Tuesday 30 June 2015

June Round Up

OH MY GOD, JUNE. WHERE DO I START? I don't even know because all of the really exciting things that happened this month happened in the first two weeks, like seriously, entirely super busy and crazy and nuts. But then the last two weeks have been pretty mellow (read: I haven't left my house other than to go to work) so yeah I have no idea what is going to follow here but what's the worst that could happen?

Things I Missed In May

This is likely to become a permanent feature because it's hard to keep up with everything.

Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment - Surf - For the sake of argument, let's call this a mixtape. It's essentially Chance The Rapper and friends. Some of it's just okay, but 'Slip Slide', 'Wanna Be Cool' and 'Sunday Candy' are understated gold.
Broadside - Old Bones - I wrote a fairly long(ish) thing about this album and you can read it here.

June Playlists: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

I saw Jerry Williams do a full band thing, which was cool, because at The Great Escape I only managed to catch her do an acoustic thing. I like Jerry Williams, she's just charming. She could probably sing nursery rhymes for half an hour and I'd still be mad into it. The full band thing needs a bit of polishing, but I can only assume that'll come in time. ONE TO WATCH ladies and gentlemen.

This was my first New Shapes gig and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like a little bit of an outsider. Like someone who had snuck in to a party they weren't invited to but didn't actually know anybody and nobody noticed they were there. Regardless, this was Kloe's first live show in London and boy did she make the most of it. Even if at points her vocals weren't the most audible the young Scot's sheer likeability made up for it. Ryn Weaver was sort of a bit of a bonus for me, I love 'Octahate' but her other tracks sort of wash over me a bit. After seeing her set end with a monumental stage invasion, I am intrigued to hear her album... when it finally comes out here... in September

There's no better way to spend a friday night than at Camden Barfly with The LaFontaines. Shame about the support. Literally, bored the room to near hospitiliastion. June 2015 has been a big ol' month for the Scottish five-piece with this extensive UK tour as well as the release of their debut album 'Class'. And 'Class' does nothing but live up to its name. I wrote about the album a little bit last month, but now with the added live experience, which is what The LaFontaines do best, 'Class' really comes into its own. Although, the crowdpleasers that they are, they couldn't miss an opportunity to throw in some old favourites including 'Pon De Fonts' and 'Shark In The Water'.

Wildlife was what it was and there's not much more to it than that. I can't really tell you what we did all day, but we saw Mark Ronson and MNEK and they were both really good. I think MNEK might be my annual festival must see. Mark Ronson was nuts too, he was on really early due to playing Parklife in Manchester later the same day, but it was such a good way to properly kickstart the day. I've seen some pretty negative things about Wildlife from people I'm not even sure attended, but for the first day of a festival in its first year, they did good.

I was skeptical. I don't think y'all heard me. I was SKEPTICAL. I'd seen Years & Years twice already this year and if I'm honest, I wasn't that impressed. This was the biggest step up I've seen from anyone in terms of live show. I can barely describe it. The trio have already sold out one date at Brixton Academy too and just announced a second. But this Shepherd's Bush show is up there for greatest of the year.

I've already written so much about A Loss For Words, I don't want to say any more. Read the thing here.

It is no secret that I went to this show for a boy I liked... note "liked" and I didn't even go with him or see him there. Just a typical little excerpt from the life of Natalie. Anyway, I was glad I did go. The only time I'd seen Gnarwolves before was in Manchester two summers ago aaaand I wasn't really that bothered. Honestly, I don't know much about punk things, but if it's possible for punk to sound polished, that's what Gnarwolves are like now and it's good. So honesty is the best policy, and as you can probably guess from the first line of this paragraph, my knowledge of The Movielife's back catalogue isn't great. I like Forty Hour Train Back to Penn... and I've heard the other stuff once or twice. I didn't really matter. The atmosphere (forgive me) in Electric Ballroom was spot on, there was buzz, all of these fans were so so stoked to see one of their favourite bands in well over ten years. I could tell that it had been worth the wait. There were what I can only describe as scenes during closer 'Jamestown' and they were scenes everybody in the room is now looking to recreate as soon as possible.

Albums an EP and albums

I don't really know what is going to follow (well I sort of do) or how it's going to be set out, but you see all of those releases at the top of this post, well they were all pretty good and I want to say things about some of them.

