ISSUE 36 DECEMBER 2013 - FREE
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2013 VS 2014 1 3 9 13 15
#MyReviewof2013 Best Band of 2013 2013 Playlist 2014’s Albums 2014’s Artists
CHRISTMAS INTERVIEW with ex uon students
AMBER RUN You may have heard about Amber Run around Campus this semester. They’re a group of mates, formerly of Notts Uni and this summer saw them explode into the public eye and ear...pg 18
21 23 25
Alt Christmas Songs that Flop Worst xmas song Ever
FEATURES 27 29 33 39
Pop music at Uni Best Of The Rest Cheshire and the Cat Jamie Moon
@elisewski_ // Emma Lisewski @TheMicNotts favourite music moment of 2013 has to be Green Day headlining Leeds festival, made my life #MyReviewof2013 @gabrieelllllla // Gabi #MyReviewof2013 @TheMicNotts Arctic Monkeys are reinventing their lost souls. Daft Punk are still awesome. Rap music is turning good again. @GreenardJack // Jack Greenard 2013 to sum it up: @NewtonFaulkner's #Studiozoo, @iamSunRai's debut EP Pocket Music, @only1noah's Amongst the Wildest Things #MyReviewof2013 @katieannh // Katie Harrison @TheMicNotts living in Ukraine, seeing Jamelia play there and always hearing Boney M's Rasputin. Drenge's debut on repeat. #MyReviewof2013 @katieannh // Katie Harrison @TheMicNotts twerking. @denizenrecord // Denizen Recordings @TheMicNotts Seeing Kagoule literally transform into superstars at the Chameleon in August after a run of London dates #MyReviewof2013 @StephZish // Don in a Dress So it was the turn of the 90's to all of a sudden become cool again, oh and Kendrick Lamar destroyed the earth in 3mins #MyReviewof2013
@StPeter_Mikalon // Jédeubor #MyReviewof2013 TOO MUCH DAFT PUNK !!!!! @magneticteam // magneticteamphotos @TheMicNotts Tom Dougall.TOY. Crow's Nest Glastonbury. 150 people in psychedelic heaven. GigoftheYear #MyReviewof2013http://t.co/aNpCEUOY5D @Charlarlarr // Charlotte Clare @TheMicNotts Paramore and Fall Out Boy both released new albums and my thirteen year old self was entirely satisﬁed #MyReviewof2013 @JoshTwynham// Josh Twynham @TheMicNotts #Myreviewof2013 crowd-surﬁng to @whileshesleeps at reading, even if I did have to walk around the whole site to get back in :( @Alex_Orosa// Alex Orosa The opening bars of 'Do I Wanna Know' by @ArcticMonkeys on the friday at glastonbury gave me goosebumps, even on the telly #MyReviewof2013 @AdaEgeDeniz // nunat @TheMicNotts The Nottingham alumni dinner in Ankara was very nice...brought back many pleasant memories... #MyReviewof2013-11-14 @Jesssalt_ // Jessica Salter @TheMicNotts Everything about Glastonbury 2013, just perfection. #MyReviewof2013 @RoopyRoo // Rupert Harrington @TheMicNotts Spent most of 2013 on my year abroad in France, where they played nothing but Psy, Macklemore and Robin Thicke... #Harrowing #MyReviewof2013
Compiled by Luke Gallimore
MY BEST BAND OF 2013 HEAVEN'S BASEMENT
New for for 2014 2014 New Logic logic logic Logic
Something to keep an eye out for in 2014 is the eagerly anticipated album from Logic. The Maryland born rapper has been turning a lot of heads with his ﬁrst four mixtapes, which has led to him touring both America and Europe in 2013. His fourth album Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever was a huge success as he gained worldwide notoriety with Logic eventually being signed to the infamous Def Jam Recordings. Logic has always cited Frank Sinatra as a huge musical inﬂuence and is sampled on the ﬁrst track of Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever. It is important to stress that Logic’s talents haven’t only been discovered this year. Logic’s Twitter following boasted around 150,000 followers prior to being signed to Def Jam and this made him one of the most well recognised unsigned artists in the world. Logic was also featured on the cover of XXL magazine as part of their ‘Top 10 Freshman List’ with the
likes of Wiz Khalifa, Kid Cudi and Kendrick Lamar being the most notable alumni of this list. His upcoming album (which is yet to be named) is expected to drop some point during 2014, and with the inﬂuence of his own music collectives RattPack and Visionary coupled with the experience and resources of Def Jam, the anticipation is building from fans and critics alike. Fans can also expect a few big name collaborations on the album, with Logic’s friendships with other rappers such as Mac Miller (who Logic shouts out in the single All I Do) and Chance the Rapper being well documented. With so much to live up too, Logic is deﬁnitely set to make a name for himself in 2014. By Matt Waterton
Laura Marling; if her name alone doesn’t trigger the same excitement as ﬁnding Alex Turner under the Christmas tree then read on. Her quiet but spectacular rise to success is fairly poorly documented, but at the tender age of 23 she has already released four critically acclaimed albums, won a Brit award and been nominated for the Mercury Prize, both in 2008 and 2013. Born and raised in Hampshire, you wouldn’t believe the immense talent hiding in her slender frame. Quaint and understated, there is a child-like vulnerability to her appearance that only adds to her songs. Her wavering voice jumps delicately over rolling guitar chords to create a gorgeously simple sound being described by many as ‘nu folk’. She won herself a nomination for the Mercury prize in 2008 with her debut album Alas I Cannot Swim and has grown in conﬁdence and style ever since.
