Little Simz – Grey Area Review

Leading off with the brilliant, urgent single ‘Offence’ is a brilliant way to start off Little Simz’ latest album, with it’s pure confidence and witty lyrics perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the project. This confidence is completely matched by her skill, making for one of the freshest rap albums in a long time.

‘Venom’ shows Simz at her fiercest on the album and it’s really impressive to see her attack a track at that speed, but the album isn’t all fast paced and hard-hitting, with tracks such as ‘Therapy’ and ‘Sherbert Sunset’ seeing her really open up with introspective lyrics.

‘Selfish’ features a really smooth, catchy hook provided by Cleo Sol and a really funky percussion beat and light piano backing that just sounds really luscious and full; the whole album sounds like it could be being played live.

Simz has picked her featured artists on ‘Grey Area’ very well, with Little Dragon and Michael Kiwanuka providing well-placed guest spots that provide softer, more soulful vocals that pair really with Simz’ harder hitting verses.

This album proves all of the hype that is surrounding Little Simz at the moment, showing an artist at the top of her game with a brilliant, bright album.

97%

 

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Venue Talk: Orla Gartland on Vicar Street, Dublin

I spoke to Orla Gartland about her fave live music venue, and she chose Vicar Street in Dublin. Check out her latest single ‘Why Am I Like This?’ below, and then keep reading to find out about Vicar Street.

Why is Vicar Street your favourite?

“It’s the perfect room – wide and not long, big enough to feel exciting, small enough to feel intimate.” “As well as music they host a lot of comedians & podcast events – it’s a really versatile space.”

Have you ever played there before?

“Not yet but I will next month!”                                                                                                    “I’ll be supporting my friend dodie there on Paddy’s day (!) and the day after, so 17th & 18th. I’m so excited to finally get up on that stage & also to bring the band ‘round my city after the show.”

Who else have you seen there?

“Wallis Bird, Villagers, Hudson Taylor, Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan. Also the live show for a podcast called ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ – which everyone needs to listen to.”

Vicar Street Facts

  • The Venue Opened in 1998
  • Acts such as Bob Dylan, Lana Del Rey, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ed Sheeran and First Aid Kit have all played at Vicar Street in the past.
  • Erasure and Neil Young have recorded live material from Vicar Street.
  • The venue has upcoming shows from dodie with Orla Gartland, Sharon Van Etten and Stereolab.

Go to Vicar Street’s website for all info on the venue, and check out Orla on Twitter and Instagram.

Info and tickets for all of Orla’s upcoming shows are here.

Say Hello To: PLYA

Alt-pop trio PLYA have just released their latest single, Dynamite. Check it out below, and read on to find out a bit more about them!

Where did your band name come from?

We wrote a lot of our music in LA and were lucky enough to stay with a friend of ours right on the beach whilst recording.  We thought PLYA (taken from the Spanish word “playa” for beach) fitted our sound perfectly.
Is there a favourite venue of yours in your hometown and why do you like it?
Our favourite venue in London is Omeara. The sound is great, it still feels intimate and it’s only 10 minutes form our studio.
What is your favourite gig you have played so far?
Our favourite gig so far has to be our debut headline show at Camden Assembly.  We sold the venue out and Kris even had a cheeky stage dive at the end of the set.
If you had to describe your own sound, how would you put it?

We sound like the ocean swallowing the chaos of the city.  Think; dreamy electronic textures, driving guitars and anthemic melodies.

Which act would you love to support?
We would love to support Banks. She’s amazing.

New Release Roundup 25th Feb 2019

Fil Bo Riva – L’impossible: This new track from Fil Bo Riva is a smooth ballad that uses autotuned vocals before bursting into an emotional crescendo and coming back down again. Very nice indeed. 82%

Teenage Fanclub – Everything is Falling Apart: The first single from veteran indie band Teenage Fanclub since Gerard left the band is very decent, but doesn’t really compare to their material from their last full album ‘Here’ in my opinion. 70%

Kero Kero Bonito – The Open Road this new cut from KKB is immediately more upbeat and positive, being a track literally about the open road on a trip. It sounds like a leftover from their recent ‘Time n Place’ album, but that project was so good that I really do not care. 90%

Weezer – High As A Kite: Another great track from Weezer’s upcoming ‘Black Album’, ‘High As A Kite’ being a Beatle-esque off-kilter rock ballad that goes through a few different phases. Rivers still manages to sound exactly the same as he did when Weezer first started out which deserves phrase in itself. 85%

