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Featuring: JAKE MORLEY, Brother + Bones, Deaf Havana, Amber Run + more #1 // 05.14

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Cover Photo Jake Morley by Alex Genn-Bash


Welcome to the very first issue of Rock, Salt & Nails, a publication that is all about rekindling a lost passion for discovering new music. It’s all about inspiration, sound and compelling melody. But most importantly, giving talented musicians the coverage they so desperately deserve. We aim to showcase the best upcoming talent, inspiring you to listen to

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t n e T oc n

something new. Rock, Salt & Nails is not purely about great music, it is also about feeling inspired, whether that is through print, photography, music or art. The main aim of RSN was to create something that I would ultimately like to buy, as the days where I’d be excited about a new issue of a magazine seemed like a distant memory. This love and appreciation for print publications has definitely been rediscovered,

I hope you enjoy and feel inspired too! You can keep up to date with music news, reviews and other exciting features over at: Thank you to all the wonderfully talented people who’ve got onboard with this exciting new venture.

Rosheene McClintock.




venues/ hidden gems


HELLO: AMBER RUN BIG SCARY profile: adam duritz

20 12 brother 24 + bONes 26 MUSIC JAKE30 MEANING MORLEY

33 39 BOOK REVIEWS Nathan 42 Leone



44 46

interpreting music

50 worth





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On Repeat..

You know when you go through phases of listening to a song on repeat? Here’s my pick, that work as the perfect chilled out playlist with a mix of songs that covers all moods from melancholy to blissful happiness. They work in harmony as a playlist and combine a range of older songs with new releases.

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I recently got to see The Fray perform a one-off show at The Scala in London, despite the jet lag and sheer volume of alcohol consumed by the band, it was one of those ‘goosebumps-on-arms’ moments, where you long for the evening to never end. Happiness saw Isaac singing to a silent, awestricken room. The best thing about this song is how effective it is in its artful simplicity.

Growing up listening to Counting Crows, I have become very song of them, however All My Friends is not a favourite song of my parents. I recently listened to This Desert Life in it’s entirety (on a CD, in my CD player, remember those?), and could do nothing other than marvel how great the song was. It is wistful and searching, and so deeply felt it’s impossible not to feel the passion help within the song.

Caro Padre translates to mean ‘Dear Father’, and it is a deeply felt track with a lyrical delivery that is absolutely heart wrenching. It’s an epic song with a choir which adds an extra emotive dimension. The song builds up with increasingly dramatic guitars and drum beat before quietening to a stripped back acoustic final chorus, with the last chord leaving you feeling torn. Deaf Havana thrive in with these sorts of songs, a world away from their older releases which focus more on heavier rock. This is a serious jam. Did I describe a song as ‘a jam’? Yes. Do I regret it? NO. You can’t help but smile and dance to the rhythm of the music. The exquisite double bass makes the songs memorable, with singer Luke Concannon belting out the hight notes in an enviable manner. It’s such a crime that this band is not widely know, and their single The JCB Song doesn’t adequately summarise these musicians skilful instrumentation.

To me, the song title itself is brilliant. All My Friends - Counting Crows It is compelling, when I first heard this particular song it really touched me and I Fictional State - To Kill A King related to the lyrics in a way I never thought possible. It’s almost as if singer Ralph is (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame - Elvis delivering a monologue straight from his heart. The musical break allows the singers Noah - Amber Run words to really sink in, when the drums kick back in it reflects the confusion and hurt Dark Blue - Jack’s Mannequin within the lyrics. Thorns - Charlie Simpson Oblivion - Bastille Million Faces - Paolo Nutini Thorns gives me chills every time. As Demons - Imagine Dragons soon as the bass drum kicks in my mind quietens and I can lose myself within A positive, upbeat song, with Gold & Silver - Brother & Bones Charlie’s husky voice and beautiful the vocals being the main melodies. There’s always something focal point emphasised by the Caro Padre Deaf Havana quietly satisfying to have the lyrics musical background. It’s a song “Let’s drench ourselves in England’s that appeals to all tastes, his Happiness The Fray weather, just to know we’re free” blaring distinctive vocal style is velvety through your headphones when getting smooth, allowing his words to Sexy Plexi - Jack Johnson absolutely soaked in a storm. smother you in a caramel kiss. Wrap Your Arms Around Me - Gareth Dunlop Keep Your Head Up - Ben Howard Say Anything - Tristan Prettyman I discovered this song through the film ‘Safe Haven’, 22 - Deaf Havana and had to buy the soundtrack as the songs were incredible. This is my favourite out of all of them, and Bitter - Reforma has quickly become a song that I am very attached to. I’ll be the first to admit that female sing-songwriters If You Care About It - Nizlopi are not my favourite. But this song is rhythmic and her vocals are spot on. The lyrics are what I really love Good Life - One Republic though, relatable with great harmonies.

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HELLO Introducing the best new music to get your teeth into, from the UK and beyond.

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HELLO: Big Scary M

elbourne two-piece Big Scary have a unique spark, the music is completely their own and with each new song they flourish and grow. Joanna Syme and Tom Iansek create sonically gratifying melody channelled through Big Scary, the band came to fruition in 2006 when mutual friends put the pair in contact. Tom got in touch, then turned up on Joanna’s doorstep guitar in hand, and so the music making began. Describing themselves as a combination of alt-pop, grunge and trip-hop doesn’t even begin to do the dynamic duo justice. 2010’s single Falling Away is a sweeping yet compelling melody with a comfortingly repetitive drum line. Luck Now features layered harmonies and soaring emotion, “I fear that I’m another acquisition, I feel that I’m now just pure imposition my love.” The song reflects sadness and loss in an upbeat and eloquent manner, with one repeated verse working to emphasis the emotionally charged vocals. Thinking About You is another of Big Scary’s best, a rich, luxurious piano driven song with a heart shattering

“A rich, luxurious piano driven song with a heart shattering vocal performance.”

vocal performance. Joanna takes inspiration from everyday life in the city of Melbourne. “At the moment it’s beautiful and sunny so I’m always outside, walking and riding around, and there’s so many events that get you out of the house.” She also takes inspiration from other musicians such as Arcade Fire, “Even though Arcade Fire are fashionable, they’re also just making the music they feel like, and then the world follows”. Not Art is the band’s latest release, only just unleashed on the UK. The duo follow in a similar vein, making music that they want to and that feels right. When pushed to chose one song to encapsulate the duo’s essence, Joanna admits it’s a tough task.“We’re pretty eclectic,” she says, but she picks Twin Rivers due to its “Hip hop production ideas, with a pretty pop sensibility.” The track plays as a festival ready anthem packed full of percussion, a fierce drum beat and almost chanted vocals. The lyrics reflect the resignation and monotony of getting up for another day. “And the conversations so old. We can’t even muster a fight. And my body goes cold, when you turn off the bedside

light.” The track combines a delicate but perfect balance of gentle keys, determined drums and gritty synth. Having released four EPs named after the seasons, it gave the duo a chance to create varying sounds and moods with each song. They didn’t set out to be cohesive - this is a very inventive collection. Not Art demonstrates their growth as both musicians and artists, from start to finish each song is not only engaging, but blend seamlessly into each other. It is not only their talent that has shown growth, but their road crew. “These days we play with two extra players on stage, since the newer tracks require more instrumentation to do them justice live,” Joanna admits. “I actually miss playing just the two of us.” Big Scary are set to take on America, touring across the States this summer. The two-piece radiate musical talent (playing drums, keyboard, guitar and percussion collectively). The band set up Pieart records in order to gain complete creative control and release the record themselves, so Not Art is completely selfrecorded and self-produced. Joanna got to escape on holiday for the majority of the process of lead singer Tom’s steep learning curve into album production, but the experience has given him a whole collection of new skills. Most importantly, he has learned to believe in himself more. “I think he now trusts his own instincts more after coming out the other end of that,” says Joanna. Creating innovative music with soaring vocals, intricate percussion and combing soft sounds with intense noise, Big Scary’s new album, Not Art is available through iTunes now. “Vacation, our last album, feels pretty dated now,” says Joanna. “It’s cool that we can be portrayed a bit more accurately with the release of Not Art”. The band are hoping to head over to the UK later this year for a tour.

