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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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

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%

The Lego Movie 2 Review

The sequel to the surprisingly good Lego Movie builds (haha) on the original in every way; it’s still charming, funny and beautiful and feels like a proper sequel with a real story to tell rather than a money grab (Looking at you, Ralph.)

In The Lego Movie 2, we are shown a post-apocalyptic version of the city from the first film, now fittingly dubbed ‘Apocalypseburg’, where everything is decidedly not awesome after it was viciously attacked by Duplo creatures from the Sis-tar system.  Batman, alongside Lucy & the gang, is abducted so he can be married to Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (brilliantly voiced by Tiffany Haddish), and it is up to Emmet to save him from the Sis-tar system. Along the way, Emmet meets Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Chris Pratt) who attempts to get Emmet to toughen up his act so he can take down the evil Queen.

The extended voice cast is brilliant again, with the likes of Richard Ayoade, Ralph Fiennes and Jason Momoa popping up throughout, and there are plenty of off-the-wall cameos too.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have done it again with the story; the big twist in the plot actually got me, all of the new characters are great and likeable and the way they implement the real world into the narrative really works, and really plays with your emotions. This time the screen is not overloaded with pop-culture references but the ones that are here are genuinely, funny and have more impact.

80%

Venue Talk: Polo on Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

I spoke to Leeds based trio Doe about their favourite live venue, which is Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club. They recently released catchy new single ‘On My End’; read why they like the Brudenell so much below!

Why do you like it so much?

Intimate, pretension free atmosphere with the best sound, the best selection of up and coming music and a great selection of beer.  Always has a friendly and engaged crowd, and its universally considered one of the best venues in the country. 

Have you ever played there?

Yes, we’ve played there a few times, always a treat. Leeds is our home town and we’ve had the chance to support some incredible bands there, plus host a few of our own shows. There is a new, second room there now too, which sounds just about as good. Although you can’t beat the Brudenell main room…
Who else have you seen there?
We have seen a great selection of bands there, a few of our favourites being Porches, Japanese Breakfast, Mitski and Big Thief.
 

Facts About The Brudenell:

  • The Social club was established December 8th, 1913
  • Kaiser Chiefs, Franz Ferdinand, The Cribs, Four Tet and The Fall have all played at the Social Club.
  • It is a community ‘non profitmaking’ venue, that holds charitable status.
  • Photography, Film and even Origami groups meet up at the Brudenell.

The Social Club have upcoming shows from Andy Burrows, Queen Zee, Doe, She Drew The Gun and The Orielles. Visit http://www.brudenellsocialclub.co.uk/whats-on to see all of their upcoming events!

Nina Nesbitt – The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change Review

This is Nina’s second album, and it’s been a long time in the making. With a myriad of record label troubles and other issues plaguing her path so far, it must take someone tough to come through and eventually put out an album, especially one like this.

‘The Sun Will Come Up..’ is a focused, brilliantly produced pop album with Nina’s crisp, controlled voice and new found confidence cutting through each and every song.

‘Is It Really Me You’re Missing’ is an honest, open point on the album that shows off Nina’s Voice with minimalist production and a soft piano backing, and the title track which closes the album is another example of great storytelling by Nina.

The run of tracks from ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ through to ‘Somebody Special’ show the quality of the songwriting on show here; most of the tracks here feel like they could be singles but the album still flows very well as a whole.

A great album that shows real promise for the future from Nina.

85%

Green Book – Movie Review

Green Book is a movie about master pianist Don Shirley and how he negotiated a tour of the deep south of the U.S.A in 1962. Don is played by Mahershala Ali, and his newly recruited driver/road manager Viggo Mortensen. The two of them are simply brilliant on-screen together.

Green Book is nominated for several Oscars, and it’s clear to see why. It manages to be funny, charming and tackle the issue of segregation in the deep south without the movie ever becoming too preachy or patronising to the viewer. The titular Green Book is

Both Viggo and Mahershala shine in their respective roles and are fully believable as their characters. The surrounding cast are also brilliant, with none of the characters seeming one-dimensional or shoehorned in; you can believe everybody shown has their own story.

Throughout the film, you witness Tony Lip’s character development while seeing Dr Shirley slowly warm up to his ways, and this slow-burn friendship is genuinely heartwarming, and seeing the chemistry between the two characters grow is the real heart of Green Book.

A truly great movie.

95%