Chase and Status debut new track ‘Control’ featuring Slaves

Chase and Status have been around for a while, pioneering the surge of English garage drum and bass, whilst having recent releases with various grime MC’s as part of their ‘London Bars’ project. Their well known heavy, electric sound has thumped through radios, clubs and stereos for over ten years now and by teaming up with Slaves they’re certainly expanding their creative horizons.

The song starts off with Isaac Holman’s vocals howling “order are orders are orders are orders are orders” over some dubbed down electro bass. From the off you’re absorbed by the sinisterness of the track, anticipating Chase and Status’ trade mark crashing chorus and Holman’s roar. Punk rock meets hardcore drum and bass, what could possible be better? This track is probably one of the most hard hitting, guitar thrashing tunes I’ve heard for a while and to see Slaves getting recognition in genres like this and grime, shows the current diversity of English music.

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As repetitive as the lyrics are, they have a clear message telling society to take control of themselves and don’t turn into the man, or woman, that they don’t want to be. Nowadays lyrics don’t have to be complex, just a big boot in the face to the people listening to track that could potentially change their outlook on life; Isaac Holman, in this song, does this brilliantly.

As much as I like the tune I can’t help but feel the build up and chorus, throughout never really change and as much as this is, normally, a trademark of Chase and Status’, this unfortunately makes the song seem a bit ‘meh’ at some points. It is still a track that is definitely worth checking out though. Both bands are unbelievable individually and together they do nothing but create a provocative and ferocious tune. With Slaves hinting at a new album and Chase and Status producing new music, it seems 2016 is going to be a very successful year for both two pieces and ‘Control’ is only the start of their year of dominance.

Rating: 7/10

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Control is officially released on the 24th of February.

Review: Oscar- Sometimes

Today Oscar shared his brand new music video for ‘Sometimes’, his latest single that will feature on his debut album ‘Cut and Paste’ due to be released on the 13th of May. The song is a synth influenced Brit Pop belter that will have you shaking your head and repeating the lyrics within seconds, the contagious chorus is rich with melodic vocals from Scheller and an instantly recognisable guitar riff.

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Writing many of his songs in his bedroom, Oscar is the perfect example of the DIY aesthetic that has been missing from the indie rock/pop music scene of recent years. As the tune progresses the song becomes increasingly addictive with repetitive keyboards and drum beats complementing one another;  every time I listen to the track it just gets better and better. The song was originally released as part of his ep that came out in 2014, which was entitled ‘146b’, but with a few minor adaptations Oscar has made the song louder, beefier and into a soon to become festival favourite. I actually managed to catch him performing the track at Latitude festival last summer and people of all ages were enjoying  the vibe under a warm sunset, the kind of setting that this song epitomises.

Set in America, the music video is brilliantly weird and shows Oscar playing his guitar in various different locations with a variety of teams of all activities, from vape smoking to square dancing. It’s a vibrant, colourful and cheery video that will brighten up the start of your week of work and a song that will end the gloomy and cold winter that we’ve had.

Rating: 8/10

 

Another great song by Oscar…

 

4 reasons why Glastonbury shouldn’t have booked Coldplay

It was revealed yesterday that Coldplay, the kings of gold standard average music, are set to headline the Sunday slot at Worthy Farm. I think this is a lazy and predictable decision for the following reasons.

1) Coldplay have headlined the festival 3 times already.

For a start the band have headlined the festival on an average of every 4-5 years since 2002. Of course this isn’t Coldplay’s fault as the Eavis family are the ones booking the band but this surely shows a lack of imagination and thought going into arguably the World’s biggest festival, at this moment in time. Glastonbury is meant to showcase a variety of musical talent and by resorting to Coldplay as the first announced headliners they have truly contradicted the image of their festival. Who actually sat down and said that it would be a great idea to have Coldplay coming to Glastonbury for a seventh time and the fourth time as a headliner?

2) Coldplay are playing 4 Wembley Stadium dates this summer.

Coldplay have a massive summer ahead of them. With a huge tour that covers three major continents, their true fans from the U.K could catch them at one of their seven major stadium dates. So why did Emily and Michael Evis feel the need to book them when they will be performing to 532,000 fans this summer in England and Scotland alone? It will just be the same set over and over again and yes they may have a couple of guest appearances but who from? Beyonce and Rihanna? Haven’t we seen enough of this celebrity culture forced upon us music fans?

