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Abby Holden – Time On My Wrist. ALBUM REVIEW

It was nearly 5 years ago when I first heard the fantastic Abby Holden, it’s fair to say I was hooked on her music within moments. The New Zealander is one of the few artists that can master both the stripped-back tunes and the club bangers in equal measure (plus her cover of Crowded House classic ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ is marvellous!). It was the remix of ‘Strange Affection’ which got my attention immediately and I still see this as a favourite of mine. I could talk about Abby’s past music for a long time, but I want to speak about her brand new album. TIME ON MY WRIST is the 4th album from Abby (I hope I got that right) and it again is filled with some incredibly varied tracks.

Opening with ‘Long Way To Go’, the first track is a mellow intro to the album. One thing I can say is that Abby can always surprise me, and that is no easy feat. After swaying side to side to this ballad, I then find myself suddenly in dance mode. The next song reminds me of Coldplay’s ‘True Love’, ‘It’s You’ is a slow build to upping the tempo for what is about to come. ‘Jukebox’ features some great lines being dropped by Abby Holden and we get some solid Hip-Hop/R&B vibes from here. The title track again evolves the sound and ‘Time On My Wrist’ feels like homage to the 90’s/00’s R&B acts while making its own mark as a catchy and addictive song.

Moving on to ‘Play’, the mood to dance is still there from an electronica style, and this only continues with ‘Over Turning’ which itself just provides yet another edge to this portfolio we are experiencing. ‘Run’ feels like a more serious track with a truly wonderful beat. I am sure many people will look to a deeper meaning to this tune, but the same can’t be said for ‘Say Ha Oop’ which is just a fun groovy cut that concludes this album. All I will say is that if Haim need a bit of help with some tunes, Abby has them covered. How can so much variety be in one album?

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This is a great album, but it is over incredibly fast. Eight songs are really not enough, but there is plenty more music from Abby Holden that you can get your teeth into. Need I say more? Treat yourself to this great piece of pop/electronica/dance/R&B and all the other genres that come to life.

Final rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

TIME ON MY WRIST is available now to buy on iTunes and listen on Spotify!

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Katrina Marie Interview!

When I used to present on radio, Katrina Marie was one of the first musicians to agree to an interview. Coming from the United States, Katrina has seen her music presented to thousands of people over the years. Her album ‘Wake Up’ was a favourite of mine and I still enjoy hearing it today, but now I am pleased to say that Katrina has agreed for another chat today to see what has been happening recently…

JC: Its been a few years since we spoke and now you are fronting your own band, how is life leading a band?

KM: I love being in a band. I always felt so lonely playing by myself. I used to ask audience members to come up and sing with me so I wasn’t up on stage alone. Its way more fun being part of a team. The group I’m working with is made up of a bunch of pros who have had a ton of experience performing so they have taught me a lot. They are supportive of my original music and genuinely love playing the soul/blues/rock genres so I’m lucky to work with them. The only thing I might add is a female member. The guys are awesome but it would be nice to have another girl around!

JC: I remember when I first heard your music was when I heard the song Wake Up, still a favourite of mine. How did you come to write that track?

KM: Hate to spoil any magic for anyone but “Wake Up” wasn’t a personal song. The hook just kind of came to me. I rarely write songs with instruments so this one just popped into my head and I wrote it very quickly, just kind of humming along. Once I realized what the song was about, I wrote verses that completed the message. Typically I write lyrics and melodies at the same time.

JC: The album Wake Up featured a great collection of tracks, do all the tracks have a special and/or personal meaning to them?

KM: Back when I wrote the album “Wake Up,” I was trying to promote myself as a songwriter. I just wanted to be behind the scenes getting a high off of writing exciting songs for well-known artists. The idea of fame sounded terrible to me. I just wanted my songs to be famous. Does that make sense? Most of the tracks were not personal, just written with other vocalists on mind. But since I didn’t have a dime to my name I decided, “Hey, why not just sing my own songs and shoot some videos so I don’t have to pay for promotion.”

JC: The new album When There Is No Color is out now. How does this album compare to the previous releases?