Her folky sound and the profoundness of her lyrics has won her many musical fans; she supported Jamie T on tour after only her second ever solo gig captured his attention. A further two albums I Speak Because I Can and A Creature I Don’t Know in 2010 and 2011 explored her past relationships and built on the promising ability shown in her ﬁrst album. So, how has a girl with this much talent ﬂown under the radar for so long? It is a question I angrily ask myself when I enlighten people with the awesomeness of her newest single and get only a blank look in response. This seems to be how Marling likes it though. She does hardly any interviews for the release of new albums and has been quoted as saying “Sometimes the radio is on and I think, 'oh, I exist in this industry’. I don’t know if I want to.” I know I want her to, but her rejection of fame and stardom makes her all the more endearing. I have forever been torn between wanting her to get the recognition she deserves, and wanting to keep her a secret I can have all to myself. However, after listening to her newest album Once I Was an Eagle it is clear she is ﬂying well above the rest. It is unlike anything I have ever listened to before. It is a masterpiece; a collection of heartfelt songs that throw family relationships in a light only Marling could capture. In addition, a beautiful short ﬁlm of the ﬁrst four tracks called When Brave Bird Saved makes this more than just a collection of songs but a true artistic representation of herself. Compared to the major orchestral inﬂuence in her last album I Speak Because I Can, Once I Was an Eagle stripped back to just Marling and her guitar for the majority and boy does it highlight the pure talent she has. Her more mature voice is majestic and beautiful as always, the inﬂuences of Joni Mitchell resonating throughout every song. However, it is the lyrics that make this album for me and really set her apart, and in my opinion above, the likes of Joni Mitchell. Lines such as ‘Bitterness is thick like blood and cold as a wind sea breeze’ make it easy to see her poetic style; The originality and candidness of her take on relationships is enlightening and it is hard not to be moved by what she has to say. That said some banging beats such as in Master Hunter are great for those girl power vibes and putting a bit of swag in your step when you’re walking across the downs. Since the release of her album she has performed even more new material and I highly recommend taking a look at some of her acoustic performances; I reckon they are even better than the studio edits. In particular, a new track Paws Clean really highlights how Laura’s voice has developed and a cheekier side she rarely shows. She is an absolute gem and encompasses everything that music should oﬀer both for the artist and the listener. So get her latest album on your Christmas list, and thank me later. By Ruby Brady
ARTIST TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2014
