Empire – We Speak For The Dead – Single Review

As always I return from a hiatus with a completely different genre… So what this time?

It’s both an easy and rocky path for musicians now isn’t it? I mean the technology is much easier to get hold of nowadays but getting spotted is even harder. Empire hit the scene with their first single “We Speak For The Dead” and to be perfectly honest it’s a great start, for what seems like a hobby and passion project it comes off extremely professional with clear experience with music coming from the new band.

You know me, you know what I like by now and you also know that as a “review” I don’t actually give a “proper” review, I give first impressions. And for band to come and impress me in a genre I don’t usually like or listen too and for it to be their first song, I was caught by surprise, I couldn’t help but notice things that I didn’t expect, clear undertones and passion for indie music, some of the riffs during the song sound completely different to what i’ve heard before and would usually find them coming from an alt rock band.

If you enjoy screamo or a shouty band this is a fantastic single, it has clear inspirations and something that metal fans will absolutely adore, I won’t be the only person out there that listens to this and can’t wait to hear what they do next.

If you want to hear the song check out their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWBv0Zlp9vM

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Paris – One Night In Paris – Album Review

Looking for an album to impress the genitals off of you? Well Paris has produced it! “One Night In Paris” is truly one of the best albums so far this year and we’ve already had a Blossoms record.

Paris is a serious up and comer this year with eggs in multiple baskets, by far the biggest track on the 8 song album is “Gone” featuring the Ohio born rapper Trippie Redd and bloody hell is it a tune! The two artists blend and gel so well together you’d think they’d been working together for years, the reason I see this as a big deal is the current meteoric rise of Trippie and the effect this could have on Paris is something i’m keeping my eye on. The other big factor in his definite future is his tour alongside “21 Savage” and “Post Malone” one of the biggest names in the game and he’s going with him.

Paris bigged this album as a true reflection on who he was and what music he wanted to make and I’ll admit I was super pleasantly surprised by it, the mix of vocals and trap rap work incredibly well but what shines foremost is his ability to write and sing almost pop punk songs with a seriously hard trap beat underneath, the kids got talent and fully deserves all praise.

For me “ONIPO” is hit after hit and never hits a low point, the lyrics are catchy af and the beats really hit hard, the production on the album sounds brilliant blasting through speakers and headphones is really how it should be played. The lad is top quality and will definitely be a big name by the end of the year. Watch this space people. To be honest I challenge anyone to listen to this album a couple of times and not belt out “Is this love or is it lust” if you don’t I guarantee you are either dead or deaf.

Bailey Armstrong

 

Post Malone – Beerbongs and Bentleys Review

Is the meme boi at it again with his sophomore or is it a misfire?

Erm neither. B&B is pretty good, as in it’s a solid album. Is it close to “Stoney”? Not really, B&B is bloated and long, several misfires on the album make you question reality.

I think the major problem with B&B is that it feels like a first album, “Stoney” was pretty perfect, a good mix and everything Austin Post, country blended with Trap, Rock blended with Hip Hop. I’m not saying that sticking more with an Hip Hop record is bad but when you’re used to an artist with a great range you end up slightly disappointed. I wish I could just presume and say I was too hyped for this release but I’ll be honest after it missed its December 2017 release date I completely forgot about it.

It’s starts strong for me, Paranoid as a track is pretty solid, reminiscent of “Stoney” but new enough to be happy, after that you just seem to get lost in lyrics that don’t really fit, I’ve seen some publications blast his lyricism this time round with misogynistic views which is pretty heavy for someone like Posty, I’m not 100% sure he would dare tout those feelings with his close links to internet culture.

B&B has some standout tracks that’s for sure, I’ve already mentioned “Paranoid” but other standout songs like “Over Now”, “Rockstar” and “Psycho” really define this album, it’s like a persona change for Posty, (shallow) deeper lyrics make a change, a lot of the songs feature a theme of cheating and letting his money and fame get to him which is something he has said wouldn’t happen throughout “Stoney” making you perceive him as fairly humble for a 23 year old millionaire. I think it comes across more of a character for me, close to the release of B&B the quote “shitty album” was thrown around by Posty in relation to “Stoney” almost as if he was a different person entirely but again could easily just be a joke on his part.

Ultimately I don’t like B&B much I find it hard to listen to compared to the last album. Where “Stoney” flows, B&B chugs, the 18 track length really hinders the experience for me, which I think ties to a good amount of Hip Hop artists and groups at the minute, “streaming friendly” is something that will continue to grow over this year and I’m not sure i’m going to enjoy that.

I’ll still listen to it, I’ll still support Post Malone. But I won’t be recommending Beerbongs & Bentleys.

