Sunday, 30 November 2014

November Round-Up


Here we are again, with now only one more month left until we crash into 2015. There probably won't be one of these round-ups for December, still haven't quite worked out how I'm going to do end of year stuff yet. In the meantime, here's what happened in November.



Gigs of the Month

Vinnie Caruana, Great Cynics, Boston Manor at The Macbeth
There were a couple of show this month that could have easily made it as 'gig of the month' but Vinnie Caruana probably stole the show entirely pretty last minute. The former The Movielife and current I Am The Avalanche frontman has just finished three small acoustic dates in the UK (Southampton, London and Liverpool). After four great support acts alt-pub The Macbeth was almost full to the brim in anticipation for one of New York's finest. Having such a large back catalogue to choose a set list from (remember there's Caruana's own solo album as well) might have lost the crowd for some artists, but not this one. Some attendees only knew I Am The Avalanche, some were only interested in The Movielife songs but everybody was hooked for the entire hour. For me, highlights were no doubt a mid-set 'Green Eyes' from IATA's self-titled album as well as finale 'Brooklyn Dodgers' which pretty much brought the house down. A heart-warming night for all in that East London venue on Friday.

Rixton, Sheppard and Young Kato at Koko
Let me start with, this was a strange one. It was the first time I'd been to Koko for a gig that wasn't sold out, but when you consider that it's a Monday night and Rixton's stereotypical fanbase are somewhere around the age of 15 it all sort of makes sense. Unfortunately opening act tonight, Young Kato hadn't stepped up since I saw them a few weeks prior supporting Charlie Simpson, but they rattled through their short set before anybody had much time to dwell on them. This was the only date of Rixton's UK tour that Sheppard played so it's fairly clear that this show was just a little test to see how they went down, and honestly, they weren't bad at all. For a band that the majority of people in the room had never heard before, they did a surprisingly good job of maintaining the atmostphere and keeping everybody entertained. I first saw Rixton over the summer at Wireless I'd never been so pleasantly surprised by a live performance than I was with them - so tonight my expectations were high. For a band who have only really released two singles, their set were cleverly broken up with a couple of covers/medleys, however their best known tracks 'Wait On Me' and number one single 'Me And My Broken Heart' were the stand-outs.


Other noteable events:
Nightmare Festival
Klaxons at Shepherds Bush Empire (Their final UK show ever, and it was pretty special)
Jamie T and Slaves at Alexandra Palace

Album of the Month

PVRIS - White Noise
It will not come as a great surprise to anyone who has skimmed this blog before or knows me in real life that PVRIS' debut album 'White Noise' is album of the month for November. A band who have in some ways sprung out of nowhere to some released their first full length at the start of the month. If singles 'St Patrick' and 'My House' were anything to go by, 'White Noise' was not going to disappoint.   Whilst debut albums are rarely perfect, PVRIS have done a damn good job at trying. The balance between synth-rock anthems like 'Smoke' and 'Fire', and slower more emotional tracks like 'White Noise' gives a well rounded experience of what PVRIS are capable as a band. There's a long road ahead of this three-piece and they're only just getting started. (P.S. UK ASAP TOUR PLEASE!)

Other great releases from this month:
Nickelback - No fixed address (We probably shouldn't discuss this, but I thoroughly enjoyed it)
RL Grime - Void
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 OST

Top Five Tracks






Only a couple of random favourites this month:

TV Show: Ink Master

Bar: Fifty Five Bar


November playlists:
YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

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Saturday, 29 November 2014

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2014 Week #48

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.

Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

Monday
‘The Love You’re Given’ is Jack Garratt’s new single and not one ounce of it disappoints. Starting off super slow, this track builds into a soulful electronic masterpiece.


I think this is one of the best things that The Neighbourhood have ever come out with. A slightly different sound to their usual tracks qith French Montana on board but it works unbelievably well.


Tuesday
MNEK just has one of those voices that works so perfectly in both an R&B and dance setting. ‘The Rhythm’ is the most dance heavy single we’ve heard yet from MNEK and it just shows his versatility as an artist.


Wednesday
This track from Kentish Fire is completely off the wall, but awesome because of it. ‘In Our Band’ is all about being a band playing covers and it’s the cleverly thought out lyrics that really sold me.


‘Midnight’ is Joker’s first single taken from his forthcoming album ‘The Mainframe’. All sorts have sampled Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Waiting All Night’ but Joker takes J-Lo’s vocals to another level in a subtle and classic way.


