Track Review: Dream On My Baby – Dom Louis

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Dom Louis is a singer-songwriter based in Toronto, Canada. Having recently signed to Cartoon Records in London, he has released his debut single titled “Dream On My Baby.”

I am absolultely in love with this track, I can tell just from that one released that Dom has a really interetsing story to tell and a bright future ahead of him in this industry. He is like a new wave in the country-folk genre, mashing together the sounds of his influences whilst keeping the essence of what he is about as a songwriter and musician.

I honestly don’t think I have gushed about a track this much since I discovered Maggie Rogers three years ago and she went on to sign to a major label and shoot to the top of the music industry – I really hope the same happens to Dom!

“Dream On My Baby” tells brings so many images into my brain, I can imagine going on a summer roadtrip having this play out through the speakers, taking a long journey to happiness and peace. Dom’s voice coupled with the serenic sounds of acoustic guitar and violins brings me complete sollitude and I can imagine  it will do the same to the people that hear it.

Dom Louis may not be a wordwide sensation yet, but I can put money on the fact that he will be. Hopefully I’ll get to meet this fututre chart topper and see him live someday, I’ll definitely be looking out for more of his music.

Links to Dom:

E.P Review: Drakmah – Storyteller

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Drakmah are an Indie Alternative Electronic band, formed in 2016 in Naples, by Stefano “Learning Panda” Mattozzi (keyboard/lead vocals), David Rapicano (guitars/keyboards/backing vocals), Mario Manzoni (drums) and Gianmarco Angelone (bass). The band is now, partly, based in London.
Their debut single “Storyteller” was released in May 2017 so I’m a bit late to the Drakmah party but I figured I’d check them out either way and I was immediately drawn in by their whacky electronic, keys driven sound.
9.jpgLike a lot of unsigned bands I get asked to review on the site, these guys seem determined to stand out from the crowd. The vocals aren’t completely perfect and it did throw me off a little because it didn’t match the almost perfect instrumental production but it’s clear that Drakmah are wanting success and willing to work hard for it in the long term.
The second track “Ithaca” is filled with this infectious guitar riff that sits perfectly within the vocals smothered in reverb and various samples embedded in the track. Overall, the Napels natives seem to have created a unique world for the listener of their music, whilst at the same time keeping their work “normal” enough to be enjoyed by the average Joe.
Although this EP sounds slightly less polished than I was expecting, it’s clear that Drakmah are aiming for greatness within their music and I think if they work hard enough, they’ll get it.
“Storyteller” is definitely on my playlist, who else?
You can listen to “Storyteller” here: https://drakmah.hearnow.com

The Importance Of Having A Good Press Pack and How To Create One

UnknownA press pack is one of the oldest but relevant and useful promotional tools in the arsenal of any artist or band. Usually in a word document, it contains all of their information such as bios, pictures, important dates and links to their music – essentially everything a member of the music press needs in order to write a well informed article on a band or artist.

Despite the importance, some bands still don’t have their press pack or E.P.K (electronic press kit) figured out ready for use. From a music blogger’s point of view, it can be extremely frustrating requesting a press kit from a band wanting a review and receiving an email with little information about them, it can be so frustrating in fact, that I sometimes decide not to feature a band on the blog because of the poor quality of their press pack.

Equally, when I first started out and was trying to break out as a solo artist I had bloggers turn my work down because my press pack wasn’t up to scratch. I’m not trying to be a hyporcrite with this peice, I’m just hoping to help up and coming aritsts learn from my rookie mistakes.

Now I’ve given a rather lengthy introduction, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of  how to create the perfect package that all bloggers and music industry professionals will love!

  1. Bio’s – Be detailed but don’t waffle

The bio is the piece of text that gives bloggers a sense of what you as an artist or band are about. You don’t need to provide your life story, just enough info about you for the blogger to give their readers the low down on you! The most important thing for me when reading a bio is that it’s engaging and interesting, if I’m falling asleep whilst reading, my readers will too and this is an instant red mark.

2. A picture speaks a thousand words

If you look at most of my blog posts, you’ll see that there are at least two pictures in pretty much every one. A picture not only gives the reader a break from the text, it can give an even more detailed look into you as a band/artist, put a face to a name and even sometimes encourage readers to look into your music. With that said, you need to make sure that all of the images in your press pack are up to date and of high quality, if the images are of an old line up and/or grainy and pixilated, they won’t make the cut.

