Tag Archives: Real Music

Abby Holden – Quadruple Album Review

Abby, an artist from the mystical land of Middle-Earth (also known as New Zealand, I am sure she will hit me for that one), has been on my radar for over seven years. When I first discovered this singer-songwriter, I was immediately hooked by her catchy lyrics and the range of music she holds in her personal portfolio. You fancy a track with a great beat, ‘Strange Affection’ is your jam. How about ‘Kiwi Boy’ if you want a short and sweet hit. Also, there is a certain song which has Abby talking about a certain type of hair (trust me, it’s a damn good track that will tickle you to the core).

Late last year, I got the opportunity to listen to the new Quadruple Album that Abby has just released. Four albums are a lot for any artist, but the combination on show is of a high quality throughout. So, where do we begin? I start with BOMBASTIC FABLES.

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BOMBASTIC FABLES is definitely the dance album in this playlist. ‘Milly Elliot’ and ‘Peanut Butter’ had been made available to the masses before the Quadruple pack was released, it served as a great taster to this upbeat collection. Where the former track is a more chilled introduction, the latter and others such as ‘Gasoline & Fire’ and ‘On The Radio’ has a lot more punch to them. Also, this section consists of 14 superb tracks which clock at just over half an hour. A tight timeframe, but the selection on display definitely warrant a repeat play. Yes, that is 14 songs! Meaning the average track is just over two minutes long, more than enough time to keep you dancing.

FLIPPANT COMFORT is the next part to this foursome of sounds. While remaining upbeat in sound, the lyrics in some of these songs really hit hard. ‘Know Me Now’ sounds like it works a lot of self-identity into its runtime and I could feel my heart in my throat when ‘Find Me’ reached its conclusion. How can one person really make two distinctly different albums and still make them sound familiar to each other? The second album clearly works some emotion and goes for a more grounded wordplay compared to the uplifting start of the Quadruple Album.

LIVE AT THE KIDS TABLE is the swiftest collection in this package. With just four songs, these tracks showcase Abby where she is able to provide a rawer experience. ‘7 Foot Man’ is a short track which is catchy enough to sing along to after a few plays. The set presented reminds me of seeing Abby live on stage, which I have been lucky enough to witness a few times. ‘If You Need Someone’ is definitely the highlight here, it is a greatly crafted tune with some deep lyrics and a damn good guitar solo to boot (yes, the guitar solo is fantastic and I want it as my ringtone).

MUTED CARNIVAL is the final piece to this selection. This is where we have a more chilled selection to close out the 4-part album. I almost feel an influence from artists such as Emeli Sande or Martha Redbone, the tones are so welcoming and they hold some great storytelling within the deep lyrics. ‘Enough’ is a beautiful piano led track that should be heard in full with no other sound to dilute the experience. Then the closing track ‘School Yard Fear’ is a hauntingly tender ballad which makes you at one point question how did we get to this point, considering the more dance-centric start. But, this is the perfect ending.

As someone who has known Abby a long time, I can honestly say that her music has just gotten better and better. This is an artist who is not afraid to experiment with different styles, take on various subjects and really take you on a rollercoaster of emotion. The Quadruple Album is indeed a treat for the eyes and a feast for your ears. The 35 tracks are all well crafted with the execution and quality you would expect from a singer-songwriter who loves her work.

If you get the chance, do go and see Abby Holden at one of her live shows. You will be in stitches from the comedy beats she drops in her chats with the crowd and you shall be amazed by the performance that you shall experience on that stage.

FINAL RATING: 9/10

Final Thought: A true masterclass in creating quantity and quality in total harmony.

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

Interview with Abby Holden

So I just posted my review of Abby’s latest album TIME ON MY WRIST, and I was lucky enough to chat to Abby about her new music and what she has been up to. It has been a while since we spoke, but as usual, it was a treat!

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JC: Congratulations on the new album, what helped inspire Time On My Wrist?

AH: Thank you! Usually I write from what I think another persons perspective is. This album, I wrote from my own. It was more challenging and more rewarding. The inspiration for it? Life. Good old crazy life.

JC: How does the new album compare to the previous releases?

AH: One thing I’ve noticed is that I come at songs from different angles. During the writing and recording processes – which can mean that they sound worlds apart. This happened a lot during the earlier recordings. I’m working on creating more flow with an album, and I’m getting closer with this current release.

JC: You seemed to go very quiet for a while, did this help with the album?