Throwback Thursday
Former The Movielife and current I Am The Avalanche frontman Vinnie Caruana is currently on a solo tour around the UK performing tracks from both bands as well as solo material. In light of that, I thought this might be fitting.


Friday
This is Adria, she’s Australian and she does insane pop music. ‘Pull Me Under’ is Adria’s first single which is all pretty nuts really because this track is better than a lot of stuff established artists come out with.


This is James Bay covering Alt-J. Thankfully it doesn’t sound anything Alt-J, but it does sound super great.


Saturday
There’s so much solid pop music seeping out of the woodwork at the moment and Megan Vice is another testament to that. Hailing from New York, Vice has the potential to become a chart topping star. New single ‘Ghost’ is catchy and shows off Vice’s vocals in the most modest of ways.


Only Real is back with his new single ‘Yesterdays’ taken from his forthcoming debut album due for release early next year. Although Winter is pretty much here, London boy Only Real is determined to bring the sun back into our lives with ‘Yesterdays’.



November playlists: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2014 Week #47

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.

Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

Monday
Model Aeroplanes’ Soundcloud bio reads something like “fun music that you can drink cocktails to” and I think they’ve hit the nail right on the head there. Such a great feel good track from the Scottish four piece.


'The Life, The Party, The Scene' is the new single taken from Hey Vanity's lengthy mini-album 'Blindfolds' released earlier this year. Hey Vanity produce no nonsense refreshing rock music and this track is a perfect example of that.


Tuesday
London based three piece Ritual do moody electronic tracks like you wouldn’t believe. With vocals that sound something like Sam Smith and beats like Jamie Woon, ‘Blood Flow’ is four minutes of stunning complex chill out vibes.


In the most unlikely collaboration of the year by far, we bring you Lumidee and Years & Years. Not only does Lumidee give this Years & Years track two new verses but she also lends her vocals to the chorus and they work so well up against Olly Alexander’s. Skip to 1.21 to get straight to the song.


Wednesday
In the past months, Charlie Barclay-Webb has become a firm favourite here at WIIHAMB. This week he’s released an acoustic cover of Ariana Grande and The Weeknd’s ‘Love Me Harder’ and it’s honestly one of the most beautiful and fitting covers we’ve ever heard.


Throwback Thursday
Just when you thought that music videos from the 90s couldn't get any more ridiculous.


Friday
Our definite stand out from the new volume of Punk Goes Punk is Slaves’ version of The Neighbourhood’s ‘Sweater Weather’. If you pretend that it’s not a cover, it just fits perfectly into Slaves/Jonny Craig’s catalogue, something about it just works.


Saturday
After featuring on Rudimental’s debut album, it’s not surprising that DJ Fresh has tapped Ella Eyre up for a feature slot on his new single ‘Gravity’. Although this track isn’t particularly standout or groundbreaking for DJ Fresh, Ella Eyre’s super strong vocal performance makes up for that.


Auqalung is somewhat of a veteran in today’s electronic music scene and it’s impressive that an artist like Matt Hales has come back with something that still sound so relevant. Lianne La Havas’ vocals lend themselves beautifully to this track as well.


Sunday
'The Night' is the perfect follow up to previous single to 'Warm On A Cold Night' from London based duo Honne. 'The Night' is slowburning and a pefect listen on dark evening, making you feel warm and fuzzy inside.



November playlists: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2014 Week #46

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.

Even though it's only mid-November I feel as though we're getting dangerously close to the end of the year. I'm not ready to pick my best of 2014s or picks for 2015 yet!

Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

Monday
New single ‘Cinnamon’ proves The Never Ever have a sound all of their own bringing out one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard this year. ‘Cinnamon’ is sugary sweet and candy-coated all over.


Tuesday
‘Wildheart’ is the “B Side” to Saint Raymond's new single ‘Fall At Your Feet’. It’s feel good and a brilliant reminder of the growing distance between us and the summer that was.


Wednesday
Users In The Stream, That Is What We Are
WIIHAMB's take on Taylor Swift, streaming platforms and who is wrong or right



Throwback Thursday
Throwback Thursday has been pretty rock/metal focused recently but I couldn’t switch up genres before posting this early 00’s gem from Spineshank.


Friday
‘People Like Me…’ is taken from Emarosa’s most recent album ‘Versus’, released earlier this year. Bradley Walden’s vocals are spot on and the musicianship of the band overall really shines through on this track.