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3) WE NEED NEW HEADLINERS

Coldplay headlining Glastonbury annoys me as there are so many spectacular bands that would equally step up and perform a spine tingling, hair raising and headline worthy performance. Look at Massive Attack for example, a long with Portishead, they were the pioneers of the Bristol Trip-Hop scene and have just released a stunning ep featuring the likes of Tricky, Young Fathers and Roots Manuva. With many other great albums under their belt it is about time that Glasto were brave enough to give bands like Massive Attack the chance to make a name for themselves on the highest of international platforms. How is modern music going to evolve if festivals don’t give a variety of bands the chance to headline? Franz Ferdinand are another great example of an outfit that could create a brilliant performance, especially as they are just as big as the likes of Kasabian and would undoubtedly give a better performance than Chris Martin and co.

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4) Coldplay are nothing but mediocre

If I could compare the booking of Coldplay to anything then it would be like going to a service station with your family wanting a McDonalds but getting a cold sandwich from WH Smiths. Or alternatively going to get some biscuits from the cupboard and seeing digestives instead of custard creams, it’s nothing but a disappointment. Coldplay’s target audience are 30-40 year olds who want to stay current and act like they have musical interests when really they have none at all. People say that your music taste represents your personality and this is worrying considering how many people seem to say they like Coldplay. They will perform a set that critics will say they love but have seen time and time again over the past 14 years, they’ll be nothing special but offer a near satisfactory set that viewers will fall asleep to after 15 minutes and wake up for ‘Paradise’ as an encore.

It’s a shame that Coldplay are the first booking for this year’s Glastonbury but it seems to have satisfied some festival goers; we are just going to have to hope for a better Friday and Saturday night booking. Maybe the Eavis family need to go back to their roots and think about why they started this festival in the first place?

REVIEW: RAT BOY- Tracks featuring Casso Clay

Today has been an eventful day for music but something that has been overshadowed is RAT BOY’s release of ‘Tracks’- a B side to his single ‘Move’. Casso Clay is the featuring artist on the tune, a rapper from London who was born in 1904 (according to his twitter). Clay has been making a name for himself this past year with several drops on soundcloud, many have been well received and rightfully so as all of them are catchy bangers. His feature starts off the song and sets the track up brilliantly, with the help of a funky, repetitive baseline that runs throughout the whole song. What makes Casso Clay so great is his lyrics all seem so relevant and relatable, similar to Cardy, and this is why the song works so well.

When RAT BOY kicks in over his hip hop instrumentals, he manages to emphasise the quality of this track and his rhymes are equally as clever and socially relevant as Clay’s. The voices of Cardy and Clay complement each other brilliantly and it’s nice to see RAT BOY throwing in some more samples of politicians in the song, a similar voice to the man at the end of ‘Knock Knock’ on the ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ mixtape. In my opinion, the b side is better than ‘Wasteman’, on his ‘Fake ID’ ep, but not as good as ‘Left For Dead’, on his ‘Sign On’ single, but then again I think Left For Dead is his best song to date.

As good as the song is, the only part that I didn’t like was the trumpet samples that digress in and out of the song, but that was only because they reminded me of the spy missions on Club Penguin. Overall this song is a well produced b side to “Move” and one that is definitely well worth a listen.

Rating: 7/10

REVIEW: Catfish and the Bottlemen- Souncheck

If you haven’t heard of Catfish and the Bottlemen by now, then you have probably passed out for the last year and a half and suddenly woken up again. Their debut album was a huge success, going gold in the UK and reaching the top ten of the album charts. Today they released the lead single from their second album, due to drop later this year; the song is entitled ‘Soundcheck’ and doesn’t express a huge change from their earlier tracks. I used to be a big fan of the band, seeing them 3 times in one year but recently I have gone off ‘Balcony’ and this song failed to excite me at all.

The song starts off with Van McCann’s signature muted down guitar and soothing vocals that howl about how he “doesn’t act the way he used to” because he “doesn’t feel the same” about whoever he is mourning about. Unfortunately, for me, these lyrics and guitar riffs are too similar to their debut album and they really are not quite the stadium fillers that the band want to produce.

