For many years, Nick Battle has been working behind-the-scenes within the music industry. His songwriting ability has gained him over 30 gold and platinum discs, and though he is far from a household name, his songs and collaborators most certainly are. Working with the likes of Sir Cliff Richard, Michael Ball and Gary Barlow (as well as kick-starting The Spice Girls), he boasts an impressive list of contacts. But that’s not enough for Nick.
Now is his time to take the glory, rather than giving his tracks away – he kept this collection for himself. ‘Love is a Long Road’ looks back on Battle’s life and the lessons he’s learned along the way. Inspired by the singers and songwriters who have influenced him most, this album continues from where 2016 album ‘Big Heart’ left off.
This new album is a chance for people to hear Battle’s music as it was meant to be heard, no artist interpretations, tweaks or re-writes, but the writers pure vision and authentic sound.
After being wrongfully expelled from Bolton School until the age of 16, it was at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn where songwriter Joel Rothwell nurtured his ability and pursued his dream of a career in music. Following on from the acclaimed released of single ‘Just Don’t Know‘, it’s apparent that the stars have never seemed too far out of reach, and with roots forged very close to home. A childhood spent with his eldest sister Rebecca imitating their musical heroes has led to formulating a creative partnership which has seen them writing together for a number of years.
With a stylishly crafted formula of honest story-telling accompanying his guitar-driven electro-pop sound, the first of 4 inspired songs recorded with Brighton producer Toby Scott – ‘Just Don’t Know’ tells the story of a chance encounter, forbidden attraction and the inherent dilemma faced from within.
It was recording and preparing to release his debut album under the Steelworks Studio label, under the support of songwriter and producer Eliot Kennedy (famed for working with the likes of the Spice Girls, Bryan Adams, Lulu and Take That), that led to Joel taking part in his biggest gig to date. The Vulcan Experience aircraft hanger at Robin Hood airport in Doncaster was host to a sell-out charity event that raised over £65,000 for Help for Heroes, in which he shared the stage in following none other than Gary Barlow.
Joel is now based at a studio in the vibrant Spinningfields area of Manchester, while also having spent time writing and recording at Tileyard Music in London alongside chart musicians such as Sigala, Mark Ronson and Ella Eyre. Through a blend of passion, talent and determination, Joel firmly believes he has what it takes to stand out in such a competitive industry and match the ambition of his dreams.
An artist’s ability to transform personal pain into sonic pleasure is often their greatest asset. A band that know a lot about that process is Slim Loris. Formed in Sweden around 2009, the band comprises of singer/bass-player Mattias Cederstam, guitarist Robert Barrefelt, drummer Jonas Ellenberg and singer/guitarist Leon Lindström. Their earliest releases veered towards to the darker side of life, both lyrically and musically- and that doesn’t even account for the darkness that was manifesting off the record.
This article was originally published on Lightning Nation, continue reading here.
This track sticks up a middle finger to oppressors, making it a much loved installment from Hunter, who has us all wondering, whats next?
Yes, the song ‘So Gay’ is a fantastically honest and refreshing idea that states you must accept people for who they are. The song tells the story of the narrator(Hunter)who is declaring that he is gay to another man or men, and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. The song is not just for this particular subject, but could be a deceleration of anything, proving that there is power in pride.
With backing from well-respected producer Niraj Chag, and an array of fans ready to take a stand, ‘So Gay’ is surely bound to be making its way to your sound system any day now.
“a place where musicians from very different cultures and backgrounds play music which, though perhaps alien in origin, comes together to create an almost overwhelmingly life-affirming sound.”
It is with great pleasure I get to write about Kalibe, a singer-songwriter from Brazil who sings straight from the heart, producing some of the most beautiful, traditionally inspired music I’ve heard in a long time.
Check out “Tudo Gira” here…
Though the production methods are entirely 21st century, Kalibé’s music is created by skilled musicians from all corners of the Earth: instruments from across Africa, Persia and South America blend effortlessly together, whilst the singers bring together languages as seemingly disparate as Indian, Hebrew and Amazonian tribal dialects with ease.
On the track “Aldeia”, the sounds of the rainforest are underpinned by Tuvan throat singing, an ethereal female voice drifting between the two; on “Punu-Punu”, India Mãe da Lua’s vocals carry a traditional melody of the Brazilian Kamayurá tribe through an achingly beautiful and trance-like fusion of plucked African kalimba and flourishes of guitar. These combinations may look on paper as though they’re artificially forced, but the transcendent joy of the music is taken to new levels by the meeting of cultures bound by universal emotions and experiences.
Check out the album Mãe da Lua and keep up with Kalibe here…
JohnlikeJohn might well be my favourite new discovery. He’s witty, sincere, poetic and kind of cool about it.
His new EP entitled ‘Vegans Are Evil Too’ sums up his brilliant commentary on human existence before you’ve even heard a single note. So far the only glimpse at the full EP we’ve had is this exquisite live video of John and his band playing the beautifully judged ‘I am scared too’. In this it is clear that every word comes from the heart and that he loves what he’s doing. JohnlikeJohn’s brilliant sense of humour also shines through as you hang on every word, epitomised in the line ‘I’m an Aquarius but thats bull’. Think Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, John Cooper Clarke.
Of course, the video showcases his brilliant songwriting, simple chords, simple melodies but together in a very endearing way. With the help of his female backing singer the song has some beautiful harmonies popping in toward the end. The talents of him and his band is obvious however their great personalities also show as they run around town having what likes a great time.
When would happen if you took classical music and mixed it with something as niche darkwave? The answer could be in Michaela Polakova and Natalie Kocab’s latest collaboration.
Both hailing from the Czech Republic; Singer & lyricist Natalie Kocab and composer Michaela Polakova join forces in a testament to experimentation, which also features a helping hand from The Verve’s guitarist Nick McCabe and Lou Reed bassist Fernando Saunders.
The album consists of ten tracks and provide a variety of tones and textures, with influences from Patti Smith to Nick Cave, all the way to My Bloody Valentine and The Cure.
The album opens with one of three lead singles ‘Underwater’ which does an excellent job of setting the tone for the rest of the album, providing a strong opening and a strong vocal performance accompanied with poetic lyricism from Natalie which remains consistent throughout the rest of the album. The song features an atmospheric soundscape with a jarring middle eight, comparable to albums such as Pornography by The Cure.
The album then follows into ‘Kiev’, which changes from a soundscape-like structure into something more post-rock influence, with what sounds like a slight oriental twist to the composition. The song follows through with a crescendo; a big finish maintaining that post-rock attribute.
‘These Years’ which is the second lead single changes the atmosphere a bit, the orchestral side to Michaela’s compositions are more apparent here followed by opening with a 90’s or early 2000’s pop melody showcasing its contemporary elements; though like a facade this changes a minute into the track where the melody completely juxtaposes and becomes jarring, maintaining the authenticity to the album.
The album is a collective of melancholic and jarring pop tracks followed by experimental, post punk influenced tracks, Nick McCabe’s guitars compliment the classical compositions and just like Kevin Shields and Patti Smith’s collaboration in 2005 and 2006, vocalizes the instrument.
Tracks that follow such as the title track; ‘Ellis Island’ and the third lead track ‘Social Affair’ are more of a radio friendly take on the sound that Michaela & Natalie have crafted, contemporary structures whilst maintaining a certain melancholy that is not too drastic or dissonant, ‘Social Affair’ features a more alternative rock take on their sound.
‘Zadnej Kod’, which is performed in Czech is again a more orchestral track, which features haunting tonality, the track picks up and features almost an operatic rock dynamic to it.
I do feel however, following Zadnej Kod that ‘Feeling Falls’ and ‘Carry On’ could have been positioned differently on the album, ‘Feeling Falls’ feels very similar melody-wise and Carry On feels slightly anti-climatic in its positioning. And whilst ‘Feeling Falls’ does well in its minimalist, spacious approach it’s light dynamics into a crescendo came too soon after ‘Zadnej Kod’.
The album concludes with the track ‘Backstabbers’ which unlike the aforementioned two tracks is positioned well and conclude the album perfectly, whilst yet another pop oriented track among the final three, the dynamic changes with acoustic guitars at the forefront mixed with the whirling, wall of sound like tonalities of the electric guitars, the song also features lounge-like spoken word vocals, which adds a nice, conclusive shift from the powerful vocal performance which remained consistent, to something that tones down the album.
Whilst the album features a plethora of musical styles and experimentation, it does not sound messy one bit, Michaela’s work on the compositions make the album sound consistent and authentic whilst making the album interesting throughout, the album does not go off on a tangent nor does it become monotonous: It’s a fresh and relevant take on experimentation that rivals the likes of recent contemporaries.
Natalie Kocab’s vocals are personally one of the biggest highlights of the album, the overall vocal performance was powerful and suited the music that was accompanying them,.
Overall, the album genuinely offers something for everyone, a welcoming form of experimentation that is not to alien to the average listener yet interesting enough to keep die-hard alternative music fans listening throughout.
Ellis Island is out now, you can purchase the album from this link; https://wmcz.lnk.to/ellisisland
To keep up to date with Michaela Polakova and Natalie Kocab, you can follow their social networks below;
From the U.K to Japan; harpist and vocalist Julia Mascetti has given a hint of what’s to be expected from her upcoming E.P. In Distance, Everything Is Poetry.
The track ‘In Bloom’ gives us a taste of what’s in store in Julia’s upcoming E.P. in the form of a dark, fantastical soundscape.
‘In Bloom’ presents us with the essence of mythical storytelling, what can be described as celtic-folk roots all the way to the soundtrack to a fantasy epic; ‘In Bloom’ sets a dynamic and paints a musical picture that inspires thoughts of mythology and legend.
Julia’s siren-like vocals over a haunting and melancholic harp creates a depressing yet captivating scenario; it’s dreary tones creates suspense in such a minimalist way, yet alongside embellishments from what sounds like bells and a stringed instruments it still retains it’s melodic qualities.
The song is essentially part melodic and part concept, with the timbre of the instrumentation it manages to balance these two sections perfectly, without alienating the listener. The change of arpeggios to sustained notes in each section add for diverse textures in the song.
‘In Bloom’ tells a dreary and melancholic story, the mixture of instruments elevate the texture and song stays true to itself throughout, I feel that some of these instruments could be more apparent in the mix (what sounds like a tsugaru shamisen, could be a bit louder) but overall, the diverse instrumentation compliments the song.
The E.P. In Distance, Everything Is Poetry is out on the 11th of November, you can keep up with Julia’s social networks at the links below;
Barcelona based singer-songwriter Pablo Villavecchia and his band of “Appleheads” prepare for the release of their sophomore album Alessandra with an upbeat preview in the form of ‘Zaida’, the new track off of the album.
Upon first listen it’s obvious that this song will make it into summer playlists with it’s upbeat qualities and multiple sing-a-long hooks that will instantly be stuck in the listeners heads. Channeling influences from The Kooks and The Beatles, along with noticeable influence from the late David Bowie, encapsulated in the chimerical lyrics.
Whilst using dream-like lyricism, the songs message contrasts the upbeat nature of the sound and carries a strong message, taking the hook “flying like a spaceman”and using it in a metaphorical way.
Whilst at first it seems the song is directed at indie-pop audiences; for fans of The Kooks. The tune has the perfect balance of indie and pop as well as hints of folks, fans of artists such as Arcade Fire to Paolo Nutini could jive with this catchy number.
Zaida is a tune, it delivers its purpose in a clear and concise way, it essentially does what it says on the tin.
However, with Pablo and the Appleheads it’s not just the music, the music video to accompany the track is visual eye-candy, the overall aesthetic comes as one whole package. The influence from Tame Impala’s last album with it’s visual aesthetic mixed with the musical aesthetic is apparent. Combined with the message within the lyrics works wonders.
You can check out the music video to Pablo and The Appleheads ‘Zaida’ here;
You can also stream and purchase ‘Zaida’ on Spotify & ITunes;
A Light From The Other Side is Lisa Richards’ new album set for release on 21st April, and the Australian singer-songwriter has formed the new record from a base of folk and jazz that create an almost unheard of sound for modern audiences.
Lisa suffered during her childhood, with a difficult upbringing that included her mother being involved in a car crash and a lot of substance abuse, even from a young age. Yet it is these memories and experiences that allow her to write her introspective songs in her own unique style,
Taken from the new album, ‘Frank Sinatra’ is an upbeat tune full of delicate shuffling guitar and Lisa’s incredible vocals that occupy their very own private estate in the world of singing voices; you’ve honestly never heard anyone quite like her.
A Light From The Other Side exhibits Lisa Richard’s fascinating and turbulent life story, which is weaved throughout her songs. Set for release in April of this year, the record was also put together with the help of internationally renowned producer-singer-songwriter, Greg J Walker.