Friday 26 February 2010

Marina and the Diamonds- The Family Jewels & Ellie Goulding- Light


I have been anticipating this album for over 2 years now, I knew that when it finally arrived, it would be something pretty special and I believe that it has reached these expectations. You may be thinking, "oh no, not another female solo artists, this whole 'females taking over thing' is getting boring now." But let me assure you, this one's a special one. Not only do her songs clearly come from the heart but Marina Diamandis is a woman that's not fearful to speak her mind. Her songs are littered with her opinions on certain modern social issues and happenings as well as personal experiences. From the flamboyant vocal utterances to the electric violins, this album is shiny pop perfection that speaks for itself. I'm glad that Marina has put some polished up versions of some of her oldest songs such as 'Hermit the Frog' on as well as her new songs, for example 'Guilty', a song which shows her more vulnerable streak. Despite its nostalgic 70s/80s pop tint, this album is certainly an individual one, full of inspiring honesty, passion and intriguing individuality.


Now, this one's an interesting one and completely different to Marina's. Although I know that Ellie obviously started out by just writing acoustically with just her and her guitar, I expected it to contain an equal split of both up tempo songs with contagious beats and more mellow, down tempo songs, yet, it did not. It's a lot more relaxed than I expected it to be, beautifully so of course, I would not expect any less from the combined effort of Miss Goulding and Producer Starsmith. The fastest, more dancable songs are most certainly the two singles that have been released from it so far that have helped Goulding properly break into the more commercial music scene. The piano compliments the acoustic guitar well and it all works magically in terms of the musical side of things and Ellie's heart meltingly fragile lyrics slot into this well. I like the fact that Ellie, like Marina, means every word that she sings, when the lyrics of a song are evidently meaningful to the person singing them, the song is a lot more beautiful.

If you do one good thing this weekend, make sure that it's buying at least one of these albums, legally, these albums deserve all the credit that they can get.

Katie x

Sunday 21 February 2010

What will you be listening to this spring/summer?

Spring is on its way, well I say that, yet, there is still snow outside, which means that a musical change is on it's way. I listen to completley different music in summer than I do to winter, do you?

Here's what I shall be listening to during the warmer weather, when the sun is actually out:

1. Vampire Weekend: They've recently released their second album 'Contra' and it's brilliant! Their next single is 'Giving up the gun', my personal favourite from the album. Contra is filled with exotic beats and riffs that will keep you happy all day.

2. The Drums- having recently finished touring on the NME Tour, they'll surely release their debut at some point this summer I'd imagine and I'm pretty sure that they'll be playing lots of summer festivals as well their upcoming UK tour with Florence and the Machine

3. Babeshadow- this band also will be supporting Florence on her UK tour this summer as they've just signed up to her manager, Mairead Nash's, new label, Luv Luv Luv records. I find it fascinating that they are english as their music is so relaxed and uplifting, it makes me wonder where the influences to their music came from. The lyrics "It's love, love, love, now it's only love" (from their song 'Sea Serpents') fit in nicely with Luv management and given Nash's previous success with Florence, this band should go pretty far. Listen to their music on hypemachine

4.LCD Soundsystem- Their back, they've kept relatively quiet about their new stuff but they're heading on tour in March so I'm sure they'll be showcasing their new material there! They're also booked for lots of UK festivals, including Bestival, they're definately not a band you should miss this year as I would think that their gigs are pretty much a party. Their album's expected in March.

5.Lightspeed Champion- Dev Hynes is back with his new album 'Life is Sweet Nice to Meet you' which came out last week, I can't afford to buy it so I'm getting it for my birthday next month, hopefully on vinyl as I'm getting a new vinyl player :) Apparenly, this album is more experimental as the last and I'm very much looking forward to hearing it! He's just announced a tour of small venues- so get in there quick! I really want to go but I'm trying to save up, the train to Birmingham costs me £6!

6.MGMT- Congratulations- Their new album is expected for release on the 13th March, that's not far off! I'm quite anxious about this album as they've changed their physical imagine to a more toned down, indie rock look, will their music follow suit? I hope not! We'll see! Oracular Spectacular (2008) is a summer album that's pretty hard to beat!

7.Arcade fire- I've heard their new album is coming out this spring/summer, I've not heard much else about it though! I hope it comes soon, they're so musically and lyrically talented, how can it not be good? And I hope they play some festivals! Especially Reading, as I shall be going!


Katie x

Thursday 18 February 2010

Recent Happenings..


On the 11th Feburary I headed to Birmingham for The NME Tour, the line-up featured American band-The Drums, Art rockers- The Big Pink, heartfelt indie boys- Bombay Bicycle Club and the Brighton lads- The Maccabees headlined. There's no doubt about it, the line-up was brilliant, it had to be given last years epic line-up of Florence, White Lies, Friendly Fires and Glasvegas!