TOY ARE GOING TO BE BIG IN 2014. WITH THEIR TOP, SELF-TITLED ALBUM RELEASED TWELVE MONTHS AGO SPAWNING A SUCCESSION OF SINGLES, THIS HEAVENLY RECORDINGS BAND HAVE FIRMLY ESTABLISHED THEMSELVES AS PURVEYORS OF ALL THINGS PSYCHEDELIC. SHORTLISTED FOR Q MAGAZINE’S BEST NEW ACT OF 2013, THIS IS A BAND OF EQUALS; ALL CONTRIBUTE TO THE SONGWRITING PROCESS. AND YOU CAN TELL TOO. SINGER TOM DOUGALL’S DELICATE VOCALS FLOAT OVER HIS OWN AND DOMINIC O’DAIR’S SWIRLING GUITARS ON THE ALBUM’S OPENING TRACK COLOURS RUNNING OUT. MAXIM BARRON’S BASS AND CHARLIE SALVIDGE’S DRUMS KEEP THINGS MOVING ALONG AUTOBAHN-STYLE ON SINGLE MOTORING. AND ALEJANDRA DIEZ ENCHANTS WITH NEARLY TEN GLORIOUS MINUTES OF ETHEREAL WAFTING, OVER THE SOUND OF CLASHING GUITARS AND FAST-PACED DRUMMING, ON FINAL TRACK KOPTER. LATE 2012/EARLY 2013 SAW A COUPLE MORE SINGLES RELEASED TO COMPLEMENT A BUSY SUMMER FESTIVAL SCHEDULE, TOPPED BY TWO GLASTONBURY PERFORMANCES. ONE ON THE LEGENDARY JOHN PEEL STAGE, THE OTHER A ‘SECRET’ 2AM GIG AT THE INTIMATE CROW’S NEST, WHICH WAS DESCRIBED BY SHAUN KEAVENY OF BBC6 MUSIC AS: “…LIKE BEING AT ONE OF THE EARLY PINK FLOYD GIGS, SOMETHING PSYCHEDELIC ABOUT IT…” TOY END THE YEAR WITH RECENTLY SOLD-OUT GIGS IN LONDON AND MANCHESTER, AND NEW MUSIC IN FRONT OF THEM. JOIN THE DOTS, WITH ELEVEN TRACKS, IS DUE IN DECEMBER. THOSE IN THE KNOW HAVE ALREADY GRABBED THE ÜBER-LIMITED, AND NOW SOLD OUT, 7” SINGLE OF THE SAME NAME ON VINYL, WITH HAND-STAMPED, SCREENPRINTED COVER. ZANE LOWE HAS ALSO BEEN PLAYING ENDLESSLY, THE NEXT SINGLE, ALSO TAKEN FROM THE FORTHCOMING LP. AND HE KNOWS A THING OR TWO ABOUT THIS KIND OF STUFF. UK, EUROPEAN AND US TOURS ARE SLATED INTO EARLY NEXT YEAR. THOSE WHO ARE TOY-FRIENDLY, YOU KNOW WHAT’S COMING. THOSE WHO AREN'T, CHECK THEM OUT, TURN THE VOLUME UP, LIE BACK, CHILL OUT AND FEEL THE PSYCHEDELIC GROOVE. SHAUN GORDON FOR MORE INFO GO TO: WWW.TOY-BAND.COM WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TOY.BAND
IT’S GETTING CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS, WHICH MEANS THAT MUSIC LOVERS CAN BEGIN TO LOOK BACK ON AND DISCUSS THE MUSICAL YEAR THAT HAS PASSED FROM AN INFORMED POSITION. PEOPLE ACROSS THE WORLD WILL SPEND HOURS – IN WHICH THEY SHOULD BE SHOPPING – DELIBERATING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS OVER THE BIGGEST ARTISTS, ALBUMS AND SONGS OF THE YEAR… RIGHT? WRONG. IN GENERAL, PEOPLE DON'T CARE WHO SOLD 5 MILLION RECORDS OR WHO SPENT 40 WEEKS IN THE TOP 10. THESE STATISTICS CAN BE INTERESTING, BUT IF YOUR YEAR OF MUSICAL DISCOVERY WAS LIMITED TO COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL RELEASES, OR FOR THAT MATTER, NEW RELEASES, IT IS UNLIKELY THAT YOU'VE EVER GIVEN YOUR MUSICAL TASTE MUCH THOUGHT. HAVING PICKED UP A COPY OF THIS MAGAZINE IT IS UNLIKELY THAT YOU FALL INTO THAT CATEGORY, AND THAT THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PERSONAL MUSICAL ENCOUNTER OF YOUR YEAR WAS GET LUCKY, GREAT SONG AS IT IS. SO IN LINE WITH THIS EVER SO SLIGHTLY HOSTILE TRAIN OF THOUGHT (SORRY!) I HAVE DECIDED AGAINST WRITING AN ARTICLE ENCAPSULATING THE YEAR OF MUSIC. INSTEAD, I'VE HAD A THINK ABOUT WHAT I’VE ADDED TO MY MUSIC COLLECTION IN 2013, AND I ENCOURAGE YOU TO DO THE SAME.
Enter Sandman by Metallica Metalheads will hate me for picking one of the most commercially successful metal songs of all time, but having never really got under the skin of the genre I found it diﬃcult to look anywhere else. The menacing build up, the sinister lyrics, drums that sound like they were recorded in a canyon and, of course, that riﬀ! Less is most deﬁnitely more in this case as it drives through the spine of the song, leaving burst eardrums and severe whiplash in its wake. It’s perhaps the only song that could ever single-handedly persuade me to grow my hair (again).