The Shape of Brat Pop to Come could not be a more perfect title for Holychild's debut album. It's a shame that Charli XCX has been the poster girl for this niche slice of pop, but I reckon this LA duo are more than ready to take the throne.
Another album, this time in the form of I The Mighty's 'Connector'. I put off listening to this album, mostly because it's not on Deezer for some unknown reason. When I did finally press play, I was annoyed that it had taken me so long. There's something fresh about I The Mighty, they're not just another rock band. There's also even a guest feature from Say Anything's 'Max Bemis'.
Lany make me feel all warm inside. 'I Loved You.' is the trio's stunning new EP and actually the only EP I felt worthy of me actually writing words about. '4EVER!' is my complete total standout favourite on this release, but the other tracks compliment it so well too. I NEED AN ALBUM PLEASE.

Two albums I did not think I would enjoy. 'Freedom' is Swedish hardcore/punk/whatever band Refused's first album in over 15 years. Now hardcore/punk/whatever is not my bag, it's not for me, I try just tirelessly but I just can't. But this album, I enjoyed.
Secondly, Man Overboard's fourth album 'Heavy Love', which I'm not overly pleased with as a title, but who am I to judge? I haven't like their stuff before, a little bit too generic pop punk for me but this album is really objectively great.
Finally, an album I struggled to really enjoy at first was Tove Styrke's 'Kiddo'. I like Tove Styrke, I think she's cool, nobody mentions the whole her being on a TV talent contest thing, she just does what she does. But I found 'Kiddo' so all over the place to begin with. Nobody on Twitter agreed with me so I decided I must have been wrong.

Sunday 28 June 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #25

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

I haven't really done much this week, but the planet seems to have been spinning pretty fast on that there axis for the last seven days. I've had to struggle with keeping thoughts about Taylor Swift to myself because everybody thinks she's God's gift to the universe; I do not. Aside from that, the women's world cup has been on and you can now marry anyone you like in the entirety of America. I haven't really ventured further than my house or the office this week so there's not much more to report. Because I ended up writing two longer posts this week, it's thrown things out of whack at little and I've doubled up on tracks three times!

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

Basically, trying to get this track to embed on Tumblr almost killed me, so unlike SG Lewis and Louis Mattrs, I have had to settle for less with a Spotify embed *cringes, flinches, winces for life*. ‘No Less’ itself however has been enough to soothe my mind and soul during these hard times. Louis Mattrs’ vocals get me caught up in all the feels at the best of times, so just imagine the state I’m in right now.

We’ve all heard about Taylor’s battle and victory against the big bad Apple Music right? Which is cool I guess… apart from the fact that ALL other indie labels and artists of varying sizes have been fighting for the same cause for weeks now but aren’t getting any credit. I wrote a little bit more about my take on this HERE

‘Bang Bang’ is the a new track taken from Lawrence Taylor’s forth(long-time-away)coming debut EP, set for release in October. And obviously October is nowhere near now which makes me sad because Lawrence Taylor’s voice makes me really happy. It just sounds unbelievably effortless. Also I love how the pace of ‘Bang Bang’ completely changes throughout the course of the song, from minimalistic guitar and vocals to a full band full blown frenzy.

I heard this once and wrote it off. Wrote it off to the extent that I posted a tweet about how I thought Rudimental’s second album didn’t seem to be shaping up to much. I was incorrect. I listened to ‘Rumour Mill’ again, this time, dipping in and out of the video at the same time, and you know what? It was great. The simple black and white video works so well with the track. Song of the summer? It’s quite possible.

When I first heard Broadside, I dismissed them as a generic pop punk band. Then I head ‘Playing In Traffic’. For the past week I’ve had nothing but their debut album ‘Old Bones’ on repeat, so much so that I had to write a proper thing about it. You can read that thing HERE.

Throwback Thursday
When Scary Kids Scaring Kids were at their peak I didn’t listen to many bands that were as “heavy” as them, but to this very day their video for ‘My Darkest Hour’ is one of my favourite music videos ever. Obviously there isn't an official version on YouTube *link to unofficial version*, but I also heard ‘The Only Medicine’ at a fairly impressionable age and it was also a song that I enjoyed. This all got a bit dark when I was just having a look at the SKSK Wiki page (ever reliable to top quality research) to find that their former frontman Tyson Stevens died in October last year from a drug overdose.