AH: it’s good to take a step back and look at things from the outside. Have a breather so to speak. It meant I had more energy returning to the studio and my passion for music is bigger than before.

JC: The variety in music genres is rather expansive in the album, did that come naturally or was that purposely done?

AH: Completely natural. I did scrap a few songs from the album as they did not fit well (that was me trying to improve the listening flow). The average album length still sits above 12 tracks – but then I noticed Bruno Mars’ latest offering is 9 tracks. So I beat him with 8.

JC: One song I would love to see on an album (and maybe a few other people) is ‘Ginger Pubes Are Amazing’. Would you ever look at officially releasing that as a song?

AH: Everyone says that! So I’m going to listen this time. I feel it would be a single release. Not sure how that gem would fit onto an album of ‘serious’ songs. You know what, I’m taking it back into the studio to polish it up. Apparently there is a national red head day. I could perform it there.

JC: I enjoy the music videos you made before, is there any songs on the new album you would like to record a video for?

AH: Thank you very much. Jukebox will be the first video from the album. Out very soon …..possibly in two days. Primrose Hill was the back drop for dragging a jukebox down the street. Every resident loves an early Saturday morning music video wake up call right? After that the next video with either be ‘Long way to go’ or ‘It’s you’.

JC: With the album now out, will you be doing any live shows in the near future?

AH: At the end of this week, I head to America for a few weeks. Will definitely be trying out the tracks live in New York. Here’s the thing….I need to learn them on the guitar or piano in a way that translates. Doable, but it’s the hardest part of performing an album solo. Maybe I’ll put a band together in New York! Joking. Kind of.

JC: You do perform some great covers of hit songs, is there a particular track you would love to incorporate into your live show?

AH: I love playing acoustic versions of hit songs. Yesterday I was talking with Jay Picasso – producer at Starcity Studios – about that very thing. We were discussing how covers of older songs sometimes take off, rather than covers of what’s on the charts. There is an old Kylie song that I want to do a cover of….fully produced…..studio style. I think it could work. It’s not one of her famous ones either – but I guarantee all Kylie fans will know of it.

JC: Have you already got plans for album five? And what would you like to do for the album?

AH: Yes I do – it’s more of an interlude album. Then album 6 will be from scratch again. The ‘interlude’ will be a dance album. Using a couple of pre released dance tracks, and remixing tracks from Time On My Wrist. I expect this to be ready by September 1st. An album to play while getting ready for a night out.

JC: Finally, if you could choose anyone to record a collaboration, who would you choose and why?

AH: Sara Bareilles. Her construction of a song is superb. Sara majored in communications at University – which possibly explains why her lyrics suck you into a track. But maybe it’s just raw word smith talent. Something that can’t be taught in the classroom. You can hear her talent with words and melody progress through the albums. Her wordplay with my weird take on the world will produce an awesome song. I must tell her that.

TIME ON MY WRIST is out now! Here is the music video for Abby Holden’s song ‘Jukebox’

And here is a photo taken by Hanlan of Abby from the video:

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Abby Holden – Pink Ghetto Blaster. Single Review.

New Zealand singer/songwriter is back with some new music for 2015. With the new album ‘3’ on the horizon, Abby Holden has released the first cut from the new collection. Pink Ghetto Blaster is a dance track, described as fun by Abby, it brings a feeling of 80’s funk and the more modern techno numbers blended together. The lyrics and style are rather different to what Abby Holden has produced before, but don’t let this deter you. This is still the woman who sung about Strange Affections and Ginger Pubes.

“Press Play On The Ghetto Blaster Close To My Heart” is an example of the lyrical turns that Abby Holden makes in this track. You will be clapping along, tapping your feet or maybe doing that dance when you shuffle along pointing your fingers in the air. The song is due for release on Sunday 5th April 2015. Stay tuned for more details, for now you can hear the song on www.theradioalternative.com and using the Tune In Radio app on your mobile devices. Hear it this Friday from 9pm UK time on the station.

Final Rating: 9/10

AMAZON LINK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pink-Ghetto-Blaster-Abby-Holden/dp/B00VJTCDVK/ref=sr_1_2?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1428188402&sr=1-2&keywords=abby+holden

iTunes LINK: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/pink-ghetto-blaster/id982021149?i=982021154

Written by Jonjo Cosgrove

For now, listen to the brilliant Abby Holden in this video…