Tuesday 29 November 2016

SOHN - Conrad

There's always an air of concern when it comes to music in January. It's often a dry desert-like place with tumbleweed everywhere you look. Oh, but not for 2017 lads, no, no, for we can look forward to a brand new SOHN album, HELLO WORLD! Sohn, real name Christopher Taylor, released his debut album Tremors back in 2014 and despite loving single 'Artifice' prior to it's release, the album as a whole took me a little while to get into. However, it wasn't long before Tremors cemented itself as one of my favourite records of that year. (Although bafflingly I didn't think it good enough to include in my albums of the year... not sure what went on there.)

The new single from SOHN's forthcoming (OMG the release date is literally 13th January!!) is called 'Conrad' and you truly don't realise how much you've missed hearing new music from SOHN until pressing play on this track. [I'm listening back to Tremors as I write this and oh my actual God it's so very excellent.] Obviously, as stated numerous times, I've been super slack throughout the entirety of 2016 and apparently I missed 'Signal' which SOHN released back at the start of September and that has really upset me. It's good, but it's not 'Conrad'. 'Conrad' opens with a vocal, it's ballsy but it's absolute genius. What follows is an onslaught of amazing pop and sleek as fuck production. I'm not sure I can really do it justice in words.

Jakil - Unforgiveable

I first posted Jakil about two years ago. It was a song called 'Istanbul'. I really liked it, I still do. At the time I said that I didn't think Jakil sounded like The 1975 despite other blog types saying they did. Fast forward to Summer 2016 and I state "Imagine The 1975’s sugary indie-popness but without Matty Healy’s annoying face and pompous personality and that’s kind of what Jakil are like." Hey, what's up, hello, welcome to the blog of contradictions where nothing here makes any sense!

Jakil's latest single is called 'Unforgivable'. The second line features the word "nasty". You know everybody has a few words that really make them squirm, like, just make you super uncomfortable? Well "nasty" is one of mine, but it's all in the delivery. Jakil's delivery? Well, it's quite good. You'll recall (or you won't) my words on Youth Club AKA the UK's catchiest band ever, well Jakil are kind of like their more subtle... subtler(?) counterpart. 'Unforgivable is just as groove laden and definitely packed with hooks, just with a bit more of an overall chilled vibe. The video for this song is really cool too, one of those videos that makes you wish you had cool friends to go to cool places and hang out with, you know?

Monday 28 November 2016

Kudu Blue - NGFM

Kudu Blue are a band who are very good at what they do. The end.

Just kidding. You all (haha who? no one reads this!) remember Brighton based Kudu Blue, don't you? Good. And if you don't, you should. 'NGFM', which actually stands for 'Not Good For Me', is the five-piece's latest single and obviously it's just the next instalment in their pop/electronic crossover series. That's some terrible phrasing. That makes it sound like this isn't what they do normally. It is, and they do it really well. God, who lets me write this stuff? You really shouldn't. Maybe I start making posts a lot shorter and thus put a cap on my rambling.

'NGFM' is good and includes two sound effects you might not have heard in any other song in 2016: A dog barking, and glass shattering. What I want to know is whether that's a real dog or not and whether real glass was broken in the making of this song. Maybe I should have found out prior to writing and that could have been the groundbreaking journalism that everybody's been waiting for from WIIHAMB. Once again Clementine's vocals steal the show, especially during the pre-chorus and chorus itself. She seems to be demonstrating more and more versatility with each song Kudu Blue release. They also played their first London headline show a couple of weeks ago and it was all very good. If you haven't seen Kudu Blue yet (which is fairly likely) I'd highly recommend putting it at the top of your To Do List for 2017.

I Literally Listened To The New Bowling For Soup Album So You Don't Have To

I was at work listening to the latest Bowling For Soup album. I thought I'd share my mostly painful experience with my two colleagues, Dan and Kieran. The following details the events of a taxing 45 minutes.