Something that I do really like about this song is the fuzzy, almost Black Keys like, guitar riff that builds up to the chorus, which is fairly dull by the second time round. However the  bridge is very powerful and arguably, musically, the best aspect of any Catfish and the Bottlemen single that has been released. It’s a shame because this part, on its own, is not only compelling but musically interesting too; the rest of the song just seems annoyingly weak and rushed. It’s a fact that this record will still sell and die hard Bottlemen fans will be pleased with the outcome but, when looking at the single with an open mind, it really wasn’t worth the build up of a year and a half. Van and Co quoted “I feel like the last album was the support band, or even the soundcheck and this one’s the headliner,” but I have to disagree, songs like ‘Pacifier’ and ‘Rango’ blow this out of the water and seem like the headliner with ‘Soundcheck’ being the 1:30 slot on the Festival Republic stage at Reading and Leeds.

Although this was not the best of songs, it is good to see Catfish headlining some festivals this year- including Liverpool’s sound city and Truck Festival, both events expressing an amazing line up. They are also set to play the likes of Kendall Calling and Y Not? which equally have impressive bills, featuring Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Madness.

Truck Festival (July 15)
Kendall Calling (July 28)
Y Not Festival (July 29)
Rating: 4/10 (Sorry Catfish fans).

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R.I.P Viola Beach

Today brought the tragic news that up and coming indie band Viola Beach had died in a car crash whilst in Sweden. Hailing from Liverpool, the group were meant to be touring with bands like Blossoms this year and playing gigs in the Brighton Concorde and even the BBC Introducing stage at SXSW, all potentially defining moments for the boys.

It came as a shock to the world of music and many bands have left their condolences for their friends and family: Peace, The Courteeners and Jack Garratt all took to twitter to pay their respect. As well as the band, their tour manager Craig Tarry was in the car that fell 80 feet off a bridge and into the canal. It is devastating to hear of such a tragedy especially as we have lost the likes of David Bowie, Lemmy and Glenn Frey in the past month. The band from Warrington released an ep last month featuring the tracks ‘Boys That Sing’ and ‘Like A Fool’, two very catchy songs and both great follow ups to their debut single ‘Swings and Waterslides’. These songs were not the only signals of their coming success – they were praised regularly from Radio 1 and DJs like Huw Stephens who highlighted the 4 piece as one of the rising stars to watch out for in 2016. This recognition then lead to the band recording a session in the famous Maida Vale studios in November 2015.

The band had just played a music festival in Sweden called ‘Where’s The Music’ in Norrköping and Psykofant, a 5 piece punk outfit, hailed their set: John Hugo said “they gave an amazing final performance”. Compared to the likes of The Beatles, there is no doubt that Viola Beach had a huge career ahead of them and although they’re lost, the band will never be forgotten among Liverpool’s thriving indie scene.

Respect goes out to the family and friends of Kris Leonard, 19, River Reeves, 19, Jack Dakin, 24, 27-year-old Tomas Lowe and Craig Tarry, 32.

 

 

NME Awards Tour – Cambridge Corn Exchange

Bugzy Malone

Not a lot needs to be said about Bugzy Malone, his Manchester grime aesthetic has been hailed nationally for the past year and live, he arouses what is an intentionally provocative atmosphere that sends grime fanatics into madness. Fans continuously chant back his lyrics, jiving and moshing to what has now become so recognisable as the sound of the North/South London underground scene, with the likes of Wiley, Skepta and Stormzy creating global recognition for the genre.

The Corn Exchange seems like an unlikely venue for Malone but from the start he creates what looks like a cathedral into a sweaty, underground club- dark and dingy, but with a friendly and tribal atmosphere. A few days ago Bugzy released his new single entitled ‘Mosh Pit Gang’ and the crowd welcomed it gratefully into the setlist, dancing in time to the typically grime orchestral rhythms and heavy beats. Throughout the performance, the energy of Bugzy Malone was quite frankly incredible and it showed that the Grime revival is here to stay and be welcomed into modern British music. Tracks in the calibre of ‘Wasteman’ went down particularly well and, unfortunately for Chip, many of the war dubz aimed at him were well received and chanted back to the front man.

Rating: 6/10

RAT BOY

It seems as if every critic is saying that this year will be RAT BOY’s rise to prominence and   with increasingly obnoxious and catchy tunes it is hard to disagree with them. Teenage fans amble towards the stage but it is not long before they’re chanting Cardy’s name, urging the indie teen idol on stage with the rest of his band. When watching Jordan and his mates, Liam on bass, Harry on Lead Guitar and midi pads and Noah on drums, it is hard to believe that they haven’t even been performing live for a year. Their performance is tight with timing issues nowhere to be seen.

