February Music Round Up

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Editor@Soapbox
Checking articles and providing authors with assistance since '16 - [email protected]

Have you been trying to keep track of all the music articles we have been publishing this last month? We have put together this handy monthly round up of some of the best music news and discussion articles we have published recently. Here is our February music round up.

Gut Splinter – Nova Flares (Single Review)

Even if the current zeitgeist wasn’t already highly receptive to the dreamscapes and shoegazing explorations of past heroes and current torch bearers, this debut single by Jason Wagers solo project Nova Flares would still have caught the ear of the discerning and those appreciating tasteful and original music. At least one would hope so. This instrumental blending of retro sounds into what the artist himself has dubbed “surfgaze” is a glorious affair, never wandering too far into shoegaze that the melody gets lost in the musical morass or meandering the other way so that a pop frivolity ruins the gentle majesty of the song.

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Dancing Leaves – Himmel (Single Review)

I’m still holding out for the modern dream-pop sound, a blend of commercially aware accessibility and late 80’s shoegazing references, pop infectiousness and cult integrity, to become the new, dominant form of mass market pop music. Unlikely I know, but if it ever happens Himmel are going to be right at the front of that wave as it crashes into the modern consciousness and becomes the zeitgeist.

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Showing My Face – ShapeShiftingAliens (Single Review)

The fact that the ghost of Bowie floats effortlessly above this mercurial release should come as no surprise, his presence is felt everywhere and those of a certain age and creative outlook can’t help but channel some of his musical personality and creative world view. Osmosis is the way of the world and exactly how musicians help form their own musical identity. But there are so many Bowies and Showing My Face by ShapeShiftingAliens is touched by the one who has just returned from Berlin and is about to head out to inadvertently show the Blitz Kids and New Romantics how it is done.

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Sunshine On Leith Soundtrack & Overview

I was really looking forward to watching this movie and to say that it did not disappoint is a massive understatement.

This is one of the best movies I have watched in a very long time.

Some might call it a “jukebox musical” as it is based on the stage show of the same name, which I have also been to see. The reason it’s called a jukebox musical is because the story is written around existing songs from an established musical artist, in this case The Proclaimers. If that still doesn’t explain it clearly then think Mamma Mia – a musical and subsequent film written to the back catalogue of songs by Abba.

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Drake Gives Away $1 Million In ‘God’s Plan’ Music Video

Last week, a young man worth hundreds of millions of dollars handed away the entirety of his one-million dollar budget for his new chart-topping single to the citizens of Miami, Florida. This video will be seen by hundreds of millions of people in the coming weeks and billions more in the decades to come, putting smiles on the faces of anyone that is lucky enough to witness it. In just five minutes and fifty-five seconds, Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ will imbue its viewers with renewed optimism and hope about the future of our planet, thus reifying the indefatigable imperative of promoting altruistic ideals among the wealthy elite in our divided global society. Even more remarkably, this video was made by a man who alternatively could have spent his day having sex with any woman in the world he so pleases, and all of this from a music genre that adheres to the Holy Trinity of Money, Profanity and Lust. Rap is still evil but we must give Drake his props- now here’s Frank Mitchell with the weather.” Just ONCE, I wish a major news bulletin could open like this… apart from the last two lines, obviously. Instead, they want you believing you’re gonna walk out your front door and get attacked by a rabid, crack-addicted, AIDS-infected pitbull that happened to evade the scrutiny of the FBI watchlist despite repeated infringements of the law.

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One To Watch: Sarah Tèibo

Born in London, Sarah’s route to sensation started in Nigeria – where she spent her early childhood.  She started singing in choirs from the age of ten and often rummaged through her parents’ record collection. With her growing interest in music, her loved ones and friends knew she had something special.