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t’s an incredibly exciting time for youngband Amber Run. The five-piece have liteally just walked off stage at Brixton Academy having supported Kodaline on tour, their new single Spark is stealing airwaves on Radio 1 and their debut album is in the works. Amber Run are certainly something to shout about, they create compelling music that is upbeat and dance-worthy, whilst constantly experimenting, to push musical boundaries and grow as a band. Amber Run formed when studying at Nottingham University together. “We’ve always hated naming bands we’ve been in, it’s just so difficult,” admits guitarist Will Jones. “We chose Amber originally because it’s a warm colour and that warmth is something we want to bring out in the

music. We added ‘Run’ because someone was already called Amber. We probably should have checked that first…” This slightly rookie error is easy to overlook though, as the attention to detail in the band’s music is spot on. The chilling group harmonies in the track Little Ghost is a small touch that adds huge impact, and the whimsical guitars for the opening of Kites really lifts the song into a whole new dimension. One of the very first gigs for Amber Run was playing at Reading and Leeds festival on the BBC Introducing stage last year, a daunting experience for any band, not just one starting out. “We spent days practising for it, because we knew how important it was,” Will says earnestly. Amber Run have created some incredibly powerful

Hello: Amber Run

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“We’ve found the music industry to be quite unpredictable”

and sonically pleasing songs that makes it impossible to not get swept up within the melody, and perfect for a festival setting - Noah is a fine example of just that. The drums create a steady heartbeat for the guitars pulse, the perfect canvas for the vocals delivered with precision and confidence that is nothing but admirable. The lyrics are soothing yet sang with a potent reassurance. “My name is Noah, and the sea is my home, is my home, and this small wooden boat will be my throne. Oh I’m proud of what I’ve built and the things that I’ve done, oh and all of the people that I’ve learnt to love.” Noah, the title track from 2014’s EP is uplifting and emphasises the notion of Carpe Diem. Singer Joe wrote the song at a time where the band was on the brink between a hobby and a possible way of life. Will sheds some light on the meaning behind the lyrics. “We’ve found the music industry to be quite unpredictable—six months ago I was preparing for my second year at uni, now here I am a guitarist and drop out.” Was the decision worth it? Only time can tell, but the last six months have been spent hard at work, dedicating time and energy to working on music and embarking on a tour. “Noah’s an important reminder that anything can happen and you’ve just got to run with it.” But Amber Run are taking it in their stride and refusing to get phased. Touring Europe, Reading and Leeds Festival, and performing at Brixton Academy are all monumental achievements to cross off the bucket list, a feat even more impressive when you consider they have not even released a debut album yet. Many people grow up with aspirations that fade and transform into something radically different. However, Will always aspired to be a musician, albeit secretly. “There’s always the problem that a lot of people view it as an impossible achievement being able to make a living off being in a band,” he admits. “So the whole thing really surprised us when it worked out actually. If I had stuck with English at university, I still wouldn’t know what I wanted to do besides play guitar.” Emotive, thoughtful lyrics, intricately played songs and fierce drums are all a trademark of Amber Run, with epic choruses to boot. Will feels most inspired when in the studio which is just as well, as the studio has become a haunt of theirs with the recording of their much anticipated debut album well underway. “We like to try out whatever ideas we can and there’s nothing better than when you go in with a song written and come out with it

completely reinvented.” As a new band, their sound has progressed steadily and matured a surprising amount; it is clear that they are happy to experiment with new ideas. “Recording the album was a process of discovery for us.” Will says, “People like to tag us as a soft folk band sometimes and there will be songs on there without guitars or live drums on. It’s all about moving forward with your sound for us, and we do it quite rapidly.” New single Spark is taken from their album, a song that sums the five-piece up nicely. “Spark essentially is about being in a band-about small beginning and those things taking off.” It’s definitely going to be a set list staple, too, “It’s also sonically got that big middle eight which we absolutely love to play.” It is a song with a progressive rhythm that nicely wraps up Amber Run’s experience over the last year, “Well then it’s that feeling that you, you just can’t shake, that your life’s about to start and you just can’t wait. First it’s the spark and then its the flame, then it’s getting blind drunk in the middle of the day.” It is set to be a whirlwind summer for Amber Run, having started out with a tremendous performance at Brighton’s Great Escape and a performance at the Isle of Wight festival looming. “After that it’s all about the album and we can’t wait for people to hear it. Some of it will really surprise people and that’s what we want,” enthuses Will. Amber Run are doing extremely well for themselves, and nothing can hold them or their infectiously upbeat melodies down.

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WORTH Travelling TO..

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e g n e d (hid



aving moved to London three years ago from Wellington, a small town in the middle of rural Somerset, I thought it was the best thing in the Universe. I spent years nagging my parents to pick me up from the ‘local’ venue, either Exeter or Yeovil, Bristol if I was lucky - up to a two hour drive away - to witness whatever band decided to risk visiting the West Country. Now, I can simply hop on a short train and navigate the Tube to watch pretty much any band that ever tours, on one London stage or another. But the magic has somewhat faded. I feel a sense of nostalgia looking back at the days when I’d look through gig listings, nearly bursting with excitement at a mention of Yeovil, or Exeter, or even Bristol, if the musicians were special enough to warrant weeks of persuasion and occasional blackmail towards my poor, long suffering parents. I love the availability of London, but most of the venues seem to lack personality. Not all of them though. KOKO is a beautifully majestic venue, and Clapham Grand is blanketed in a sort of magic. London venues are generally bigger and pull a larger audience, with the majority lacking individuality. I have been fortunate to go to shows in pretty much every UK city, and believe it is definitely worth travelling to get a more intimate and often more memorable experience. By going to smaller, independent venues you are also nurturing

“It is definitely worth travelling to get a more intimate and often more memorable experience” and encouraging new talent and allowing them to progress to selling out bigger venues. “Smaller regional venues are crucial to nurture emerging talent, in either helping young acts gain exposure to new audiences, or giving new national and international acts a warm-up circuit before they head out to larger capacity venues and arena tours and gain grassroots fans,” says Lydia Stockbridge, promoter at The Boileroom in Guildford. “We’re very important.” In the past few years I have become a huge fan of ‘The Budget Hotel’, and obsessed over scouring the internet for the cheapest train tickets (which inconveniently often warrants a 5.30am start). I have spent nights on a packed tour bus; waited outside a locked train station at 4.30am awaiting the first train home; crashed on friends sofas and strangers floors - but it is the best feeling in the world. I have made lifelong friends through a shared passion of music and know that no matter what city I turn up to I will have a friend there to explore the city with and catch some live music. So here it is, the Top 5 venues that are worth travelling to and camping out in a £29 Travelodge room, or on a friend of a friend’s sister’s floor.

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King Tuts - Glasgow

“It’s a key place in a major city for new bands to start up on the touring circuit”


ing Tuts is a very impressive venue. It’s the ‘go to’ place for known talent that wants to provide a special intimate show in Scotland, but it is also the place to go to discover rising talent. “The atmosphere is always electric, and the downstairs bar gives it that extra social element. Gig nights at Tuts always start with a pint in the downstairs bar before heading up to the gig room,” says Lyndsey Massie, a regular to the venue. Granted, I have only adventured up to Scotland once, when a day off coincided with a tour date. The bum and mind-numbing journey of six hours was excruciatingly boring as a solo traveller with an apparently short attention span. However, it was definitely worth it. King Tuts is a very popular venue with Scottish folk, with a reputation for getting a little bit rowdy, in a passionate, music loving way. The venue opened in 1990, has a capacity of 300 and attracts a wide range of people. The concerts are all enthusiastic, tightly knit and sweaty, the upbeat atmosphere ricocheting from person to person due to the small size of the venue and the type of music the promoters put on. It is a key place in a major city for new bands to

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start up on the touring circuit, or for big name musicians to put on a special night for their biggest fans. Paolo Nutini and The Klaxons have played here in the last two months. The venue is also steeped in music history; Alan McGee famously signed Oasis within the walls of this Glasgow haunt. The building itself is situated on a hill just out of the main city centre, and has a bar that serves food during the day. “I’ve seen bands like The Used and Finch play there, but also have great memories of seeing Twin Atlantic playing both supporting and headlining slots there in their early days,” says Lyndsey. King Tuts definitely has a soul to it, as opposed to being a money making corporate scheme, and is a prime example of why smaller venues are better. The next time I go to this venue, it will not be an afterthought, but instead a carefully planned out trip to see a band I adore in a place full of heart.


y Brighton experience is one that I fondly remember, “It’s 3am and after spending the previous two hours in the uncomfortable grasp of a National Express’ slippery leather chair, (with the two hours prior to that spent sat at Plymouth coach station shivering under several layers and pooling body heat with my fellow venue-hopping friends). Brighton is still blanketed in inky black darkness, the pubs are shut and hotel checkin isn’t for another eight hours. Once the sun has optimistically risen, we venture to the venue, basking in the beauty of Brighton’s pebbly beaches, using the trusty iPhone map app to walk back and forth along the beachfront before realising we need to go down a level to find the venue. The staff are friendly and amused by our enthusiasm and unintentional earliness, they chat and point us in the direction of coffee and fish and chips - well, to be beside the sea! I’m seeing Madina Lake for the second night of their UK tour, and supporting the main act are Chicago based The Super Happy Fun Club, the drummer Chris Mason invested in a pair of roller-skates when in Europe, and skated off into the distance 30 minutes before they were due to play in the intimate setting. The stage itself is raised way above ground level, with the stage small but deep. The barrier fits a few enthusiastic bodies, but the best view is for those who leisurely stand further back, with a drink in hand, as they get to properly soak up the atmosphere. The crowd are all beaming when the band finally jump across the stage, with Nathan Leone diving back and forth between the crowd and stage, the raised platform means everyone can get a decent view as opposed to spending 90 minutes staring at the back of a head of hair. It is an intimate setting that is bursting with personality, when a band plays it is almost as if there is an invisible surge of electricity that sizzles amongst the crows causing them to let lose and enjoy themselves. Tonight sets the bar for the rest of the week.” (An extract from my journal to document my travels for Madina Lake 2011).