Teischa is a young Australian singer/songwriter with a huge soulful voice, which is showcased wonderfully in her most recent single ‘Couldn’t Care Less’. As always I’ve saved the best bit until last, this is a FREE download on Triple J right here.

Imagine you kicked off your year winning a Grammy award for album of the year. Great! Well until Kanye West storms in and tells you that you didn’t deserve it. Since then you’ve been plotting, plotting away to take him down. Well Kanye, stick ‘Dreams’ in your pipe and smoke the living daylight out of it. ‘Dreams’ is perfect for summer and for sweet sweet revenge.

Y’all heard me bang on about how much I’m into Lostboycrow already right? I’ll try and tone it down. ‘Start Something’ is another (*air grab*) new track from the LA based artist. This is the shape and sound of peculiar pop to come and I’m pretty darn excited about it.

I’ve never been a fan of Man Overboard, but ‘Reality Check’ was premiered on Billboard last week and I was like “woah is this even the same band?”. The New Jersey based pop punk band are set to release their fourth album ‘Heavy Love’ next week and it is currently streaming right now right here. It doesn’t stop with ‘Reality Check’ though, the whole album sounds pretty great.

June playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

Wednesday 24 June 2015

An Apology to Broadside and Old Bones

Why are you apologising? What's a Broadside? Whose bones are old?
I'll tell you all of the things, loyal followers, read on.

I have a friend called Jack; he appreciates good things, and these good things are usually things that I think are good too. A few months ago, Jack sent me a link to a song; I listened to it, as well as another one from the same band, and dismissed it as "generic pop punk". Pop punk, along with punk itself, are so hype at the moment, and not just in the UK and US, it's a global phenomenon. Only the other day did I see a group of humans discussing a pretty generic Japanese pop punk band. Everybody's trying it, so naturally it's harder and harder to stand out.

Last week I stumbled upon 'Playing In Traffic' by Broadside on Twitter and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A couple of replays later and  sent it over to Jack. Whilst he was taking his time to respond, I browsed Broadside's VEVO channel aaaand their other official video was very familiar. Some further research showed that since my first meeting with Broadside, the Virginia five piece had released their debut album 'Old Bones'. Time to give it a spin? Long overdue.

Here's where I was wrong, Broadside's 'Old Bones' is not just another pop punk album and actually Broadside aren't just another pop punk band. Okay, well on the surface this is a pop punk album and there is pop punk rooted in Broadside's core too but this is better than that. To be fair to myself, the pre-album/demo/EP/I don't know version of 'Storyteller' was the first Broadside track I heard and that version compared to the re-recorded album version is objectively not very good. Listening to them back side-by-side, I was well within my right to dismiss it initially.

There are subtle elements within this record that enhance it to something that their peers will probably never manage. Let's take a couple of other commercial sounding pop punk bands, say State Champs and Hit The Lights, and we could say in essence that Broadside are fairly similar to them. But there are things like the blatant cliche almost Mayday Parade-esque lyrics - songs about girls, sunsets and the coast; along with super sweet melodies and insanely catchy hooks which rival the likes of The Summer Set and Set It Off. Hell knows who these five guys cite as their influences because the track 'Come & Go' has everything I just mentioned as well as the final few seconds sounding like The Spill Canvas. There isn't really a low point on the album either, some other standouts include 'Damaged Kids' and 'The Simple Type'. So at around 20 listens through later, its safe to say that Old Bones will probably be one of my albums of the year.

On a loosely related note, there's something else that I want to mention. Alternative Press recently did a feature with Broadside frontman Ollie Baxxter. I say 'loosely related' because the article isn't really about Broadside, which is totally cool. What isn't cool is the title of the feature which to me, and others who I know have seen it too, gives off completely the wrong impression about the article and Baxxter. The feature is called "How to look pop punk" which is already stupid. I'm so bored of sites/zines/blogs/things using clickbait titles especially when they aren't even accurate, which is the case here. The actual article is about Baxxter's life, what he wears and why, it has barely anything to do with pop punk. Fuck sake internet.

Anyway, side track down the scenic route taken, I was wrong. Broadside are great and so is Old Bones. Can we get a UK tour please?

You can and should obtain Broadside's Old Bones here on iTunes and here on Spotify and here on Deezer. I've ordered it on CD obviously because *sunglasses emoji*

Monday 22 June 2015

Pop Emergency: Taylor Swift and Apple Music



We've all heard right? Pop music hero, the industry's saviour Taylor Swift has just done the most incredible thing that the music industry has ever seen: Taking part in the biggest publicity stunt of Apple Music's short legacy.

Last night Eddy Cue gave Taylor Swift a little phone call to tell her that she'd been successful in changing everything that Apple Music had put to the press so far regarding their payments towards artists... although I'd like to think that the conversation probably when a little like this:

“Hey Taylor, Eddy here,
Just wanted to say thanks for putting that letter we wrote up on your tumblr. It’s received more attention than we hoped it would, and we’re really grateful.
I’ve already scheduled the “announcement” tweets on Tweetdeck about how we’re going to pay artists. They’re pretty vague but nobody will mind because everyone will be too hyped about you white knighting the situation to notice.
Obviously our finance department have sorted everything regarding what we owe you for this, you should see it in your account first thing tomorrow.
If you could just remember not to mention anything about the indie labels, artists and the distributors pushing back on everything we’ve said since day one that would be really helpful too.
Thanks again Taylor,
Catch you around”

What gets me is that indie artists and labels have been pushing back on Apple Music's supposed 'free trial with no payment' deal probably since long before we knew about it. Days before Taylor put pen to paper (metaphorically speaking, in more way than one), Beggars Group openly published an honest post about where they stood with Apple Music, which was that they did not have an agreement with the service. Now yes, of course, Taylor Swift has a far wider and loyal reach in June 2015 to speak out to than Beggars Group do, but it is simply not fair that she gets to walk away with all the credit. "Life's not fair, Natalie" I hear you cry, and that may be true. In essence everybody's happier now aren't they, I guess, but I believe it would be wrong to simply put down Apple's U-turn to a couple of paragraphs typed out by Ms Swift and ignore EVERY OTHER group and individual who would not agree to Apple Music's terms.

Realistically, I'll just have to get over it. We'll never know the true story, and in a year's time this will all be forgotten about... unless Apple Music falls flat on its arse but we'll see about that. Only time will tell.

Feel free to tell me what you think about this in the comments below, you won't, but I thought I'd offer you the opportunity anyway.

Sunday 21 June 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #24

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

Happy Sunday everybody! You can all be extra grateful that this post made it out today - and most posts for the following week or so - as I bought Arkham Asylum and Lego Harry Potter 5-7 this week. I'm also in the market for a PS4 and probably Arkham Knight too which could very well happen to my bank account next week. So it's at this point where we can all be thankful that anything is going up on WIIHAMB at all really. In other news this week, Broadside's debut album 'Old Bones' has swiftly replaced 'Watch Out!' as my album on repeat and I also saw The Movielife play their first London show in twelve years. Oh, and I did a radio show.

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

Goldlink is reaching for mass appeal with his new track ‘Dance On Me’. There’s a more pop/”commercial” hip hop vibe here compared to some of the things on his last release The God Complex, along with the most solid of beats to dance to. This is also a free download which you can download for free below.

I think I’ve been pretty not fussed about Alex Vargas up until now, you know how it is, not offended, just not for me. Well that all changed this week after pressing play on this live video of ‘Solid Ground’. If you like Jack Garratt, you’ll like this. Really strong vocals alongside a bit of electric guitar and some electronicy bits and you get this. There’s something about him selling out a few London shows in a couple of hours and it’s not surprising once you’ve seen/heard what Vargas is capable of.

I thought I’d actually posted Leo Kalyan more than four times since this blog’s inception but a quick look through the archives shows that to be incorrect. I guess five times in just over two years is still fairly frequent. Kalyan’s new track ‘Fingertips’ is another slice of perfect sultry pop. The single is take from his new EP Silver Linings which is set for release on 24th July. OH YOU WANT FREE STUFF? Well he's playing a free London headline show on 29th July, you can get tickets on my beloved Dice *heart eyes emoji*

I’ve explained before about my love for subtle remixes haven’t I? Remixes that breathe some new life into a song but don’t chop and change and swap out half of the original. After only being uploaded to Goldroom’s Soundcloud page 30 days ago, ‘Embrace’ hardly needed a new lease of life but Brooklyn mob Body Language have pumped some in there anyway. Australian rising star George Maple takes on vocal duties throughout ‘Embrace’ giving the song a Jessie Ware like feel.

Throwback Thursday
This week I decided that I'd like to be in Little Mix because it would be great. There was then an office-wide discussion of whether I would be obliged to go out with one of One Direction if I should ever join Little Mix. Obviously as Little Mix are not a particularly throwbackworthy act, I went for another incredible all female pop ensemble in the form of All Saints.

This isn’t normally generally usually the sort of thing that I’m into, BUT, seeing as I’ve posted Only Girl before and given that this track is incredible, it’s made the cut. Londoner Ellen Murphy has put out this absolutely stunning song ‘Remains’ which is taking the blogosphere (lol) by storm. The harder you look at the artwork whilst you’re listening to the track the more angelic Only Girl looks.

Will a month go by without JMSN releasing a new music video? No, probably not. I don’t really know what’s going on in this visual for ‘Bout It’ but then again, I’m not sure I’m really bothered. Just JMSN doing his #thing in the middle of nowhere via some pretty shoddy (I hear it’s vintage) camera quality - but isn’t that what JMSN does best? Regardless, ‘Bout It’ is just as great, if not greater, as everything else I have posted from his self-titled “blue” album to date. Biggest regret of 2015 so far, not seeing JMSN live when I had the chance. Proper fucked it up didn’t I.

This week I gatecrashed/co-hosted the New & Used show on Shoreditch radio. I've written some more about it here but you can listen to the show itself just below. I actually look horrific in that photo, like my face is so huge, so pretend it's not there.

June playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

Saturday 20 June 2015

Shoreditch Radio: WIIHAMB on New & Used

In a way, Amelia helped me fulfil a dream this week.

My school friend Amelia hosts her own show, New & Used, every other Tuesday on Shoreditch radio. For an hour every fortnight she delivers a mix of old and new obscure tracks by artists you've probably never heard of. If you like listening to things that take you on an unknown journey through time and space, it's definitely worth you tuning in to.

ANYWAY, this week Amelia asked me to join her on New & Used and I obviously jumped at the chance. This is it, my lifelong dream to "do radio" fulfilled, even if it is only a one off evening slot on an Internet station. We all gotta start somewhere, right? In reality, this isn't really a thing I want to do anymore, but it was a cool experience nevertheless.

Below, right here, embedded somewhere, hopefully, is the show that we did:

You can now listen to that to your hearts content.

I've also written a little bit about the songs I picked and why I chose them.

Holychild: Nasty Girls
I don't think I'd ever really listened to Holychild prior to the release of their debut full length 'The Shape of Brat Pop to Come' (stellar name) but I have rinsed the album since then. As I quite bluntly said, the duo are similar to Charli XCX but just a whole load better in every which way. It was tough to pick just one Holychild track but 'Nasty Girls' combines perfectly executed brat pop with excellent pop choruses.

Youth Club: People
I LOVE YOUTH CLUB SO MUCH and although things are definitely looking up for the Essex six piece, I can't understand why bigger publications aren't picking them up and they aren't absolutely exploding. Regardless, 'People' is the standout track from their second EP 'Brothers' released earlier this year.

Samm Henshaw: Only Wanna Be With You
This was a last minute pick for me, mostly because I'd already downloaded this track when it was available for free on Henshaw's soundcloud page but I'm so glad I included it. As I say during the show, this recording was a freestyle demo that they recorded on a whim one day which is insane because absolutely no element of this sounds unpolished.

A Loss For Words: All This Time
In hindsight, I should have explained more about why I picked this track during the show than I did, but as I say, A Loss For Words are retiring at the end of this year and they just played their last run of UK and European shows. I wrote loads about their last tour/show here. 'All This Time' is my favourite track on their latest album 'Before It Caves'.

Blink 182: Feeling This
Amelia explained a little at the start of the show about our combined relationship with Blink 182 and Green Day in our teenage years. Following this, I felt it only right to include 'Feeling This' in the playlist.

Maths Time Joy feat Flores: After Hours
Firstly I have to/must/need to apologise for my lack of ability to say Maths Time Joy out loud, every time this mystery 's' just appears on the end of 'Time' and I can not make it not. 'After Hours' is by faaaaaar one of my favourite tracks that I've posted on #theblog in the past month or so. I can't even describe how many times I've put this song on repeat. Flores vocals just take me to another place and with Tim Worthington himself joining in on the chorus, this is a match made in heaven.