Just as I'd got into the venue and qued up for a pint of water (I'm not 18 for another month!), The Drums took to the stage. They were a band that I was looking forward to seeing as they will supporting Florence and the Machine on her tour in May, so I wanted to check them out before hand! With the crowd already familiar on the whole with their singles (thanks to radio1)- Let's go Surfing and I Feel Stupid, those 2 songs went down a storm with the young indie fans. The crowd seemed a bit unsure about The Drums at first but gradually warmed up to them. By the end of the set, the majority of the crowd loved them! Including me, there were definately moments where I felt like I was dancing at some sort of quite tame, yet, harmonious beach party. I'm very much looking forward to seeing them in May now!

Next up were The Big Pink. This band apparently did not go down too well on the other dates of the tour, which is probably due to the difference in genre, indie fans can be stubborn and rude when they want to be! I, however, love them and I loved their performance. The crowd did at least make the effort to pretend that they were enjoying their set but then after they'd finished, some people behind me were like "God, they were so shit." Perhaps it's not cool, for some reason, to like The Big Pink... I thought they performed really well and was enraptured in their insensity, their clearly a very passionate band.

Bombay Bicycle Club came on and the crowd went wild! Their a band that have visited Birmingham quite a few times and I think a lot of their fans that surrounded me had seen them a couple of times before. I, however, had not due to lack of money, it cost me £6 to get to B'ham from Stafford (which is still about 12 miles from my house). The boys gave a lovely performance, I love it how through all of the distorted guitars lies a beautiful and delicate lyrics.

Here's a video of Magnet, I apologise for the quality of the video!

And finally, The Maccabees headlined. They were clearly the band that most people were the most excited about seeing. It is impossible not to love the Maccabees, because not only is their music good but they are such a humble band. They're a very well loved band but they have never left this go to their heads, they came on smiling at their wonderful applause that they got. They laughed whilst carrying on with their set when nearly the entire crowd fell over because they got a bit over excited and they thanked everyone at the end. And above all, they came on and performed very well, they even did a wonderful encore with a brass section! Boys stared in admiration and girls swooned, everyone there loved the Maccabees, fact.

Wall of Arms:


Every year I get ridiculously excited for this ceremony and this year was no exception. I took the night off work, made sure that I was in front of a widescreen TV for 8pm and sat with a large bottle of posh, organic cider for The BRITS to start. Lily Allen's outfit and performance was first and recieved a slating on twitter, however, I loved it! I hope that it was her last performace before her 'break' though, I'm praying that she'll play some festivals this summer! I ahve never been lucky enough to see her in the flesh! Anyway, I'll talk more about the performances in a bit, here's the winners list:

British Female Solo Artist

Bat for Lashes

Florence & the Machine

Leona Lewis

WINNER: Lily Allen

Pixie Lott

I was so glad that Lily finally got a BRIT award, well deserved!

British Male Solo Artist

Calvin Harris

WINNER: Dizzee Rascal


Paolo Nutini

Robbie Williams

I'd have quite liked to see Paolo win this one because I really like 'Sunny Side Up' and her seems lovely, but oh well, Dizzie is a hit machine!

British Breakthrough Act

Florence & the Machine

Friendly Fires


La Roux

Pixie Lott

I was not impressed, I'd have loved anyone to win this one apart from Pixie Lott of JLS, it would have been nice for Friendly fires to maybe win it as they've never won anything and they're a great band!

British Group


Friendly Fires


WINNER: Kasabian


I wasn't too fussed about this one as I knew that poor Friendly Fires did not stand a chance up against JLS, Muse and Kasabian!

MasterCard British Album

Dizzee Rascal - Tongue n’Cheek

WINNER: Florence & the Machine - Lungs

Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

Lily Allen - It’s Not Me, It’s You

Paolo Nutini - Sunny Side Up

I was very, very happy about this one!! If Florence was only going to win 1, I wanted it to be for Lungs and it was!

British Single

Alesha Dixon - Breathe Slow

Alexandra Burke Ft Flo Rida - Bad Boys

Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love

Joe McElderry - The Climb

WINNER: JLS - Beat Again

La Roux - In For The Kill

Lily Allen - The Fear

Pixie Lott - Mama Do

Taio Cruz - Break Your Heart

Tinchy Stryder Ft N-Dubz - Number 1

An absolute joke, The Fear Should have won!

Critics' Choice

Ellie Goulding WINNER


Marina and the Diamonds

I'm very happy for Ellie becuase she's great and seems very, very sweet. However, I've been a Marina fan for over 2 years now, so I'd have loved to see her win it, I'm a little biased!

BRITs Album of 30 Years

Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head

Dido - No Angel

Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms

Duffy - Rockferry

Keane - Hopes & Fears

WINNER: Oasis - (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

Phil Collins - No Jacket Required

Sade - Diamond Life

The Verve - Urban Hymns

Travis - The Man Who

I didn't really care who won this one really as I don't think any of them really deserved to win! I hate Liam Gallager though, cannot believe he threw his award into the crowd, twat!

The BRITs Hits 30

Bee Gees - Stayin’ Alive/How Deep is Your Love

Bros. - I Owe you Nothing

Coldplay - Clocks

Eurythmics & Stevie Wonder - Angel

Girls Aloud - The Promise

Kanye West - Gold Digger

Kylie Minogue - Can’t Get You Out of my Head

Michael Jackson - Earth Song

Paul McCartney - Live & Let Die

Pet Shop Boys - Go West

Robbie Williams & Tom Jones - The Full Monty Medley

Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mama

WINNER: Spice Girls - Wannabe/Who Do You Think You Are

Take That - Beatles Medley

The Who - Who Are You

I was a 90's child, so I don't really mind that The Spice girls won!

International Female Solo Artist

WINNER: Lady Gaga


Norah Jones



Welll deserved, I love Gaga

International Male Solo Artist

Bruce Springsteen



Michael Buble

Seasick Steve

I'm glad that Jay-Z won, he seems very lovely and he's good at what he does!

International Album

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Black Eyed Peas - The End

Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream

Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3

WINNER: Lady Gaga - The Fame

The Fame is great, well deserved! It would have been great to see Empire of the Sun or Animal Collective win it though but that would never, ever happen!

International Breakthrough Act Supported By MTV Viewers

Animal Collective

Daniel Merriweather

Empire of the Sun

WINNER: Lady Gaga

Taylor Swift

Fair enough, I'm glad Swifty didn't win, her sickly sweetness is irritating!

Outstanding Contribution Award

Robbie Williams

What contribution? Pub singer, much? He's from Stoke too :/

Anyway, what did everyone think of You've Got the Dirtee Love? I thought that it was quite good, maybe could have been a little bit more amazing, but just a bit. I don't really know what to make of these television performance because I think I'm a bit of a tradionalist when it comes to Florence performances, I like it when she's drunk and crowd surfs and climbs up lighting riggs and jumps into swimming pools!
As for Gaga, I loved what she did with her songs telephone and Dance in the Dark, especially as it was in tribute to her friend, the brillaint designer Alexander Mcqueen, it was all very beautiful. She seemed very happy to win all of awards too because she says that she is one of those people that has in the past generally not very successful, I can relate to this entirely.

Here's Gaga's performance:

That's all for now, I might be interview The Drums sometime soon, I'll let you know if I do


Wednesday 10 February 2010

Corinne Bailey Rae- The Sea


This is an album of beauty, pain, heart-ache, hope and grief. Her voice is flawless and her song writing skills have been further honed during the making of this album into perfection. The Sea is a very personal album, at times in fact it even seems too personal, like you shouldn't be listening. Some people might find it uncomfortable or depressing, but I see it as a beautiful thing. I love the intensity of this album and find it a real gateway into Corinne's experiences and emotions of the past 2 years after the death of her husband, Jason Rae. Even the name 'The Sea' is perfect for this album as it portrays a wide range of Corinne's feelings, views and experiences.

This album welds together acoustic, jazz and soul which gives it a wonderful, yet still relatively simple sound. Had this album been overproduced, it would not have had half of the impact that it does.

The stand out tracks are: Are you Here, Feels Like the First Time, The Blackest Lily, Paris Nights/New York Mornings and The Sea
However, I'd recommend getting the whole album because I'm a strong believer that some albums should stand alone as an album, rather than individual songs and this is one of those albums.

Corinne gets a 10/10 for this glorious offering.

Katie x
ps. NME Tour on Thursday, I'll write it up :)

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Wow, it's been nearly a month, I'm sorry!

I had exams!
hmm, here's what I'm liking at the moment: The new Blood Red Shoes single, Light it Up, which will be released on the 22nd Feb!

I also love a band called Beach House, here's there song 'Zebra', it's a beautiful! They are from Baltimore in Maryland :)

This weekend I went up to a gig at one of my favourite venues, The Box, in Crewe and I saw a band called Violet Violet. The hail from Norwich and are friends with Kids Love Lies and The Kabeedies, who I have also mentioned before. I've never really understood why they never seem to get much recognition, they're brilliant. They're a fierce female two piece with lots energy. Here's their myspace page Their album, This City is Full of Beasts is out now!

I'm also really liking a new American band called 'Yeasayer', I'm sure you will have heard of them if you tune in to Zane Lowe, Nick Grimshaw or Huw Stephens on Radio1, Their album is out this week, I really want it! They write beautiful pop that uses all kinds of wierd synth sounds...
Here's their single Ambling Alp:

Also out this week- Hollywood by Marina and the Diamonds (download it for just 49p here)

Albums: Romance is Boring by Los Campesinos!- It's brilliant

Recent albums: Alcoyte by Delphic- I really, really want it, I already have a few track off it though, great stuff, their music is very close to perfection for me! Fly Yellow Moon by Fyfe Dangerfield ( I've spotified it, heart warming stuff from the former Guillemots frontman) & Contra by Vampire Weekend- I have it, it's great, it transports you to a sunny place!

I'll try and write sooner next time!

Katie x