“The raised platform means everyone can get a decent view as opposed to spending 90 minutes staring at the back of a head of hair”

A concert venue and a club combined, the place helps play an integral part of the infamous Great Escape festival which features the best up and coming talent over a weekend of music in the streets, pubs, and venues of Brighton. Ed Sheeran and Saves the Day both played in 2011and are just a few of the exceptionally talented musicians that have played on Concorde 2’s stage, with other acts including Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters and Florence & the Machine all playing the venue before their phenomenal success. The intimacy of the venue itself is not the only thing that makes Concorde 2 worth travelling to, with its approachable and genuine staff. A stunning location it makes a great day trip out, and a refreshing change from the polluted cityscapes.



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The Deaf Institute - Manchester

N “It’s still ingrained in my memory as one of my favourite shows ever ” 16 rock, salt + nails


estled in the thriving heart of Manchester city centre is The Deaf Institute. A majestic building reflected in its grand exterior and cosy interior, it is a completely unique venue and cafe that boasts pleasant staff; delicious food; regular club nights; but most importantly, a great live music scene. The calendar is constantly packed with new artists venturing to The Deaf Institute when on the tour circuit, but there are also regular open mic nights to encourage locals to let loose and sing a song or two. The venue itself has tiered, cinema styled seating, with the walls vibrantly wallpapered giving a distinctive and homely appearance. The venue promoters succeed in getting big name musicians to play the venue, in addition to new emerging talent. This is a great achievement considering the range of different venues that decorate the city and its already rich musical history. “I really like it as a music venue because it almost doesn’t feel like a music venue,” says Ciara Tomlinson, a regular gig-goer on the Manchester scene. “Especially when it comes to bands of a certain size that might usually play in bigger rooms, it can feel a bit more personal than some other smaller venues and allows for good crowd and musician interaction.” Recently the Keston Cobblers Club played the venue, and the talented Dan Croll played during the latter half of 2013. “It’s one of my favourite venues of all time, not only does it look nicer than most with its cute wallpaper, it’s also small and perfect for intimate gigs with your favourite bands,” enthuses Bolton born Abby Chew. “I watched Madina Lake play at the Institute and it’s still ingrained in my memory as one of my favourite shows ever. Being right up at the front and having Mateo pull me up on stage was an experience I’ll never forget.” The building has three tiers with speaker decor surrounding the bar, the acoustics are incredible and the atmosphere induced by the fantastic staff bring it all together, with smaller details, like the gigantic glitter ball giving The Deaf Institute a very distinctive image, and making a welcome change from the masses of grey and grimy venues across the UK.


he Cavern is situated below ground, hidden in the very heart of Exeter city centre. It is a tiny, dingy 220 person capacity venue, with constantly sticky tables, but that’s part of the charm. College students pass their free period with a bowl of curly fries and a coke, planning their next club night or gig. The best thing about The Cavern is the atmosphere. The place is always buzzing with conversation, laughter; building tension and excitement for a gig taking place the coming evening. It is a place for socialising in addition to discovering the best new music, and connecting with fellow fans and talented likeminded musicians. The venue has been running since February 1991, with venue owner David Goodchild putting the success of the business down to “sticking to the original plan of bringing underground bands to Exeter.” The compact size of the venue means that the musicians often spill into the crowd mid-gig when everyone is gaining momentum, with more active members ending up on top of the crowd, and more subdued acts clearing a place in the crowd to sing a capella, surrounded by slightly awestruck fans. The Cavern is great at discovering fresh talent who are just on the cusp of blowing up, and booking them for an intimate show. It’s a difficult art sourcing lesser-known bands and knowing that they are destined for bigger things. The 1975, Bastille and La Roux have all performed on the venue’s tiny stage. The Cavern encourages a sense of community, with support from the locals actively participating in venue hosted events, from weekly club nights to quick drinks after work, but also in a music sense. “Exeter has always fought above its weight on the national scene,” says David. “Currently it is very strong, with bands like The Cut Ups, The Computers and Idiom all doing big things.” He also runs a record label with joint owner Pippa Wrag called Freakscene, which is effective in nurturing local talent as well as bands who drop by on a regional tour. Somerset local Jess Hodges fondly recalls her fondest Cavern moment, “The Audition played a stripped back set, just two guitars and Danny Stevens singing. It was so personal, and everybody there got this feeling that we were a part of something really special.” The Cavern’s energy doesn’t just remain within the boundaries of its


walls, “This might sound strange…but [it] suggests to me that The Cavern is an ethos, not a building,” admits David. It’s essential for smaller bands to have a strong identity to draw in crowds, “I think all successful venues are essentially an extension of the passion the individuals running have for certain genres of music,” says David. “This is what makes up the identity.” Live venues are more important than ever, now that CD sales have slumped. Instead of bands going on tour to promote an album, it sometimes feels that musicians make an album in order to tour.

The Cavern - EXETER

“The Cavern is an ethos, not a building”

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The Boileroom A

pproaching its 8th birthday this September, The Boileroom is an independently run family business, managed by a group of creative people who have a real passion for live music. The Boileroom are proud to host a wide range of events, they ensure the venue is a place to support local acts, nurture rising talent all whilst still getting big-name artists to stop off for a personal performance. It is renowned for its own craft beers, and delicious noodles from a partnering takeaway. “The Boileroom has built its reputation over the years as a friendly place to perform that treats musicians well, in a welcome and friendly atmosphere,� says Lydia Stockbridge. Recently, singer-songwriter Ryan Keen and five-piece Brother & Bones have played shows at the intimate venue. All these musicians hold the spark of something a little special, and are on the cusp of blowing up. The venue has years of industry knowledge under its belt with Dominique Frazer, owner of The Boileroom having worked as a promoter 10 years prior to starting her current endeavour. The lively atmosphere is always positively charged, friendly and packed full of people enjoying themselves and the music.

- Guildford A public house since 1910, The Boileroom prides itself in the sense of community that radiates from the venue, “We continue to strive to be Guildford’s alternative live music venue - by filling it with lots of personality to make it a unique, creative space,” says Lydia. Band posters advertising previous gigs are peeling from the walls and the ceiling, providing a sense of nostalgia to regulars and portraying the venues rich array of artists to newcomers. “We believe it’s central to our ethos and brand, all the murals were created by local artists and companies that we work with. We aim to be the hub for local musicians and creatives.” This sense of community is only emphasised further with the partnerships the venue has with local educators, “We support our local music community, we work with local music college the Academy Of Contemporary Music, the University of Surrey, as well as other budding local talents,” says Lydia. “We always push for local supports, host EP launches, and help promote local music online through our social networks wherever we can.” The venue is compact, but this simply adds to the charming character of this little building. The stage is minuscule, and would struggle to fit more than

Photography by Megan Smith

four members and their gear. Instead of being off-putting it only adds to the atmosphere, and helps to forge a stronger connection between band and fan. A lively, thriving venue like The Boileroom injects life into a community, and is an integral element in kick starting musicians careers. This particular Guildford haunt is a friendly, inviting place to relax, discover some new music, or experience a unique one-off show.