Saturday
The sampling on Kyle Lucas tracks is ALWAYS on point and ‘Fear and Loathing’ is no different. This track’s all about Lucas not being and not wanting to be mainstream and write pop songs, but the material he’s been coming out with proves that he’s doing the rap game just right.


Sunday
This Brooklyn based four piece create R & B infused eletronic atmospheric indie tracks, ‘Stranger’ being a perfect example of that. Until writing the original post I had no idea MOTHXR’s frontman was Penn Badgley, who’d have thought?!


Guildford based 'alt-rockers' Swim Good are back again with their new single 'Little Victories' and an 80s/90s inspired lyric video.The track has verses that'll have you swaying in your seat and a chorus you'll have stuck in your head for days.

November playlists: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Users In The Stream, That Is What We Are

[Inspired by none other than Taylor Swift and her good friend Spotify]

Disclaimer: I truly believe that any artist of any medium has the right to do what they want with their art. That being said...

Let me set the scene:
NEWSFLASH: TAYLOR SWIFT HAS REMOVED HER ENTIRE BACK CATALOGUE FROM SPOTIFY and the music industry is in absolute uproar about it. It's a dying industry already, Taylor, how could you do this to us?! There seem to be two clear sides forming around this debacle. Side one - I pay for Spotify and I am entitled to use the service to listen to Taylor Swift and who ever else's music as much as I like. Side two - Taylor can do what she wants and if she doesn't want her music being given away then that's not the way it has to be. I've compiled A LOT of articles from various sources surrounding the matter and I'd like for us all to take a look.

Obsessed with Spotify
Whilst the world flaps about loving and/or hating Spotify, everyone is ignoring every other streaming platform in existence. It's no secret that I'm a paid Deezer subscriber. Deezer may only have half the number of paid subscribers that Spotify boasts, but these well over five million users across a whopping 180 territories must stand for something! Rhapsody also boasts over two million paying subscribers across 32 countries. Both of these platforms and their users have also lost out on all of Taylor Swift's music. So from now on, unless referencing other articles, we shall refer to streaming platforms and not just goddamn Spotify. Another fairly important thing to note is that Swift's catalogue hasn't been removed from all streaming services. All of her albums are still available on platforms that offer her music to their premium tier subscribers only.

Are we surprised?
This whole holding back from streaming platforms facade isn't new for Swifty, in fact, her previous album 'Red' was held back for around six months after it was released. So are we surprised about what some may call a nice little publicity stunt? Honestly, yes. At the time of single 'Shake It Off's removal from Spotify in particular (*sigh*) the debut track from Swift's new album would have earned something around $84,000 across the globe according to Music Ally's calculations. I see you cynics out there, no of course streaming isn't right for every user or for every artist, but when you're a worldwide superstar like Taylor Swift you might as well buy into it. At this stage there's very little to lose.

Supporting streaming
Personally I believe that streaming is a no-brainer regardless of the number of releases an artist has put out or how many countries a band has toured in. The movement is absolutely huge and has benefits to all even though the benefits may be slightly different. For unsigned artists, it's that discoverability (now officially a word). The ability for anyone anywhere on the planet to simply stumble across your music is priceless. At that stage, you're not going to be earning much more than around a penny per stream (if you're lucky) but earning a new fan who might stick with you for a lifetime is so much more valuable. For the Taylor Swift's of the business there's a clear financial benefit. Yes, each download is worth more than each stream, but the sheer volume of streams is much larger. Also, what's to say that someone wouldn't stream the album, love it, and then want to buy it physically or download it as well?

It's what you do with it
Different people use streaming services for entirely different purposes. Personally, I use Deezer as a sampler platform. The ability to listen to and sample albums without forking out £10 or so for each one is incredibly beneficial especially with this old blog thing in tow. I'm still a firm believer in the whole CD thing and if I love an album after streaming it, I'll purchase a physical copy. Others use streaming purely for discovery; to some, the 'similar artists' features are a godsend. And then of course those dedicated streaming platform users, of which a growing percentage are paid subscribers.

Streaming isn't free. It never has been. Users either pay a monthly subscription or are subjected to countless adverts throughout playback. I think this is where Miss Swift and others in her boat are getting it wrong. For me personally (at work) and for much bigger labels like Kobalt, Spotify alone is a large earner compared to many download platforms. You might not like streaming but regardless of your position in the industry you can't deny that it's growing at a phenomenal rate and shows zero sign of slowing down. Maybe we'll see Taylor's music reappear on streaming services at some point next year, maybe we won't, but until we do I think it's pretty clear that she's the one missing out here, not us.


