Review: Useless Cities – To Be Ruined

Review: Useless Cities – To Be Ruined

Useless Cities are an Indie band from London. They started their journey together in one of the most unique ways I’ve ever heard of: by rehearsing in a disused public toilet!

From this, after 12 months of solid work, Useless Cities were making their name and their sound known on the circuit, slowly taking over in the local music scene. Now, they have gone on to receive University and local radio airplay and been praised by various music bloggers. They then went on to record their first E.P. at Gravity Shack Studios which is what got them the success they are experiencing now.

I can see why! If I’m being completely honest, it did take me a while to get used to their sound and the first track I heard didn’t exactly blow me away. However, I decided to keep going down the list of tracks and see if there was anything there that caught my attention. I am definitely glad I did! After searching, I found their track “To Be Ruined”, this one struck me as a winner straight away.

The blend of all the instruments works perfectly, most indie bands have no idea about the concept of levels, so every instrument is fighting against the others which creates a muddy sound. The story is completely different with Useless Cities. To me, it feels like the collective sound is melting through the speakers, I likened it to the sensation you feel when you try melting a piece of chocolate on your tongue. These guys are truly unique and with a new release, music video and mini tour in the works, I know that I’m going to be seeing Useless Cities’ name in lights very soon.

Listen to To Be Ruined here:

Follow Useless Cities on Social Media here:
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Aritst Spotlight: Segulls

Aritst Spotlight: Segulls
Seegulls are an Indie band based in Chester and North West. Over the past two years, as well as studying Popular Music Performance, these guys have been going up and down the U.K gigging and making a name for themselves.  They are influenced by bands such as: The Libertines, The Strokes and The Smiths, in their own words, their ultimate desire is to “take the music world by storm”, and it seems to me they are doing exactly that!
Seegulls have been featured extensively across the BBC radio network and have performed in many acclaimed venues across the U.K. It’s no surprise that they have been so successful either, the first thing that popped into my head when I hit the play button on their material was “WOW”. The first song of theirs I listened to was “Reach Out”, I was instantly blown away within the first few seconds, they have insanely catchy guitar riffs, clever and poignant lyrics and super tight drums, they have musically armed themselves to take on the craziness of the Uk music scene, after hearing this track, I can assure you it’s going to work.
From bar one, “Reach Out” put me in a really happy and focused mood, I just couldn’t help but jam along, no matter how much I resisted! These guys are definitely a huge breathe of fresh air amongst the ever growing auto-tuned pop artists of this generation, You can just tell from the off that these guys have poured their heart and soul into this music and the “Seegulls” band project itself. Just from listening to their studio stuff, I can only imagine what their live shows are like, guys, if you come to Essex, I will definitely come to see you perform!
Their self-titled E.P. is out TODAY be sure to go ahead and grab yourselves a copy, you will not be disappointed!
Listen to Reach Out here:

Track Review: Bloom – Indifferent Engines

Track Review: Bloom – Indifferent Engines

Indifferent Engines is the “almost solo” project of guitarist Adam Bradley-Cooper. Almost solo? you say. Yeah, I had that question at first too, but when I read through the way the band do things I have to say I was both impressed and intrigued.

The trio that is “Indifferent Engine” all create their music through the wonder of online collaboration. The reason behind this is because one of the members (Michael) lives in Germany whilst the other two Adam and Laurence) live in the U.K. In Adam’s own words “The project aims to explore interesting ideas such as issues arising from the tangled relationship between humans, machines and nature.”

On that note, let’s talk about the track. “Bloom” was the first track I played when I went onto their Soundcloud, I was immediately drawn in to their sound and was already wanting more, in my mind, this is the ideal thing you want from an opening song! The instrumentation and lyrics are stunningly put together and despite the fact that they are a trio, with Adam being a multi-instrumentalist, they really fill in the potential gaps that could appear.

