The Musician’s Muse (Podcast)

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I’ve decided to create a podcast guys! It’s called The Musician’s Muse and is essentially an audio version of this blog! Here it is:

https://www.podomatic.com/embed/html5/podcast/5489041?style=square&autoplay=true

I hope you enjoy the show, it’s going to be a weekly show, published on Tuesday’s. Episode 1 has already been published, feel free to go and have a listen and share around with your friends!

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My biggest issue with The X Factor

XFactor-logo.jpgThe X Factor is probably one of most well known reality TV shows in the world these days. For those of you that don’t know, it is a televised singing competition produced by music mogul Simon Cowell. The aim is of course, to win and then go on to receive a record deal from Simon’s label “SYCO”. Some of the most successful UK X Factor contestants are: Olly Murs, One Direction, Little Mix and recently Louisa Johnson and James Arthur.

Capital FM Summertime Ball
Recent X Factor Winner Lousia Johnson Credit: WENN.com

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this show in particular if I’m honest. I’ve had friends that have competed on the show (and won it) so naturally, I can’t argue that the show doesn’t create that leap to fame that most musicians crave . However, there is one huge thing about the show that I absolutely cannot stand.

That thing, is that the show allows bogus acts through above actual talented people, and it is all in the name of “entertainment”. This is especially the case in this years X Factor. Take “Honey G” for example,  a supposed “rapper” who can’t sing for toffee but is being allowed through to the live shows above actual singers.

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Honey G on X Factor live shows  Credit: Metro.co.uk

Some news sites are saying that Honey G is always being put through because her gimmick is “saving The X Factor”. It’s no secret that the ratings for the long running talent show have been at an all time low in recent years, with the possibility of it being cut from our airwaves completely, it is possible that Mr Cowell has decided to go to extreme lengths to give the British public a reason to tune in.

Many industry stars, including Little Mix, have dubbed Honey G a fake and an actress, could this be true? If so, I wonder how much Simon is paying her to make a fool of herself in front of millions? After her Linkedin profile (holding multiple degree qualifications) was un-earthed, the authenticity of the rapper from “South Weezy” has been truly called into question.

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Anna Gilford A.KA Honey G on Linkedin Credit: Thesun.co.uk

However, I do believe that if the show focused on actual talent, that people would tune in for that too. I personally would rather watch an hour of exceptional musicians give it their all for a record deal than watch people like Honey G try to rap ( and therefore make me struggle not to scream at the top of my lungs)

As a musician, it really does sicken me to the core that untalented people are being given airtime whilst I know singers that have auditioned this year and got turned away that are on another level, it makes no sense and to me, ruining dreams of hard grafting musicians in favour of bogus acts in order to apparently “keep ratings up” defeats the object of a TALENT competition.

I really hope that Cowell starts to realise that he doesn’t need fake acts in order to create a successful show, before it’s too late and acts like “Honey G” leave a black mark all over his hard work.

 

Review: Work. Home. Bed – Hummer

hummerHummer are a Punk/Alternative band from the North West UK, and does what it says on the tin.

Will and Joe originally formed as stereotypical noisy high school punk band “S.F.R” in 2004, with college classmate Cainy coming on board in 2008 at which time they also changed their name; after going through 3 drummers in 7 years, Cainy moved from guitar to drums in 2011, with the lineup remaining the same ever since.

Following an extended spell of general inactivity brought about by a combination of education, work, other bands, writer’s block and general bone-idleness they came back at full-throttle in late 2015, now armed with a raft of new songs plus the occasional oldie.
I have to say, after listening to their latest release “Work. Home. Bed (released on Horn &Hoof Records in July 2016) , I have officially been blown away! From track one, these guys grabbed my attention and sucked me in for the rest of the album. I love the high octane energy that has been thrown into each track, they haven’t dropped in their commitment once!
I could definitely tell that these guys had worked really hard on this release and I have to say that Hummer are possibly one of the best bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing on this site!
The one thing I instantly fell in love with was the brilliant use of harmonies and how tight the band were, I could definitely tell that these guys have been working together for a long time. I will 100% be adding these guys to my playlist! Check them out and you’ll fully be able to understand how good Hummer are!
Work.Home.Noise is available on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/0yP83J9mCOVWj0FivvcOf0
Hummer on social media

Review: Xander & The Keys – The First Marker

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Xander & The Keys are an indie-rock band based in Bournemouth, they have been together since late 2013. Since then, they have experienced lots of success as their time together continued and they are now signed to MBM Management.

Today, I will be giving my thoughts on their latest release “The First Marker.” Overall, I think that the record is really solid, the band are very tight which is to be expected giving how long they have been working together, the lyrics and the riffs are extremely catchy and it is clear that each member of the band is very skilled on their instrument.

I can certainly see why MBM have chosen to work with Xander & The Keys and I must say that considering how much work the band did whilst they were self-managed, I can only imagine what’s going to happen now that they are under the wing of a fully fledged management company!