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SiR’s November Is The RnB Album To Beat In 2018

By far my favourite music label, what makes Top Dawg Entertainment so special is the ability of each of its artists- with the exception of the mediocre Lance Skiiwalker, let’s pretend he doesn’t exist- to tap into different moods and experiences. This can be directly contrasted with Drake’s OVO Sound label, where each release intensifies the suspicion that each of its artists are singing off the same vintage 90’s RnB songsheet. On TDE, I have Kendrick Lamar for when I’m feeling like wrestling with the deep duality of the universe, Jay Rock for the gym, Schoolboy Q for when I’m feeling angry, Isaiah Rashad for some chilled out introspection and SZA for straight-up RnB songwriting masterclasses. Of course, the artistic inventories of TDE’s flagship musicians are too myriad to be restricted to one kind of vibe, but broadly speaking it is this diversity of specialisms that makes for such healthy peer competition and innovative results in TDE. November is the debut album for TDE’s latest signee and foray into RnB SiR, and I was halfway through enjoying it for the first time when my inner monologue asked the question: “What makes him special compared to the rest? Why would I choose to listen to SiR over the other TDE artists I love so much?” As ‘Something New’ faded out I was conjuring imagery in my mind of a sophisticated, smokey lowlit bar, playing cards, the craic flowing and cups filled with the ice. “This album is perfect for drinking whiskey”, I thought to myself. I must be a clairvoyant, because with expert timing just 14 seconds into the following song (‘I Know’) SiR’s auto-tune drenched croon uttered the luxurious lines that turned me from curious listener to enraptured fan: “Jameson, ginger ale, straight to the face, wanna taste.” Wow. My favourite drink. I’ll be drinking Jameson and ginger ale until I’m visiting San Junipero. This album really is perfect for drinking whiskey.

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Black Mirror Soundtrack & Overview

Season 4 of Black Mirror has just been released on Netflix and it has certainly been worth the wait! Netflix has this to say about Black Mirror… This sci-fi anthology series explores a twisted, high-tech near-future where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.

My Amazon Fire TV Stick has been put into overdrive as I have binged watched all the new episodes already.

I LOVED them.

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Music Interview & Review – Small Talks

Small Talks is an indie rock band from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that was invited to play at the Vans Warped Tour this past year, and the band is made up of Cayley singing lead vocals and guitar, Justin on the drums, and Tyler as the bassist. “I was thinking about this question and how I would describe the experience, and you know you spend so long just trying to do things like that and get opportunities like that. And when you get to experience that it’s hard to wrap your head around it… It’s kind of like we were apart of something that was bigger than us, and my goal with Small Talks is trying to create something that is bigger than us. And it was kind of really cool to live inside of a world all surrounded by music…. It was amazing.” This is what it feels like when you play at an event that makes you feel like you made it… And just to think, they haven’t even made a second album yet!

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Melanina – Maff (Album Review)

There are many people in the English speaking world who are put off by songs, like lead single Desfile, which are not sung in their native language. I have two issues with this. One, how arrogant! Two, you are totally missing the point. Yes, lyrics and therefore language is a method of communication, but vocals are not the written word and are in themselves part of the sonic makeup of the music, an instrument in their own right. Add to that the fact that Maff set their vocals in the musical middle distance, above the beat but often swathed in swirls of guitars and other musical trappings, it becomes clear that direct communication isn’t the main thing that they are trying to achieve with their vocal deliveries. Maybe we should appreciate the sound and not worry to much about the sentiment.

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Justin Timberlake’s 20 Best Songs, Ranked

Usher, David Beckham, Leonardo di Caprio, André 3000, Conor McGregor, Andrea Pirlo, A$AP Rocky, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and The Weeknd are just some of the names that come to mind when posed with the eternally perplexing question: who is the coolest man alive? I guess this is as good time as any to plug our ‘Coolest Man Alive’ Spotify playlist. Ahead of the release of his fifth album Man of the Woods tomorrow and his half-time performance at the SuperBowl on Sunday, we count down the 20 greatest songs ever released by one of the most effortlessly suave men to ever grace a microphone: Mr Justin Timberlake.

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Kendrick Lamar Releases Black Panther Soundtrack… And It Bangs!

DAMN. How in the Hell did this happen? What is going on? One look at the Longitude 2018 line-up is confirmation enough of hip-hop and RnB’s monopoly of the pop culture zeitgeist, but if you told me just one year ago that Kendrick Lamar would be in charge of putting together the soundtrack for what will likely be the biggest movie of 2018- it is breaking new advance ticket sales records with every passing day- I’d have assumed one of three things:

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Altered Carbon Soundtrack & Overview

The show is described a lot as cyperpunk so the songs should match that high octane futuristic feel of the episodes. The song from the trailers which could also be the theme song is ‘The Beginning Of The End‘ by Nine Inch Nails.