KM: My new album is different in that it is 100% raw and personal. I’m not sure if I did it because I was owning who I was as a mature songwriter or if I just needed to get shit out. Probably a combination of the two. I remember taking the song “Not Afraid” to my writing buddy Dave Cohen. He listened to it and said “Sounds like we’re heading in the direction of a blues album.” Never thought I would end up singing the blues, but I guess life takes you there sometimes.

JC: What was the biggest challenge when making the new album?

KM: Recording! I hate recording. I get stressed out when singing doesn’t feel natural. I think there’s two songs on the album that we ended up doing in one vocal take. It’s a lot easier pretending to sing live.

JC: Many musicians have some strange ways to help them relax and keep their vocals in check, is there anything special you do to keep yourself in check (not saying you do anything strange)?

KM: I’m literally the worst when it comes to taking care of my voice. I’ve had very minimal vocal training and I used to work as a teacher so I’ve had every cold known to man. Possible reason for why my voice can be so gravelly. My saving grace is hot loose leaf green tea. As far as relaxing goes…um…bourbon.

JC: With the new album out, are you going to be out performing any shows soon?

KM: Yes! We’re gonna be playing at an outdoor summer concert series in Westford, MA on August 6th. Come hang with us. You can keep up with future shows on our website KatrinaMarieBand.com

JC: Is there any songs you didn’t get to put into the new album, and will ever be revealed?

KM: Just one song that we decided wasn’t cohesive enough to put with the others. It was about a loved one who helped me get on my feet after trying times. It’s been hanging out on my computer for a couple years. Perhaps one day I will let it loose. I’ve also got a bunch of new songs hanging out in my head. I think I will write my next album with the audience in mind. Next mission: How can I show my band and our audience a good time?

JC: Last question, who in music today would you like to collaborate with and why?

KM: Would love to collaborate with Paul McCartney. Or maybe I just wanna rack his brain over a drink or two. Some of the first songs I ever heard were written by him. It would be nice to learn from his experiences. He must have a lot of crazy ones.

 

You can see Katrina Marie on YouTube and her latest album ‘When There Is No Color’ is available to download on iTunes now https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/when-there-is-no-color/id1189187067! Also look her up on the website http://www.katrinamarieband.com

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MY INTERVIEW WITH KRIGARÈ

Starting off 2017 with a bang, KRIGARÈ is definitely one of the greatest singer-songwriter’s to come onto the scene. Previously releasing music under Kennedy Noel, Krigaré has proved to be a strong presence and a great change from her previous persona. With songs such as ‘Falling Apart’ making me want to punch the air and ‘Sleeping Awake’ taking my breath away, I knew it was time to finally have a catch up with Kennedy/Krigaré to see how everything was going and find out more about that EP.

 

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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Krigarè – Sleeping Awake. Single Review

How great is this girl? Bringing her third some under the Krigarè moniker, Kennedy brings another fantastic addition to her collection with this banger!

‘Sleeping Awake’ is surely a pop-influenced track compared to the first two songs, but this still hits hard. What I always enjoy about Kennedy is that she doesn’t shy away from singing about her experiences, this track is brimming with personal nods to her own life and what she has been through.

I never tire from hearing Kennedy’s music. Truly one of the nicest musicians on the planet and a soul which you need to hear as she pushes the boundaries of music by crafting these brilliant tunes. Hopefully we aren’t too far away from the eventual E.P. due for release later this year.

Final rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

You can hear the song on Spotify and buy now on iTunes!

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Single Review: Harry Styles – Sign of the Times

By Joanna Cosgrove

Background
Harry has been a quiet, secretive man recently, head down in writing music and finishing the filming for his (technically) acting debut in Christopher Nolan’s war flick Dunkirk, but now we have seen what musical talent he has left over from his One Direction days. But now it’s him, and him alone, and he has taken himself down a different route.

With a post of a photo from a possible album shoot, stating the title “Sign of the Times” and today’s date (7th April) – and now we got that song! It’s been a long time, so let’s see how this re-introduction has been.

The Song
The song, straightaway, you can feel this isn’t the Harry Styles from One Direction. This man has matured, grown, and he has experienced his fair share in life; you can feel it all from the slow piano-led introduction.