The thing that I really enjoy about “Bloom”, is the fact that (in my opinion) it gives each member of the band time to shine, you can tell none of these guys are on their own little ego trips, as a musician myself, I appreciate more than most. Expanding this point with an example, I really enjoyed the guitar solo at 3:42, Adam REALLY went to town on this section!

Something I also noticed about this track in particular was the fact that, although it’s 6 minutes long, you don’t notice. What I mean by that is, when I was listening to the track, despite it’s length, I didn’t get bored or feel like it was dragging too much, there was always something new to listen to which helped me as a listener, stay engaged.

Despite all of these good things, there is one thing I would definitely want to see is a live show from these guys. I understand that this is logistically impossible at the moment but it is certainly something that I know the band need to start looking at the live aspect of their project.

Listen to “Bloom” by Indifferent Engine here:

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Auto-tune Culture And How It Has Ruined The Music Industry

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Auto-Tune, the revolutionary invention of recent times, it’s saved many an artist from complete vocal embarrassment and dubbed the worst performers “talented.” This is until, they begin to sing live, of course.

Being one of the dying breed of ACTUAL musicians who don’t use auto-tune to create their stardom, my opinion on it’s use is VERY strong. To be honest, I think using auto-tune is so disrespectful to the artists who can actually sing, and it’s also disrespectful to the unsigned talent that put hours and hours of work into their music, just to be ignored by industry brass in favour of an artist who has no talent whatsoever. It makes me sick to the core knowing that I have friends that have more talent in their little fingers than most of the “stars” do, yet they’re still having to post covers on Youtube and release their singles/albums on a tiny budget and get limited success.

Let’s be frank for a second and cut the bullshit. Today’s music industry is more focused on wether an artist has sex appeal, that classic line “sex sells” has never been more true. So true in fact, that as long as you’ve either got big boobs or a six pack, it doesn’t matter if you can sing or not, because they’ll just auto-tune your stuff and you can mime your set when live.

What’s happened to the authenticity of this industry? I’ll tell you what, it’s died along with the many great artists we’ve lost in recent years, and I’ll bet my career that they’re turning in their graves, I know I would be! Don’t get me wrong, there are some brilliant modern artists that can sing up a storm without the aid of auto-tune but the majority of today’s stars are sounding more robot-like than human, and that is what makes me so angry.

Not only that, but many artists actually have the audacity to deny using auto-tune. This one really makes me laugh because it’s so blatant a deaf person could spot it! (before anyone gets offended, it’s sarcasm, obviously) The point I’m trying to make is this, if famous muso’s are going to use it, they may as well face up to the fact that they can’t sing and either admit to their shortfalls and face the backlash, or quit, because they don’t deserve any of the music awards they’ve received throughout their career of lies.

I’m going to wrap this article up with a huge, heartfelt, tearful plea to the music industry to just wake up! Open their eyes and realise what this apparent “revolution” is doing to what was one of the greatest industries in the world. Just stop using technology, ditch all the talentless dead-weight, stop being concerned about an artist’s “sex appeal” and within a few years, you’ll have some of the most (genuinely) talented musicians at your beck and call, therefore, you’ll have a crazy amount of money! It’s a win win, so please, for crying out loud, wake up and act before this industry becomes an even bigger shit-pit than it already is.

 

 

Being cocky and knowing you’re good is just as important as being humble

This is a sentence that I live by every single day. It’s what drives me.

Some people are definitely going to disagree with this statement, it’s just how statistics works, you are always going to have a critic. However, before you decide that this statement is false and that I’m talking out of arse, let me explain this.

I’m 18, that’s very young, to some people, it’s too young to be taken seriously in this industry. Yet, I do get taken seriously and what I have to say is listened to, appreciated and most importantly, taken on board. (by some.) Why? because I do know, for a fact, that I’m a bloody brilliant musician. Am I under the illusion that there aren’t people better than me? NO. That would just be plain stupid and delusional! I just know that I’m good at what I do, hell, it’s been proven!

