Victoria Hoffmann Releases Third Single ‘Hopeless Love’

Harry Fenn

On the 5th of April, Victoria Hoffmann released her single ‘Hopeless Love’. Although Victoria has only been writing songs since 2018, in the tradition of indie-folk music, the song tells a vivid and emotional story. 

Despite a diverse and storied background, Victoria is ever determined to make the music she wants to make. She has formed her own style despite criticism online, where she was targeted for not making music seen to be more fitting for a black musician. Taking pride in her individuality, the harmonies and chords throughout the track remind me somewhat of artists such as Amy McDonald with its bouncy rhythm, flowing melodies and confessional lyrics. 

Though her whole family work in medicine, Victoria overcame the pressures placed on her to follow suit and through hard work and determination became a singer-songwriter, proving that she’s had to endure a host of constraints to get to where she is now – the added online criticism only firing her up and fuelling her music further.  

‘Hopeless Love’ is a good sign of things to come, as Victoria is due to release her debut album in the summer of this year. For an artist who has not been writing songs for long, this – her third single – shows promise with well-balanced production and excellent story telling. 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/victoriaamao/
Website: www.victoriahoffmann.co.uk
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/victoria-amao
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1TfPpSprI2zdLNEO5euA2g?si=1u79nfzyTfifxSkJ2E897A

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InHibit Releases Long Awaited Debut EP ‘Blinded’

Harry Fenn

After finding success with his radio hits ‘The Quest’, ‘Shadows of Fire’ and ‘Settings’, InHibit’s debut EP is out now. With hints of the electronic sounds of the 80s, InHibit’s new project incorporates guitar riffs and vocals reminiscent of the late 90s alt-rock scene. 

Brussels-based singer and composer InHibit, describes himself first and foremost as a poet. It is no surprise, then, that his music deals with complex issues and challenging themes. What struck me most about the opening track entitled ‘Shame on Humans’ was the rhythmic lyricism. InHibit uses his voice as an instrument, following interesting rhythmic elements or cleverly creating polyrhythms. The driving rhythm and clashing guitar riffs, combined with the ever-shifting harmony, only enhances the feeling of rage throughout this track. 

In direct contrast, ‘The Quest’ feels very different initially. The song is a melting pot of genres as the intro sounds like it belongs in the underground hip-hop scene with a bulging bass and synth melody. But it almost immediately moves to a different era of acoustic guitars and lyrical melodies, which will be swimming in your ear for hours to come. All of this comes before the track explodes into a chorus laden with electric guitars, a heavy beat and relentless vocals. The song culminates in a bringing together of all three, as the opening synth melody is ingeniously re-harmonised. ‘The Quest’ is packed full of musical goodness that exhibits InHibit’s immense musical prowess in the clever merging of seemingly incongruous sections. 

All four tracks on this EP are expertly crafted and thought through. Even in moments of chaos and heavily distorted guitars, it feels that everything is where it’s supposed to be. The sparse arrangement of the verses in ‘Shadows of Fire’ only enhances the release of the chorus. Each track has something different to offer with a wide variety of styles and genres incorporated across the board, with the final song ‘Settings’ inspired by iconic alt-rock bands through the ages, with its screaming electric guitar and rhythmic melodies.

InHibit’s Blinded is a throwback to the sounds of the last few decades, expertly melded into one cohesive EP. It’s thought provoking, head banging and catchy from the first moment of track one to the final chord of track four. InHibit is one of the most exciting artists emerging from Europe at the moment so we can expect to hear much more from him in the future. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inhibitofficial/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inhibitofficial/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-665546627
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1zMBGodzGcfxVJfDND3q1d?si=g5AzjlAuT8OVCtHr2_evHw
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIHadk3BW40&feature=youtu.be


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Kavanagh’s Dizzying New Single ‘Citizen 202’, Out this Friday!

Harry Fenn

The release of new single ‘Citizen 202’ from Brighton based, alternative rock band Kavanagh, is fast approaching. Since the band’s inception in 2016, Kavanagh have gone from strength to strength, winning two national Battle of the Bands competitions and touring across the UK with multiple radio appearances. 

Citizen 202 is a dizzying flurry of distorted guitars and grungy vocals which have you hooked from the intro. Clocking in at less than 2 minutes, the new single somehow manages to be both a head-banger and a sing-a-long. You’ll be singing at the top of your lungs only to have the track end and you’ll want to play it again to have another crack at it. It’s a whirlwind of sound carefully balanced and thought out which makes for exciting listening. 

‘Citizen 202 is about escaping the idiosyncrasies of humanity and being a member of the universe instead, simply a part of creation. More than human’.

Citizen 202 will be widely released this Friday (26th March). Keep an eye out for the rest of the year also, as this is just the first of many to come in 2021. The track hasn’t even been released yet but already features in the upcoming film Vegan Vampires from Zorg with members of The Sex Pistols and New York Dolls. The band are looking forward to supporting Fat White Family in the near future, having worked with their producer Mike Bennett on this single. This is certainly the beginning of something big for Kavanagh. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KavanaghBand
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5RXVyxqiuyYF6PoTNYbpdr

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Judith Haustein Effortlessly Wows with New Single ‘Freeze’

Harry Fenn

With moody chord progressions and ethereal vocals, Judith Haustein’s ‘Freeze’ is irresistible. The influence of Judith’s interest in jazz harmony is clear in the delicate verses with crisp and flawless vocal delivery; it’s the chorus where this seamless blend of jazz and mainstream harmonies shines. The melody will stick in your head as Judith sings directly to you and the incredible production creates a soundscape to envelope you in her sound.

Judith’s interest in jazz improvisation began in her early twenties, which set her on a path to complete a BA in Jazz studies in London under Stuart Hall, Eddie Parker and Nikki Iles. During this time, Judith really honed her skills and intensively engaged with modal harmony and Brazilian music. 

Judith released her first album Fire and Sleep, which she produced as part of her MA thesis, in 2008; after a stint touring on London’s underground scene with her six piece band ‘Judith Haustein & the Peanutbutterflies’, Judith has settled for now in Stuttgart. Here, she free-lances as a composer for film and media while she’s also an arranger, choir conductor and singing teacher. With Judith’s new single, she has managed to effortlessly incorporate elements of her recent work on the strong base layer of her jazz roots. 

Judith is an undeniable talent. With her impeccable vocals and immaculate song writing, ‘Freeze’ is not to be overlooked. 

WEBSITE: www.judithhaustein.com
INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/judith_haustein
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/judithhaustein
YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/c/juwiththeredshoe
REVERB NATION: www.reverbnation.com/judithhaustein
CREW UNITED: crew-united.com/de/Judith-Elena-
Haustein_607925.html#!searchterm=judith%20haustein


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UK Metal Merger Launches Campaign to Help Vital Music Crew and Tech Experts

Harry Fenn

In this pandemic, live music is set to be the first sector to shut down and the last to re-open. Despite some support from the government, numerous iconic grassroots venues have been forced to close their doors for good with many more in danger of doing so. This last year, musicians and the largely self-employed workforce of the music industry have fallen through the cracks in government support and the damage to the industry could be felt for many years to come. 

That’s why producer Mark Mynett has brought together some of the UK’s most celebrated Rock and Metal names in a fundraising effort called UK Metal Merger. UK Metal Merger’s campaign is aimed at helping the crew and tech experts that enable all live music to go ahead in COVID’s wake.

The merger consists of eighteen UK Metal musicians including members of Cradle of Filth, My Dying Bride, Iced Earth, Winterfylleth, Kill II This, Xentrix, Divine Chaos, Krystla and Pythia. The result is an epic 12-and-a-half minute musical journey entitled ‘In Solitude’. 12-and-a-half minutes seems all too short when you consider that they had over 300 hours of contributions to work with – the result is a powerful symphonic masterpiece. The 30-second teaser can give you a flavour of the journey you’ll experience once you’re able to listen to the full track on the 4th of May. 

