Fiona Stephens

Guitarist Andy James announces instrumental solo album

Guitar legend Andy James has announced his latest instrumental solo album, Exodus, to be released on 5th May via Urban Yeti Records.

The latest track from the upcoming album is Never Back Down, which can be streamed on YouTube.

“It’s been a while since I did my last solo album, but the time has come where I’ve suddenly got a collection of songs that seem to fit together pretty well and thought why not put out another album. I don’t like to force material, it either comes naturally or it doesn’t. However, every so often I get inspired to write some songs and the next album is exactly that, spontaneous inspiration. Some of it is a slightly different vibe for me where other songs encapsulate what I think people associate with my sound and writing style, but as a whole fitted together nicely.

I decided to do everything myself this time around. Sometimes when you do demos you capture a vibe that when recreated in a studio, doesn’t quite get the same vibe, so with these songs they started as demos then I spent more time on them to get them sounding like proper songs rather than going back to a studio to re-do it all. On past releases, I feel some of the original vibe has been lost, but this time I think for me it has captured more spontaneity that I wanted to get down.

I’m excited to put this collection of songs out with the relatively new label, Urban Yeti Records, and getting out there to play.” – Andy James

Restless Streets unveil video for ‘A Little More Us’

Melodic rockers Restless Streets have just released a brand new music video for A Little More Us. It is an atmospheric song with distinguishable sound that is a combination of melancholy, romance and the band’s recognisable talent to create outstanding, memorable and emotionally charged music.

“This is a song about finding someone again after they made a decision to leave you. ‘A Little More Us suggests that even though someone may be “caught up in the wave” or seemingly distant and distracted for a period of time, love will always cut through the clutter and lead their heart back to where it ultimately belongs. The track speaks about coming to terms with the past and making the decision to let your soul guide you.” – Vocalist Logan Carpenter

Kasabian announce new album!

Kasabian are back with an explosive album brimming with confidence, swagger and huge tunes. For Crying Out Loud, their sixth studio album, will be released on 28th April via Columbia Records. The lead single, You’re In Love With A Psycho, is out now!

You can catch Kasabian at the following venues in April:

Wed 12th LLANDUDNO, Venue Cymru
Thu 13th BIRMINGHAM, O2 Academy
Sat 15th NEWPORT, Newport Centre
Sun 16th SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, Cliffs Pavillion
Tue 18th LONDON, O2 Forum Kentish Town
Wed 19th LONDON, O2 Forum Kentish Town
Thu 20th LONDON, O2 Forum Kentish Town
Sat 22th DUBLIN, Olympia

Knifey reveal ‘Tanlines’

Toronto’s Knifey have revealed latest single Tanlines, which will be on their upcoming album, of which we are eagerly awaiting more information.

Cutting through the bleak twilight of winter in Toronto, we’ve put together ‘Tanlines’ which is a nostalgia-fuelled chronicle of better, warmer – and more naked – times. With desperate energy, the song reaches for the not-too-distant memory of a lover’s touch made soft by seawater and tropical air. The song’s essence is certainly fantasy material for blurry late night trips on decrepit streetcars. – Knifey 

You can listen to Tanlines below!

Girls In Synthesis share second track of their debut AA single

Girls in Synthesis released their debut AA single The Mound/Disappear on Friday 17th March.

The video to The Mound can be viewed below:

Disappear can be caught below:

You can see Girls In Synthesis at the following venues:

Saturday 25th March: Deptford Vinyl instore – London, UK – INFO
Thursday 13th April: The Phoenix, Coventry, UK
Friday 02nd June:  Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar – Brighton, UK
Friday 30th June: Some Weird Sin, Nambucca – London, UK (w/Thee MVP’s)

Quinn Sullivan unveils ‘Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming’

17 year old Quinn Sullivan will release his third studio album, Midnight Highway, next week on 24th March. Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming is the latest single to be revealed from the album.

“Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming was so much fun to record. It grabs you right away and makes you feel like it’s summertime and you’re in the car with the windows down, music blasting, heading down the coast!” – Quinn Sullivan 

Casa Del Diablo – Radio Free Universe

Hamilton’s award nominated Radio Free Universe will release their debut album Casa Del Diablo tomorrow (17th March) via Jet Pack Records.

The first track, American Gun, opens with drums, vocals and a simplistic riff that ties together to work really well. Radio Free Universe are a mix between Jack White‘s less alternative material and AudioslaveAmerican Gun is a track that really grabs the listener’s attention.

The next track, Disclosure, which is also the lead single from Casa Del Diablo, introduces elements from The Hives and Queens Of The Stone Age, as well as a more alternative twist on a faster track. The pre chorus slows down into broken chords before picking back up in the chorus to provide the listener with a nice variety, as well as keeping the song moving.

“This is a strange song. It’s about aliens running the planet. Aliens from another dimension. It talks about 9/11 and reptilians that ‘take you away and teach you how to love, take you away until you’re one of us.’ The song was instant. When the riff was written the words happened immediately and have never been questioned for any reason. Sometimes songs are in the either and they are an accumulation of strange thoughts and strange places. I think the song is reaching to understand why the world is in the state it’s in. In the end, it’s a battle of the beast inside us and our connection to something we may never understand.” – Vocalist George Panagopoulos

Most of their tracks are riff based, however instead of sticking with the same riff all the way through the songs, the musicians provide little twists and variations every now and then to keep the listener hooked. Six sounds like the guitarists are using glass sliders in the opening riff, and bringing a country aesthetic, while still providing distortion and a more indie feel to the vocals. Dirty Little Things and Armageddon Road also follow in this vein.

The Rest Of Us is the fastest track on the album, yet the timing for the drums and the guitar riffs never falter. The guitar melody varies all the way through the song, although around the 1 minute 30 second mark, the track sounds much more alternative that it does at the beginning.

Rythm And Bones (deliberately misspelled) would be an excellent choice for the next single. It’s upbeat, the riffs and hooks are catchy and it would make for a great live performance. The only downside to the track is that it’s only just over 2 minutes long.

All in all, Casa Del Diablo is a great album for both casual listeners, and for listeners looking for something new to get into. Each track brings something new to the album, all while having an underlying sound tying everything together.

Decade

DECADE: As Talented As They Are Lovely

On Saturday 4th March, Fiona went to The Cookie in Leicester to watch Decade perform on tour. Before that, she managed to grab a few minutes to sit down with Alex and Connor (by candlelight) to chat to them about their music and lives in general.

Just interviewed Alex and Connor from Decade, by candlelight #romantic

A post shared by Fiona Stephens (@fonzzx) on

Connor: Do you have Pokemon Go open on your phone? What’s around?

Fiona: Just a Hoothoot.. and now it’s gone! What team are you guys?

Connor: Team Mystic I think? The blue one.

Alex: Yeah, the blue team.

Fiona: Ah, good lads. Right thenWhat was the inspiration for the title of the new album?

Alex: Well the theme is about the way humans are and the way they – well we – interact with each other, weird things that we do, well that everyone does, how people are perceived vs how they actually are, and just exchanging pleasantries like asking how someone else when you don’t really care.

Connor: We also like ironic titles!

 

Fiona: How do you feel you guys have progressed since the release of Good Luck?

Alex: Sonically, Good Luck was loud and fast and punky, whereas Pleasantries has a lot more loud and quiet as well as happy and sad, which Good Luck had too.

Fiona: So you grabbed people’s attention with Good Luck and now with Pleasantries you have a bit more to say?

Alex: Yeah.

Connor: The songs are also way better [both laugh]

 

Fiona: How do you guys go about writing your tracks?

Alex: I demo the songs on my laptop and then we learn the songs and each part is adapted to each specific player’s style, for example the drummer will change all his parts because he’s a much better drummer than me! But the essence of the songs are still the same.

Connor: Alex has a vision and sees the story that he wants to tell, but we all collaborate in rehearsals and in the studio to tweak ideas that Alex presents first.

 

Fiona: What have you been listening to lately that you’d recommend to our readers?

Alex: I’ve been listening to Stormzy‘s new album, I think it’s really good. I’ve been listening to Code Orange as well.

Connor: I’ve been listening to an artist called Steven Steinberg, he has an album called Anagrams, it’s been a bit of an obsession lately. Independently we don’t really listen to music that is similar to what we write, but when we listen together we listen to similar artists to ourselves.

 

Fiona: Do you have any pre show rituals?

Alex: [points to bottle of Fosters and laughs]

Connor: Not really, apart from the usual warm up and stretch that most people do before a gig.

Alex: We don’t really do anything weird!

Connor: I like to spend a bit of time in the room we’re going to be playing in before the show to get my surroundings. We also like to watch the other bands play and support them.

Alex: Watching other bands play makes you want to perform better than them, so that’s a good way to get hyped up.

 

Fiona: What’s the best show you’ve ever performed?

Alex: Wow that’s really hard to say. A lot of the best shows are where the performance isn’t necessarily the best, it really depends on the atmosphere of the crowd.

Connor: Every time we’ve played Slam Dunk it’s been really good, really fun shows. Last time was when we were writing Pleasantries and a lot of influences came out that weekend.

Alex: A lot of people came specifically to see us which was really cool.

 

Fiona: What was the mindset you had when writing Pleasantries?

Alex: I just wanted to write pop songs and not really work to a structure.

Connor: It was stretched over such a long period of time, some songs were written as far back as 2013. The attitude was really that if anyone had an idea then to speak up and we’d explore it, whether it was musical or experimenting with different microphones and equipment.

Alex: Because of that, the influences were all so different, but we brought them all together to make it sound cohesive and give it our sound.

Fiona: That unique Decade sound?

Both: Yeah.

 

Fiona: What was the decision to release Daisy May so many months before your album announcement?

Alex: We’d left it so long from releasing the last single of Good Luck that we weren’t really sure what was happening in terms of record labels, so we wanted to put something out there for the fans.

Connor: We wanted to following Daisy May up with the album much quicker than we did, but the song actually caught the attention of record labels and it took time to get things turned around. It won’t happen again!

 

Fiona: What does Decade see for the next decade?

Connor: Whoa, that’s a long time!

Alex: You say that, but we’ve been a band for eight years now! Basically we don’t want to write the same record twice, we want to keep writing different tracks but with our own underlying sound and I guess we’ll just keep going!

Connor: At least until real life says ‘you have to get a real job now’! We all love writing and playing together, we’ve never had a line up change or anything like that.

Alex: We were all living with our parents when Good Luck was released, but now we all rent our own places and have to pay for that it’s hard to find the time to plan rehearsals and stuff. But as long as the music is fresh and we’re enjoying it, we’ll keep going!

 

Fiona: One final question, last time you spoke to Musicology you mentioned one of your main goals for the new album was to make it a little longer to give listeners something more to catch hold of. Are you happy with how you managed it?

Alex: It’s only about ten minutes longer [laughs]

Connor: Unfortunately the budget was tighter and we could’ve put in an extra track but sacrifice the quality of the whole album, so we decided not to. We’re happy with the choice we made. Album three will have at least twelve or thirteen tracks on it!

Alex: Ooh, we could write a concept album!

 

Pleasantries is available now, and keep tuned for our review of Decade‘s show!

Your Last Day – Everything You’ve Ever Known [EP]

Everything You’ve Ever Known is the third EP from Exeter based pop punks Your Last Day, and was released on 24th February.