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: e l i f Pro , z t i r u d m Ada A s w o r c g n i Count songs:

s w o r C g n i t n Top FIVE Cou

American Girls Hard Candy A Murder of One Mrs. Potter’s LullabyTo p three Colourblind


Friend of the devil untitled (love song) you ain’t going nowhere 20 rock, salt + nails


dam Duritz has been singer and distinctive fuzzy haired frontman of Counting Crows for 23 years, the creator and lyrical genius behind the band. Best known for 1993’s Mr Jones and 2002’s Joni Mitchell cover Big Yellow Taxi, their music has spanned two decades. Hailing from Berkley, California Counting Crows is made up of David Bryson and Dan Vickory on guitar, Charlie Gillingham on piano, Jim Bogios on drums, Millard Powers on bass and David Immerglück on guitar and banjo. Although the band have undergone several member changes, Adam Duritz has remained lead vocalist and inspirational lyricist. The bands name comes from the nursery rhyme ‘One for Sorrow’ and is featured in their song Murder of One from album August & Everything with the lyrics, “Well I dreamt I saw you walking up a hillside in the snow. Casting shadows on the winter sky, as you stood there counting crows”. With an impressive twelve albums which include live releases and six studio releases, they are currently putting the finishing touches to album number seven. 2010’s release Underwater Sunshine (What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) is an album purely combined of covers, songs the band admire, or wanted to put their own spin on. Covering Tender Mercies, Bob Dylan and Coby Brown. The band show that they can inject their own personality on any song to make it their own. Adam’s songs are extremely heartfelt, with lyrics so personal that emotion is evident in his voice, eyes and body language when performing live, even years after the song was written and recorded. When on tour Adam has a lyric folder of every one of his songs, to refresh himself on their expansive back catalogue. A Counting Crows live show is a whirlwind of energy and highly unpredictable which reflects the essence of the band. The setlist is different each night, as they don’t worry if their ‘staple’ songs make the cut or not. Instead, compiling a list of songs they feel like playing that evening, taking requests from fans and crew members. Adam allows himself to get swept up in the music, often improvising and altering songs spur of the moment when performing, which means his band needs to be alert.

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Brother + Bones: The Heartbeat of Rhythmic Folk-Rock


rother & Bones churn out skilfully earthy folk that is rhythmic and delivered with a delectable fervour that is rarely seen these days. Brother & Bones create huge atmospheric folk-rock songs with impressive guitar solos and lyrics sung with such wilful sincerity, it is impossible not to get wrapped up within the music. They have been lazily compared to Mumford & Sons, yet the only similarity is the ampersand in their respective names. Having spent the day with singer and bandmate Rich Thomas putting together two new songs guitarist James Willard finds the time to chat about their newest EP, tour life, and his musical

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inspiration. The band decided to release a live EP filmed at Princess Pavilions in Falmouth. It is set as ‘pay what you want’, so that fans can name their price. “The reason for this was that we wanted to give something back,” divulges James. “It wasn’t like we had to spend a small fortune in a swanky recording studio, we just thought that for fans that come to shows would be able to relive their ‘Brother & Bones experience’ again. Over the past few years we have gained a loyal fan base, so it’s nice for us to give something back.” It is also a way to increase the bands exposure, potential fans can see how much they enjoy the music before investing their money. It acts almost as a taster of

musical potential, and encourages people to be open to taking a chance on the band. In addition, existing fans can part with as much money as they would like to in return for the EP, giving them an opportunity to thank the band for their hard work. “We were quite fortunate in that the timing for that show was right; it just so happened that it was a sold out crowd on a Saturday night in Cornwall.” James admits that it was easy to decide what performances made the cut, “We had a couple of weeks of gigging under our belt so we were all feeling gig-tight. The performances are real vibey which is all we wanted really, so we just put the songs on there that summed the night up best.”

Brother & Bones have built up a reputation as an anyone can get anything they want at any time, and incredible live band, playing Redfest the have the attention span of a gnat. So if you’re not previous year I got to witness them charm and releasing new videos, photos, or new music there captivate a crowd with immensely powerful is that niggle in the back of your head [that] out of choruses, and unparalleled enthusiasm, sight, is out of mind.” Yet it can also be a but the five-piece are very humble about I was made great medium to interact with people, and it. “We have been gigging and learning show fans an insight into band life. our craft for a long time now, so playing The band creates a sound that is wildly to be noisy on stage is our reward,” says James. “It’s unique, fronted by an acoustic guitar is an the most direct way to connect with our unusual concept, and their songs vary from and fans, and the feedback is instantaneous.” the stripped back sensibilities, and heartfelt entertain Despite the unpredictability of vocals of Gold & Silver, to the bluesy vibe of working in the music industry, and the On The Run and the long rhythmic I See Red. The lyrics are equally stretches away from a comfortable bed, friends and compelling, delivered with a practised finesse and family, it’s a life that beats the demonstrating some of the best song writing in monotonous 9-5 day job. “The stability would be recent years, evident through track Raining Stone, nice, I don’t think any of us have been on the plus off of the To Be Alive EP. “The half full cup and the side of our overdraft in years, but then I speak to my smile corrupt to the bone, that’s why she’s raining 9-5er friends and I feel like I’m richer in so many stone”, and the thought provoking Skin and Bone. ways,” says James. Financial security may not be “But when I saw you walking to your grave it hurt to readily available as a musician, but there are much see nobody by your side.” When questioned whether greater gains, “We are all used to the spontaneity their distinctive sound puts more pressure on the of being in a band, I think that’s where half the band to keep buzz comes… If I’m honest, I think I’d struggle to go developing their sound, James is honest. “The only back and ‘work for the man’ again. I’d be way too pressure comes from us, we only write or play music annoying to be cooped up in an office. I was made to that we feel is good enough. We are pretty hard be noisy and entertain.” on ourselves, too. Not much slips under our radar Having toured extensively across the UK and before one of us says ‘doesn’t that sound like so and Europe, and amassing an ever increasing so?’ Then we are like yeah you’re right it does, back following, I can’t help but question how the band to the drawing board.” James admits, “I guess in a manage to keep spirits high when on the road. way that has kept us generating new sounds. Society It is however, one of the major flaws of having “We really love each others company, I think that’s the most important thing. We all share such vast CD collections.” Their style shows is never evidence of a whole host of music influences, the same passion and goal for playing music we love to the best of our ability. “I’d like to think that we all have pretty good satisfied taste in music, as there are a lot of records Obviously there are times when we are a bit low, if we have a bad show, or something goes that we all have and love the same, but the now wrong.” However, the positive experiences great thing is that each member has slightly are infinitely greater than the lows. “We are so used different to touring now, nothing really phases us anymore,” influences and backgrounds,”enthuses James, “It’s James jokes, “if anything we all suffer with itchy feet great to share with each other, watch when not on the road.” someone hear an amazing song for the first time There is a massively increasing popularity of and how they get that buzz. I guess that’s why we social media sites like Facebook, and with the are all in this business in the first place, right!” The accessibility of Youtube and Spotify it is bands collective influences span from The Beatles, considered both a blessing and a curse amongst Jimi Hendrix, Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, Rage Against musicians. For starters, it places pressure on bands The Machine. All huge, influential musicians who to constantly be putting out new material: “Society have changed the world, and Brother & Bones could is never satisfied now and we live in a world where be next.

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to you?

rock, salt + nails 27


“It’s ne in every day life ”


s s e in p p a h is r u o l o c , r u o l o c is “Music

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rock, salt + nails 29

ture, but music

“Music is adven is comfort. Mus

ic is home�

“ I am not able to talk about things very well,” admits Jake Morley with a wry smile. “I write music because I struggle to explain myself properly, I end up babbling and then going home and spending months writing a song to try and better explain what I meant.” It’s probably a good job then, that Jake Morley can produce such expressive and captivating songs. It’s a gorgeously sunny day in Brixton, with people buzzing around the local food market. I’m sat in Dogstar, a bar that embodies the mix-matched shabbychic vibe perfectly. It’s past three and I am awaiting a little late, but very apologetic Jake to turn up. Apparently, when inspiration hits, you would be foolish to resist. Hurrying in, he beams, “The last time I was here I was wearing a superhero outfit, New Years Eve, 2012!” It is a busy, but massively exciting time for Jake. He is in the depths of creating his second album, the follow up to 2010’s impressive Many Fish to Fry which is a melodic storm of ambitious yet artfully constructed songs. Not one to remain confined within his comfort zone, Jake has been doing a great deal of deep thinking, or pondering perhaps, as well as taking the time to explore new musical ideas. The diligent musician manages to make time in his busy day for a chat, despite finding himself in the middle of a musical breakthrough with an exceptionally problematic song. “I think I’ve probably worked on this song more than I’ve worked on every other song on my next album put together, it’s a duet with my unconscious mind. My mind is a choir of different voices,” he says. Entitled Watch Yourself, it is more than a little bit intriguing. “It’s like taming a horse - not that I’ve ever done that in my life,” jokes Jake, talking about the album making process. “That moment when you realise, ‘okay, there’s still work to be done’, but I know it’s going to work, it’s going to go well.” The concept of a successful album is a tricky one to figure out as it is not just numbers sales figures that mark out a good one. “I think ‘good’ is an important question,” Jake remarks. “Like

“My mind is a choir of different voices”

he wants to portray. “There’s a lot of noise in the world, people just churning songs out, and I didn’t want to do that without a lot of careful thought.” Many Fish to Fry was written largely on his own with an acoustic guitar, getting a band together to play it on record and for the live shows. The second record is being written with the band in mind, instead of playing songs and the band joining in, songs are crafted around the different instruments, allowing room for a variety of styles. Therefore, Jake has a greater scope to be creative and experiment with his songwriting and instrumentation. He enthuses, “like in this section here I shut the f**k up and some beautiful things happen with the strings,” he laughs. “There’s different ideas going on, which is a bit more scary in some ways.” It is set to be a less lighthearted album than the last. The debut radiates spontaneity, with a laid back feel. The song Be With Me Once More starts out slow, gaining an upbeat tempo, with an interesting and humorous lyrical concept, where the singer makes reference to light bulbs, beer glasses, car keys and more. “I’m a set of car keys down the back of your settee, I’m a choc-chip cookie dunk me in your tea,” he sings, all delivered in a concise, cheeky manner. Yet album opener The Light is lighthearted and reflective, with the strings adding a soothing undertone, and vibrant, innovative lyrics. “So I’m fairly messy, I pick my nose, I like Rubik’s cubes, I like barbershop quartets.” He admits, “It just coincided with how I was feeling and what I wanted to say. You make the music you need to make at different times in your life. If I made the same album ten times, there would be no point in that.” The connection Jake feels to music is not a recent thing, having come from a musical family. “I was about eight years old when I started learning piano, and very quickly I massively fell in love with it, to the point where I’d come home from school everyday and jump straight on the piano,” he reminisces. “I was quite

inside the mind of one jake morley

“tHE WORLD IS FULL OF MILLIOns and millions of love songs, the problem is that we end up defining ourselves by reference to our relationships which is a recipe for disempowerment.”

“It was like walking out into Narnia”

how much you care about what other a shy child, people think and what and music makes a good song. became a way What makes a good to express song for me right now myself in a way is one that I’m happy I found hard with. Whether anyone with words.” else likes it or not, This love and I have no idea,” he appreciation hesitates. “But if it’s for music then stuff that I really like, flourished. if it’s the music I want “When I got to make then I’ll be into my teens satisfied, regardless I learned to whether people like play guitar, it or not… I think they obviously will.” Many Fish To you can’t Fry has a mesmerising play piano and distinctive style when you’re so the second album is fourteen, highly anticipated. If it is a loser he approaches it with instrument the same skill and to play,” he Mat Quake, attention to detail: the future looks bright. laughs. So instead he opted for guitar. “It was all tied up Having toured the UK extensively for the past 18 months,Substance Photograph with my growing up and hanging out with my friends, and Jake has managed to connect with a wide variety of people, music when you’re growing up is kind of infused, it’s in making new fans and playing to existing ones. “It’s not the the fabric of your growing up,” Jake admits. “It’s associated same feeling,” admits Jake, discussing how it feels to play with certain moments in your life. I guess [music] came live alone as opposed to being surrounded by his band. “The to me at a very early age and then I never stopped finding last few tours I’ve done have been solo tour because I’ve still it fascinating and amazing.” Jake reveals that his family been trying to find the sound of the music that I’m making members are considered not only his biggest fans, but also right now. It hasn’t made sense to have a band right now, his biggest critics, giving him an unwavering support base. until I have an album together and I know what it sounds Although music has always been a massive, all like. I do miss playing with the band, they’re my boys. We’re encompassing love, he decided to be sensible and explore still great friends, we see each other all the time.” The his options, going to university to study law. Jake is honest incredible lineup features John Parker, the prolific double about his hard decision whether to pursue music, or to bass player, “he’s in every band there is,” laughs Jake. put this passion on the back burner. “I had a real struggle There has been a disappointingly long gap between the at that time of my life where I was wondering whether to release of his debut album, and the recording of a follow up. follow what I loved which was music, or what I thought Shedding light on this, Jake is honest. “There’s that phrase would be a sensible career choice. In the end I just kind about the difficult second album and I always thought that of thought, I’ll go get a degree, then after I’m done if I wouldn’t happen to me, it’s for losers,” laughs Jake. “Just give still want to then I’ll let loose with music and see where me a bit of time and it’ll be easy, I’ll just do it. But it wasn’t it goes.” Jake says, “then if that goes wrong I could have easy.” a degree to flog myself with.” But the need to have an Two seemingly endless years later and there’s been a academic office job didn’t have to present itself. huge amount of work that has gone into the whole process, It was 2007 when Jake’s musical endeavours drastically with Jake even questioning his motives. “I looked really changed. Having thrown out all the songs he’d been hard at myself at that time, wondering what kind of music writing since childhood, he was back to playing piano a I wanted to make because it’s a great opportunity to lot and getting back into guitar. “I guess I’d always been reexamine why I do music and why I want to do it, and what a bit turned off by guitar stuff because I’ve associated it I want to say.” Instead of just concentrating on the overall with showing off for the sake of trying to look cool. So I’d sound, Jake is thinking in greater depth about the message always dismissed it for that reason,” says Jake. “I heard

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this song on YouTube that this guy sent me. It was the most beautiful song I’d heard, it had some clever guitar solos in it, and I obsessed about how to play it and that got me into this idea of actually playing clever guitar stuff, and actually having songs that matter rather than just showing off.” Difficulties arose when trying to play complicated guitar parts, but being unable to see what he was doing. “Spur of the moment I tried seeing what it would be like the other way around, it was a big moment for me.” This was the first time he decided to play the guitar on his lap, “It was like walking out into Narnia a bit like ‘oh my god’ there’s this whole new world of things to do.” The musician’s distinctive style means his guitar gets a beating, but surprisingly he has never had to throw out an instrument. “I’ve had to repair a lot, recently I had a catastrophic failure of some wood,” admits Jake. “To me it’s a tool, I don’t name them or anything.” Jake’s music has an irresistible charm, heightened more by the conscious lack of relationship songs. “It’s something I thought about a lot, and not talked about much. The world is full of millions and millions of love songs, the problem is that we end up defining ourselves by reference to our relationships which is a recipe for disempowerment, it’s much better to define ourselves by ourselves, to be strong people and to be okay in who we are. Then if we see people, or make friends, we’re not forever defining ourselves by those relationships because they might change and then you end up miserable.” Wise words indeed, and an extremely refreshing point of view, but this resolve may have shifted slightly. “My second album is less so, not that it’s all just going on about relationships. I’d still say the driving force of it is about who you are and the kind of something within ourselves, rather than ‘oh, I loved you and then you don’t love me anymore,’ shut up! Although there are one or two like that.” Inspiration can hit at the most unlikely, and often inconvenient moments, but with the influx of technology it makes the creative process a lot easier. “I have hundreds of voice memos of me on the tube mumbling. I listen back to them the next morning wondering what an earth the mumbly rubbish melody is.” He further admits, “I’ve never been one of those people who’s romantically in love with writing on notepads.” “For me the best, most inspiring things happen when you’re not trying to write a song. You’re not trying to force anything, it just happens,” says Jake. “That’s partly what the song Watch Yourself is about, it’s got what feels like quite a controlling, domineering conscious element to our minds which always wants control and likes to think it makes decisions. It’s the author of our actions and knows what’s best, but actually that’s not always true. That part of the mind can just get in the way and make you get it wrong.” The singer admits to being happiest when letting go of worries. When asked to consider the song he is most proud of creating, Jake couldn’t possibly choose. “Partly why I write songs is because it’s a challenge to understand my experience of living, but the experience of living is really broad. Sometimes you might be happy or solemn or playful, why pick a happy song when I’m not always happy?” Pondering On A Scenario, from his debut album need it.”

Mat Quake, Substance Photograph

“There’s a lot of nerdiness on this albium”

is an inspiring song that flawlessly combines Jakes guitar tapping with the gentle murmur of the double bass. The singer’s fingers appear to dance over the guitar with an unmeasurable precision and delicate art. “The good thing about this song is that it’s not really about being happy or sad, or anything. You can be in any mood and that kind of fits.” The new album has been painstakingly thought out, with each word carefully chosen. He set out to make a thoughtful, intellectual album. “I was a bit bored by emotions in music. It’s very common to just splurge your emotions, especially in music, and sometimes that’s just tiring,” Jake admits. “I wanted to write an album full of more ideas, and thoughts that weren’t emotional, because that felt more valuable in some ways - an idea felt more valuable than an emotion.” Pondering is an example of this concept, ”It’s an idea song, there’s not much emotion in that song and yet it can actually be quite emotional to play or to listen to. I set out to write a lot of those, but as I was writing about them, bit by bit those ideas were starting to get overwhelmed by emotions, and songs that started being about ideas became emotion songs.” This was a contradiction of thoughts for the musician, “I was initially disappointed, I thought just splurging out emotions could just be a bit emotionally futile.” When pushed to reveal details of the new album Jake is very unwilling to disclose anything, but admits he would like an odd number of songs to make the final cut. “We can’t record an unlimited number of songs, we have to prioritise with the ones we think are most likely to be the best,” he says. “If you have an odd number of tracks you can have a middle track. I’ve got this song called Room in the Middle, which I’d quite like to put in the middle.” That’s clearly the academic edge that hasn’t quite faded, “there’s a lot of neediness on this album.” My time with this phenomenal talent is almost up, but there’s still time for that all important question, with the musicians New Years outfit in mind… “What would your superpower be?” After much deliberation, he doesn’t want super strength or x-ray vision, instead settling for a power much more eloquent and very useful. “I think my superpower would be the ability to describe exactly how I think, or to phrase my words in a way that exactly make sense. That would be a very cool superhero power to have,” Jake says. “If you’re superman you wouldn’t wish for massive flying skills and strength, so you choose a superhero trait that you most lack, otherwise you don’t

Reviews giving our opinion on the best new music, films + books around at the moment

rock, salt + nails 33

cLAPHAM gRAND 10TG + 11TH aPRIL 2014.

DEAF HAVANA 34 rock, salt + nails


t’s the second and final night of Deaf Havana’s residency at The Clapham Grand in south east London and fans have been queuing hours before doors, clad in a range of Deaf Havana merchandise. Many faces are familiar from the previous evening, yet are no less excited. Promptly on first are The People The Poet, the South Wales five piece with the vital task of preparing the swelling crowd for tonight’s performance, they get a smattering of applause with their ambient folk-rock. Next up are The Maine, who swagger on stage to a long instrumental, allowing them to limber up whilst the crowd look frankly disinterested, besides a row of teenage girls dancing at the barrier. Deaf Havana is a band whose name is in lights… Quite literally. Featuring their very special guests, London’s Youth Choir and a string quartet, you can’t quite shake the feeling that tonight will be talked about for years to come. Opening with the aptly named Lights the enticing strings are followed swiftly with rhythmic drums and awe-inspiring vocals. Their simplistic stage production of the illuminated band name, and extra musicians elevates the live show into an experience so profound that each member of the audience seems to be visibly drawn to the music. The band’s smiles are wide and the crowd bounces around as the chorus strikes. Everybody’s Dancing and I Want to Die is a clear favourite among fans. The dynamic six-piece clearly thrive in the electric atmosphere that is only heightened within the beautiful high-ceilinged venue. New single 22 encapsulates a boundless enthusiasm, with its steady drumbeat reverberating through the heartfelt shouts of “With Springsteen in my headphones singing mockingly away, oh Brucey baby I’ve seen better days, and these are not better days.” Causing foot stamping and a subsequent eruption of lyrics, Leeches

is infectious and impossible not to dance to. Determined to kick things up a notch or six, The Past Six Years is reflective and a great illustration of just how well this youthful band are doing and how far they have progressed. Little White Lies encourages chaos with its unforgettable chorus and spectacular high notes. People clamber on each other’s shoulders as they belt the lyrics out equally as enthusiastic as the band themselves. Bringing it back to newest album release Old Souls, and encouraging a slightly calmer mood you can’t help but marvel over James Veck-Gilodi’s vocals and honest, personal lyrics. The string quartet enhances each song mellowing the gentle songs and placing emphasis on the guitars in rowdier tracks. The band are helpless to the thanks tumbling repeatedly from their mouths, as their fans soak up each precious second they get to spend in the company of one of the best live bands around. The tremulous vocals of Boston Square and ferocious drums reflect the despair and anger they translated into the music as they deliver an array of deeply searching, raw music. Anemophobia is engrossing and impossible to not get lost in the sheer desperation and depth of emotion that crackles through the air, the crowd are left in silent awe as the piano works its gentle magic, until the chorus kicks in allowing a mass release of feeling from band and fans alike. Hunstanton Pier is dedicated to their childhood friends, who stand watching proudly from the back of The Grand, as the band transition into an acoustic led song about growing up. The night ends with an intensely powerful and thought provoking Caro Padre, singing of his absent father, James’ voice radiates a deep passion. This is a band who thrive in a spotlight, and definitely sets the bar high when it comes to live shows—every band needs a choir and orchestra to help elevate their performance.

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S E L G N SI charlie simpson // winter hymns


iving an indulgent and painfully brief insight into the patiently awaited follow up to Young Pilgrim is Winter Hymns. Intricate guitar picking is softened further with Charlie Simpson’s distinctive husky vocals, that are intense and lead to gorgeous harmonies. A soothing and intriguing song, heartfelt with the singer imploring, “I promise I won’t make a sound, as I figure you no longer want me around.” The song is a perfect soundtrack for the tentatively sunny mornings to close the doors on the misery of winter. Winter Hymns masks raw emotion, it is captivating and gives an intriguing taster of the new album.

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the fray // love don’t lie


oot stomping and country hollering would not go amiss when listening to Love Don’t Lie, The Fray’s adventure away from the shackles of piano solos and soaring melody that is trademark of the band. Instead cascading guitars and a persistent drum beat nestle amongst soothing harmonies that work to colour Isaacs passionate lyrical delivery creates an energetic and memorable track.

Ed Sheeran // sing

oing all out Sing is a funk tempo driven song. Breaking from his distinctive style grounded in guitar playing, Ed Sheeran croons, “I need you darling, come on set the tone.” Featuring his signature acoustic strumming, the singer-songwriter transitions seamlessly into a verse of indulgent, highly melodic rap. A mash up of genres tied together with wavering vocals in a compelling and pleasing way that is mastered through phenomenal talent and a great deal of precision. Heavily commercial with a pop edge, Sing is direct and extremely infectious.

The demise of The Good Natured, female fronted electro-pop was saddening to hear for lovers of upbeat, infectious melody. Having been shelved by their label despite the much anticipated debut album Prism awaiting to be unveiled—a devastating blow to the music industry has tuned into a positive new beginning for the vibrant young trio. Emerging as a solid unit and brandishing a new name, Lovestarrs have confidently delivered new song Get Your Sexy On. Enticed with precision drums and echoed cries of Get Your Sexy On, the track has a real summery vibe to it with its effortlessly rhythmic pull and progressive keys. Buoyant pop with a sultry undertone, Sarah, Hamish and George unite to create a strong and colourful track that could readily dominate the charts.

Lovestarrs // Get Your Sexy On

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amber run // spark [ep] Paolo Nutini // Caustic Love


austic Love is a celebration of 27 year-old Paolo Nutini’s transition into manhood. Featuring a greatly developed sound, a rhythmic soul and blues feel contrasts with the effortlessly upbeat melody of previous release Sunny Side Up. Scotsman Paolo allows for a career defining album with his third LP. Album opener Scream (Funk My Life Up) is full of groove, the feel-good track is memorable with female backing vocals and Nutini’s purr of his dream woman. Let Me Down Easy is reminiscent of 60s soul with earthy undertones. The raspy melody of One Day sees Nutini sing, “I’ll cry and you cry and we’ll cry, till the rain turns black and the devil moves and clings to us.” Soaring vocals are enhanced by smooth, resonate violins. Numpty is a jaunty track despite the downbeat lyrical content, “Building a house so we can fall at the first brick. If the cement don’t stick, but I’ve been told that it only gets harder from there.” His soulful voice envelopes you into a strong narrative. Better Man is a soft, acoustic led song, sung with an honest conviction. The stripped back track is a welcome contrast with the fervour seen throughout the rest of the album. Iron Sky is all echoed melody and delicate cymbals, shifting into a moody Diana displaying soul funk at its best. Recorded with a live band the each song is enriched with a smoky ambience, a man of many talents he sheds his indie acoustic stylings in favour of a richly matured sound to create one of the best albums of 2014.

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resh faced Amber Run are set to entice and delight with new EP Spark. The title track creates wave upon wave of deliciously upbeat and thoughtful lyrics paired with gentle piano chords, layered with enthusiastic drums. The uplifting performance allows the lyrics to shine and expel the bands current adventure, “It’s that feeling that you just can’t shake, that your life’s about to start and you just can’t wait.” Bursting into the very heart of the song, the sweeping guitars and subtle harmonies gather momentum before fading into an instrumental to allow the other members to shine. Heaven is all melodic guitars and wistful, melancholy vocals repeating the theme of a fiery passion, frontman Joe sings, “and it’s you that burns brighter than all.” Chamber is a delicate song with a comfortingly repetitive rhythm, female harmonies adding to the dreamy feel of the song. Closing with the silky velvet of Hide & Seek, the buoyant drums echo in the distance with a break in the music to allow a powerfully poignant group harmony. Harnessing an effortless charm, and simple elegance Spark is uplifting, confident and undeniably destined for festival stages.

m u b al

i could be the president

BY jamie pham

s k o bo H

ow many people let go of their hopes and dreams to commit to a mundane 9-5 day job, when instead they could be doing something enjoyable and inspiring. Exploring the world whilst in the company of your friends, perhaps it sounds unrealistic? Jamie Pham’s ‘I Could Be the President’ is a collection of memories, hopes, and fears that have been combined to create an honest and unique insight into a life spent chasing your dreams. It documents how he got into the fiercely competitive music industry, working from the very bottom to gain experience and demonstrate his worth, it also touches on more personal matters such as his father’s ill health. Jamie decided he wanted to work within the music industry after setting up a clothing label whilst still at school with a group of friends, they got a merchandise booth on a local Warped Tour date and got to see behindthe-scenes of a successful music festival: it was then that Jamie uncovered a desire to work with musicians. The book illustrates the author’s dedication to hard work and his thirst for new experiences and provides a unique insight into what goes on behind-the-scenes in getting band to stage. A book about life, and living it to the full, as well as the alteration of passions and change of career aspirations. I Could Be the President is skilfully written, a short but extensive account set to leave the reader inspired. It leaves you craving the next instalment—where has life taken the ambitious Jamie Pham.