Styles’ vocals have changed and honestly, improved. Not that he had a horrific singing voice prior, but it’s a lot stronger and much more confident. The song quickly builds up to a strong verse, as the percussion comes in, and if vocals can overshadow the drum beats, you’re doing something right – and Styles definitely is!

Let’s discuss that beautiful falsetto, that appears a fair few times throughout the tune. Styles puts his heart into every reach of a high note, and it doesn’t sound forced or pushed; it feels natural, and it feels passionate, and matches the change of key perfectly. Styles has always been known in his old boyband for having one of the best range of vocals, and when you give him five minutes for himself, you can tell that is 100% true. It tugs at the listeners’ hearts as his lyrics speak out, discuss how tears are just “a sign of the times”, which suggests a yearning to leave the anger and sadness behind to move forward into a better and easier environment.

This story can speak to a wide range of people, young and old, men and women. That’s how you know your song’s story is worthy: when a whole population of different people can hear it and picture a moment in their lives when they felt they had to sit and ask “why be here when I am not getting anywhere?”

Styles’ debut solo gives the feeling of a classic power ballad from the 1990s, and as he stated in interviews (particularly from the BBC Radio 1 interview with Nick Grimshaw), he had to work his own influences from songs he learnt and loved from his childhood, listening to what his parents enjoyed. That is evident when you hear the instruments work together, along with Styles’ strong but sensitive lyrics and voice, to give those older listeners a nostalgia trip. I’m sure they would sigh, lean back, and remember.

To conclude, this song is a great step towards a successful solo career, and I will support Harry as he continues this new and scary journey as I have and will with the other members. He knows his former 1D audience have grown and matured with him, and in a way, this song shows that he sees the fans are no longer the boy-crazy teenagers they once were. They have changed, their music tastes have broadened, and Harry is no stranger to change himself so he is welcoming them all.

Adults: don’t groan and shake your head! Give this a listen and I swear you will listen to it again. And again. And again.

Rating: 4/5

Harry Styles’ Solo Debut “Sign of the Times” Coming 7th April

By Joanna Cosgrove

We thought he was gone. We didn’t know when he was gonna come back into our lives. But now, it’s finally been revealed what Harry Styles has been working on during his career silence.

We know he is to appear in war flick Dunkirk (which in turn will teach a lot of teenagers about the war, while they support their favourite boyband member), and he has been writing songs with and for other artists here and there, but finally it has been revealed that out of nowhere, Harry is coming back to our ears with a solo single. His very first!

Styles announced on his Instagram account (@harrystyles) recently that his first single, titled “Sign of the Times”, is coming – this Friday!

Yes, on Friday 7th April, Harry Styles will be releasing his debut solo single. This announcement was accompanied by a promotional photo, suspected to be the single cover when it’s released.

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I personally cannot wait until Friday, so we can all hear this. Will it be different? If so, how different? Where will his influences be coming from?

I’ll keep you all updated and I can assure you, a full single review will be uploaded as soon as I hear the song.

Let’s all wait together!

Holly Holden – Tropical Soul. E.P. REVIEW

Born in London and having a huge link to Cuban and Caribbean sounds, there is definitely a fusion of sounds and flavours to take in from this artist. I can’t name many artists who can seamlessly go between singing in English and then to a Spanish tongue, but Holly works it so well. Self-producing your own music is not easy, but Holly and her fantastic group make this sound like a great production.

The soul vibes begin from the opening track ‘El Impulso’, Holly immediately impresses with the blendless back and forth of the languages she works so well. The tune comes in with an easy beat and then the party comes to life. Then next on the list is ‘Run’ and immediately I love the soul/ska blend that comes. If the first track was a display of the European roots, this song is the tribute to the Caribbean vibes which Holly and her band have truly embraced over the years.

Listening to this E.P. makes me think I am taking a trip around the world and each song is a new destination. ‘Dead Coral’ was a dance number in which I feel the need to don my Cuban heels and hit the dancefloor. England has made a great name for itself with many great ska acts, and I would think maybe The Specials have been a big influence on the track ‘Mellow Drama’ (If I am wrong, I won’t be upset with being corrected, it is just my opinion and I mean it in a positive way). Hearing this song makes me wish that Holly Holden could maybe collaborate with miss Millie Manders for a track or two (please make it happen!).