Opening with Intro, a 55 second introduction that melts seamlessly into Break Me, it is clear that Your Last Day are more musically talented than is immediately obvious. However what lets this EP down is the mixing and mastering; the drums in particular are not as clearly defined as they could be. The guitars and bass seem to sit in the same place in the balance, although the vocals are clearly heard over the top and are well compressed to stop clipping.

Bones & Hearts is the third track on the EP and is nothing special in terms of pop punk. The vocals in particular do not sit well on top of the guitars, and the rhythm is basically just the musicians playing as fast as they can. However the vocal harmonies in the chorus are pulled off well, and the chorus is better than the rest of the song in terms of the lyrics and the music fitting together.

The Past Is Always Greener seems like it is over after 1:15 but a surprise comes; an instrumental with effects! This is once again showing off the abilities of the musicians but it would be better placed as a separate track. It would be nice to see Your Last Day write songs that show off their abilities more.

This Is The End is the final track, and is again nothing special in terms of pop punk, sounding like any old generic pop punk song. The vocal melody sounds similar to the melody in Bones & Hearts. However the instrumental parts of Intro and The Past Is Always Greener make a comeback in the bridge of This Is The End, which helps the listener to tie the EP together in their mind. This Is The End is the best track in terms of performance, ability and mixing and mastering.

[5/10]

Decade – Live @ The Cookie, Leicester (4/3/17)

Down in the basement of coffee shop/bar The Cookie in Leicester city centre is a tiny venue, with an astonishing sound and lighting system that makes great use of the space. Since The Charlotte closed down there has been a lack of 14+ venues in the Leicester area, but The Cookie serves this purpose well.

First up on Saturday night were the alt-rockers Wallflower, a group of five from South London. They started on a slow instrumental to introduce themselves. Right away it was clear that between them they were well rehearsed, and their timing was solid. However at first, it felt like the vocals were competing over the rest of the group, particularly as there were three guitars, but this was soon rectified. It did feel like three guitars was too much in some places. In the last track, the vocalist was having some issues with his guitar that were not obvious to the audience until he took it off, however the balance was a lot better with just two guitars and his part wasn’t missed.

Wallflower have great stage presence, but didn’t interact with the audience much. They had great instrumental seaways between songs, but the backing vocals let them down a little bit as they weren’t always in tune with the lead vocals. Wallflower could be seen later in the show in the crowd supporting Decade. Overall they played a solid set, providing a good first support act to warm the crowd up.

[7/10]

Next up were Big Spring, also from London. The bassist took his shirt off before the show even started, the room wasn’t warm though so clearly he was just trying to show off. It didn’t add anything to the performance whatsoever.

Just like Wallflower, the guitars overpowered the vocals at first. The vocalist had an impressive range; his lower tones sounded like Dave Grohl whereas his falsetto could rival Matt Bellamy. In some tracks there were clearly huge Radiohead influences too.

Big Spring are more cheerful than Wallflower, and are very riff based, with a few more indie and pop influences. This makes them different to most rock bands. The vocal harmonies were also great, they weren’t too overpowering. They interacted well with the audience and they had a great mix of heavier and more commercial songs in their set.

[8/10]

Finally, on came Decade, who had an incredibly polished performance right from the start. They had great stage presence and chatted to the audience in between songs, clearly enjoying themselves. They repeatedly praised their support acts, who could be seen in the audience too. Decade had a much more positive crowd reaction than Big Spring or Wallflower.

They played a mix of material from Good Luck and Pleasantries; the older material from Good Luck was more pop-punk based whereas the material from Pleasantries was more alternative, which still retaining Decade‘s individual sound. The interesting basslines provided a solid foundation for guitars and vocals. The newer material was much more dynamic than the old, however clearly there were crowd favourites from Good Luck, which clearly had influences from Yellowcard and A Day To Remember. Thrown into the mix was some indie too, proving that Decade are a very versatile band.

When Decade announced that it was their final song, the crowd sighed: they didn’t want the set to be over. Decade had saved the best for last, however, and ended on Daisy May.

 

[10/10]