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Posts Tagged ‘music’

ALBUM REVIEW: LEE FIELDS & THE EXPRESSIONS – EMMA JEAN – Fashion Soundtrack

In Music Reviews on May 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Originally published here.
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Gabriella Swerling gets back into the groove with some good old-fashioned soul and rediscovers the wonders of musical makeovers…

“I told her this time I’m gone, it would never be the same. You feel left all alone – only you to blame,” growls Lee Fields. He takes one breath before allowing himself to remember and live through the painful mysteries which inspired such lyrics. But when he exhales, you’re right there with him. Riding the wave of electric woes that have grown louder to support his tuneful wailing: “Ohhhhhh woahhhhh paralyyyyzed, so paralyzed I can see it in your eyes. So hold me, ‘cos this is the end…” Read the rest of this entry »

Johnny Flynn Country Mile album review – Notion Magazine

In Music Reviews on November 14, 2013 at 1:54 pm

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Page 94 of Issue 66

Interview: The Cat Empire – Notion Magazine

In Interviews, Magazine Contributions, Music Reviews on October 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Gabriella Swerling catches up with The Cat Empire’s fiery lead singer, Felix Riebl, on their world tour and doesn’t expect to find a tame pussycat.

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I have always wanted Felix Riebl to invite me to his bedroom. Never did I expect it would actually happen, but more of that later.

As I wait for the band to finish their sound check, I can hear Felix huskily purring the opening lines to ‘The Rhythm’ into the microphone:

“…And my knees were shaking and my jaw was dropping and my eyes were squinting and my smile was growing and my pants were bulging and my hands were sweating and my chest was beating so I cry, ‘excuse me, what is the secret to your soul?’” Read the rest of this entry »

Gig review: The Cat Empire @ The Ritz, Manchester – Mancunian Matters

In Interviews, Leeds and Manchester Local News Contributions, Music Reviews on October 25, 2013 at 11:44 am

By Gabriella Swerling

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The grimy back-streets of Manchester were transformed into the streets of Rio in an underground rave that brought out the snake-hips in everyone last night.

The Ritz – yes, that’s right, that venue oh so famed for its foam parties and freshers’ week snogs – played host to the carnivalesque party-animals, The Cat Empire.

The Aussie cool-cats were back in town to promote their latest album Steal The Light on their biggest international tour yet – playing more than 60 countries and three continents in just four months.

In an explosion of melody, groovy ska blues and humanitarian jazz doctrines, The Cat Empire blasted out their genre-defying fourth album as well as playing crowd-pleasing old favourites such as Two Shoes, The Rhythm and Sly.

Their new album is full of the same emotional range and latino-gypsy-ska as the previous three with the title track Steal The Light, completely stealing the show.

MM managed to grab hold of lead singer Felix Riebl before he headed on stage to perform to thousands of his adoring fans and asked him why he thinks the band have managed to stay around for so long.

He said: “It doesn’t matter what we’re playing as long as people are dancing.”

Read the rest of this entry »

NO BRA INTERVIEW – Fashion Soundtrack

In Interviews, Magazine Contributions, Music Reviews on October 23, 2013 at 8:18 am

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Photo by Heidi Slimane

No Bra. That’s right, she really does let those puppies free. The weird and wonderful alternative-techno singer catches up with Gabriella Swerling to talk digital revolutions, narcissism and sexual fantasies.
“On a date with the devil, the devil asked me ‘sing me one of your songs’, I said ‘well they’re not really songs, more like shouting’, the devil said ‘never mind, I’ll fuck you anyway.”

Perhaps a little more out-there than your other female soloists No Bra throws caution to the wind, sticks a metaphorical finger up to your Beyonce’s, your Joni Mitchell’s and your Lady Gaga’s, and relishes in performing a Virginia Woolf-esque stream of consciousness that flits from various musings to general sounds and groans. ‘Speak-singing’ is, I think, the technical term.

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Miley, Don’t Make Me Cry – The Vagenda

In Comment and Opinion, Internet, Magazine Contributions, Music Reviews, Women on October 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm

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Saturday night. I’m babysitting. I’m also, by chance, engaging in anthropological research regarding the social implications of Miley Cyrus’s very public, orchestrated ‘breakdown’ for a pre-pubescent audience, as her music blasts out of the television.

“What’s happened to Miley Cyrus?!” quoth ten-year-old Amelia.

“It’s all the fame,” ten-and-a-fifth-year-old Sophie sighs. “It’s got to her. First Britney, then Lindsay, and now Hannah Montana.”

Hannah Montana is a squeaky clean Disney Channel character. Miley Cyrus has grown up and metamorphosed into her alter ego in a powerful Jekyll-Hyde-esque transformation that has left young girls confused to say the least.

They know what ‘twerking’ is. They just about know that ‘humping’ is ‘sexy’. But they don’t know what sex is – and so they shouldn’t! Call me prudish if you must.

