In The Spotlight: Mura Masa – Deal Wiv It

First heard this a couple of weeks ago and just got instantly hooked to it, and it’s actually a really catchy track to listen to. Alex Crossan, better known by his stage-name Mura Masa.  Musically it’s in a similar vein to The Streets and Slaves. In fact, when I first heard this, I actually thought it was from one of them. Deal Wiv It is a good strong record and has an in-your-face rawness about it. The lyrics are somewhat edgy can carry raw emotion, not to mention bitter story telling. Further proof that occasionally writing and singing about one’s own life makes for stronger, catchier songs. The line ‘Deal Wiv It’ becomes a hook in how Mura tells both his peers and himself to deal with things. A bit of a ‘I don’t care what’s going on/what you think. Deal with it. Alex Crossan aka Mura Masa is definitely someone who the music scene’s been waiting for to give it a good shake-down. So far this is the only track I’ve heard from him an I already like him. What I enjoy about the track is the upfront raw, unapologetic, honesty of the lyrics behind the music itself.

The video is a raw as the song itself and it follows a person during a single day as he goes from his house/flat to outside onto the street. At the end of the video he’s in a vehicle with a guy. In terms of the creativity behind the video it’s very similar to the song, and music behind both The Streets and Slaves e.g. low-budget and writing songs about everyday life.

🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0uvt97Xn20

In The Spotlight: The Lumineers – Hey Ho

Perhaps one of their most infamous songs around to date, Hey-Ho, is best described as a folk, indie/rock type of song. It is very much an easy listening sort of song and one that you can just as easily sing along to. In terms of the musical structure of the track it is melodic, upbeat and a rather chirpy one. The song is taken from their self-titled debut album back in 2012 and is one of those sorts of tracks where you can never really tire of it no matter how many times you listen to it. The song itself was written by founding members, Wesley Shultz and Jeremy Fraites. As songwriters they are incredibly talented, even with instruments. Since I first heard this track, I immediately liked it, and if you like indie/folk/rock music you’ll see why. An absolute classic to listen to.

The video that accompanies this song features is a fairly basic one and just features members of the band walking down a corridor just singing and dancing. Now what is also interesting is that the hospital itself looks like it has been unused and there is no lighting except for the light pouring through the windows and outdoor light decorations adoring the corridor. During the video they are accompanied by a young woman then by several extras who are dressed similarly to the band themselves. The video ends with the duo giving a small performance to room full of extras whilst clapping in beat with the rhythm.

🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvCBSSwgtg4

 

In The Spotlight: The Weeknd – The Hills

Literally just a few minutes long and from his second studio album, Beauty Behind The Madness and ironically also the second single by Canadian singer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye better known by his stage-name, The Weeknd, (minus a 3rd E). The Hills has quite a dark, intimate and sinister tone to it which seeps throughout the whole song, to me though, it has a somewhat apocalyptic feel to it. In some ways the darkness in the tone has a type of hook to it where you know that trouble or danger is literally just around the corner. Also, another thing I can’t help but notice is that there is also something quite seductive about the track. One of those where you after listening to the first few seconds you immediately want more. Now this a perfect example of The Weeknd’s talents as an artist as it shows what he is capable of when it comes to song writing.

One of the videos to this song begins with a car that’s been involved in an accident, The Weeknd crawls out of it and walks down a road. The car blows up behind him as he’s walking. He then enters a mansion, goes upstairs where he meets a small group of people where the video then blank. Both videos suit the mood and dark tones of the song as it does refer to deep subject matter in regards to both human behaviour and the human psyche especially as it deals with sex and drug abuse.

For your viewing pleasure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzTuBuRdAyA

 

In The Spotlight: Grimes & Hana – We Appreciate Power

This is an amazing song by Canadian singer and rapper, Grimes, and features vocals by American singer, Hana. Now what is quite intriguing about this duo is that both artists almost appear to sing at the same time, but either way it adds quite a bit of depth in regards to the song. The line, We Appreciate Power goes around like a catchy hook which you can quite easily sing to. I always found something quite dramatic about certain parts of the song in both the way that the music is arranged and combined with the lyrics. Overall this is good song for anyone who’s into electronic music and shows the best qualities of its two female singers. Why Hana and Grimes aren’t better known, or recognised, in the British music scene is beyond me.