Man Of The World by (Peter Green’s) Fleetwood Mac I have included Peter Green’s name above because in reality his Fleetwood Mac outfit of the late 60s bears little resemblance stylistically to the more pop-oriented hit-machine that achieved such huge success in the mid 70s. It is strange to hear Green’s blues classic alongside the likes of Go Your Own Way and Dreams on the band’s 2002 compilation The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac, which is where I ﬁrst heard the song. Green delivers heartfelt vocals over a wonderfully simple chord sequence, assuming the role of a man who has everything he could possibly want, except the companion he longs for. Heart-breaking stuﬀ.
Hey Boy Hey Girl by The Chemical Brothers If you have been at uni for longer than a week you’ll have found that most big club nights are the domain of current chart hits. While this is not a bad thing, you may, like me, reach a point where a vintage club classic is required to get you in the mood. Enter big beat duo The Chemical Brothers and one of their best known and more ‘techno’ tracks. On it, an ominous intro, complete with those instantly recognisable vocals, gives way to a stomping and irresistible dance beat.
God by John Lennon Already familiar with the vast majority of The Beatles’ output and the better known songs from John Lennon’s solo career, 2013 was the year I delved deeper into the late Beatle’s discography. After hearing his John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine albums in their entirety, I’m glad I did. In this anti-religious, piano-driven ballad Lennon describes how he has changed since the Beatles years; he condemns external saviours and places his belief in only himself and Yoko. With masterfully fragile vocals he tells the listener: ‘God is a concept by which we measure our pain.’ Not many artists could pull oﬀ a line like that.
Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime by Beck Originally a track by The Korgis, Beck covered this song in collaboration with composer Jon Brion for the soundtrack to the 2004 ﬁlm Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This haunting version, which contains elements of trip-hop, builds from a sparse keyboard intro, accompanied by Beck’s intimate vocal, to psychedelic choruses backed by swirling strings. Deviating from the song slightly, the ﬁlm is also well worth a watch.
Greasy Love by Findlay I ﬁrst became aware of Findlay early in the summer when she supported Miles Kane in Bedford. Her ability to switch between powerful rasping vocals to full-throttle rock ‘n’ roll tunes, and a sultry front woman singing style to compliment slower bluesy moments left me determined to listen to more. Latest single Greasy Love has built upon her raw garage rock style, taking her use of vocal distortion to a whole new, and addictive, level. Findlay howls through the chorus and almost raps through the verses, but it is the change of tempo in the breakdown that will grab your attention. It oozes dubstep-y raunchiness and may leave you feeling like you need a shower.
Arabella by Arctic Monkeys I couldn’t help but mention these guys. Their ﬁfth record AM has been one of the most acclaimed albums of the year, and rightly so. I could have picked any of six or seven songs for this list, but I’ve gone for non-single Arabella. Combining the R&B elements of AM with 70s rock inﬂuences, it arguably contains Alex Turner’s best lyrics to date. It’s diﬃcult to pick out highlights from such a consistently awesome song, but I would have to point to the pre-chorus and the guitar solo as particular moments of genius (you’ll understand when you hear it).
Radio by Lana Del Rey Although it wasn’t a 2013 release, I felt I had to include a track from Lana Del Rey’s massively successful 2012 debut album Born To Die. On this track Grant (the artist’s actual name) sings of her desire for and rise to fame, and while there are more lyrically impressive songs on the album, it stands out as a refreshingly upbeat moment that falls on the right side of sentimental. Filled with luscious strings, Radio shows oﬀ Grant’s vocal versatility with lingering verse melody lines and an addictively pop-y chorus.
The Golden Throne by Temples Widely hailed as one of the best new bands in the UK, Temples, with their psychedelic guitar hooks and dreamy melodies, have become an indie favourite all around the country. Singles Shelter Song, Colours To Life and the recent Keep In the Dark were both considered for this list, but eventually I decided on a song that sadly appears to be getting fewer and fewer live outings. Even if in a year’s time The Golden Throne has disappeared from the band’s catalogue, early fans will still remember its menacing riﬀ, shuﬄing beat and drawn out melody.