Cardy comes on to the stage with a roar from the crowd, all bursting to dance to the first track, which ironically is his new single, ‘Move’- a tune bursting with catchy lyrics and a ‘Beastie Boys-esque’ backing track. RAT BOY also showcases a couple of new songs, one called ‘Knock Knock’, that features on his neighbourhood watch mixtape, and another, ‘Scum’ which will be the title track from his debut album (yet to have a release date). The crowd erupt when experiencing his two lead singles live, with ‘Sign On’ being a crowd favourite and one of the best indie/punk songs of 2015. ‘Sign On’ airs a Blur and Jamie T fusion but stays well and truly under Cardy’s hiphop groove that has become so apparent in his music. He conveys this brilliantly in his live show and proves to be a great front man, often interacting with the audience and signing pieces of merch, including my Drenge tee-shirt… which he politely crossed out to replace with “RAT BOY” and one of his  trademark drawings. The rise of RAT BOY is somewhat of an inevitability and if he carries on producing spectacles like this one, he is sure to have one of the hottest debut albums of the year.

Rating: 8/10

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Cheers RAT BOY

 

Drenge

Drenge have to be, without trying to sound like a 99p Zane Lowe, one of the most enthralling and vicerol live acts I have ever witnessed. The scuzzy, pounding electric guitar and bass compliment the thrashing drums from Rory Loveless who looks, from a distance, like a young Dave Grohl. They start their set off with ‘Never Awake’; a song expressing an emotional struggle but still the audience chant the lyrics back whilst angrily moshing away to the grungy belter. They mix their set perfectly, switching between their self titled debut and ‘Undertow’, which received 9/10 from NME. ‘I Wanna Break You In Half’ was a personal highlight as, although the track barely makes two minutes, it whipped their fans into a frenzy, with the guitar riff being a big kick in the teeth to many other so called “British Rock Bands” out there at the moment.

For 40 minutes the crowd are thoroughly entertained in a sweaty spectacle produced by the best live band currently in Britain. The circle pits expand as the set goes on with more enthusiasts joining the mix and finishing with one of the most perfect finales I have ever seen. Eoin, Rory and Rob, also from the band Wet Nuns, end with ‘Lets Pretend’, which seems to be their favourite to end with. Watching ‘Fuckabout’ was an experience in itself with the fans halting momentarily as if they were possessed: chanting the lyrics back at the band. If you have the chance to see Drenge this year then it is an opportunity that really can’t be missed and they truly deserve to be one of the best bands in Britain at this point in time.

Rating: 9/10

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Bloc Party

With a turn of musical direction in their new album, as well as a new looking line up, it was interesting to see how Bloc Party’s live set would change and how the crowd would react. As ever, Kele Okereke and Co produce a performance that is compelling and shows they still possess the energy they had in 2003. ‘Hymns’ came out a week ago and many of the songs on the album seem to have adapted well to the setlist, with new single ‘The Love Within’ creating a surprisingly wrathful mosh pit; despite its more dancy nature.

It is easy to forget how many hits Bloc Party have, the set predominantly features classics from their first three albums but songs like ‘Octopus’ from ‘Four’ summon the audience to go insane, bouncing up and down in time to the instantly recognisable vocals of Kele. Middle Aged men and Teens united to celebrate one of the most innovative British bands of the 21st Century.  A great array of historic merch was on display too, with adults digging out their tight and old ‘Silent Alarm’ and ‘Intimacy’ tee shirts. This is the type of atmosphere any band would relish and luckily for Bloc Party they had energy in abundance to feed off and transfer into their live performance.

Normally encores consist of a couple of songs, a mediocre track that only a couple of people like and the band’s most famous song. However this was not the case for Bloc Party as they finished with 4 songs, including three of their most acclaimed tracks: these of course being ‘Flux’,’ Helicopter’ and ‘Ratchet’. To end on such a high was a treat for a thoroughly entertained audience and it was almost as if everyone wanted an encore of an encore and why wouldn’t they? They had just seen one of the best British indie rock bands of our generation.

The NME Awards Tour was a massive success, uniting people of all ages in the same venue and it was nice to see Cambridge being put on the map, as a city of music enthusiasts. I just can’t believe that the gig wasn’t sold out as a line up like this shouldn’t be missed.

Rating: 9/10

Bloc Party