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Artist Spotlight: Black Peaks

There’s rarely a band that makes me stop in my tracks and listen intently. Then again, there’s rarely a band like Black Peaks that exist. Swollen in the deep, dark trenches of exploring the extent of mankind, Black Peaks is simply heavy music that understands.

Similar to that of Sleep Token – a familiar face to the Artist Spotlight series, their heavy undertones of chaos and angst is blended with this perfect mix of beautiful musicality that just works.

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We simply weren’t ready for their debut drop in 2016 with Statues.

Sheer velocity and power trawls through the album catalogue, as we’re torn from clinical favourite of Glass Built Castles, swayed to the screeching Say You Will and pushed to time oddity out-and-out of Saviour. The album saw them grace uncharted territory into the realms of heavy rock, as our favourite residents were forced to turn their heads and be made aware of the newcomers.

From their seemingly endless tour with impressive time on the road, the arctic giants returned with Can’t Sleep in 2018, and eventually – All That Divides. With music that was predominantly more higher in pitch and melodic in places, it still featured the sprouting roots of Black Peaks’ iconic sound that cemented their place firmly in the heavy and raucous.

With little to show since 2019 – with King displaying their efforts – I’m looking forward to seeing some new music hopefully within the autumn of 2021, where hopefully they’ll chart the globe with an emphatic tour – which I’m looking forward to even more.

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Let’s Talk: Are Music Videos Dead?

Despite the infamous MTV rising gloriously in the ’80s, with the ethos of how “video killed the radio star” from that Buggles hit, music videos were the all the rage.

But, they’ve dwindled ever since, and it seems that music videos are not as prolific as they once were. It’s worth mentioning that they still are still played each week on MTV however, but rather than each waking hour as they once were, they are now merely hidden away during the unsociable hours between 3AM and 9AM.

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Why is that? Is it the lack of funding assortments from the artists? Is it the uncomfortable popularity music videos receive? Or is it merely just our attention spans shortening so much that we can’t bear watch a music video for more than four minutes?

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But, it seems to me that the only reason why music videos are dead, is because the creativity for such a video has gone. The ones we remember have such a powerful story to them, such a creative style, design and approach to them, that it ultimately uplifts the songs’ notoriety to something more than just a melody. And that’s why they were so popular ten to fifteen years ago. We need this resurgence in this type of video again, otherwise they’ll become redundant like everything else that has left the industry in the past quarter.

But hey, this is just my thoughts. For all I know, you could love music videos and I’m merely speaking for the minority who enjoy those GIF-like music video attempts we see on streaming services. Let me know your thoughts behind this one, folks.

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Let’s Talk: Can music cure our planet?

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It might sound CRAZY but – – can music help our planet? Let me explain … there are studies out there that show music promotes plant growth!

Some plants have been known to grow an extra 20% when played music compared to plants that didn’t have the joyous tones of music.

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But what music I hear you ask…? Well, funnily enough plants that were played rock music didn’t thrive in that environment, they actually died within a few weeks – so sorry Korn, looks like you won’t be saving the planet anytime soon!

But instead, plants that had the relaxing tones of classical music thrived in that environment – promoting the aforementioned 20% extra growth in plants.

So I go back to my original question, imagine if music could cure our planet… Unfortunately it’s not likely that it will, but it would be amazing if it was that simple. It really does show the impact music has upon living things, and the greater positive impact it has upon them. (Even if they don’t appreciate a heavy drum beat and ground breaking guitar solo).

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Blog written by Alyxandra Howarth. Thanks Alyx!

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Could the delay in lockdown “irreversibly damage” the music industry?

With a possible delay in the lifting of lockdown from the 21st June due to a spike in cases from a certain variant from the landscapes of India – it could well and truly see the music industry in UK “being left behind.”

With transparency needed more than ever from the Government, we are looking to Boris Johnson and what he has to say about it at a news briefing scheduled for tomorrow (14 June.)

If the lockdown is confirmed to be delayed for another two months or so, this can see over 5,000 events being cancelled, which again, would cost millions to the music industry.