Do you think streaming is as beneficial for everyone as I do? Or do you think that Taylor Swift and her label are right to have removed her entire catalogue from the majority of streaming platforms? Let me know in the comments below.


If you liked this, you might also like my post on windowing releases: Online Stores Are On My Back

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Sunday, 9 November 2014

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2014 Week #45

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.
It was my birthday this week, YAY! No birthday related posts though I'm afraid, poor planning on my part.
Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

Monday
After a slight name change, ‘Oh Wonder’ are back with their third installment of their year long project of releasing a new song every month. ‘Dazzle’ lives up to it’s name and is a bit more pop-py than previous releases ‘Shark’ and ‘Body Gold’.


Take Me Over' is the new single from Sydney-based dance duo Peking Duk. Despite being pretty big names in Australia, Peking Duk are yet to make huge waves worldwide but if there was a song to do that for them, it would be this one.


Tuesday
We’ve had a few new Chvrches tracks knocking about over the past couple of weeks but ‘Dead Air’ taken from the new Hunger Games film soundtrack is the real gem. ‘Dead Air’ is true to the sound of Chvrches’ first album but a little darker fitting with the film’s themes.


Wednesday
'Mediocre Shakespeare' is the opening track taken from Being As An Ocean's album 'How We Both Wondrously Perish' released earlier this year. The long and short of it is that everything taken from this album is impeccable so naturally this is as well.


Throwback Thursday
Way back when before Kevin Staff joined A Day To Remember, he was part of Four Letter Lie, who were then label mates of A Day To Remember on Victory Records.


Friday
'Human' is the beautiful new track from English duo Aquilo, produced by none other than WIIHAMB favourite SOHN. 'Human' remains enticing throughout with the electronic elements adding subtle twists and turns to this four minute journey.

Saturday
Luke Pickett has unveiled his new single ‘The Star in My Movie’ and it’s just as great as you’d expect. Pickett has all the potential to be a UK chart topping artist with his beautiful R&B tracks accompanied by his stunning vocals.


Proving that the alternative/R’n’B thing is firmly what Luke Pickett should be doing with this cover of Mario Winans’ 2004 hit ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’. Pickett gives the track a new lease of life and a much more contemporary vibe.
Sunday
'Playing me off' is the new track from WIIHAMB R&B favourite Barnaby. 'Playing Me Off' is sultry and stunning, with subtlety definitely being the key here. The track melts as it plays, creating this moody atmosphere that you're simply plunged into.


When an album starts with something as insane as ‘Bloodlines’ it’s obvious that Polar got it right with second album ‘Shadowed By Vultures’ released back in February. ‘Bloodlines’ now has a nice new visual of what Polar got up to over the summer to accompany track.

November playlists: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

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Sunday, 2 November 2014

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2014 Week #44

In case you missed it - You shouldn't have, but just in case you did.
Keep up to date with all of the daily goings-on over at WIIHAMB Daily.

Monday
'Nobody' is the first single from Stick To Your Guns' forthcoming new album 'Disobedient'. 'Nobody' sees STYG get right back into the swing of things with aggressive punchy verses and an anthemic angsty chorus.


Tuesday
There’s not many people who can roll A Great Big Word’s ‘Say Something’, Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born to Die’ and Ariana Grande’s ‘Break Free’ into one and make it sound like it’s meant to be. White Morning AKA Scott Miller manages to pull it off flawlessly.


Wednesday
√Ānders’ new single ‘You Don’t Need My Love’ rolls together three completely different styles and they come together beautifully. The track begins subtly and almost acoustically, then is backed with more electronic sounding beats by the time we reach the second chorus. We’re then treated to an excellent guitar solo as the song closes.


Throwback Thursday
It seemed as though Innerpartysystem rose into the musical eye just at the right time in 2008 with their rock meets dance done right catalogue of activist style songs.


Friday
October Round-Up


Saturday
It’s been a little while since we’ve heard anything new from Northamptonshire five pieve Fenech Soler. This Prince cover has been making an appearance in their recent live sets and thankfully we’re all now able to hear it!


Sunday
Alunageorge are slowly creeping back into our lives, first with teaser single ‘Supernatural’ and now as a featured artist on new Baauer track ‘One Touch’. Aluna’s voice works on the track perfectly as a stark contrast to Rae Sremmurd’s almost aggressive verses.


October playlists: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer
November playlists will start next week for anybody who's interested.
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