Natalie: I’m listening to the new Bowling For Soup album

Natalie: Lines from the BFS album, “and even in my sleep I still wanna do most of her friends”
Kieran: Oh, well, it would have to be his sleep, right? As he has limited mobility and isn’t nearly as attractive as he used to be

Natalie: Next song: “I’ve got shit to do and it don’t include you”
Natalie: “At least you’re good in bed”
Dan: Daaaaamn, leak this to the SJWs, field day opportunity
Natalie: I actually don’t know if I’m going to be able to push through the whole album 
Kieran: That bad eh?
Natalie: “I’ll fix the ozone layer, I’ll cure all disease, I’ll run for president and there’ll be world peace”

Natalie: Track Three: “she’s not your normal mom, she likes to sing along … … … TO PUNK ROCK SONGS”
Dan: Oh track 3
Natalie: “She won my heart when she fixed the zipper on my Frank Turner hoodie”
Kieran: I hope it’s a song about still living with your mum in your 40s; I’m getting that impression
Natalie: No, it’s about his friend Diane, she’s really great… apparently
Kieran: I imagine Diane is not in fact, the girl all the bad guys want?
Natalie: WELL, I can neither confirm nor deny

Natalie: Track 4 titled Go To Bed Mad
Natalie: more “these are the thoughts I have when I go to bed mad”
Dan: Is this album supposed to be comedy like old skl BFS?
Natalie: HOLD ON.  “then your boobs come out and I suddenly forget what we’re fighting about”
Kieran: May I just comment that never have I been in an argument with a partner and they have just taken their shirt off, nor has it happened to anybody I know
Natalie: You just don’t know the right types of people, clearly
Dan: Yeah Kieran, that’s just cos U AIN’T JARED
Kieran: Like, they’d be pretty angry and even the insinuation that taking off their clothes may help resolve the non-sexual issue we’re probably arguing about would only further infuriate them into a blind rage
Kieran: M8 look at Jard
Dan: Jard the Lard

Natalie: In more disappointing news track 5 is pretty… standard and average 

Natalie: Track 6 - the entire first line: “I’ve got a thing for a girl with a last name that would make you laugh out loud if you heard it with the first”. This song also sounds like 5SOS
Natalie: The song is called She Doesn’t Think That It’s Ever Gonna Work Out and I have to say I’m inclined to agree

Natalie: Track 7 is titled Don’t Be A Dick and the first line is “whatever happened to chivalry”. Read into this as you please
Natalie: “show some respect, just be a person”
Dan: ‘whatever happened to charity’ is what I read there
Kieran: The Chivalry Charity went bust, that’s why there’s little of it nowadays

Natalie: The entire chorus for Track 8 is the following: “stop doing that, stop doing that, stop doing that, stop, stop doing that, stop doing that, stop, stop doing that, stop doing that, stop doing that”
Kieran: “Stop doing this, stop doing this…ad infinitum…"
Kieran: It sounds awful but I feel slightly compelled to listen
Natalie: Plz dont

Natalie: Stopped paying attention and have no thoughts re track 9. There were lots of complaints about the lyrical content of the latest Blink record because they were singing about typical teenage things, and I think that’s also the problem in a lot of this album

Natalie: Track 10: “It’s been a while since you were mine but I don’t want you to sleep with him”. Oh right, not wanting her to sleep with him is a common theme throughout this song.
Dan: These lyrics do make me kinda sad. It’s like the cries of the eternal friend zone, I’M SUCH A NICE GUY YOU GOTTA DATE ME
Dan: Theme: confirmed.
Dan: No one wants to hear a guy in his 40s writing pop punk songs about the friend zone, that’s just dark

Dan: Curious turn
Natalie: There’s whistling and guitar twanging, this is my worst nightmare
Dan: ‘My baby left me'
Dan: ‘And that old red truck don’t smell the same oh na-na'
Natalie: “I had my heart broken, I had just turned 19, I never knew that a girl could be so mean”
Natalie: There’s now a “la la la” section and more whistling
Dan: He seriously needs to chill haha
Natalie: It’s called Drinkin’ Beer On A Sunday 
Dan: I’d rather listen to Bruno sass on about banging than this awkward sadness from a man who should be over his teenage angst kieran
Dan: Trying to relate to the kids but just sounds depressed and scary, doesn’t even appear to have the comedy tone of the old songs
Natalie: Hold on now his Grandad is dying but he’s still thinking about drinkin’ beer on a sunday on his deathbed...
Dan: Loowwwng as I gawwt my beeeer, heeeyyy heeyy now
Dan: Can’t wait for the vid. Jared chewing on straw
Natalie: Christ I’m glad that’s over. 