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‘Benji Muji Mau’ is fun, energetic and continues this party that we have been enjoying for the last 15 minutes. Then the closing track ‘Born At The Right Time’ allows the release to come to a nice climax. Reflecting on this last song and the E.P. as a whole, there isn’t many acts who can make songs that sound both original and inspired. The blend of influences is surely the winning factor for Holly’s music and I hope she has her passport in hand to help create the next release! An inspired experience and one I had to hear twice in a row because it was a fine one for 2017!

The E.P. is due for release this spring.

Final Rating: 9/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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TOP SONGS OF 2016 (5-1)

Well, this is the finale! After the last few days of seeing what got us to this point, I can finally reveal my five favourite songs of the year. We have a group of singers who do rock covers in a lounge style and the big finale from an icon! Read on now for my top 5 of 2016!

  1. We Signal Fire – When The World Starts To Break

During my radio days and even now, I enjoy listening to new and upcoming artists. Manilla PR have definitely been superb in providing top quality acts to my ears. We Signal Fire really impressed me with this track. It is 6 minutes of great rock from a superb Manc band! They may list The Foos, Incubus and Deftones as influences, but they definitely make themselves sound very unique and will surely have many hits to come in the next few years.

  1. Biffy Clyro – Re-arrange

Biffy Clyro are undoubtedly one of the greatest bands in the world. With the previous two albums being filled with many hits, ELLIPSIS had a lot to prove. Luckily, the album was a Number One hit and the tracks are all great. ‘Re-Arrange’ is possibly the best song on the album because it just reinvents the band but retains their signature sound which has charmed and entertained fans for years. The new album proves Biffy have got a lot more to come.

  1. The Lounge Kittens – Africa

This fantastic trio of female vocalists blew me away earlier this year. When I heard their cover of ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’, I knew this was going to be a great band to enjoy. Following them on YouTube, they released a video for a cover of the Toto hit ‘Africa’ and my jaw hit the ground. This song was indeed fantastic, it paid homage to the original so well and just sends a shiver down your spine throughout. Also, the album SEQUINS AND C-BOMBS is fantastic, make sure you listen to it!

  1. Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend

Arguably one of the biggest bands in the world, they can still impress today even on their seventh album! A HEAD FULL OF DREAMS is crammed with big tunes and so many do hit the mark. This track, a partial collaboration with Beyoncé, was so catchy and would even get the most stubborn person up and dancing. The track itself is very uplifting and is guaranteed to put a smile upon your face (kinda quoting an old song there, did you catch that one?).

  1. David Bowie – Lazarus

So, we have reached my number one song of the year. The question is, why is this the best of the year? We can bring this back to just days before his untimely death. The song features an opening line that says “Look up here, I’m in heaven”. Just a few days later, this song then made a lot of sense to a lot of people. This was his goodbye to the world, he wasn’t necessarily hiding it, but nobody actually knew this until he died. The feeling of the song is a hard hit to the chest; you do feel emotion on some level from this track. The song was emotional enough, just that music video just a few days before he died (the video debuted on his 69th birthday) really pushed people to tears and this is a track that fans will mourn David Bowie with. But it shouldn’t be to mourn, this beautiful and gripping track will always be his goodbye message to his fans and it will standout as one of the greatest songs he ever released. R.I.P. David Bowie.

What did you think, would you have put Bowie at Number 1? Who else should have been in the list? Comment below and let me know!

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Concert Review: Panic! At The Disco – Alexandra Palace, London, 19.11.16

By Joanna Cosgrove

This year has been one of the greatest for the pop-punk band (technically a one-man-band at this point), and as it began with some great UK shows by Mr. Brendon Urie and his tour band, it’s only right to end the year with some too.