A video will accompany the release of ‘In Solitude’ and UK Metal Merger is urging fans to share it far and wide to spread the message. Although it (hopefully) seems that we’re nearing the end of this virus nightmare, the UK’s music industry has a long road to recovery. The help that is available clearly isn’t reaching everyone and we risk the loss of an industry that brings so much joy to us all. 

You can help the cause directly here and listen to the 30-second teaser here.

Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Mark Mynett; Mynetaur Productions http://www.mynetaur.com
Video Production by Hal Sinden of Eulogy Media; http://www.eulogymedia.com


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Keep on Moogin’: A Return to the 80s?

Featured Image available at: https://swg3.tv/events/2018/february/lets-go-back-to-the-80s

Having attended music college, I have a number of friends with aspirations to be artists and songwriters. Something I’ve noticed of late is a return to the sounds of the 80s, Most notably, a friend of mine who has just purchased a Moog synthesiser which dominated the music of the decade – hence the truly hilarious title. I was also speaking to a producer friend who mentioned that his upcoming projects had a distinctly 80s feel. So what is it that’s driving this return to the 80s? 

In 2009, the world was in the midst of The Great Recession. Over the previous few years, global GDP had declined 5.1% with peak global unemployment at 10%. In October of 2009, Mumford and Sons, with their hipster hats, banjos and braces released their debut album Sigh No More. You may be asking what the link between these things is, and that’s a fair question because right now it sounds like I’m blaming them.

In the early 2000s, an eye-catching, pithy poster from the run up to the Second World War had begun to make the rounds. By 2009, it was difficult to walk through London without seeing someone touting a t-shirt or tea towel with the phrase ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ hastily ironed on. If you look closer at the trend, you’ll see that it is symptomatic of the culture that allowed Mumford and Sons’ first album to be such a resounding success. You see, the rise in popularity of the quintessentially British poster shows the prevalence of what is known as austerity nostalgia – the perceived return to times of economic hardship as people cope with the current crisis.

The link to Marcus Mumford and Co. is that their distinctive style was reminiscent of the music of The Great Depression. Their song ‘Dustbowl Dance’ encapsulates this perfectly as Mumford paints a picture of a struggling 1930s family that, in truth, he probably couldn’t even begin to imagine.

When I first saw that the UK is likely headed for a recession in the wake of the pandemic, I predicted that perhaps we’d start to see some classic noughties music coming through and we could relive the glory days of Flo Ridda, Shakira and Rihanna but I think we can all agree that reliving the 80s is the better result. Personally, I’m hoping for a Dua Lipa cover of ‘Africa’.

Harry Fenn

Newman’s New Hope for Eurovision

Featured Image by Victor Frankowski

After last year’s cancellation, it looks like the Eurovision Song Contest will go ahead this year in Rotterdam. Eurovision is known for being somewhat outrageous with Russian Grandmothers and that weird Polish entry back in 2007 (look it up, it’s weird). However, as is often the case, there seems to be no extravagance in our entry as BRIT and Grammy-nominated songwriter James Newman gets another turn in bat. Personally, I’m amazed that any artists agree to take part in the contest given our pretty diabolical history. 

Every year we look at our entry and wonder if they’ll come in last or second-to-last whilst dewy-eyed fantasists wistfully remember Bucks Fizz and think ‘what if’. However there will be no skirt ripping this year as James Newton sidles up to the plate once again and unveils his new entry ‘Embers’. It’s very different from last year’s foiled effort ‘My Last Breath’ which, if I’m honest, I prefer. ‘Embers’ is undoubtedly more upbeat with some good moments, but for me, ‘My Last Breath’ is just an objectively better song. Newman explains: ‘I wanted to write an upbeat and positive song that people could have a party to’. Seems odd given that having a party is one thing amongst many that we’ve been unable to do for coming on a year now. It’s the ‘anti-drops’ for me that leave me in want- just when you think we’re getting a big moment, the arrangement just drops out and you’re left somewhat disappointed. Of course, I may well be in the minority as the chirpy tune may go down well with an audience who just want to forget the last year and enjoy our latest effort to bring the contest to the UK for the first time since 1982. 