Kieran: RIGHT, I’m going in
Natalie: NO. DON’T. DO. IT. KIERAN.

And we never heard from him ever again.

Monday 21 November 2016

Leks Rivers - No Rest For The Wicked

I'm a fan of Leks Rivers. I have been for a year and a half or so. In fact, his track 'Soho Knights' made it on to my top tracks of 2015 last year (obviously, because that's when 2015 was). And I have been ever so patiently waiting since then for Leks Rivers to release new stuff... waiting and waiting and waiting...

And then a few weeks ago I went on to my Soundcloud profile, something I had not touched in a fair few months and sitting there was a message from Leks sent back in August about his then new track 'You're My X And Here's Y'. If the title alone doesn't grab you then you quite simply don't deserve nice things. In order to make up for lost time I put this track on repeat and everything was going swimmingly...

AND THEN BOOM. Before I know it Leks is back with another new track, a proper real life actual single. You know, one that's actually available on platforms other than Soundcloud. Praise the Lord for we have been #blessed. This track is called 'No Rest For The Wicked' and it seems to be released on Black Butter Records which is interesting. I have very mixed feelings towards Black Butter, the artists on their roster, and what they do with them... however... this is looking pretty good.

I don't think there's anyone on in the UK making music as interesting as what Leks Rivers is doing at the moment. I think it would be nigh on impossible to try to categorise a track like 'No Rest For The Wicked' into a specific genre. It spans absolutely everything. I can only imagine the broad array of this guy's influences. Initially I wanted to put Leks Rivers down as a hip hop artist but there are RnB vocals lines in abundance and a pretty heavily used guitar alongside rock drums throughout. None of this categorisation really matters though. Just rest assured that there's someone on the planet creating "urban" music that sounds like nothing you've heard before and it's absolutely incredible.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Venus Demilo - Bite My Tongue

Hi everybody, I wanted to put this in the 'If You're Blogging This It's Too Late' post earlier this week but also I wanted to chat at greater length about this particular song because I think it's really good, basically. I know nothing about this... ensemble at the point in typing so let's do my favourite thing of research whilst I blog. You're in for a wild one WIIHAMB fans. (I know there are no fans, it's just a figure of speech.)

It would appear that this group is built up of four members. Venus Demilo is an odd name. Do you reckon that's somebody's real life actual name? I sure bet it's very searchable. A quick Google shows that Venus de Milo is in fact a Greek statue, one of the most famous of it's kind I'll have you know. You'd recognise it if you saw it. But this has made the band themselves far less searchable... alas, the scrolling continues. I think I actually found this track in an email, which I may indeed now refer to. (Please note, it is indeed extremely rare that I go through my emails but on this particular occasion, what a treat it was!)

Venus Demilo are a four piece from Liverpool. They have a new member; she's called Fran Fitzpatrick, and let's discuss what she's brought to Venus Demilo with their new single (released precisely a month and a half ago) 'Bite My Tongue' and how it differs, in the best way, from the band's previous singles. 'Bite My Tongue' is shimmy-worthy indie pop at it's finest from start to finish and although this starts with the guitar in the first verse, having Fran in tow with the keys and the ability to whack these vocal samples and the like in the live show I reckon would be pretty nice.

Hey, if you like my mates in Fours, I think you'll really dig this. I have pretty high hopes for this band  based solely on my reaction to 'Bite My Tongue'. They're the kind of band that would go do very well on a commercial front, on radio, getting some nice support slots and the like. Ones to watch.