Jay Som – Simple: A lovely new track from Jay Som here, released as part of the Adult Swi singles series. ‘Simple’ lives up to it’s name, but it’s still an effective track too, with Melina’s vocals being charming as ever. 78%

Foals – On The Luna: On the second track to come from their upcoming 2019 album (part 1 anyway) we see a very dance-able Foals; the lads sound a lot more upbeat compared to their previous single ‘Exits’. I can imagine this one really going off in a live situation but it’s nothing new really for Foals. Still good though. 75%

Zedd & Katy Perry – 365: This is instantly catchy and will more than likely become a massive hit, especially with Zedd’s great, clean dance-pop production and Katy’s now iconic voice. It’s nothing too new or inventive but it’s nice enough. 65%

Cardi B & Bruno Mars – Please Me: There’s only so far Bruno can ride this wave of 80’s/90’s inspired retro-funk before it gets boring, and Cardi’s verses here sound like someone doing a bad impression of her. Uninspired and bland. 25%

Say Hello To: Elephant Trees

Manchester four-piece Elephant Trees have just released their latest single ‘4100’. Check the experimental indie cut out below, then find out a bit more about them in WYM’s Q&A.

Where did your band name come from?

“A group of trees in our home town that look like an elephant, they are the first signal of home after we’ve been away. ”


 
Is there a favourite venue of yours in your hometown and why do you like it?

“Personally, it’s got to be Guiseley Theatre. I grew up doing shows there and my brother got married there. There is so much history in this building and we always have fun playing it. ”


What is your favourite gig you have played so far? 

“Definitely Leeds Pride, it was the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to and the best, everyone just wanted to dance and so did we. “


If you had to describe your own sound, how would you put it? 

A chaotic sad disco party


Which band would you love to support?

“Florence and the Machine! Girl power and ginger power!”


Elephant Trees are playing the Brudenell in Leeds on the 28th Feb supporting Larkins, and Wakefield’s Weightless Festival on the 3rd August. You can check them out on Twitter at @theeletrees and instagram at @theelephanttrees

Alita: Battle Angel Movie Review

More like Bad-tle Angel; the new Robert Rodriguez is a classic case of style over substance as the impressive visuals fail to overshadow an over-ambitious, messy attempt at adapting the source material.

Rosa Salazar stars as the titular Alita, and the supporting cast includes Christoph Waltz and Mahershala Ali, and for the most part they do the best with the script they have been given; Rosa is great as Alita under all those CG effects on her face (those eyes never get any less distracting) and Mahershala is suitably menacing as the evil Vector.

The plot of Alita is very, very predictable, with Alita being ‘the last of her kind’ and slowly begins to recover her memories after she is awoken from a long sleep. You get the drill. There are some really beautiful scenes and a few touching moments as well as soe gritty action scenes but none of it really gripped me.

Once you get past the visuals, which again it must be said are really spectacular at times, the movie comes across as a bit like a grown up, less funny Spy Kids with a bit of Wall-E and Real Steel thrown in for good measure. Disappointing.

40%

 

Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next Review

This is Ariana’s second album in under 6 months. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this might mean the quality of the album wouldn’t be up to scratch compared to those she has spent more time on. She’s managed to make 2 albums in such a short space of time; her last was one of the best of 2018, this will probably be on year-end lists this time around.

The singles in the lead-up to this album were all up to her usual standard, with the title track being one of her most commercially successful to date, and it’s not hard to see why.

 

NASA and Bloodine are examples of what Ari does best; Confident, catchy pop tracks with great vocal performances & infectious hooks. ‘Thank U, Next’ has her strongest vocals to date throughout; keeping those breathy tones that make her voice distinctive but proving she has real vocal power. This is a more confident Ariana than we saw on Sweetener, with this being a completely solo effort with 0 features at all; quite apt for an album with self-love as one of its main themes.

‘Ghostin’ is one of the strongest cuts on the album; really showcasing Ariana’s voice with haunting, soft strings and spacious production. ‘Make Up’ is a bit of a forgettable track, and sounds like a left-over from her previous effort.

The album’s closer ‘Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored’ has the difficult task of following big singles ‘7 Rings’ and the title track, and it doesn’t quite fit in with the flow in the tracklisting,& would have been much better suited to the middle of the album if anywhere, it’s a rather generic trap-inspired song that doesn’t amount to much at all; ‘ Thank U, Next’ would have been the perfect closer.

Overall, ‘Thank U, Next’ is a very solid pop album that should ensure Ari’s place at the top of pop for the time being.

80%