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t’s getting harder for musicians to earn a living, unless they are selling out arenas and signed with a major label. As a result, artists are looking at alternative methods to make money to continue doing what they love. It’s a natural progression to start writing, as touring the world is an adventure in itself. The creative mindset needed to make music also lends itself nicely to writing an engaging book. They benefit from already having their name out there, being able to reach out to fans to support their ventures, in addition to people interested in the music industry wanting to purchase a book written by an industry expert. After all, who could possibly be better to talk about the industry than somebody who lives it each day. A benefit from having a core following already is being able to utilise funding sites such as Kickstarter to generate start up funds and concentrate on writing. Not only that, but there is a larger profit margin as artists can publish their books independently. Nathan and Matthew Leone, identical twins from the band Madina Lake both made the decision to write a book. Nathan’s is in the style of an autobiography, and documents his somewhat crazy life, whereas Matthew’s is a conceptual story of a fictional town which was planned alongside their trio of albums.

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s k boo

By Matthew Leone

Lila, The Divine Game


Don’t Love Me, Judge Me

ila, The Divine Game is deeply philosophical, whimsical, yet terrifyingly dark. The brain child of Matthew Leone, bassist of the late Madina Lake, the story ties their trilogy of albums neatly together, yet can be read independent of the albums. The concept is questioning life and death through a mythical town which acts as a metaphor for the world, with its occupants each standing for a different emotion or trait. Meet Adalia, a socialite in a place obsessed with celebrity culture—she is a symbol of America and all it stands for in the 21st century—until she gets murdered. Meet Pandora, the sexy goddess, envious of Adalia’s popularity. And meet Forrest, he has a mission to do but he is unsure what. A town shrouded in mystery and cut off from the world, mysterious Auspices fall from the sky, with a special note for the recipient, gifted by The River People, strange faceless creatures cloaked in white. Where’s Adalia? What’s happened to the once peaceful town? Matthew’s book is eloquently written with a skill and passion that is rarely seen. Extremely well written, it keeps you guessing and pages turning at great frequency until the climactic ending.


n insightful glimpse into the extraordinary life of Nathan Leone. Don’t Love Me, Judge Me is a hilarious yet painfully unabashed collection of anecdotes from his early life to his most present adventures and experiences. Don’t Love Me, Judge Me follows Nathan from childhood, to gaining a scholarship to play NCAA soccer, deciding to pack it in to ride a camel across the dessert and chronicling the surprising Fear Factor win that funded the start up of demo for Madina Lake, Nathan’s band. All of these experiences were shared with Nathan’s other half and partner in crime, identical twin Matthew Leone. Where else can you read - in explicit detail - what happens when you want to get even with a cowboy builder and end up with explosive diarrhoea and a broken nose? The ethos of the book is indeed, ‘Don’t Love Me, Judge Me,’ it’s impossible not to be awestricken, humiliated, hysterical and ashamed reading the events of this one man’s life. “I think the best experience was when Matthew Dan Mateo and I we’re out in LA for the final Fear Factor stunt because we’d just been totally scammed by some C rate local manager, were in the process of getting scammed by some C rate producer in LA but being together for the first time as a band,” says Nathan. “Hiding Mateo and Dan in our Fear Factor hotel room while we left to do the final stunt was so fun. Then we won and nobody knew it but us four. We had the time of our lives whilst two


scam artists thought they’d bested us!” However, it’s not all misdemeanours and surreal experiences, as he touches on what life was like having lost him mum at the age of 12, getting car jacked and the night where time screeched to a halt on discovering that his brother had been attacked and was in critical condition. Take the journey through Don’t Love Me, Judge Me, to discover the wondrous highs and terrifying lows of playing Download Festival, creating lifelong friendships, several near death experiences and battling depression and anxiety, all whilst gaining invaluable insight into the difficulties faced being a musician.

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” e M e g d u J , e M ove

L t ’ n o “D

Your life has been anything but ordinary, is it just a case of shrugging your shoulders and diving head-on into the next adventure/experience? Yeah you kind of have to right? Despite your greatest effort, you can only control so much of your life circumstance. There will always be highs and lows, joy and pain, tragedy and triumph. So I think the key is not to dwell on anything and keep moving. It’s easy to fall into the traps of useless emotions like regret, guilt, resentment and anger. But the fact of the matter is neither of those things have one productive or beneficial value whatsoever. If there’s a lesson to be learned learned it and move on! Why did now feel like the right time to release a book? We’d recently closed a major chapter of our lives and it felt like an appropriate time to document it and put it in the vaults. We’ve continued to write music and will continue to create perform and otherwise engage in every aspect of music forever but closing the Madina Lake chapter was significant for us. I think the

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book was a nice way to get closure.

Did you find it to be a challenging experience writing, or was it therapeutic in a sense? Both though it was much more challenging. Whenever I’ve made records there’s always been a manager, label person, bandmate or producer telling me when I had to stop writing and commit to what I had on account of deadlines. I’m neurotic enough when it comes to writing so to have to determine when to stop obsessing was impossible!

Have you kept journals, or was it a case of remembering the necessary anecdotes? I used to keep journals ages ago but I think I’ve told those stories so many times throughout my life that they just became permanently embedded in my mind. Was there anything too weird to write about/share with the world? Ha. If you can believe it yes. and it already gets pretty weird as it is so...


Nathan Leone

with. .

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tepping into HMV I briskly walk over to the CD section, allowing my fingers to work methodically from the letter ‘A’, pausing each time I discover a CD I’ve been craving, or if the album art catches my eye. The Lumineers, Lucy Rose, Manic Street Preachers. My palms are sweating and I am ultra aware of all the thudding footsteps surrounding me. I quickly grab the desired CD and hurry over to the tills. Thankfully the queue is short, yet I look down intently at my shoes to avoid the youthful cashiers judging eyes as he scans Babel, and “Yes thank you very much, I would like a bag to disguise my somewhat mortifying £4.99 purchase.” Why do so many people seem to hate Mumford & Sons, when their impressive record sales tell a different story? Questioning the authenticity of folk music is not a new thing. The legendary Bob Dylan has been faced with a great deal of criticism throughout his career. In an interview with the LA

boring chorus: “But hold me fast, hold me fast. ‘Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer. But hold me fast, hold me fast. ‘Cause I’m a hopeless wanderer.” All of the songs are very similar, instead of working as a cohesive piece of art, they blend into one never-ending mass of banjos and uninspired lyrics. Babel worked as the follow up to Mumford & Sons 2009’s debut album Sigh No More, whose album title was taken from Shakespeare’s renowned Much Ado About Nothing, and was awarded Album of the Year. Yet Babel smashed this record, becoming the top selling of album in 2012 and selling over 600,000 copies in its first week in America. The star of the album is single I Will Wait, which is unashamedly catchy; yet the lyrics are far from impressive. “Well I came home like a stone, and I fell heavy like a stone into your arms.” The melody is infectious, but the lyrics come as a sort of afterthought.