Monday 14 November 2016

If You're Blogging This It's Too Late Part Three: Klyne, Youth Club, George Maple

Oh would you look at that, it's mid-month and guess who decided to start blogging again. You'd be correct, it's me.

Klyne - Water Flow

My favourite Dutch duo Klyne are back with their new single 'Water Flow', continuing their stream of pop/R&B/soul vibes channelling throughout Western Europe. What really stands out about songs from Klyne is that they're interesting, innovative and different without being too off-the-wall for your average music fan. Tracks like 'Water Flow' are simple yet effective; the percussion in particular really sets this apart from not only Klyne's other tracks but also other R&B type duos available on the market. Klyne are playing a short string of dates across Europe at the start of December, sort yourself out and go to one of them.

Youth Club - Sorry

Is it fair to say that all of the bands in the land, it's Youth Club who write the catchiest songs? BECAUSE I RECKON IT IS. I don't know when it ends. Does it end? Will this Southend based four piece ever write a song that doesn't get stuck in your head for at least forever? Probably not. 'Sorry' is Youth Club's new single and as you should have been able to put together by now, it's very good. Sorry is a little more down tempo than some of the band's previous efforts but is still packed full of groove and a chorus you can shimmy along to. Also, not forgetting the "steel drum" middle eight section, what a thing to put in a song. The video narrative is fairly lost on me but that's neither here nor there really.

George Maple - Lover

What a woman. How does every song that rising Australian star George Maple puts out sound so seductive. It's things like this that make me feel ever more increasingly inferior to anyone from Australia, despite my apparent faux accent. Maple's voice never fails to be the smoothest and most sultry thing on the planet. In other news, she's in London at the moment, and guess what, she's not even performing a show which breaks my little heart because I would pay tremendously good money to watch this all unfold live. Come back soon please, preferably with an album or something of the like in tow. Thanks.

Thursday 3 November 2016

The Middle Eight Podcast: Episode 001 - Tom Aspaul

There it is. My first full podcast. Terrifying. Sorry that I'm really quiet during the latter half, it sounds like I was literally in a different room. Will endeavour to be better next time.

Here's a Spotify playlist featuring all of the songs that we chatted about:

And here's everything else we discussed and also everything you need to know:

Recent Releases

Lady Gaga - Joanne (album) - Apple Music / Spotify
Kilian & Jo feat Erik Rapp - Suburbia - YouTube / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Spotify
Lost Kings feat Emily Warren - Phone Down - YouTube / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Spotify
The Chainsmokers - Closer video and THAT interview

The Works of Tom Aspaul

Tom Aspaul - Good Together - YouTube / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Spotify
Tom Aspaul - Revelation Mixtape - YouTube / Soundcloud
XYconstant feat Tom Aspaul - Do It Well - YouTube / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Spotify

Tom Aspaul - LEFT (EP) - Apple Music
Never Complaining - YouTube / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Spotify
Burnt Out - YouTube / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Spotify

Tom's Favourite Tracks Of The Moment

M.I.A. - Freedun - YouTube / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Spotify
Becky Hill - Warm - YouTube / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Spotify
Rose Elinor Dougall - YouTube / Apple Music / Spotify

Follow Tom on Twitter here and Instagram here, and like him on Facebook here

If there's anything else that you're desperate to know or anything I've missed let me know.

Also thanks so much to Dan Twining for my little jingle and Kieran Dickson for the ol' artwork!.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

I'm Starting A Podcast

Hi Everybody,

It's me, Natalie.

Look, basically, the bottom line is that I'm starting a monthly podcast that's essentially a bit like this blog but out loud. Which is good because none of you have to actually put effort into reading anything. Right? And you get to listen to my terrible voice. Great... right?

The long and short of it is that I've jumped straight into the deep end with this and am quite unprepared so everything's a bit haphazard right now. For example, "where's your artwork?!", I hear you scream. Well, I don't really have any. "Why does it sound like you recorded this on the moon?" Well, I might as well have done. I'd like to hope that things will improve over time but like I said, so little preparation and amount of in-depth thought have gone into this that I'm just trying to run with it.

So with all that modesty, here's a little introduction: