Hooked On The Music

Album Reviews

Jack Garratt – Phase (2016)

Tipped as one of the hottest artist of 2016 and winner of BBC Music Sound Of, Jack Garratt has a lot of pressure on him to do well, and so has released his highly-anticipated debut album Phase. With his first song being written at just 12 years old, and Frank Ocean’s blend of different musical styles being his main inspiration for his single ‘Breathe Life’ and is now a part of Phase.

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Lacey – I Don’t Owe The World A Thing EP (2016)

It’s a weird story to hear that five-a-side football would bring a band together, but that’s part of the story for Nottingham, UK based Lacey. The band met in 2011, with them all rekindling their love for playing music and finding what worked and what didn’t from the other bands they’d played in. It wasn’t until ‘Outlaws’ that they broke through and toured the UK.
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Sia – This Is Acting (2016)

Australian chart-topper Sia created controversy last year, as her ‘Elastic Heart’ music video featured Shia Labeouf dancing with 12-year old Maddie Zieger (who’s appeared in future Sia videos) and they’re tussling in a cage fight, causing outrage and for people to feel that it was crossing boundaries of what’s appropriate. You may be surprised to hear this, but Sia’s back with her seventh (yes seventh) album This Is Acting, and it’s been highly anticipated since her recent hits and 2014’s 1000 Forms of Fear.
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Weatherstate – Dumbstruck EP (2016)

Bristol punk-rockers Weatherstate aren’t newbies to the scene. All the members have played in different bands at some point, for a few years. They released their first EP Dead Ends in 2014, and since have appeared in magazines like Kerrang! and Rocksound promoting their new release Dumbstruck.

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The 5-track EP opens with a blast from the past, by the name of ‘Stutter’, something very reminiscent of older songs by Green Day: fast guitars and nasally vocals (not a bad thing!), a good introduction to what Weatherstate are about and their punk image. ‘ILL’ and ‘Stuck In A Hole’ are highlights of the EP, as they’re both talking about being trapped in your mind and wanting to feel less lonely, encompassed in grungy guitars and will definitely be highlights of their gigs.

Dumbstruck then: something Punk Rock is looking for, as the scene was increasingly being filled with singles and albums that sounded the same, whilst channeling influences from the past and bringing them to music in the present day.

Dumbstruck is being released on January 22nd via Failure By Design Records. You can listen to the EP exclusively on Rock Sound here. You can follow Weatherstate on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what they’re up to and their upcoming tour dates.

Happy Listening!
A K Jones
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Sam Outlaw – Angeleno (2016)

Using his mothers’ maiden name, Sam Outlaw has only been on the Country scene since 2014. He’s had a lot of 60s and 70s Country influences from the radio, which then inspired his sound and releases. After releasing his EP in 2014 and performing at California’s Coachella festival, he’s worked with some legendary producers including Roots legend Ry Cooder to record and perfect his debut album Angeleno, released today.

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Outlaw’s SoCal Country sound is interlaced throughout the entire record, as ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ sets the scene with a slower song, reminiscent of Country heard on someone’s old record player from the 50s, but that isn’t a negative thing at all, the single and in fact the whole album is bringing the past into the present, focusing on older music rather than the modern Country from today’s artists.

Other tracks ‘Love Her A While’ and ‘Keep It Interesting’ bring up the tempo from all the ballads, but when listening to them, it can’t be helped noticing that the opening 10 seconds sound very similar. The lyrics are different in both of them, but the only other difference is the tempo, which is a shame because they could have been so brilliantly unique.

‘Ghost Town’ was the lead single from Angeleno and it’s easy to see why – it’s about driving home (something written about a lot in Country) and driving through a ghost town, with easy to understand lyrics and a catchy beat, it’s a perfect song to show off what Outlaw can do, being the highlight of the album.

You can buy Angeleno on iTunes and Amazon (US | UK), with it also being able to stream on Spotify. You can follow Sam Outlaw on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what he’s up to. Don’t forget that if you want to vote for me in the UK Blog Awards, you can do so by clicking on the image in the sidebar of my blog or click here.

Happy Listening!
A K Jones
xx

Rachel Platten – Wildfire (2016)

You must have been living in a hole to not have heard Rachel Platten’s international top 10 song of last summer, ‘Fight Song’. But you may be surprised to learn that you’ve probably heard her voice before, as her previous singles have been used in a lot of TV shows, including Pretty Little Liars and ABC Family’s Jane By Design. Her newest album Wildfire is more anticipated to-date and has a lot of expectation tied to it due to ‘Fight Song’ being such a huge success. (more…)

Oh Gravity – Never Fade Away EP (2015)

Paul Johnson is the only member of Oh Gravity, a collaboration with Nashville management company WeVolve Music who look after other artists in the pop/rock/country genre. Johnson has released his debut EP Never Fade Away, hoping to show off his writing and playing skills as a solo artist.

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Bryan Adams – Get Up (2015)

After 30 years of touring and countless chart hits, Canadian singer Bryan Adams is back again to show what he’s been up to since the release of 11 in 2008, with his latest and 13th studio album Get Up. With all-new material, fans of Adams will be happy that he’s releasing original songs for the first time in a while. Has he still got his mojo after so many albums and so much success? (more…)

The Echo and The Always – …And After That The Dark (2015)

Welsh band The Echo and The Always (formerly Sleepy Panda Club) have certainly broken the typical mould of a band that are multi-genre and have a woman as their lead singer (queue many conversations about ‘feminism’), and are taking over the radio waves and media, as their music has been played on the likes of BBC Radio 1 and they’ve played Focus Wales every year since 2012. Since the release of their debut EP Lemonade in 2013 and recent single release ‘Go Easy’, their album has been in high demand. (more…)