Wishing for a summer of music we all want, the Government must cooperate and deliver an understandable plan of return as, anything past the expected date of 21st June, is ultimately new ground for us all.

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Artist Spotlight: Kenny Hoopla

– Pop-punk lives// –

In a state of punk decorum and expertise, Kenny Hoopla is the adventurist into the grandeurs of alternative rock, new-wave and …

pop-punk.

With the figurehead of pop-punk, Travis Barker behind the sticks, Hoopla became first known to us with his first debut EP, how will i rest in peace if I’m buried by a highway?// in 2020. With plastic door and sore loser, it was a more misanthropic, personal exploration of Hoopla’s ideas of lyricism and sorrowful tones, in terms of musicality.

how I rest in peace if I’m buried on the highway?//

For 2021 – with Barker no doubt barking orders for it to feature more angst and energy – SURVIVORS GUILT: THE MIXTAPE//, features a stronger competency to writing catchy and anthemic punk powerhouses that certainly has speckles of fellow punk counterparts of nothing.nowhere. and Blink-182 in the 8-track EP listing.

SURVIVORS GUILD: THE MIXTAPE//

Featuring the song that pushed Kenny into this genre in the first place, estella//, aswell as hollywood sucks// and my personal favourite, smoke break//, it is an exciting turn of events for this new-wave 23-year-old Ohio-born singer and rapper.

Worth a listen for any avid punk fans and for anyone who wants to let loose For this week, worthy under Artist Spotlight.

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Let’s Talk: What are your top vinyl picks?

After HMV reveals their first drop of vinyl exclusives for their 100th anniversary, it just goes to show how popular and powerful this vinyl resurgence has become in today’s music industry.

So, as a topical question for a Thursday, what are your top picks in the vinyl world?

Is it the assorted colour selection you like – or the limited edition that takes your fancy?

Or is it simply the classic music works on the classic black vinyl?

Do let me know your favourites!

I’m very intrigued!

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Cleopatrick – “BUMMER” Album Review

Back in April, I implored you to witness the dazzling rock mafia duo madness of Cleopatrick with Artist Spotlight for the month.

Now, two months later, I’m back with an album review as it’s finally here. Since they’ve been young, the Canadian lifelong childhood duo have always wanted to release a debut album they’ve been immensely proud about. Well, in June of 2021, vocalist/guitarist Luke Gruntz and drummer, Ian Fraser managed to do that.

Simply loud and rife in the dirty and gritty, BUMMER has neither a lethargic or dull moment in its 10-song length longevity.

Emphatic, bold, specially written and so well richly produced – considering its the sounds of just two blokes – it is the one album I’d love to get sweaty with a bunch of strangers in one of those intermingling cesspits of tomfoolery, when they head off on their BUMMER tour in August.

With this album, it is also safe to say that Cleopatrick love to get their money’s worth out of stuff. The amount of sheer fuzz and distortion inclusive within the opener, VICTORIA PARK and WHY JULY, is frivolous manic punk and it’s f*cking fantastic.

Not dearly refined in some moments – and rightly so, because it’s well within the discomforts of punk – the debut is simply a fashioning for the love of music that these two boys have, and this comes out in the bucket loads.

GOOD GRIEF and THE DRAKE mark the end of doing anything by halves and release the handbrake with full rock powerhouses. The album tones it down with oozy drones of 2008 and Great Lakes, but still implores a different edge and style that the band incorporates and ultimately, shows their competency in producing music with the “less is more” mentality.

If you were disappointed with Royal Blood‘s recent third album, fear not. Here is a far better alternative than anything we could’ve ever imagined.

If you manage to catch them on their BUMMER tour, good on you.

– — – – https://cleopatrick.com/ — – – —

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Song of the Day: Snarky Puppy’s Shofukan

WELL, this series was meant to be surrounded in lush tropics as we aptly name it the Summer Song of the Day, but as we’ve had our summer for all but three days with our familiar friend, rain returning to our lands, I’ve had to sink back to the elusive name of Song of the Day.