 

Bailey Armstrong

 

 

Diplo feat. Lil Xan – Colour Blind – Single Review

I want to address one thing first, this EP is just great, some of the artist featured I have fallen in love with over the last few months. I eventually got to “Color Blind” with a faint bit of worry, so far I’ve liked one “Lil Xan” record and have yet to listen to his debut album but bloody hell did this surprise me.

Diplo has always been a producer that I was never going to follow, i’ve never been an EDM fan so it’s easy to miss releases like this but when I saw the line up for his “california” EP i couldn’t really miss out and I was completely right to give it a try.

For me this single does more for Xan than Diplo, it brings him out massively, his previous big hitters were on the slow side, slight no hoper vibes in his lyricism is fine but when it’s paired with beats that also fight with melancholic vibes it often gets shrouded and labelled as depressing. This isn’t so different for Diego Leanos but with Diplo’s roaring track behind him it really does propel his talents.

It’s an interesting track that I believe both EDM fans and Trap fans are going to love, personally over that last couple of days I’ve had it on repeat with not much else being able to push it out the way.

There Can Only Be One… Apparently Not

So the time has come again, A film I love is receiving a reboot! This time it’s Highlander. Highlander is fairly special, it came out in 1986 with a French bloke playing a Scot and a Scot playing a Spanish Egyptian bloke, besides casting Highlander is one of cinema’s most brilliant endeavors.

It revolves around a race of people called “immortals” they are as the name suggests immortal and the only way to kill them is to lop off the head, each time an immortal kills another immortal they get stronger until only one remains. Pretty simple plot right? Wrong none of the first movie counts because the sequels happened. But disregarding them we have a great simple film with a score by Queen.

Anyway the whole point I’m making a post is because they want to make a “reboot” which has been penned by the bloke who recently wrote the Rampage movie but that’s not the dumb part, the thing that should really annoy you is the “We’re making John Wick but with swords” and the “We have to make sure the ending can lead to a sequel” parts, It is incredibly worrying, especially seen as about 3 people are going to watch it.

I hope it’s good but I can’t see that happening. All I ask is that Doogle is in it

From Gucci Gang to Podcasts

I feel as though since my last post I was expected to do a comeback and tear through the industry sneering and sniggering at “real journalists” for not understanding the true meaning of music. I am talking as if I have spent days in the desert learning the craft like no one before has. I plan to return to reviewing music. I plan to watch bands and acts this year. I plan to rule the world. I plan to end hate. I plan to bring peace. I plan to be Britain’s saviour, I plan to change how young people feel about life. It’s funny to look and observe young English people. Depression is high in them, sadness runs their life from birth until death at the fine old age of 28 when you realise that we secretly live under a glass ceiling.

Fuck the rich. Fuck the poor. Fuck your common beliefs. I have no excuse for the language but to me it makes me feel different. I think we are due a revolution and I’d happily lead it.

My 2017 was weird, I got into stuff that I never really thought i would like “Gucci Gang” sucked and I think we all knew that but before that dropped I don’t think people were really acknowledging the alternative side to hip hop and rap. I’m not claiming to know a lot but “Lil Pump” was signed to “88 Rising” who had a phenomenal year but they hold some fantastic artists in that genre of music with genuine talent who aren’t unheard of. That was a really long tangent on me trying to say I enjoy the work of some artists on that label from “Rich Brian” to “Joji” and even Korea’s own “Keith Ape” and i’ve even left off some pretty good names with that short list. What am I trying to say? I’m not particularly sure I suppose I’m saying I’ve evolved slightly, my love for alternative has shifted and now includes more genre’s. I don’t think anything will surpass “The Smiths” but I let them rest a lot this year. “Post Malone” took a big place in my heart this year but so did “Blaenavon” In fact they probably beat “Mac Demarco” in best live show, they didn’t do anything super special like Mac but they to me are the perfect young English band, they feel familiar, they feel life I do.

I always say I have good things in life and I still do but most other things still suck.

I will return to Half a Music Blog one day, I have to do it, if not I wont have any readers and I need readers to read this. Plus who cares anyway? ME

My Hiatus and Other Boring Nonsense

It’s been a while… A long while to be precise and to be honest a reason for my absence has totally vacated my mind. Music has still been quite a large part of my life since but I haven’t felt the need to write about it. Since we last conversed I visited a very soggy but wonderful Y Not, I oggled at the fireworks above Stereophonics and swayed rhythmically to Blaenavon (Who I am most excited to see in November). I spent a lot of time in the rave tent feeling very out of place, for a larger man I am still quite distant and unseen, as if people are unaware of my pure existence, never the less I rather enjoyed myself. Letting go of that shallow feeling and judgment. Letting go is the purest you can humanly feel. Drugs were abundant, I stayed as straight as ever with the stuff not touching a thing for a worry of death for I know not of drugs or their affects. It was another great experience, different from last year but still great.

Life is very slow currently for me, not bad, but not good. Certain aspects are great whilst others lag behind as if it were a yobo playing with a trolley behind the back of a run down Tesco, that kind of analogy perfectly sums it up. I feel particularly interested in the way people tick recently and with the current outrage at a very charming man I became very political for subsequent minute. My beloved Morrissey made a joke to which the British media and public made a joke out of themselves, their brash and bullish ways continue to astound me. Is this really the Britain I grew up admiring? Or is it it’s lost forgotten brother, wasting away, suffocating on it’s last breath? I feel shame and I see no light at the end of a privately owned tunnel. Can we blame the young? Can we blame the old? Can we blame anyone? They all scream, looking for a scapegoat. Bring me the head of “Jezza” Corbyn and Theresa May on a silver platter only then will the world settle, only then the British public will resolve it’s issues. Well we can hope can’t we?

Prime – Bye Bye Single Review

A relatively new adventure for me this week, Prime a local band who has made name for itself touting the classic rock set but I’ve had the pleasure of having an early butchers at the new single “Bye Bye”.

To me this doesn’t remind much of american pop  90’s rock but more of the Britpop era, early Britpop before Oasis hit the scene shouting obscenities and making brilliant music you had the equally brilliant calm before the storm so to speak, the early “Inspiral Carpets” tracks give me the same vibe catchy lyrics filled with a lot of great musicians and again this is what I get from “Bye Bye”. Lee Heir’s strong catchy vocals mixed with an eclectic but decent track makes this feel like a perfect way to see out March and welcome spring.

There is a slight melancholic tone to the song, for me that helps it shows off the band’s true roots and it’s background being a mix of Notts and sheffield folk, both cities having the same problem, bleakness and being altogether boring but it helps Prime for me have soul which gives the music more meaning. Sheffield has clearly had a big impact on the band you only have to look at its bigger groups to see the trend from Arctic Monkeys to Human League, the lyrics run deep, poppy and catchy but deep all the same.

For me this is how i’d like Prime to stay for the foreseeable future I liked “To Be Or Not To Be” to a certain extent, something to play in the background but for me “Bye Bye” is a stronger track, a lot stronger and Lee’s vocals excel more here than they did then.

I really enjoyed Bye Bye. Prime are a strong band with a lot of talent, but for me I will have to hear more to really pass out my judgement on them.


Bailey Armstrong

Ashfields Rock Bodega To The Ground

It’s taken me a few days to get back here and since I last reviewed something i’ve had a great time, on the 8th of March I had the great pleasure of seeing Ashfields launch their Brand New EP “New Skin” into all our faces and ears.

Ashfields played a brilliant set of new and old tracks which had a packed crowd screaming every single lyric back at them and the best thing about the whole night was seeing the smiles and genuine delight on the bands face, they have worked so hard to get to this very point and it has totally paid off for them.

After hearing comparisons to Oasis and how they might be the next iteration of the Manchester rock and roll stars then it might be worth continuing to watch Ashfields and how they might continue to change and develop.

Catch Fire might be the brightest star for pop punk in Notts but Ashfields are definitely the brightest Indie star in the local area.

If I get to doing a review for “New Skin” then stay tuned

Photography by Montanna Rose Canning

Catch Fire Bring Rock City Down!

I never knew how a band could kick off an EP release until last night. Catch Fire launched a brand new EP on Friday and I was Lucky enough to attend the Rock City gig. I have already labeled Catch Fire as Nottingham’s brightest Pop Punk star and i fully stand by that, to be well and truly honest they blew my squirtle themed socks off.

The band really looked in their element last night loving every second of it, the audience shared that emthusiasm, from a mini mosh pit to screaming the lyrics to every song.
They played an acoustic number for us, one they said they only play at Rock City called “Introspective pt. II” from the first EP, for me that was the highest point, seeing the smile on the bands faces as the crowd emotionally sang along to a very personal song, it simply made my night.

It all felt very personal, as if you were involved in a secret club watching what could be a massive band for years to come, to use a cliché, it felt as if we were witnessing a bit of history.

If you can see Catch Fire i can’t say it enough but see them, learn the lyrics and scream them back at the band that has worked so hard to reach this point. I plan on reviewing the EP so stay tuned for that.

Bailey Armstrong signing off.

Photography by Montanna Rose Canning