I think there’s something just a bit eerie about the lyrics with some of its lines; Neanderthal to human being, Evolution, kill the gene, Biology is superficial, Intelligence is artificial, submit submit submit submit. In a way it’s almost like a sort of futurist referencing in regards to both evolution and A.I

The video to this is definitely worth a look at and has a sort of Tron/Manga look towards it. Neither Hana or Grimes are seen singing in it and the lyrics are seen in text in several languages. Throughout the video both singers are seen in various poses either holding props or holding each other. Also, there’s some CGI shots of earth in-between

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYG_4vJ4qNA 

 

In The Spotlight: Jess Glynne – Thursday

Taken from her second studio album, Always In Between, and just three minutes thirty-four seconds long the song sounds both heavily filled with emotion and intimate. Thursday is all about feeling beautiful and being able to overcome your personal insecurities and being able to love yourself. Very much like embracing your inner-beauty and being able to love yourself. I feel that this is one of those songs which speak on a personal level whilst carrying the encouragement of self-empowerment. The lyrics are so strong and emotional without being too in-your-face and there is a line in the lyrics where she says “And I just want to feel beautiful” just goes around and round and definitely strikes a chord with you. In another part of the song there’s a couple of lines where she says “Don’t want these tears inside my eyes, yeah, don’t wanna wake up and feel insecure”. What I find quite clever about the song is that its title, Thursday, only get said five times and that’s when she’s referencing accessories or make-up.

The video to this song is entirely in black and white which adds to the sombre tone and, in some ways, carries more meaning. Every so often she looks into the camera and there’s a few clips where is seen looking into a mirror.

I remember watching her perform this at an awards ceremony on TV ages. As part of the performance she was on-stage with other women, all various sizes. At the start of the song they’re all wearing make-up and throughout the performance they wipe it all off.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0v30jKH958

In The Spotlight: Friendly Fires – Love Like Waves

Taken from their third studio album, Inflorescent, Love Like Waves is the seventh single of the record and at only four and a half minutes long and it is undoubtedly a great song. It is definitely one of those type of songs for the summer playlist. As always Ed Macfarlane’s voice is both completely magnetic and smooth and just draws you right into the song, as always, a great listening pleasure. Love Like Waves is a great fusion of dance and pop with some electronic beats thrown into the mixture. Another one you can see yourself moving to on the dance-floor. Ed has one of those voices that fits into the dance music scene with hardly any effort at all and has a wide vocal range which he uses with complete confidence. The line, Love Like Waves, weaves in and out of the song in a smooth and melodic ease.

The video accompanying this song has that summer holiday feel to it as when it starts you are already in what appears to be like sunny Spain or the Mediterranean. It just has the look and feel. Throughout the video the see clips featuring various other people, including members of Friendly Fires reclining, enjoying the sunny weather mixed with the band doing a live gig with people dancing to the music. Now for a band that haven’t released any new material in over six years this is much anticipated welcome back to Friendly Fires and their music. Long may Ed and the gang continue.

🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEch9Nk1aqg

 

 

 

In The Spotlight: Friendly Fires – Heaven Let Me In

 

After nearly what feels like over a decade away indie favourites, Friendly Fires, have returned with a new album called Inflorescent and brand-new single called Heaven Let Me In. Straight from the start the song is just packed with energy, and a lot of it, and stays faithful to the bands’ musical roots. What I like about Ed Macfarlane’s vocals throughout this entire song is that every so often he sounds like he’s taking a deep breath, which in some ways adds a bit more body to the song. Also, I quite like how he sings cos it shows the range of vocal ability that he is capable of using. Heaven Let Me In shows a steady continuation of their music and how it is gradually evolving. A nice mixture of pop and dance, and plenty to go around. One of the good things that we can be grateful about is that, musically, the band haven’t taken a sudden U-turn and gone into a completely different direction. Ed’s vocals a smooth and have an almost hypnotic quality about them and just have this beautiful fluidic run about them that goes from start to finish. The song has an almost ambient feel to it which kind of compliments the band’s own musical style. For a band that have been out of the musical spotlight for what feels like just over ten years this song is a nice welcome back.

The music video that accompanies this features a young guy listening to music on his headphones, presumably the song itself. In the video he is seen walking along whilst dancing to the music whilst going past various locations and bumping in various people on the way.

🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=117&v=fAMP0MBfGhY

 

Whats On UK: MacMillan Fest 19′ review

My review for the last-ever MacMillan Fest in Nottingham for Whats On UK, have a read, share and enjoy.

https://whatson.guide/2019/09/17/review-nottinghams-macmillan-fest-puts-on-fantastic-finale/

 

 

MacMillan Fest 19′ various venues, Nottingham 7/9/19

 

At 1pm on Saturday afternoon the crowds gradually poured themselves into the infamous music venues, Rock City Basement, The Albert (formerly Spanky van Dykes), Stealth, the Red Rooms, Tap ‘n’ Tumbler and the Rescue Rooms. Saturday the 7th September 2019 marked the day that the legendary MacMillan Fest put on its last ever event. The MacMillan Fest is a charity gig for the MacMillan Cancer charity cause and had been running since 2010 and had quickly become part of the fixtures for popular music events in and around Nottingham. Over the course of its 9 year the event had attracted the attention of some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Eyre Llew, Bleed from Within, Evil Scarecrow, Shapes, Black Peaks, Jet Black, Savour the Kill and many, many more.

 

In terms of you got a fair amount of rock variety rock metal, acoustic, electro and a bit of screamo thrown in for good measure. Overall, an avid rock fan’s paradise

 

This year saw the return of band favourites such as With Tripper, Lycan, Vanity Box, Patriot Rebel, Matthew Moore and Cotton Mouth as well as new artists making their first (and sadly their only) appearance, Joey Collins, Myles Knight, Invisions, Wilted Flower and Widows.

 

Music fans who came from all areas Nottingham, even those from further afield, were treated to a selection of stalls offering alternative clothing courtesy of Hit or Miss and Alibi Clothing, whisky stalls and jewellery. There was even a food stall offering sweet and savoury crepes, yum-yum. I had 3, bit greedy I know but I was hungry. For the festival goers who like to dare two of the stalls consisted of henna body-art and another where you could either have your hair shaved or body waxed using wax-strips. Yes, there was a fair few brave individuals who braved a waxing for charity.

 

Going around each of the venues was a bit like going on a musical merry-go-round, a tiny trek between venues but totally worth if to go and see new bands come and perform. In each one the rooms were full of people and some there were fists flying in the air and the blood, sweat and adrenaline was going to the roof. Going to other areas the hype was less intense and you could sit down to enjoy the performances. If you went up the Red Rooms which were above the Tap & Tumbler you got the odd gig where the lead singer occasionally took the performance into the crowd.

 

Starting the musical extravaganza off Matthew Moore in the Rescue Rooms along with sets by Witch-Tripper, Eyre Llew and SHVPES. No shortage of crowds in the building.

Over at the Rock City Basement, which underwent an impressive refit since my last visit was Widows, True Colours, Lotus Eater, Invisions and Oceans Ate Alaska. Seriously, they knew how to get the crowds going. Blood, sweat, adrenaline and crowd-jumping ahoy.

Upstairs in the Red Rooms Take 96, My Pet Favxes and Ava Saint entertained the room. Some great artists there.
Halfway across the building in Stealth as Lycan, Veridian, The Five Hundred and Street Solider. Seriously, that venue has hosted some incredible bands.

 

Around the corner at The Albert’s was Cotton Mouth, Patriot Rebel, Crosslight and The Kut. Both levels of that place were one huge rock metal and adrenaline ride from start to finish.
In the main acoustic bar people were treated to solo musicians such as Wilted Flower, Joey Collins, Myles Knight and George Gadd. Matthew Moore, who had performed with his band in the Rescue Rooms took a slot at the last second and performed an incredible solo set. No matter where you went, there was always something worth catching.

 

However, by 9pm much the crowds gathered for one of the big finales at the Rescue Rooms where Nordic Giants put on an amazing, show-shopping performance. One of the best ways I can probably describe it as is a sweeping, sci-fi electronic landscape straight from an ahead-of-its-time film/novel. The opening sound was of an apocalyptic feel where you just know something big is coming.
Overall it was a fantastic day that was absolutely jam-packed with music, food, drink, henna and trinkets and fun for all. That just leaves me to say thank you to MacMillan Fest for some incredible weekends and everything you have both done and achieved, all in the name of charity. Sad to see you go