Soul Love by Beady Eye I thought I’d put this song last as I am fully aware of the fact that the post-Oasis venture of Liam Gallagher and co. is probably one of the least fashionable artists around, according to those younger than 30. But allowing popular opinion to dictate my choice of song at this stage would not be in keeping with the attitude of this article. Gallagher penned Soul Love as an album highlight; a moody acoustic chord sequence, complimented by eerie sound eﬀects that brew and build throughout the song like an impending storm. Through it all, Gallagher’s intimate and reserved vocals create a brooding atmosphere that would be diﬃcult to ﬁnd on an Oasis record.
As a new year is about to begin, it’s always exciting to predict which new bands and artists are going to make it big. But for someone like me, who is lazy when it comes to finding new music (I blame my year abroad and lack of internet access for this), anticipating some of your favourite bands’ new releases can be equally as exciting. Here’s a small selection of what 2014 has in store…
Following the success in 2011 of their third album, A Different Kind of Fix, Bombay Bicycle Club have been busy in the studio working on album number four. Carry Me, the first single from the new album, is due to be released in February. With its synthier, more electronic sound, it hints at a change in musical direction for the boys. I’m looking forward to hearing more of this.
The electronic 4 piece will also be releasing album number four Love Letters, three years after album number three The English Riviera was released. The band have recently released the track I’m Aquarius, having previously teased us all by uploading a tiny three second sample to their SoundCloud. The track is typically Metronomy, yet also a rather tasty slice of chilled out electronic music. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until March to hear the rest.
Azealia Banks (finally)
The Horrors 2014 seems to be all about releasing your fourth album – The Horrors are at it too. Initially due out this year, the release date was pushed back. For me, every album released by Faris and co has been progressively better, highlighting the band’s evolution. If they continue with this trend, album number four is going to be a right treat.
Hip-hop’s mouthiest and arguably most obscene lady has meant to be releasing her debut since forever. After 212 caused rather a large stir in 2011 with its potty-mouthed lyrics, Azealia has fallen out with everyone, compared herself to Kanye, generally been a bit of a moron and hasn’t got round to releasing a bloody album. Hopefully she’ll finally get something out early next year, we’ll see…
We’ve all heard her mark her comeback on that bloody John Lewis advert, but Lily will also be releasing a new album in 2014, her first since 2009. Judging by the recent release of the intelligent and quite frankly hilarious Hard out Here, Lily certainly hasn’t mellowed during her break from music, in which she got married and had kids. I reckon the new album will be packed full of Lily’s wit – something I can’t help but love her for.
MCR’s Greatest Hits
By Katie Harrison
This definitely deserves a mention. For anyone who spent their school years with a massive fringe and dressing up like they were in the Black Parade, then next year you can get all of your emo favourites on one record!
We’ve had quite a few artists pop up on the music scene this year, making it one to remember. From the subtle electro pop glimmers of Foxes, to the masterful skills of The Weeknd, I think 2013 has shown us that there is simply so much more where this came from.
She may only be 17 years of age, but she has planted herself ﬁrmly into the ground. Soulful and innocent, Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor known to us as Lorde - has shot straight to number 1 on the UK chart with her single Royals. Her debut album, Pure Heroine, released earlier this year, bursts poetry into our simple minds. Her ﬂowing lyrics are her identity, and having been compared to singers like Adele and Lana Del Rey, she’s already making her mark in the music industry. The pure, unspoiled sound that echoes from her mouth has a delicate mix of youthfulness as well as a deeply dark reﬂection; ‘We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love aﬀair.’ Her pitch perfect EP and debut album are deﬁnitely the sort of things we all want to hear more of.
Generic alternative-indie bands seem to be emerging all the time, however The 1975 have managed to wiggle themselves into the culture of making good music. They have some sort of unusual thrust about them; a mix of indie rock, 70’s funk, and 80’s pop rock. The youthful, yet glum-looking Manchester foursome have managed to become a favourite from this year’s return of the guitar band. Most of their songs have simple names, like Sex and You, and are foot-tappingly addictive, which oﬀer us something which evokes memories, and have lyrics which you can’t help but play over and over in your head. The various genres from which they take inspiration are easily identiﬁable, and this is the beauty of their music. The soundtrack to our youth is just the beginning, and what comes next might just be better.