“We’ll talk about anything with an acoustic guitar being folk music but folk music doesn’t deserve that kind of definitional abuse” - Jake Morley

Why does everybody hate mumford + sons

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times in 2010 Joni Mitchell stated: “Everything about Bob is a deception,” she referred to his name change, and also accused him Singer songwriter Jake Morley admits to enjoying the band’s of plagiarism. Yet Dylan has had phenomenal success throughout debut album, but was left disappointed by Babel. “I was really his career and is considered one of the best folk artists of the hoping that their second record would develop their style 60s. Folk music was seen as the music of the middle-class, the further… But I didn’t get their second album at all,” he says. The music of a community. The music was shared orally amongst biggest disappointment was in fact the lead single. “To have a big working class communities pre-20th century when people were hit called I Will Wait, I just find nothing in that,” Jake states. “I will largely illiterate. Folk music had a revival with Bob Dylan and wait for you is so generic, it’s a problem I have with some music. It has periodically enjoyed moments in the limelight. Whether it tries to be so all encompassing and so deep that it actually reveals was Suzanne Vegu and the New York coffeehouse scene of the nothing. ‘I will wait for you’ could be the most beautiful, deeply 1980s, or the anti-folk movement of the noughties. Or “Perhaps meant phrase that someone could say to you, but in a song again more recently with Mumford & Sons and other that it’s just so generic it means nothing.” they too like“How bands labelled with folk tendencies. Music was made many record labels and radio stations started taking accessible with recording equipment and now it is not have more notice of folk music that already existed and labelled simply shared amongst a small community, but rather as new since Mumford hit it big,” argues James Willard, become itguitarist anybody who wishes to listen. Current folk music such for Brother & Bones. “I don’t think it’s got anything as To Kill A King, The Lumineers and The Straybirds, is tired to do with Mumford & Sons, it’s the record industry. They created by musicians using traditional folk instruments all too scared to take risks anymore. If they weren’t then of the are including acoustic guitars, banjos and the double bass. we wouldn’t still be hearing of ‘folk bands’, we’d be listening They often draw on traditional folk themes within the excess to the next big thing.” Many people are furious, because a songs such as family relationships and the idea of a with excessive banjo playing and dull music is allowing banjo band simplistic lifestyle that resonates amongst the community. incredible talents to remain unnoticed so that the mundane Instead of the intensity of traditional folk music coming playing” can thrive. through the sound of instruments and through complex There is praise for the band though. “When they first instrumentation, the intensity of the lyrics and vocal started working together and making music together they deliverance adds the emotion and passion that is intwined within were just doing it out of a genuine excitement and love of what the fabric of the music. The simplicity is effective on taking the they’re doing and it was infectious, it was brilliant. There’s a listener on a journey and to adequately portray the message reason why they became staggeringly popular and it was because envisaged. Although modern folk doesn’t stick to using acoustic what they were doing was kind of exciting,” admits Jake. instruments, the idea remains the same. Folk music is a celebratory way of bringing people together. Questioning the authenticity of any music is a tricky business, When Mumford & Sons played at Reading festival in 2010, the as it is impossible to label something as truly unique, but then why atmosphere was triumphant, everybody was having fun and have some people become so enraged at Mumford & Sons being enjoying themselves. When pianist Ben Lovett asks the eager referred to as a folk band? crowd, at the NME stage “Do you want to dance tonight?” the One of the reasons lies in the band’s background. The fourresponse was near deafening. During Roll Away Your Stone piece is made up of frontman and lead vocalist Marcus Mumford, the rapid guitar strumming causes roars of delight amongst Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane, They all play the extensive crowd. Their last live festival performance at multiple instruments, and join in with singing vocals. As affluent Glastonbury 2013 was similarly successful with fans declaring and privately educated individuals they all had a great start their love for the musicians in the break between songs. in life, something that many traditional folk musicians maybe The band may be lacking in substance but there is a charm lacked, having come from humble, working backgrounds. If this in knowing exactly what you are getting when you listen to is the reason people question Mumford & Sons authenticity, it something. “Let the people that love it carry on loving it and they’ll seems rather silly, as they have simply had more privileged. More carry on making their music regardless of anyone’s opinion,” says annoying is the ‘gentleman farmers’ image and the name Mumford James. Yet the band decided to go on hiatus in late 2013, telling & Sons, considering the members aren’t even related, can seem Rolling Stone, “There won’t be any Mumford & Sons activities for both excessive and unnecessary. In folk there is a tradition of the foreseeable future.” The future of the band is still uncertain, family singing together which again emphasises the community but that doesn’t stop speculation. Marcus admitted to enjoying the spirit. The Carter family were an American family who recorded band being on indefinite hiatus. He jokes, “Everyone keeps asking bluegrass and country music together, Doc Watson also performed if we’ve broken up as a band, which I love. So I keep saying yes, with his son Merle Watson for many years. The Mumford & Sons and then we can have a big come back tour next year.” However, band name feels almost mocking of traditional folk roots. There there may be an element of a plan in what he says, as bands have is a pressure on people to either ‘love’ or ‘hate’ the English band, made a lot of money with comeback tours, which are becoming with indifference no longer being an option. more expected. With the criticism that the band has faced, they Laura Marling creates a similar style of music, and comes from may have decided to disappear for a short while to ensure a the same privately educated background as Mumford & Sons, yet welcome return with a new album, or perhaps they too have she is widely praised without a substantial backlash. Perhaps it become tired of the excessive banjo playing. Have Mumford & Sons is not due to mere superficial details like image and background, exhausted their potential, considering all of their material sounds but the actual music produced, as opposed to its roots. There distinctly similar? With Mumford & Sons off the radar for now, it’s are certainly some poor lyrical choices evident in Mumford & time for other bands to shine, who hold daring ambitions, harness Sons catalogue. For example, the rhyming of “fire” and “desire” in raw talent and produce original music worth getting excited their song Hopeless Wanderer, or its disappointing and frankly about.

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(Young Pilgrim - 2011) Song inspiration: Farmer & His Gun - Charlie Simpson

lyrics often place extremely colourful images into our minds, which is what makes them so memorable. SONGS ARE GENERALLY SUNG ABOUT PERSONAL EXPERIENCES, WHICH ARE OFTEN RELATABLE TO LISTENERS. this collection of photographs are inspired by a song, entitled ‘Farmer and his gun’ from charlie simpson’s debut solo album young pilgrim. masks are used to crudely cover the protagonists identity to show that its not just relavent to the couple in the photograph, but rather it can encompass a whole range of people and things.

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Then I realize That I will dream of you tonight Shadows fold out like Blankets on the ground Run, run, rabbit run Just don’t get caught out By the farmer and his gun Well, hide, hide, rabbit hide It’s best to lose yourself Before you ever lose your pride

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Spoken like a true man Spoken like a true man Trying to make his wayTrying through to the makefields his way through the fields My back is heavy My back is heavy And my heart is feeling empty stillis feeling empty but still And mybutheart I’m so far away from you

I’m so far away from you

There’s no use complaining to myself I made these shoes toThere’s walk inno use complaining to myself I made And they’ll walk until the these end shoes to walk in

And they’ll walk until the end

Then I realize That I will dream of you tonight Shadows fold out like Blankets on the ground rock, salt + nails 49


with.. .

s e m ja d r a iw ll of


How are were you when you first picked up a guitar? I was about 14, I learnt a few chords from a friend at school then self-taught for a couple of years before I started taking it really serious. What is your first musical memory? I remember seeing my dad play drums with a band at a local festival out the side of one of those covered lorries, hardly glamorous, but to me it was mesmerising. I remember holding my mum’s hand watching him, and looked up and said, “That’s what I want to do.” What was your first song obsession? I remember having Now 42 and I had to play it in my older brother’s room as I didn’t have a CD player. Just Looking was on there by the

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and Tender by Blur, which I remember waiting for on the Top Twenty and taping onto a cassette player, trying to time it right so not the have the DJ talking first. What song do you wish you’d written? There are so many. In a business sense Happy Birthday, as I would be f*cking minted! I have always loved The Scientist by Coldplay. I think just how that song all comes together is pretty amazing, great melodies and simple. There’s 100s.

Which song are you most proud of? I guess from a guitar point-of-view, I See Red, (from the For All We Know EP) mainly as that style is my favourite to play, and I can really

change it up loads live. I also really like how we have changed To Be Alive, I think that song has become more us and more original now.

What is your karaoke song of choice? Bittersweet Symphony. I’ve sung that song for years, still love it. Plus you never want to do karaoke unless you can do a half good job on it, do you! What is the last song you purchased? Georgia by Emily King.

W h t r o W

. . g n i h c at

Head over to YouTube and watch “Balcony Sessions” with Ralph Pelleymounter and To Kill A King. A series of live sessions of the bands own songs and some incredibly compelling covers, they enlist the help of some very specials guests to create an array of wonderfully executed songs that are a pleasure to listen to whilst watching the magic unfold on singer Ralph’s balcony. Everybody who takes part in these sessions are clearly having a blast and that’s not the best bit - collated into an album available for your listening convenience and pleasure, the proceeds of the sales were given to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. You can still purchase online over at: If you have an ear for soaring melodies, breathtaking harmonies and intricate strings then you will not be disappointed. These sessions are a refreshing way for an exceptionally capable band to get recognition whilst displaying other talented musicians. Following a recent trip across the states, the Balcony Sessions were reignited, with covers including Smashing Pumpkins ‘Tonight, Tonight’ fittingly filmed in picturesque Chicago, IL. YouTube: ‘To Kill A King Balcony Sessions’

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Rock, Salt & Nails.  

Rock, Salt & Nails is all about rekindling a passion for discovering new music. It's all about inspiration, sound and compelling music from...