At London’s own Alexandra Palace, Urie made his debut at the beautiful venue that Saturday night, and brought every last bit of that charismatic and sparkling personality we all know and we all sure as hell love.
With his tour band, consisting of guitarist Kenneth Harris, bassist Dallon Weekes and drummer Dan Pawlovich, Urie rocked the place all night long, never missing a beat or skipping a note (but in fact added some extra high notes, as he does them oh so well). With a nostalgic throwback to the 2000s era of the band, mixing in a fair share of the newer tracks in the band’s repertoire, the night was a sure success among all fans in attendance, young and old.

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The show began with an opener of the Black Eyed Peas’ hit “Pump It”, but that wasn’t a long-laster. It was just a short warm-up, getting everyone pumped for the experience that was about to begin. It worked! Because as soon as that music faded and the beginning notes of Death of a Bachelor hit “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” echoed, everyone was dancing and screaming and singing and – if they were like me – were jumping in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the man behind the voice.
Nothing sparks a fire in the crowd more than the LA devotee himself screaming his welcomes at his “motherf*ckers” in the audience of over 100,000 before him. There was not one moment on stage where Urie stopped and breathed – he kept going, kept his feet moving and hit every note he needed to.

I would personally say one of the surprise hits on the setlist was the Fever track “Time To Dance”, because of that fact itself: it’s a track from the band’s debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, which was released over 11 years ago. And yet, Urie added this non-single track because obviously, he knows what his audience loves to hear. Everyone in the place was singing along, dedicated to every word of that track, singing their lungs out for the love of their emo idol on that stage.
Another stunner that night was the performance of newer track “Crazy=Genius” from Death of a Bachelor. The energy was electric, and the roaring 20s feel shook through everyone on the floor, but how could you make that effect even greater? Two words: drum off! That’s right, some stage-hands brought on a second drum kit so Urie himself could play alongside/battle against Pawlovich in a once-in-a-lifetime breakdown in the middle of the track. If crazy equals genius, then Urie sure is a rocket scientist! We know of his musical talents, among multiple instruments (as demonstrated on his 2016 release), but to see it with your own eyes just makes the fact so much clearer. It was time to pinch; this was NO dream!
And what’s a Panic! concert without that one song? That ONE single? You hear the beginning notes, you freak out because of course “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” was going to be played. One does not simply go to a Panic! concert without expecting that song. Introduced as “one of our newer songs, so don’t worry if you don’t know the words”, met with an obvious giggle from the crowd, every single fan had that bond for a few short minutes because no matter if you’re an old fan, or newly getting into the band, you know this song. This was the song.

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And I can’t finish this without a mention of a regular now in Panic! concerts, which everyone expected as soon as they saw Urie make that stroll up to the grand piano on the highest platform of the stage. “This isn’t a Panic! song, but I wish it was”, said Urie as he prepared. This was time for “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
As I began with, 2016 has been a massive year for Panic! At The Disco, and this song was one of the reasons. As well as being released as a studio recording as part of the soundtrack for the DC movie Suicide Squad, Panic! has made this classic rock hit a regular in their concerts and every fan gets excited about this as much as they do about the original Panic! hits. It’s that song that brought us all together, swaying, singing, some were crying. It shows that the whole room, they are a family; every one of us are one large family. That is what a fandom should be. What we felt in that moment. One family.

Overall, with the performances and the interactions with the crowd (Urie spreading his love among the thousands in front of him), there was never a dull moment that night.

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This was Panic! At The Disco’s first performance ever at the Alexandra Palace. Thank god we made it a memorable one!

Rating: 5/5

Hot Sauce Pony – Fenced In. REVIEW

Punk is possibly one of the greatest revolutions in music history, and today it still exists and remains ever so popular. Hot Sauce Pony give us 2 minutes of that punk rock which many people grew up listening to. It gets you straight from the first second, it gets you moving and you are shocked at how quick it is over.

Though a relatively new band, Brixton Hillbilly Record Club showcase them and I know they have made a great decision. At such a short length, you won’t get bored listening to this stunner of a track and the replay value is there.

If the chance comes, I would happily hear more from this South London band. There is an energy that buzzes from them and a fire which is aching to be set free.

P.S. its available now with Gaygirl – Dance To Death through the following link: https://www.rdjrecordings.com/Shop/DownloadDetails?rid=RDJ_RE_14

Final rating: 8/10

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

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