It’s hard to not love the breathy atmosphere Jessie brings to the table, which is simply seductive and ambient. Her voice just seems to echo through her music. Having started her music career providing vocals for post-dubstep style music - like that of SBTRKT – she went on to release her beautiful debut album Devotion. She mixes electronic, with the sweet sound of drum’n’bass and bold pop. Ware’s voice has a mature feel, as she stands high and mighty amongst the other female leads of our generation. Wildest Moments is deﬁnitely one of the best songs from the album; her delicate yet bold voice sways alongside the electronic beats and booming drums. Her whole stance makes you look up to her; her ﬁerce jawline, immaculate eyebrows, oﬀset by her signature hoop earrings and 80’s quiﬀ. Jessie could easily become a leader of the modern soul-pop era, but she’s so perfectly chilled out, and this is what will keep her being noticed in 2014. By Gabby Ahmed
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Their ﬁrst single Noah was splashed over BBC Radio 1 every day for a week and they even managed to squeeze in a live performance at Reading Festival. Following numerous successful YouTube sessions, radio visits and live appearances, the band made the decision to drop out of Uni. I caught up with Joe, Amber Run’s lead singer and songwriter to talk about how they made it so big in a year, what their families thought of them dropping out and what 2014 has in store for the Nottingham’s latest musical oﬀering. Hey Joe. First things ﬁrst - how did you guys all get together, did the band start at Uni? Yeah the band started at uni. All of us except Henry knew each other from back home – but the band itself deﬁnitely came together at Uni of Nottingham And I’m sure there’ll be an Amber Run plaque in Hallward before the decade’s out. Where did you start gigging? I saw you at acoustic rooms last year and it was pretty memorable. The ﬁrst show we played together was at the Relentless Garage, but that was under my solo project name. Our ﬁrst show of us together might have been that acoustic rooms performance! Crazy. Ha really? Well it didn’t show…do you think acoustic rooms a good place for aspiring Nottingham bands to start? I think it’s a great place to start. The people who run it are passionate and open to new music and new musicians. It’s a great place to practice and try out songs to an audience. We still want to go back, play it and try stuﬀ out. If you play guitar and want a new challenge – go for it! I agree, always a mixed bag of talent every Monday. You headlined a gig for The Mic in April at rescue rooms - we billed you as Nottingham’s fastest growing band. At that point did you think you’d be where you are now? Not in any way, shape or form. Saying that though – we’ve still got so much hard work to do before we are anywhere really. We’re really proud of how far we’ve come and really grateful for all the opportunities we’ve been given – but we want to keep moving forward! Yeah deﬁnitely, so how did you initially take the band from a bunch of mates hanging around, to something serious? Did getting a manager change things? We made it serious. We didn’t want to be at Uni. We didn’t want to not be in control of our post university life. We loved music. Our manager is a great guy and really helped to orientate us into the ‘business.’ But anything a band does has to come from the band otherwise it just won’t work. Other people can’t do the hard work for you. Well said. What was the tipping point when you realised Amber Run had a big future, was it the day you signed the record deal, the visit to the BBC, or something else? I honestly think it was the day we wrote our 3rd single. We just jammed it out and started playing this middle 8 and the song just picked up and it felt so good. Hopefully you understand what I mean when you hear it.
I can’t wait! Incidentally, how was hanging around at the BBC? Dean Jackson is a hero. And the central Introducing infrastructure is great. They are all really great people who want to support new music. Great to hang around with. I’ve heard he’s a bit of a character, ha. He does great things for aspiring musicians in Nottingham though. You played away from Notts, most notably at Reading this year - It seems like summer was when you guys exploded. Did the festival help? Yeah I think so. It was great experience for us and gave us the conﬁdence to kick on. You were faced with the decision of leaving university and putting everything into the band, or ﬁnishing study and wondering what could have happened. Was it a diﬃcult decision – and did you make the right choice? Diﬃcult decision for sure but I think we all feel it was the right decision at the time. We’ll have to wait and see if it works out. I’m sure we’ll be ﬁne… How did your families react to the decision to drop out? They love it. We all come from really supportive families, which is really great. That’s good to hear, there’s often negativity towards such diﬃcult decisions – but good for you guys. Are you all back home then, or still in Nottingham? Do you guys miss the student life? We don’t really miss out on student life! We still live in Nottingham. Our friends are all students. Still get to do everything we did as students, but rather than walking into Hallward and whacking out a 5000 worder, we get chill and play guitars… Shit, now I’m jealous, Joe. Well, seeing as you no longer need to try and stay awake through lectures or seminars, what are you up to now? We are really busy at the moment. We’ve started all the pre-production for our album, and then there’s press and video shoots on top of practice for our tours in Nov and Dec. It’s a great time! How is the debut album coming along? Are you guys all enjoying it, and when can we expect it? We are loving it. We are all really proud of how the demos sound – so I really think the album is going to sound great. I think it will be out and around come September 2014 but don’t hold me to that. Whats the plan for 2014? BIG plans for 2014. I think we we’ll be out and about in Feb and in March and then we’ll have to wait and see! Hopefully grab some more festivals. Album is getting recorded January and that’s the main thing in our diaries at the moment. See you guys soon! I’ve got to say, I’m looking forward to watching where you guys go. Give us a shout out when you’re chatting to Jools Holland. Cheers Joe. By @Luke_Gallimore
THE ALTERNATIVE XMAS PLAY LIST
THE WORST CHRISTMAS SONG EVER
An ‘I’m Sorry, Who Again?’ spin-oﬀ. These albums might not be bestsellers but the artists have outdone themselves bringing great, fresh music which should be amazing starters for your 2014 playlists.
This beautiful album sums up all the work that Newton Faulkner has put into his last 3 LPs, with great acoustic guitar music and wonderful lyrics. Newton made music history with this album by allowing a 24/7 live stream throughout the ﬁve week recording process. Catchy songs like Plastic Hearts and Indecisive bring such new levels to acoustic guitar playing that it has to be seen to be believed, which may be this album’s only let down. These songs intertwined with stunning, heartaching ballads like Don’t Make Me Go There and At the Seams just elevate the album above his ﬁrst 2 releases, in terms of lyrics at least. Newton Faulkner has seriously brought his A-game when creating this album, with poignancy in each lyric of the songs. Sure, some may say that some of the songs are just about an ending relationship but Newton’s fantastic guitar-twanging talent makes each track its own beast in this album. This album is great for anyone who is a fan of James Blunt’s latest release, but what can be said is that James Blunt can play the guitar; Newton Faulkner can play the guitar. This in my eyes makes Studio Zoo a fantastic release of this year.
This artist and his EP only came to my attention this summer whilst watching an Australian TV show and loving the theme song done by the band Thirsty Merc. After ﬁnding out that the lead singer Sun Rai (aka Rai Thistlethwayte) released a solo EP I had to listen to it and guess what: it’s amazing. This EP brings great pop-funk back to music since Maroon 5 have started doing more pop tracks and collaborations with rappers and pop princesses. Opening up with a mellow track San Francisco Street which eases into the smooth ballad Rose, this EP doesn’t stop the groovy drum beat at the core of each song. Chase the Clouds brings a touch of jazz to this ‘genre smoothie’ of an EP, with great success apart from the high note just after the ﬁrst chorus (which is the only fault that can be found in this release). Finally Til the Lights Come On is such a great tune and would ﬁt in perfectly on a pre-Ocean playlist. This EP is for those people who just want the summer to be all year round and fans of Maroon 5’s ﬁrst 3 albums will just fall in love with it. See my full review, which has the seal of approval from the artist himself, on The Mic website.
This album is the third release from this great hip-hop combo, with DJ dan le sac bringing great electro beats and Scroobius Pip’s poetic rap, which has been missing from the genre in recent years. While most mainstream rap music is just ego-inﬂating, sexist and ﬁght starting, this album is just refreshing. Bringing back poetry and serious, meaningful lyrics to rap is a hard task, which these 2 have done in their previous releases together before their hiatus in 2010.
Returning this year after releasing a grand total of 3 solo albums (2 for Pip, 1 for le sac) it can be said that this is their best yet as both members have matured and enhanced their craft. The ﬁrst single Stunner is pumped with a fantastic electric beat; Pip’s loud and sometimes intimidating delivery ﬂoods the song with a fantastic vocabulary that the likes of Lil’ Wayne wouldn’t even know existed. The second single Gold Teeth appears to make fun of current rap artists without naming any names - this song alone showcases the group’s comedic ability, whilst also making a serious point. This album is great for those who don’t mind a slightly edgier and more poetic rap album than most. Perfect for those who are fed up with the current generic rap that’s on the airwaves.
This is the debut album from YouTube star Noah Guthrie (Only1Noah), famous for rearranging LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It. This was later performed by James Arthur on the X-Factor - but we will never mention that again. This album is full of original compositions: a departure from doing the covers he is so famous for, but spectacular nevertheless. Opening with an inspirational track, Learn from the Fall, his smooth delivery of his lyrics is like nothing I have heard in a while. His powerful voice alone is enough reason to listen to this album. With some great bluesy-pop tunes mixed with some country-based ballads, this debut is stunning considering it was crowd funded on Indiegogo. His dedicated fans gathered over $45000 to help him make this piece of art. The ﬁrst single Call Home is a great steady piano ballad with some bluesy elements, with a chorus that is impossible not to sing along to. My personal favourite is Patchwork Lover where Noah brings a slow, beautiful song that wouldn’t sound out of place at a wedding with such a steady guitar beat and delicate sound. This album is fantastic particularly for those who love an independent act, but really it is just beautiful and deserves to be anyone’s playlist. Deﬁnitely worth a listen.