3. A broken link destroys the bridge

In this digital age, links to your sites and videos are mandatory – How else are bloggers meant to research more about you and listen to your music? Depsite the obvious importance of links, the amount of links I’m provided that don’t work is shocking. Before providing links to your sites, please make sure that they are correct and don’t take bloggers to a “Domain For Sale” page. This is a major no no and will  put you on the rejected pile instantly. Also, make sure that your sites and social media pages are kept up to date, attractive to look at and easy to naviagte. No blogger wants to spend their time working out where the various pages of your website are.

4. The sound of music

This one is the most obvious, if you’re going to submit your music for review please make sure it is of high audio quality. It goes without saying that you should never upload anything sub-par online and this is a especially true if you want something reviewed. Finally and just for the record, most bloggers will not except downloadable MP3’s, a Soundcloud or Youtube link is your best bet.

That’s that ladies and gents! Provided you follow all four of those points when creating or updating your press pack, getting reviews should be a doddle!

Know any bands or aritsts that need help with their press packs? Be sure to send them this article, they’ll thank you for it.

Track Review: 100 – Past Kings

Loyal readers of this site will recognise the name Past Kings, they have been featured on this blog twice. They went quiet for  a short while and I was beginning to get concerned that they’d decided to call it a day.

Thankfully, I was wrong. The boys were just working in silence, writing new music and getting gigs booked. The mention of new music leads me nicely into talking about their upcoming release “100”.

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The cover art to “100”

Recorded at SS2 Recording in Southend, this is the most professional and thought out release I’ve heard from the boys. The opening guitar lick is instantly filled with emotion and draws you in, leaving you wondering what sort of journey will take you on. The vocal performance from frontman Sam Charles is the strongest I’ve heard from him, he doesn’t do too much but he also isn’t timid either. He peaks in all the right places.

100 takes you on a 100 Mile Per Hour ride, showcasing everything the boys can do with even a solo from guitarist Jack Smith making an unexpected yet welcome appearance to close out the track, it could’ve been higher in the mix though! Come on Jack, you’re 6 foot 4, don’t be shy.

Although I have complimented this tune to no end, I have to confess that when I first recieved the track for review, I wasn’t expecting much. Past Kings have always been somehwat of a dark horse to me, they conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t scream talent or confidence when their on stage. However, audience members end up recieving a very pleasent shock to the system with tracks spanning across various tempos and styles and all of them having well crafted lyrics to compliment the tight instrumental backing.

The indie Essex lads have a few gigs coming up, including a performance at The O2 Academy Islington on 2nd March. ticket information for those interested can be found HERE. 

To round off my thoughts on the re-emergance of Past Kings I’ll say this; Don’t ever judge a book by it’s cover, these boys work hard behind the scenes andby the looks of things , its paying off.

100 will be released on all major music platforms on Friday 22nd Febuary, go get it!

 

My Top Five Unsigned Artists of 2018

My Top Five Unsigned Artists of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, I want to take the time to reflect on some of the great unsigned or independent talent I have discovered throughout what has been an interesting musical year. This list is in no particular order, it is just a list of unsigned artists I have discovered and really admire.

1) Orla Gartland

45208142_10156052955682956_6301618678601351168_oYou would’ve seen two features of Orla Gartland for the blog this year. I reviewed her latest release “Between My Teeth” recently and also featured her on “Artist Spotlight” when I first discovered her. Since I last wrote about her, she is doing extremely well, releasing new content regularly as well as touring for the rest of the year, I’m excited to see what 2019 holds for Gartland and will be following her career closely.

Listen to “Between My Teeth” HERE.

2) Harry Cash

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Photo Credit: GEth

Musician & Producer Harry Cash has started to make a bit of noise recently as a solo artist, deciding to release a single “Beauty” which was his first solo release in five years. With the help of the mysterious, yet clever “GEth”, Harry has been able to gain lots of exposure and create a big buzz behind his music, receiving requests for signed photos from across the world as well as having regular airtime on local radio. Who knew that gaining himself a new girlfriend would spark such a creative fire inside of him!

Watch the official music video for “Beauty” shot by Reiss Beckford Media and GEth Films HERE. 

3) Harry Adams

accessory harry coverAnother “Harry” who caught my attention this year was the intriguing Harry Adams. The most recent winner of the “Undiscovered Live Music Project” in Essex, Adams has gone on to release a brilliant single in the form of “Accessory” and perform lots of live gigs around London and hopes to continue her studio work across 2019. I for one, am looking forward to seeing what tricks Harry has up her sleeve!

Watch the music video for “Accessory” HERE.

4) Past Kings

36242408_872541842955482_8268561800060993536_nPast Kings are a 4 piece indie rock band hailing from Essex. They are perhaps the most fresh faced band outfit to feature on the blog, still gelling together and honing their crafts as individuals and as a band. Nevertheless, they certainly made an impression on me, especially with their original material and arrangements. They have been rather quiet recently but do have gigs booked and recording time planned so be sure to keep an eye out for these lads!

Stream their latest track “Night Time” HERE.

5) Fortify

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Last but by no means least are Easycore band Fortify. These guys caught my attention when they supported my friends “Fyresky” at Chinnerys, Southend a while back. They too have been in the shadows recently but we are assured it is for a good reason! I intend to go and watch a few of their live shows next year whenever the chance comes up!

Listen to their E.P “Valhalla” HERE

 

Track Review: Between My Teeth – Orla Gartland

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The cover for Between My Teeth

I have spoken about this young and exciting singer-songwriter from Dublin in previous posts on the blog. I raved about her, and to my excitement she recently released a new song named “Between My Teeth.”

Between My Teeth is a song about a topic I’m sure we can all relate to, in Orla’s own words “it’s a song about trying to save someone; balancing the urge to help with the urge to run.” I don’t know about everyone else but I felt that!

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Orla Gartland

 

Along with a relatable song topic, Orla has once again crafted some clever and catchy lyrics to compliment a stripped back yet full sounding instrumental arrangement, this seems to be a bit of a Gartland trademark. When friends ask me to describe the song (I talk about it a lot) I say it is Poppy but unique. In fact, that is exactly how I would describe Orla’s entire sound.

You can tell how meticulous she has been when working on the song’s arrangement and production, but you can also hear the chaotic process that every songwriter goes through, its as if I can hear all the rough takes, all the screwed up bits of paper (or deleted phone notes) and I really appreciate how its all come together to create one of the most unique sounds of 2018.

I really hope that Orla starts to get airplay on mainstream radio soon, I honestly think that this crazy, soulful musician from Dublin is the burst of hope that the music scene has been waiting for.

Check out “Between My Teeth” Here:

Follow Orla on Social Media:

https://www.orlagartland.com/

https://www.facebook.com/orlagartland/

The Continuing Death Of Independent Live Music Venues

The Continuing Death Of Independent Live Music Venues

download-1.jpgMusic and live entertainment, it’s one of those art-forms that is timeless. For decades, generations of people have spent their weekends in venues around the country covered in sweat and rocking out to their favourite bands with like minded strangers. Some of the most successful bands have been discovered and watched at “grassroots” venues like The Dagenham Roundhouse.

The Roundhouse has had bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin through its doors before they skyrocketed to super-stardom. I’ve been fortunate to play on this stage once last year on tour with The Signatures, it was a good venue to add my list.

Unfortunately, during my time on stage at The Roundhouse, I noticed one painful thing; independent live music is becoming less and less popular. Is this because of the increasing popularity of social media? pure laziness from the public? money? who knows.. it just isn’t getting any better. Some of the most famous venues like The Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden can be virtually empty on some Friday nights, it’s a sad state of affairs.

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The famous Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden

The decreasing popularity of independent live music means a decrease in takings for venues, a decrease in money for the venues means they can’t keep up with their costs, and ultimately, this means the venues have no choice but to close. According to The Music Venue Trust; a third of independent live music venues have closed over the last decade falling from 700 open venues to 400 across the UK.

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My unsigned band Denzeity

Being in an unsigned band, I know the struggle artists go through, I know how difficult it is playing to 15 people and feeling disheartened beyond belief. A few months ago, me and the guys of Denzeity decided to do some pre show flyer-ing as commuters came in and out of the tube station, the amount of people that ignored us and looked uninterested really got to me, people just simply aren’t interested in going to see or support local grassroots bands and venues anymore, they’d rather watch videos on social media. Whilst this does help bands, there is nothing better than having people take the effort to turn out to your show!

The final question I’d like to ask is: Are venues doing enough for bands?

I know some people will read that and scoff. It’s something that needs to be talked about because I’ve had several experiences of venues preaching in their emails that bands MUST advertise on social media to get people through the door, they MUST bring x amount of people blah blah blah and then? make no effort of their own to do EXACTLY that!

This, for me, is also one of the main reasons venues are closing every month. You can’t put all the blame on the public or record labels, your venue, YOUR responsibility!

I’m going to conclude this post with somewhat of a plea; PLEASE go out and support your local, unsigned bands and artists! A ticket doesn’t usually cost much in grassroots venues, a tenner at the max, that’s cheaper (and a lot more fun) than a meal for two! Live music NEEDS to stay alive, its fun, its good for the soul and the mind and the money you spend on a ticket, merch, CD’S keeps people like me being able to carry on gigging and performing for you all!

Go out and see an unsigned band this Friday, you’ll be surprised at what you hear.