This time, it’s the garnered and adventurous funk-fusion mega-band that simply jam and stick it to the man with their catastrophic flexes of making such diverse and richly compelling music. Led by bassist, Michael League – and one of my favourite drummers to listen too, Larnell Lewis – Snarky Puppy are one of those big-league big-bands that are simply not worthy to miss out any music they’ve made – – future or past.

Snarky Puppy released their twelfth studio album, Immigrance in 2019, a chop-fanatic focused of dark limerick that boils well within their album counterparts of 2012’s GroundUP and 2014’s We Like It Here, an album that showed admiration for the city of London, in where it was aptly recorded in full-length, too.

This is the album that features our apt song of the day, too. Shofukan. Stream it on any service or buy it wherever available. I can ensure you of a pleasurable musical experience, my friends.

Not to mention their 2020 live album at the Royal Albert Hall that earned them an esteemed Grammy Award the following year for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.

The fruity ensemble are set to return to live gigs and shows around America in September 2021 with more dates to follow, I’m sure.

https://snarkypuppy.com/tour

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Charts: Olivia Rodrigo goes head-to-head with Easy Life

Now, I’m not normally an avid watcher of the Official Charts as popularity does not ultimately result in good music all the time. This is clear from the evident trawls of music the Charts has splurged out over the years.

But, my ears perked up when the local Leicester lads of Easy Life’s debut, Life’s a Beach is giving Olivia Rodrigo’s album, SOUR, a run for its money. An album that has taken the world by storm with its glossy but gritty angst to love with consecutive weeks in global sales, could Olivia be toppled from the spot in glorious fashion with one of my avid favourites of Easy Life?

Their debut delivered great expectations and has risen in fantastic pleasure for all fellow musicians who revolve around the East Midlands.

So, I implore you gorgeous lot to buy it, stream it, share it – do whatever we need to do to get their deserved number one spot. It’ll certainly be a hard feat as I imagine Olivia has a greater international pull than the boys from Leicester …

but still … this is the music industry – anything’s possible!

https://www.easylifemusic.com/

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Sleep Token – ‘Sundowning’ Album Review

Eternally divinine, Sleep Token are one of the most unique new underground acts in the heavy rock and progressive metal heading to leave its quarters of worship and share its beauty with us.

Definitive, powerful and expertly put together, Sundowning is one of my favourites that I just keep coming back to, simply to relive. I implore everyone else to do the same.

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But, don’t be put off by the glorious display of devil-like incarnations, this album is not to be trifled or spited with. Like inhabited spirits, they simply create abounding music – and simply worship those creatives before them.

Like carefully aligned pieces of music, for me, the album invokes a masterpiece – and I love it. Beautiful melodic performances, a sorrowful vocalist, the precisely-timed chaos of the arching drums, and the illusion and mystery that invokes such a piece is enough to upkeep conversations going about just how strong the progressive-metal scene is in the UK.

The sheer anonymity of the British collective just adds further to the mystery, too. Songs such as, The Offering, Dark Signs and The Night Does Not Belong to God are somewhat showing their worship to an ancient deity that can only be identified by ‘Sleep’, who appeared to the band’s lead singer, ‘Vessel’, in a dream.

I know about it just as much as you do, but you’ve got to admit it’s pretty darn cool. But where frantic progressive-metal reins in their expressiveness, moments of fleeting beauty appear so softly in the ambient tranquil of such songs like, Levitate and Give.

The album does not begin to falter though, with elements of rage – maybe due to the lack of worshipping to their inhabitants – driving us straight into Gods and Say That You Will. The full 12-listing of the album ends with a beauty that I can’t stop repeating – Blood Sugar. A chorus of melodic piano, a hymn of vocals and progressive rhythmic art, it’s a worthy contender to end it right.

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If they’re planning on delighting the Gods with this as The Offering, the Vessel, and his collaborative collective, should be mightily satisfied with their efforts.