The First Maker drew me in instantly from the first note, I was expecting great things and I can safely say that I was not disappointed. However, I do feel that some of the lyrics are too repetitive, this could be down to personal taste but, for me, there is a very thin line between creating catchy songs and just repeating the same line over and over again and calling it a chorus. This is not to say that the songs aren’t brilliant, I just feel that this is something that the band should work on for their next release.

Listen to The First Marker HERE:

Follow Xander & The Keys on social media

www.xandkeys.com

Artist spotlight: The Final Clause Of Tacitus

Artist spotlight: The Final Clause Of Tacitus

From the town of Reading hail, The Final Clause of Tacitus. Likened to a mixture of Rage Against the Machine and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, they play hard aggressive rock intertwined with moments of serenity and a heavy sprinkling of Funk.

In the first 6 Months of gigging they have already started making a name for themselves with their explosive energetic performances, which saw them gaining support slots for such acts as ‘Crazytown’, ‘Electric 6’ and the ‘Kamikaze Test Pilots’, and also securing spots at the Readipop and Willow festival..

So, say no to the everyday norm and remember why music excited you all over again, and let’s get funked up!”

When I asked these guys for a bio, the above is what I received, I would normally re-word it but that bio truly described them and their music so I’ve left it as it was.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve always loved the combination of rock and funk! These guys really pull it off too, it can take a bit of getting used to if you’re not a Red Hot Chilli Peppers fan. However, if you have listened to the Peppers then you’ll notice the heavy influence within The Final Clause of Tacitus straight away.

One thing that immediately grabbed my attention was the skill of the musicians, the riffs they were pulling together were insane! They didn’t overshadow eachother either, everything seemed to fit perfectly within the mix and it made the track even better. I’ve heard so many bands over the last month or so of me doing these reviews and I have to say that by far, these guys are the tightest!

Exceptional groove, exceptional musicianship and just an all round exceptional band.

I certainly see a lot of potential in these guys, and it’s clear that other industry people do too. There is a gap in the industry market for the sound that T.F.C.O.T are creating and I hope that they get as far as possible! I’ll certainly be looking out for these guys and you should too!

You can listen to one of their songs “7 Years” here:

T.F.C.O.T on Social Media

https://www.instagram.com/tfcot/

https://www.facebook.com/TFCOT

http://www.tfcot.band/

Review: Danny Mortimer – Stay With Me

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Danny Mortimer is a young singer songwriter from Elgin. He has been playing with local bands for nearly 10 years, he first picked up the guitar not long after finishing high school. Danny has played in bands such as: Exit, Side-effects, Next Question, Fat King George and Christie Row.

Now looking to break out into the industry on his own merit, he has released an E.P. Danny sent me one of the tracks, entitled “Stay With Me”.

One thing that instantly grabbed my attention for this track was the insanely catchy guitar riff, I believe that this riff is what makes the song. The musician’s that have been used on this track are also of very high standard, very tight and not too over-bearing when married up to Danny’s lead parts.

The vocals are okay, but I feel they could’ve been more powerful. This is because of the lyrics within the song (which are great). I just didn’t feel that the lack of power in Danny’s vocals matched up to the power of the lyrics.  There was a brilliant guitar solo to round off the track, which I feel was the perfect way to end it.

Overall, Stay With Me is a great track, it has all the elements of a hit. I just feel that it needed a few little bits to be tweaked here and there. Not to say I didn’t enjoy the track because I definitely did and can see Danny coming along leaps and bounds within his career, he is definitely a name to watch out for!

Listen to Stay With Me HERE:

Follow Danny Mortimer on social media:

Twitter – @d_mortimermusic

 

Review: Balloon – GLUE

Review: Balloon – GLUE
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Glue is a grungy electro punk rock band based in West Ham, London. Their debut EP, Balloon, was released on 4 July. Balloon was largely influenced by life in London and significant events in the band’s lives. The songs cover themes of escape, resistance, alienation, hope, love and self-determination. Musically it incorporates shades of college rock, techno, art punk, folk and grunge, bearing similarities to bands like Pavement, Weezer, Nirvana, British Sea Power, Fugazi and Blur.
The record is, of course, very dirty sounding, very unfinished, but I lOVE it! A lot of the bands that have sent me stuff to review for this blog have this sort of vibe about them and it’s the sort of sound that I’ve definitely fallen in love with. This is the debut E.P from Glue and they’ve certainly made an impact with their sound.
Each track from “Balloon” fits perfectly together. Obviously, this is what’s meant to happen, but a lot of the bands today don’t think about this. I am so glad that the guys of Glue have taken the importance of flowing records into account. Their sound, specifically track 3 of the E.P, reminds me of a band that have previously been featured on this blog, Benedict Trenches.
Glue have also embraced the beauty of chaotic sounds, like B.T. did and again, it works. However, I didn’t like some of the tracks because they were too chaotic. Of course, this is the sound of Glue and this is simply my opinion. Overall though, I personally think the record is brilliant. My favourite track is the last one, which is naturally named, Balloon. Balloon is a perfect ending to the release and gives the listener the climax that they have been waiting for.
You can listen to “Balloon” in it’s entirety here:
 Follow Glue on social media: