Dodie – Human EP Review

The latest EP from Dodie is her best project yet, with brutally honest and open lyrics paired with a selection of the best produced and written tracks the singer-songwriter has put out so far.

‘Monster’ is a brilliant track; it’s one of those songs that appear simple upon first listen, but the instrumental with its groovy synth pattern and developing layers is really deep and complex, and the backing vocals are lovely too. Her best one to date.

‘Not What I Meant’ has Dodie pair up with Lewis Watson, and the duo’s voices blend really nicely together for a really pleasant, chill folky ballad that reminded me a bit of Seth Lakeman. The Title track, ‘Human’ with Tom Walker is another example of how hard hitting her lyrics can be ; specific to her experiences but again so relatable they are especially effective paired with those vocals and haunting melody.

To me, ‘If I’m Being Honest’ sounds like a track that would fit right into ‘La La Land’ or ‘Mary Poppins’, and that’s in no way a bad thing; it plods along in the nicest way and I can picture her walking along in the rain singing it in some kind of musical.

A great EP that shows Dodie just keeps improving, and shows real promise for a potential full album; but if the quality of her EPs keeps up like this, i’m not sure she needs to do one.

85%

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Track Review: Foals – Exits

Foals are back! This new single is the first taste of a lot to come from the lads in 2019, as they have two full-length albums coming out this year under the name ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’, with part one coming in March.

‘Exits’ is a long first track, coming in at around 6 minutes, but it doesnt drag. It’s unmistakably Foals, with groovy riffs and Yannis’ powerful vocals, but as with between their previous albums there is a slight difference in their sound that has helped to keep them fresh; ‘Exits’ is a lot more synth heavy and dance influenced than their last effort ‘What Went Down’.

The more you listen to ‘Exits’, the more little layers of synths and guitars you pick up you begin to realise just how well produced this is, especially towards the tail-end of the track where everything is building up and with lyrics that reference the world being upside down and ‘all the exits being covered’, Foals prove they still have their fingers on the pulse.

85%

The 1975 live at the O2 Arena Review

The 1975 are currently on their sold out UK Arena tour, their biggest to date, and I got to catch their show on Saturday 19th of January. It was very good.

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After great support sets from Dirty Hit alumni No Rome and Pale Waves, The 1975 took to the stage to a ridiculously loud, and excited o2 Arena that was packed to the brim. As soon as that big screen lit up the crowd were relentlessly noisy through till the last song. Kicking things off with a double helping from their latest album ‘Give Yourself A Try’ and ‘TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME’ were received as if they were greatest hits.

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Each song had it’s own amazing set of visuals, with the stage morphing and transforming; at one point Matty entered the screen and it became a phone, and a treadmill was in use for a few of the songs alongside massive floating cube screens and some really great backing dancers who added an extra level of spectacle to the show.

The visuals were stunning at times, making the show seem even larger in spectacle than it already was. Opening act No Rome returned for the stage for his recent track that featured The 1975 and even that had got a full visual treatment, dancers and all.

The 1975 played a varied selection of tracks from their 3 albums and a few from their earlier EPs, even being brave enough to play the ambient ‘How To Draw/Petrichor’ from their latest.

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This was a massive show, with amazing visuals and it’s inspiring to see a relatively new band shoot up to this level of production without losing their personality.

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New Release Roundup – 21st Jan 2019

Ariana Grande – 7 Rings: Borrowing the melody from ‘My Favourite Things’ from the Sound of Music while also using a trap-infused beat and riffing off Travis Scott’s smash hit and meme ‘Sicko Mode’ and putting it all into a coherent banger is very impressive. 80%

Rozi Plain – Symmetrical: A calming but in no way boring folky new single from Rozi here. It’s just really, really pleasant but the occasional synths and extra harmonies make it a good, developing cut. 90%

Guest Singer – New Experience: A groovy, synthy track from Guest Singer here with rings of Mystery Jets and British Sea Power. Showing real potential on his first single proper. 75%

Sigrid – Don’t Feel Like Crying: A decent new pop single from Sigrid here with a nice positive message & a catchy chorus. She’s like Jess Glynne but actually good. 70%

Little Simz ft. Cleo Sol – Selfish: Little Simz continues the great run of singles she has been releasing in the build up to her upcoming album ‘Grey Area’ with ‘Selfish’, a smooth, funky cut with a great bassline and a great feature from Cleo. 92%

Loyle Carner ft. Rebel Kleff & Kiko Bun – You Don’t Know: More great stuff from Loyle; any time he teams up with Rebel on a song you know it’s going to be a cut with great chemistry and solid bars, and this is no different. 90%

The Japanese House – Maybe You’re The Reason: Another great track from Amber here, with the shimmery production and catchy chorus making this one of her poppiest tracks yet, but also one of her strongest. Very excited for her upcoming debut now. 90%

The Killers – Land Of The Free: Brandon and co have one of the best songs they have released in years here, openly tackling racism, gun control and the prison problems in the U.S with a Springsteen-esque ballad. 90%

 

 

Best Music Videos of 2018

2018 was another great year for music videos. Here are my favourites from the past 12 months (In alphabetical order)

Anderson Paak – Bubblin

A funny, well directed video set to the stand-out track from Anderson’s ‘Oxnard’ album shows what could happen if you find a broken cash machine.

Ariana Grande – God Is A Woman

Ariana’s ‘Sweetener’ was one of the best pop albums of the year, and the video for ‘God Is A Woman’ is one of the most visually stunning of the year.

Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry

The video for ‘No Tears’ encapsulates the carefree message of the song perfectly, and helped to set the mood for Ariana’s comeback.

A$AP Rocky – A$AP Forever

The video for A$AP Forever is full of simple, but effective visual effects that pair with the Moby sampling track perfectly.

Billie Eilish – When The Party’s Over

Another example of simple but effective is this video for Billie Eilish’s ‘When the Party’s Over’ – with the black goop providing stunning imagery.

Blossoms – There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)

The Stockport lads bring ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ esque antics to Japan in this video, and crack out some great dance moves along the way.

Charli XCX & Troye Sivan – 1999

Charli and Troye take it back in this funny 90’s homage backed with one of the catchiest pop tracks of the year.

Childish Gambino – This Is America

One of the most instantly iconic videos of the year, ‘This is America’ is Donald Glover at his best.

Christine and The Queens – Girlfriend

Christine is back with this slick, well directed video with an effortless looking dance routine.

Father John Misty – Mr.Tillman

Mr.Tillman himself stars in this surreal, hilarious video for the best track from his latest album.

Gorillaz – Humility

A fun, summery video starring Jack Black perfectly fits the happy, inspirational ‘Humility’.

The Internet – Roll (Burbank Funk)

A simple, but well shot, smooth and groovy video for ‘Roll (Burbank Funk) fits it perfectly.

Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel

One of the best videos by a mile this year, Janelle at her best is bursting with creativity and talent.

Kali Uchis – After The Storm ft. Tyler, The Creator

A brilliantly creative, bizarre video starring Kali and Tyler makes the great ‘After The Storm’ even more memorable.

Kero Kero Bonito – Only Acting

Kero Kero Bonito usually have really creative videos, and this is no different, with its home video quality adding to the concept.

Little Simz – Offence

This snappy, nicely shot video for ‘Offence’ really captures Simz’ personality, and fits the song perfectly.

The Orielles – Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)

Northern Soul dancing aplenty in the video to one of the Grooviest tracks of the year™

Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes

Brendon Urie walks up a Skyscraper.

Troye Sivan – Dance To This ft. Ariana Grande

Troye and Ariana bring great outfits and show off their chemistry to this simple but lovely video.

Twenty One Pilots – Jumpsuit

A song as dramatic and tense as Jumpsuit already sounded like it was should a movie, and this video brings that level of production to it.

Tyler, The Creator ft. Kali Uchis – See You Again

Tyler and Kali strike again with a visually stunning video for ‘See You Again’.

The 1975- It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)

This is basically Matty starring in a short film, and shows just how creative the 1975 are being at the moment.

Track Review: Pozi – KCTMO

KCTMO is the debut single from new London band Pozi, written during the aftermath of the Grenfell tower fire.

The track itself is a brutally honest, open-hearted encounter of what it was like to be near Grenfell at the time, and the anger Vocalist & Drummer Toby Burroughs felt; with lyrics like ‘Deadly damages are due’ Pozi aren’t holding back. Good.

Sonically, the track comes in somewhere halfway between the Maccabees and The Streets. ‘KCTMO’ has an irresistible bassline and a pounding drumbeat that really grab your attention, and the haunting violin that creeps in throughout keeps you hooked.

Very promising stuff for a debut single.

83%

Pozi have 2 upcoming London shows:

31 Oct – London, The Curtain Hotel (PRAH Halloween Party)
27 Nov – London, Moth Club

Kagoule – Strange Entertainment Review

The Nottingham three piece’s second effort sees them grow in confidence and scale, with ‘Strange Entertainment’ being a confident, varied album. Every track on the album is different in pace and tone, but it still flows really well and feels like one coherent piece.

Opener and album highlight ‘Egg Hunt’ starts off with just vocals and bass before developing into a really groovy track with a great, catchy jangly riff that hasnt left my head in a few days.

‘It’s Not My Day’ is another fave off the album it being one of the heavier moments on Strange Entertainment, with very strong vocals from Lucy over a slow but punky backing, with brilliant creative drum patterns on this track.

Monsieur Automaton is another great track, and another change of pace with this being perhaps the fastest track on the album, and I love the harmonised vocals on the verses a lot here. Closer ‘Strange Was the Time’ is another growing, progressive track that shows off just how good the trio are musically.

With great production, variety and just banging songs throughout this is exactly the album Kagoule needed to make, and they pulled it off.

80%

Kagoule have some upcoming UK tour dates:

Oct 31st – Leeds – Wharf Chambers
Nov 01st – Manchester – The Eagle Inn
Nov 02nd – Liverpool – EBGB’s
Nov 03rd – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
Nov 07th – Margate – Tom Thumb Theatre
Nov 08th – Brighton – Prince Albert
Nov 09th – Portsmouth – The Loft
Nov 10th – Southampton – Heartbreakers
Nov 11th – Bristol – Rough Trade
Nov 19th – London – Moth Club