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Quote of the Day: Bob Marley’s “No Pain”

No matter how hectic your day was or how overwhelming your week is turning out to be, fear not – the prospect of listening to music is hear to save us all. And so, to keep you trucking on this week, as I can understand it’s dragging a fair bit – especially since after the Bank Holiday weekend – here is a topical quote of the day to replenish ourselves with all our music favourites.

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One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.

-Bob Marley

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A quote from an individual, which I’m sure you can agree, who has a history steeped in musical richness with a legacy rife in our history. Fantastic.

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Summer Song of the Week: JOY (Get Over Me)

Well, it’s been a stonkin’ bank holiday weekend of summer, draught beers, barbecue meat and catching up with family and friends in the glare of the summer sun. Absolutely fabulous. Other than playing Easy Life’s summer anthems in Life’s A Beach, I have been frantically trying to find some quality summer counterparts to the Leicester lads, so I can mix up the playlist just a little bit. Aaaaand, Lo and behold, I found this beauty.

Whether it was made for the joys of summer or not, it is simply perfect for it. Have a cheeky listen and let me know what you think. If I have enough responses, I’ll also make my own summer anthem playlist this week, so all yous enjoying the sun can enjoy it that little bit more.

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CATCH-UP: BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend

Whilst we’ve been bathing in the glorious sunshine this bank holiday weekend, the magic of live music has returned in some realm of sorts with BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend. Set across three days from the 28th to the 31st, some of the biggest music artists right now headed to some glorious landscapes in the UK countryside and delved us in some fantastic live music.

Coldplay at Whitby Abbey, Ed Sheeran in the countryside, Jorja Smith at Alexandra Palace, AJ Tracey at a basketball court and Royal Blood at their local Brighton pier – the plethora up for grabs was quite favourable to any fanatic fans of music.

Whilst it’s easy on eyes with fantastic backdrops to the emphatics of music, it’s another horrid reminder of the effects live music has without its audience. Entirely reliable upon one another, BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend is another implore for COVID to dismiss from our shores and for us to get back to live-audience shows, gigs and festivals.

Catch the best bits, highlights or the full-length sets below:

BIG WEEKEND OF LIVE MUSIC

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easy life – ‘life’s a beach’ Album Review

Dowsed in nothing but sunshine, Easy Life implore us to return to the meandering waves of beautiful modern living with their debut, Life’s A Beach.

Ever since their debut single, Pockets, blew up online in 2017, they have been triumphantly souring into everyone else’s pockets as their installation of melodic indie pop/hip-hop hybrid of indulgence is added to playlist favourites.

We first heard the boys’ fascination with the seaside from their debut EP, creature habits mixtape with Ice Cream in 2018. Signing to Island Records the following year, brought about more musings of modern life as they craft classics like, nice guys, dead celebrities and sangria with fellow lush-romantic, Arlo Parks.

After their anticipated EP, Junk Food in 2020, it would only be a matter of time before their debut was created. Hence, one year on, here we are. With us in the UK edging further towards a sense of normality with adventures, holidays and enjoyment, this album couldn’t have come at a better time for us all. A perfect ample-soundtrack for beach lovers, it is a true enriching compliment of their past crafting aswell as their future sounds.

The FIRST segment is the slow descent into missing your chance on the train back home with ocean view, annoying familiarity with it all in skeletons and thinking of love lost with daydreams.

The SECOND segment of the album is one of sombre intrigue and melancholic flavourings that we have not really heard from their style as of yet.

The juxtaposition in the relationship tale between optimistic have a great day to wishful thinking daydreams and finally to the sinking-ship familiarity in lifeboat – it a fantastic journey.

Much like its album artwork of the bobbing car in the beautiful blue, the album’s concept teeters on uncertainty and tranquility with heartbreak at the coast.

Despite the bubbly potion-pourings of delight, lyricist Murray draws on its sombre stories of mental health and modern living issues.

… After all in the end, life’s a beach is a surprising reminder that despite all its beauty, the seaside can be a pipe-dream, eventually trawling us into a nightmarish landscape – all the while, giving us everlasting hope of having a taste of the old …

Witty and poignant, life’s a beach is such a pleasure to listen to.