Alessia Cara: Here
I picked 'Here' because I've heard this on the radio before and I knew it would sound huge. I said it when I originally posted this track, but I love it when a song tells a story and eighteen year old Alessia Cara nailed this one perfectly.

Lany: 4EVER!
The most actual prep for this show that Amelia and I did together was making sure that we were pronouncing Lany correctly, I was, she wasn't, you know how it is. '4EVER!' is my favourite track from their new EP 'I Loved You.' so I put it on, didn't I!

Huntar: Autumn
As previously started, 'Autumn' definitely isn't my favourite Huntar song, but I wanted to talk about him as an artiste which I was weird and nervous and rambled a little bit about. I forgot to mention that this song is free, but I did get the info in about his London headline show which is also free. Huntar, I'm invoicing you now for my commission on all ticket sales, if you could just make the cheque payable to Natalie at What If I Had A Music Blog that would be great, thanks.

The LaFontaines: Junior Dragon
This was my wildcard/doesn't really go with the theme of the rest of the show but who cares I'll do what I want choice. Fresh from seeing them live a couple of weeks ago and from the album release last week, why wouldn't everyone want to hear a rapper fronting a Scottish rock band?

Thomston: Grey
Coming completely full circle, Thomston was another artist I knew that I wanted to play but did not find it easy in the slightest to work out which song to pick. In the end I chose 'Grey', because the line about acting our age and bursting our eardrums in my dad's car really gets me.

I hope you enjoyed that little audio journey. Thank you to Amelia for having me, hopefully you'll have me back on again one day ;)

You can listen to New & Used with Amelia Maher every other Tuesday at 8pm on Shoreditch radio. She's back on air on 30th June with a special Glastonbury show!

Sunday 14 June 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #23

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

This past week I have fallen in love with a little old album called 'Watch Out!' created by some band called Alexisonfire. Completely missed a trick not investing in this album before now. We're pretty lucky that every Alexis release is out of stock on Banquet right now. Other than that, I've been to see Coasts, Oceaan and Years & Years this week, as well as having the most mindblowing meeting of my life. (Hi Alice, if you're reading 😱) Other than those things I bought a colouring book and the Women's World Cup has started, so both of those things have stunted my productivity a little. Also, I'm co-hosting Amelia's Shoreditch Radio show at some point very soon. We're recording on Monday and it will be up on a Tuesday (just not sure which one) so that is cool. THE VIBES WILL BE STRONG AND EXCELLENT, mark my words.

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

It’s been a whole six months since I posted Embody’s track ‘With You’ featuring Barnaby. Fast forward to June, and Embody has leant his touch to Ang Low’s track ‘Drive’, perfect for warm summer (it’s coming, I promise) night. I get a bit of a Years & Years vibe from this, just more R’n’B and a little darker.

London based Wolfie’s new track ‘I Be Ghost’ sounds like what I’d imagine you would get if you stuck Tinashe and Banks in a blender. I was dreading this section of ICYMI coming around because I spent the majority of the original post complaining about my Amazon parcel that hadn't been delivered. This track is definitely something I wouldn't expect to come out of the UK, the sort of thing you get from the darkest depths of America. I see you making waves Wolfie, I see you.

After only relasing their official video for ‘Painted’ a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t expect MS MR to start churning out the pre-album tracks so soon. The second offering taken from the duo’s upcoming sophomore album ‘How Does It Feel’ (released next month!!!) is big ballad-esque ‘Wrong Victory’. I say 'ballad-esque' because I fairly outspokenly loathe ballads but MS MR can do no wrong in my eyes.

The UK Bailed On an Unmissable Farewell Tour
My favourite band on the planet, A Loss For Words, played their final UK and European shows last week. I wrote a (not so) little thing about it here. The saddest of times.

Throwback Thursday
When I started this blog I made up a whole load of unwritten rules which were all actually really stupid. One of these rules was not to post the same artist more than once on Throwback Thursday EVER. This is one of the dumbest. Dan told me to listen to Alexisonfire’s ‘Watch Out!’ album on Monday, so I did, I really really really really liked it and was obviously annoyed that I hadn’t taken the time to listen to it properly before.

You know sometimes you have to just suck it up and admit an incredible pop song when you hear it? Well, here’s ‘Groove’ from teenage duo Jack and Jack. I’d written these guys off last year as just standard music for teenage girls to go crazy over, but man, after hearing this, oh how my tune has changed. Pop song of the summer? It’s definitely up there. The disco infused song and the video definitely take it up a notch or ten too.

‘Autumn’ is Huntar’s new single, hot on the heels of the release of his second EP ‘Love I Know’ last month. This definitely isn’t my favourite Huntar song but there are elements here that I absolutely love. Let’s call it the “pre-chorus”, I really like that, and the backing vocals throughout but especially in the chorus are spot on. I know y'all love free stuff, so this is a free download AND Huntar is playing a freeee headline show in August - tickets to which are available on my beloved favourite app of all time Dice.

This is the second The Weeknd track I’ve posted this month and hey, come look at all the fucks I give. Yeah, you heard. SO, imagine The Weeknd did a song that didn’t sound like a Weeknd song and in fact sounded like an absolutely huge pop banger? It’s taken quite some years but this is no longer a thing that you need to imagine. ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ sounds like something that Michael Jackson could have written and performed if he was a young whippersnapper in 2015. Such an incredible chorus. We’re pretty close to masterpiece status here, Abel, pretty damn close.

June playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer

Wednesday 10 June 2015

The UK Just Bailed On an Unmissable Farewell Tour

This is a post about me and my favourite band. I've seen a few bands play their last show, or their last UK show, or their final festival appearance but none quite like the one I watched on Sunday night.

Boston based, A Loss For Words are retiring at the end of 2015 after 15 years together as a band. Those 15 years have seen the group release four albums, countless "so bad they're good" music videos and tour the planet relentlessly including stints on Warped Tour and numerous years at the UK's very own Slam Dunk festival - which I'm sure they've claimed is their favourite of all the festivals. This is the point where I do not confess to "being there since day one". I was seven when A Loss For Words formed and in all honesty, I didn't get into them for another ten years. It was their Jackson 5 'I Want You Back' cover featuring Four Year Strong that made my ears prick up. I mean, come on, how many bands are like "yeah we could release our second album... but instead we're going to release an entire Motown covers album"? Mmm, thought so.

The first time I saw A Loss For Words was at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston in Autumn 2012 on a Saturday afternoon with only about 30 other people. To this day, it's still one of my favourite shows ever. At the end, frontman Matty Arsenault blew my mind with something that I'd never seen anyone do before and haven't seen since. He stood at the door, thanked and shook hands with every single person who'd attended. I told him that I didn't understand what he was doing and (it was a long time ago but) he said something to the effect of "it means a lot to us that you came out otherwise we would have just been playing to no one". It was at that point that I thought this band deserved way more than they were getting in terms of... well, pretty much everything.

On Sunday they admitted themselves that they've never been "popular" and although this is true, it's heartbreaking. It was tough last year, when A Loss For Words were touring the UK with The Wonder Years, to see so many people turn up early to watch State Champs' opening set and then disappear during A Loss For Words. I have my own beef with State Champs (imagine going to three dates to see a band open each time only to have them block you on Twitter...) but it was cool for them to be getting the response they were. I just felt that it was unfair and a little unjust. I guess that's just how this industry works.

Anyway, A Loss For Words' final UK show was a few nights ago at Camden's Underworld - a head in hands emoji of a venue but whatever. Matty said they thought they'd sold around 150-200 tickets for this 500 capacity venue. They were obviously as grateful as ever. I thought it a little disappointing but didn't expect much more. What really annoyed me was that there were as close to as many people #sidestage being #SPOMB as there were in the crowd. This group was made up of their friends, crew and other bands on the tour. This is all cool and stuff but when there's so much space in the rest of the room you might as well just immerse yourself in it rather than crowding into that tiny area around the back of the stage. The headline set was cool anyway, with PVRIS' Lynn Gunn resuming vocal duties on 'Distance', great guy Gav standing in for Soupy on 'Conquest Of Mistakes', as well as cameos from Light You Up's Drew and Tom, and that guy from Roam. Even though the first time I saw AL4W will always be my favourite, this will be the show I'll tell people they should have been at for years to come.

The bottom line is that A Loss For Words are one of the greatest bands on the planet right now and it's awful that by the time the year is over, they will be too. I don't know what else they could have done to be bigger than they are because there are four core hardworking members of this band, not to mention everyone surrounding and supporting them. It's just another sad story of this "industry". There's a lot of negativity here and I'm fairly sure that the band themselves don't view a lot of this stuff in the same light as I do. You know why? Because they're just genuinely nice guys. I also can't help but feel guilty myself. In the last 14 months I've seen A Loss For Words eight times (lolwut) but on The Wonder Years tour last year I only bought one vinyl. This year I spent £50 on merch but it all seems like a case of too little too late. I definitely couldn't have "saved" this band on my own but it would be nice to think that I'd done all I could.

I'm fairly against bands splitting/retiring and then reforming but I could definitely make an exception to the rule if A Loss For Words decided that they wanted to start touring again in four years time. This band deserved so much more and I'll be forever grateful for them coming back to the UK again and again and also to Matty for being so kind every time I stopped him to say hi.

A Loss For Words, you'll be missed and I really hope this isn't the last we see of you.

Sunday 7 June 2015

ICYMI - This Week on WIIHAMB - 2015 Week #22

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

I have had the most stupidly hectic week. Like, I don't leave my house much but the last few days have been nuts. I've seen Jerry Williams, Kloë, Ryn Weaver, The LaFontaines, spent a day at Wild Life and tonight I'm heading to A Loss For Words' final UK show ever. Absolutely heartbroken. I'd be surprised if tears do not fall. Other than that, this week has seen a HELL LOAD of album releases which has lead me quite nicely into falling completely and utterly in love with Holychild. Brat pop that isn't Charli XCX may just be my new favourite thing.

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

Messy May Round-Up An extremely confused mix of all sorts of various things that went on in May. Somewhere in that post there are things about Jack Garratt, Slam Dunk Festival and a sort of review of The LaFontaines debut album.

I can confirm that ‘Junior Dragon is the stand out track from The Lafontaines’ upcoming debut album ‘Class’. I’m a little bit gutted that seeing as they’ve put this track out just days before the album release, we can assume that it’s unlikely this will ever be a proper single. And that is annoying. Because this is great. It’s at that 0.36 moment when things kick off and what was just another track on the album punches you square in the face before grabbing you by the legs and dragging you to the dancefloor. I doubt it’ll be long before ‘Junior Dragon’ is a strong favourite in the Scottish five piece’s live set.

I meant to post this last week and that didn’t happen, so here it is for you today. The Weeknd’s semi-surprise return to things. The thing about The Weeknd is that I’m not sure much changes in terms of his sound from track to track. ‘The Hills’ seems quite dark though; but in essence the lyrical content is fairly textbook Weeknd. What can you do eh?

I don’t think I’ve posted a cover on here in a little while. I love the original of ‘Lean On’ and missed a trick by not posting it when I first heard it, but here we have Saint Raymond’s cover which took me by surprise. Not only is it a bit of an odd choice for Saint Raymond’s style, I was also a little taken aback by how well the guitar works as the lead instrument.

I’ve found this track and Raleigh Ritchie’s previous single ‘The Greatest’ a little tricky to get into. I don’t know why, but I know that there are elements within this that I absolutely love. The “I lost my mind…” chorusish parts are really special. And overall this track is a little different to what we’re used to due to the addition of Sounwave’s production, but it works.

Throwback Thursday
I’ve actually technically posted Ashanti on TBT before but she was featuring on a Ja Rule track (the ultimate “urban” duo) so then again, technically it doesn’t count. Amelia directed me to this compilation of Best Songs of 2003 and this was in there, I remembered its epicness, and so here it is for you today.

The prolific tweeter and all round rad chick, Halsey, has just announced the release date for her debut album ‘BADLANDS’ and put out this sick new track to go along with it. If you live in the US (and realistically probably everywhere else) you can pre-order the album not, but standard procedure, not if you’re in the UK. We might get the album one day… probably summer 2020. Feel free to confirm or deny this Halsey (and/or Halsey’s people). Until then, anticipation will be rife.

Everyone’s been raving about I the Mighty for a hot minute, especially with their ‘Connector’ album release this week, but this is the first I’ve heard of them. AND I LIKE IT. It’s not just “typical rock band”, is it? I think I like the mellower sections best, but the structure overall is pretty cool. I also just read that this video was shot in one take. I don’t know how true that is, but if it is true, that is pretty good going.

June playlists so far: YouTube / Spotify / Deezer