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We Are The Wildlife – Brona McVittie (Album Review)

There is always a debate about how you move music on without losing the established base, how you offer something new, but not too new that you lose the people who you brought the last record. Unless you are deliberately throwing caution to the wind, accepting that you are heading out into the unknown and aware that few may follow your new direction, it is all about finding just the right level of newness, the acceptable limits of progress, the right blend of comfort zone and creative thinking.

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Apathy Is Easy – System Corporation (Single Review)

System Corporation is a wonderful rallying point for today’s music scene, both creatively and ethically. The latter comes to the fore in this song about low voter engagement around the globe, the irony that there is a slice of the population who sit back waiting for change to happen without realising that their apathy is the reason that change doesn’t come. As someone who grew up in the shadow of punk and all that it spawned, it seems to have been a long time since many bands carried a political message or had much to say about the world around them. Now, at a time when those influencers and torch bearers are needed most it would seem as if there is a growing number of grassroots agitators and street corner commentators breaking through the wall of pop conformity and rock cliche.

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Album Review: LFTP Season Vol.1 – 3Bubble & J. Gray

Following the release of their critically acclaimed album ‘Pentagon Memoirs’ (2016) – which sits at a well deserve place at number four on NEW LEASE MUSIC’s Top Ten Albums of 2016 list – I have a very strange feeling that Cloen Solomon III (3Bubble) and Justin Gray (J. GRAY) are going to create just as much buzz (if not more) with their brand new album LFTP Season Vol.1.

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Katrin Johansson – Music Interview & Review

Terrorist attacks are happening more often nowadays, and when I heard that there was a terrorist attack in Finland not too long before Katrin Johansson’s interview….. A thought lingered in my mind that I just had to ask her, do these events inspire her to write hopeful lyrics as a way to say ‘we are not afraid’………… “Personally I don’t think that this kind of happening brings people to write music because that would mean that those attacks influenced your mind that deeply. That’s why I try to at least avoid that idea.” My thoughts and prayers are wishing for a good future and health for all her friends and their families who were near that terrible tragedy.

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Crow Eats Man – Crow Eats Man (Album Review)

The wonderfully named Crow Eats Man wear their musical hearts very openly on their sonic sleeves, nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong at all with declaring a love for the music which sat at that point where the melodic end of grunge butted up against the formative years of the alt-rock sound that it paved the way for. But like any band working with tried and tested genres, and familiar sounds, you have two options. Either you try to bring something new to the genre, though not so much that it wanders too far from its home turf, or you just aim to do it better than the rest of the bands journeying through similar musical landscapes.

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Songs Turning 30 In 2018: Top Ten Songs From 1988

Following on from last year’s very successful posts ’20 Songs That Will Be Turning 20 In 2017′ & ‘10 Songs That Will Be Turning 30 In 2017‘ I have decided to keep the tradition going even although it’s about to make me feel REALLY old!

1988 was my music induction you could say. A time where I had the choice of what I listened to and deciding what I liked and what I didn’t like. In the UK the Stock Aitken & Waterman ‘Hit Factory‘ was blasting out songs left, right and centre and it will always be a golden time as far as I’m concerned.

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Flames, Doorways, Grass and Time –  Grasslands (album review)

Mercurial, that’s the word! Well, that’s one word at least. It seems that many words and descriptions come and go through the listeners, and indeed the reviewers, mind as Grasslands’ music slips through the brain. The same thing happens if you try to pigeon-hole it, depending on which thread you pull at different genres spill out of the musical mass. Tug at the underlying acoustic guitarwork and you find folk textures, but as you pull they slowly reveal themselves to be cacooned in warped industrial grit. Similarly harmless pop melodies are found to be swathed in angular edges and smooth synths warp out to spacey ambience or turn in on themselves to become intense and claustraphobic bundles of pent up energy. I don’t know where you begin, I really don’t. The only guidelines I have from the main man himself is that he was aiming for “digitally corrupted folk music through a broken radio” I reckon that is a fair description.

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Editor@Soapbox

[email protected]

Checking articles and providing authors with assistance since '16 - [email protected]

February Music Round Up

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