So, will it happen? Will James Newman bring it home this year? Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s unlikely. But not because of the song. ‘Embers’ is decent enough but even when our relationship with Europe was half decent, we didn’t do overly well.

The grand final, for which Newman automatically qualifies, will take place in Rotterdam on May 22 and we wish him the best of luck!

Harry Fenn

Abraham Trai’s Promising Debut ‘The One’

Harry Fenn

Singer-songwriter Abraham Trai has released his debut single, ‘The One’. Hailing from France, Abraham upped and moved to London in order to write in the same location as the artists from whom he draws his inspiration. 

With delicate and soulful vocals, ‘The One’ deals with the loss of someone you love; Abraham and co-writer Louisa Glanville hope that they can spread the message that those who are feeling the affects of loneliness or are unhappy are not alone. The minimal piano arrangement only adds to the heartfelt nature of the lyrics and helps the track focus on Abraham’s vocal delivery. 

Since moving to London, Abrahma has dedicated himself to writing music every day and has penned an album called MMXXII which is expected in 2022. If the album is anything like Abraham’s debut single, you won’t want to miss it. 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abraham_trai/
Website: https://abrahamtrai.com/abraham-trai
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Abraham-Trai-104892304920401/
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/603znmGBuablSOwpPjqmOe?si=dCetk6yFTEynoEAhn6qPgA&utm_source=copy-link
Youtube: https://youtu.be/3Pyg4nbGoyE


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Pentral Tease Forthcoming Concept Album with ‘Silent Trees’

Harry Fenn

Brazilian power trio Pentral are giving us a taste of their new album What Lies Ahead. Created entirely in lockdown, the album explores the fractious relationship between humankind and deals with the war against nature. 

‘Silent Trees’ is a perfect introduction to the band’s talents. With irregular time signatures and complex harmonies, the trio show us what they can do and leave us dangling, pleading for the rest of the album. The dark and brooding introduction -featuring a Hindu chant, nonetheless – sets the tone for this thought-provoking track. 

As the album was recorded during the COVID lockdown, lead vocalist and guitarist Victor explained that it was not without its challenges; he described the tension in the studio as musicians and engineers felt the looming risk of infection. He explained that it could be difficult to record the final version of the songs due to the uncommon rhythms as well as the technical melodies and harmonies that is common in their music. 

‘Silent Trees’ is the perfect teaser for the forthcoming album What Lies Ahead which will be released on the 7th of May. The concept album tells the story of a new-born child emerging from the devastated Brazilian rainforest into a violence-ridden and hate-filled city; the only way to combat what the world has become is with the power of love. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pentralmusic/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/pentral
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pentralmusic
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pentralmusic
Website: https://www.pentralmusic.com/


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Culture Secretary’s New EU Touring Office

Featured image by Veld Music Festival

Post-Brexit, British musicians looking to tour in EU countries could now face extra fees that, for many, could see European touring become unviable.

For a time, there was a call to let musicians tour Europe visa-free and a petition to this effect garnered 285,000 signatures. Whilst visa-free touring post-Brexit may have been something of a pipe dream, there are reports that the culture secretary is considering opening a new office to deal with the new issues caused by Brexit. The additional fees and admin may encourage touring artists to hire crew based in EU countries, which would put an already flailing UK music industry under extra pressure.

Perhaps this potential new office could go some way to help revitalise the industry in a post-COVID, post-Brexit world. But it’s not likely to be easy, as nothing is these days. Culture minister Caroline Dinenage stated recently that it may be better to agree individual deals with EU countries to make touring a viable option for British musicians in the future. If only we could become part of some economic union which deals with all of that for us…

Harry Fenn