“Have you seen the video for wrecking ball?” Amelia whispers, quite horrified, “She hasn’t got any clothes on!”

These girls, whom Hannah Montana lured into her pop-princess bubblegum lair, have been duped into ‘twerking out’ what adolescence is just a tad too soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Live Review: Laura Marling @ at The Lowry – Notion Magazine

In Magazine Contributions, Music Reviews on October 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

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She takes to the stage in what appears to be a frilly Victorian nightgown. She dissolves into the dress, white on white, the porcelain English rose – with red Converse on underneath.

The age-old truism that appearances are deceptive certainly stands true with Laura Marling. She is a fierce, dark, elusive performer. She enjoys silence, but is not quiet. She is private but reveals deeply melodic secrets.

Laura Marling is growing up. She first appeared on the Jools Holland show in 2007 at the tender age of 17. The Ophelia-style get-up is somewhat different to her first stage outfit comprised of a Spice Girls t-shirt and a look of utter terror.

This performance is a portrait of the artist as a young lady. She now stands tall and proud, singing up into the mic, Gallagher-style. She no longer avoids eye-contact, but altogether eschews it, looking up and singing to her musical muses in a trance.

The 23-year-old is touring with her fourth album, Once I was an Eagle. It is her third to be nominated for the Mercury Prize and this year she is competing against the likes of Bowie and Arctic Monkeys. Read the rest of this entry »

INTERVIEW: MINUTE TAKER – Fashion Soundtrack

In Interviews, Music Reviews on August 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

If you haven’t already heard of him, Mancunian-based musician Minute Taker, aka Ben McGarvey is not only the latest one-to-watch on the Northern music scene, but he has also found the time to lead the ‘digi-folk’ revolution with his glockenspiel and synthesiser in tow. Gabriella Swerling catches up with him for what turns out to be an unexpected counselling session.

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Minute Taker is a multi-talented singer-songwriter and producer whose otherworldly beats have garnered comparisons with the likes of Björk and Bat for Lashes. Ben McGarvey is an unassuming yet charming Shropshire-born lad whose peculiar and haunted imagination is unveiled only when he performs under his pseudonym. Bizarrely, Minute Taker and Ben McGarvey are somehow the same person.

It is precisely this Jekyll-Hyde-esque polite shyness and creative genius that makes Minute Taker’s latest album, Last Things, released 15 April 2013, all the more intriguing. He released his first album Too Busy Framing in 2008 under his own name, and against his gut instinct. “I just didn’t really feel comfortable when it came to promoting it,” he says. “I think because my music is so personal, by using my own name I just somehow felt too exposed, so I decided to find a stage-name that I liked instead.”

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Interview with Allen Stone: son of a preacher man converts to soul man – Notion Magazine

In Interviews, Magazine Contributions, Music Reviews on February 22, 2013 at 9:30 am

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What do you get if you cross a born-again atheist with the spirit of Stevie Wonder? 25-year-old Allen Stone, a blue-eyed gospel-soul singer-songwriter who’s set to become a big star in 2013.

Allen Stone isn’t happy with modern music, and he wants you to know it. “It’s just so cotton candy and cookie cutter,” the US soul singer says from behind tendrils of hippyish, wavy blonde hair. “It’s all about love and sex and clubs and it doesn’t really do anything – it doesn’t really inspire people or kids my age to do anything – besides go to the club and grind on each other.”

Stone is on a mission to put the meaning back into popular song, and is harking back to the birth of soul music for inspiration. “Back then, when somebody would write something in a song, people would listen to it – and it would mean something,” he declares. Inspired by the music born out of an America rocked by the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, and an affinity with the children spawned by the groovy Woodstock era, Stone is taking on a music industry that he believes has lost its soul. And as he spreads the word, people are listening.

His 2011 single Unaware was a viral sensation and has racked up almost 2 million YouTube hits. The video, which was recorded in his mother’s living room, led to a string of US television performances, with many critics labelling him “one to watch”. True to his ethos, the lyrics of Unaware discuss the current economic climate: “Every day the deficit grows, you spend more than you own.” They reflect our generation’s struggles – the credit crunch victims condemned to toil through Dickensian hard times.

Despite admitting that the Unaware video “has helped me out immensely”, Stone is less interested in YouTube fame than he is in being “the best live performer that I can possibly be”. In a digital age where anyone with a laptop and an acoustic guitar can upload the seven-hundredth take of their four-chord, caterwauling ballad onto the internet, Stone refreshingly challenges the would-be popstars to “get on stage and hold an audience’s attention”. Read the rest of this entry »

Allen Stone at The Ruby Lounge, Manchester 22/11/12

In Music Reviews on November 26, 2012 at 9:25 am

Review of this gig and Interview with Allen Stone coming soon!

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