This fourth album from American band Daughtry brings something very new to the table, as well as quite a diﬀerent sound to their previous releases. This album adds a lot more synth and has a deﬁnite shift in a more commercial direction than its predecessors, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. Daughtry has had some success in the UK whilst being a band that is mainly based in the States. The song oﬀ their debut album, What About Now? was successfully covered by Westlife in 2009. But now the band are on the cusp of international fame with songs like Waiting for Superman and Long Live Rock and Roll, a song that I would put good money on to top the charts in 2014. This album does show a departure from the more hard rock albums that the band have been well known for, but strength in their power ballads is still present. Lead singer Chris Daughtry shows us yet again that with his large vocal range, he has one of the strongest voices in rock. The best thing with this album is that they have gone slightly more commercial but have not fallen into the traps that Nickelback did. While recent Nickelback albums have been slightly muddled, with a song about a slutty bar maid followed by a ballad, Daughtry have produced an album which brings a great collection of songs about love for another person and for the genre itself. Perfect for those looking for a great hard rock band.
If you enjoyed reading this article and want to check out more talented artists that you may have never heard of, make sure you check out my blog ‘I’m Sorry, Who Again?’ on The Mic website. By Jack Greenard (@GreenardJack)
An Interview with Joy Mumford
Jamie ﬁrst picked up the guitar when he was 10. By 10 and a half he’d put it down again. He became increasingly frustrated at how much time and eﬀort was needed in applying himself to something he wanted to ‘master’ straight away. He couldn’t comprehend that songs like ‘About a Girl’ and ‘Come As You Are’ by Nirvana actually needed to be learnt.A few years later, Jamie’s younger brother, Toby, was given a cheap electric guitar for Christmas. Jamie spent the days leading up to the big day by sneaking in to his parent’s bedroom and unearthing the red beauty whenever he had the opportunity. After attending lessons in the New Year, Jamie quit again. A decision he says he regrets now… Saving up, Jamie bought a rip-oﬀ Fender Strat copy from a local music man and was immediately able to learn at the pace he wanted. He cranked up his brother’s amp as loud as a quiet Norfolk village permitted, and set about pretending he was fronting Nirvana, Green Day and Blink 182. It was only when he moved to Nottingham 4 years ago that Jamie got himself an acoustic guitar and sat around playing sad chords to sad songs to reﬂect his solemn mood. Jamie couldn’t aﬀord to heat the house and he stole food from his work. So when he kept losing his plectrums and couldn’t replace them, he involuntarily grasped the art of ﬁnger picking. Jamie’s taste in music changed also. Whilst still harbouring a love and admiration for bands like Nirvana, he was never going to be the screaming, sweaty grunge singer he’d always dreamed of being. He was, however, starting to write his own songs instead. He wrote his own lyrics, experimented with diﬀerent chord structures and scales. Although he now had a few songs he could call his own, he was still a long way oﬀ ever having the conﬁdence to perform them to anyone else other than himself. He knew he’d would have to bite the bullet and just go for it. It was a couple of years later but ﬁnally in Feb’ 13, Jamie performed his ﬁrst ever solo set - and the ﬁrst public performance since he awkwardly stumbled through a rendition of ‘She’ by Green Day in his ﬁnal school assembly. Nowadays you can catch Jamie playing in Nottingham most weeks as he’s ﬁrmly established himself on the Notts acoustic scene. He released his debut EP ‘Luna’ at the end of last year and received wide acclaim amongst his peers and music bigwigs, even as far aﬁeld as LA. “Last year Jamie released one of the best EPs to come out of Notts in recent times, probably ever. A rising star and favourite on the local scene” – Farmyard records. A new EP is expected in the New Year and if you believe rumours, he is currently putting together a band for some special shows to coincide with its release. Having been there at Jamie’s ﬁrst ever gig at the Golden Fleece, I for one cannot wait to see and hear what happens next. For more information: Facebook.com/jamiemoonmusic @jamiemoonmusic email@example.com By @Luke_Gallimore
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