If I wasn’t good, I wouldn’t have countless bands asking me to join their outfit and I wouldn’t have to turn them down because of my commitments to other bands. If I wasn’t good, I wouldn’t’ve been asked to perform at a prestigious music event and then be featured in a music magazine (Music Week) due to my participation in that event. And lastly, if I wasn’t good, I wouldn’t be getting paid to play the Piano every week.

All of these opportunities have arisen not only due to my ability, but due to my confidence IN my ability! How many 18 year old musicians do you know that can walk into a room of people they’ve never met before, get asked if their good at their instrument and confidently turn around and say “Yes, I am.” THAT’S the difference between me and so many other musicians my age! And that’s also the difference between you and your competitors.

They’re cocky, they dub themselves a “Musical God/genius” and you? You sit at the back, all quiet and when asked “are you good” you reply “I guess so.” If you want to start making money, making an impact in the industry you are a part of, then for crying out loud GROW SOME BALLS, GET COCKY AND DON’T GIVE A FUCK WHAT PEOPLE THINK!

It’s not that difficult, TRUST me! The next time someone asks you if you’re good say YES and then? PROVE IT!

After that, watch the MAGIC happen.

Interview: Harry Cooper of Benedict Trenches

Interview: Harry Cooper of Benedict Trenches

If you are a returning reader, you would have probably seen this band, “Benedict Trenches” featured quite heavily over the last few months. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing their two latest releases, Part One and Part Two.

You can see my review of Part One HERE 

You can see my review of Part Two HERE

Now, I managed to bag an interview with one of the driving members behind the group, Harry Cooper. He lives in Derby and I’m in Essex, so the natural thing to do was to embrace technology and have a Skype interview. Here it is:

Benedict Trenches on Social Media

www.facebook.com/BenedictTrenches

www.twitter.com/BenTrenches

 

Product Review: Moxpad X6 In Ear Monitors

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Moxpad X6’s with a case, cable and several ear tips.

In ear monitoring is fast becoming the go-to way for musicians to hear themselves on stage, the days of those bulky stage monitors are less and less common amongst performers. There are hundreds of options when it comes to the brand of in-ears that you want, some are expensive, some are not, and each have their good and bad features. I have purchased my first pair of in ear monitors, the Moxpad X6’s, and I am going to give you a written review of these today.

PROS

  • The first thing I was really about with these monitors was their price! When I got them they were £15 down from £50. All in all, for your first pair, this is a reasonable price to spend, especially if you’re going to be using them constantly like I am. The price may vary depending on where you buy them, I brought mine from Amazon.
  • Another thing I love about these is that the sound quality is really crisp despite the price, I’ve never had any issues with the sound becoming distorted no matter how many instruments I have going through them
  • They are also really comfortable to wear. I have to wear mine for around four hours during a Not Now Jhon rehearsal and it doesn’t bother me at all.
  • They go right into the ear, this means you have a good seal from outside noise unless the microphones are picking any up.
  • Detatchable cable, great if the cable breaks!

CONS

  • not a long enough cable if you’re not wireless. I don’t currently have a wireless pack so am running my set of these through a mixing desk, the cable can sometimes be too short so I have to either use an extension cable or adjust my set up so I’m not craning my neck to avoid being stuck!
  • I feel like I’ve had to re-burn them in after a two week break? It was probably my ears themselves, but it felt like they’d lost their edge after not using them for a little while.
  • The cable can get tangled within the case.
  • The case should be bigger, I feel.

Overall though, as you can see, the pros outweigh the cons and they are brilliant for your first set of in ears. Here are all the specifications and the buy link.

SPECS
Speaker Type: Dynamic Micro Speaker
Sensitivity: 95 dB SPL/mW
Frequency Range:20Hz—20KHz
Impedance: 16Ou
Cable Length:1350mm+/-50mm(53 in.+/-2 in)
Plug:3.5mm

Buy link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/GranVela-X6-…