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Behind Music n What Not

Hiya nerds, Leanne here! I would like to introduce myself a little…

I am in my mid/late 20’s, living in Birmingham (UK) with my toddler and husband. I have a huge passion for music, including getting into the nitty gritty of song development and forming connections to lyrics.

I started my first ever blog at 14 which is so cringy I will not even go there… After finding my writing style I then started Music n What Not back in 2015! Back then I was still very much a newbie and was using my little platform knowledge to build, with the help of a dear friend, my blog on Blogger!

Four years later I had a lot going on in terms of health and medical conditions, that I then dabbled for a few years with this blog under a different name! The Unlucky Coeliac was born and saw me sharing some very personal life experiences and a few gluten free food finds. But here we are 3 years later and something was just missing and blogging just felt like such a chore I barely did it…

What was missing you ask? Music!

For a long time i’ve convinced myself that music isn’t as heavily in my life as it was back in 2015-2018 as I don’t have direct links to the local bands (old school friends) I once did. I also stepped away from 3 Songs and Out, an incredible webzine that you have to check out, because I had massive imposter syndrome!!

The truth is, it still is a huge part of my life! Exploring new artists and bands, reliving my scene kid youth and even rediscovering older artists/bands are absolutely a need for me! I love talking music, sharing and receiving recommendations as well as just being an absolute nerd for the artwork, videography and story building!

Therefore I have decides to transfer all posts from Music n What Not Vol 1 (Blogger edition) across so you can now also see those here too! 🤘🏼 And all The Unlucky Coeliac posts will be visible in my The Unlucky Coeliac page!

And what does that mean now?

I guess its a here we go again!

Buckle up and join me on an ever growing adventure down the rabbit hole that is music n what not…

Relax don't…. Wait what's your arm doing?

Firstly, thank you for your patience with my absence. Secondly, blogging for me is about being honest. Sharing with you how things like music make me feel, experience and my general thoughts/opinions. Therefore this post is me being as honest as I can about why I’ve been distant from blogging and reviewing for so long. And to explain what’s been going on since December 2017.

So in December 2017 I plucked up the courage to go to the doctors, to try and get them to understand what I was dealing with. At 22 years old I had been living every day for the last 9 years with chronic pain in my knees. A chronic pain which had spread to my left shoulder, hips, wrists and fingers, ankles and toes, elbows and lower back. I am suffering with joint movement, where often my knee cap wouldn’t be in the right place, and could be visibly seen. My left arm would be much longer in appearance as my shoulder would partially dislocate. My hips would move around often resulting in serve pain. And finally they listened and referred me to a Rheumatologist!!

Along came the appointment in January 2018, where I was asked questions that if it wasn’t a doctor I would usually lie about. Had to do things like touch my toes, stretch my arms out and show how close my thumb can get to my wrist. Then the Rheumatologist confirmed I had scored 8/9 on the Beighton Score, I had severe Hypermobility and would need an Echocardiogram, MRI of my lower spine and pelvis, blood test and would be referred to a specialist Physiotherapist.

In February the results of my blood test where back. Low vitamin D levels and Coeliac Disease. That was the biggest shock, as I didn’t know it was being tested as I only knew about my Thyroid being tested. This meant a Gastroscopy was now needed and I must live a Gluten Free life. But the best news from that was no sign of any arthritis kicking in yet (as I am prone to getting it at an early age). Buzzing! Then I had my MRI & Echocardiogram done.

MRI results weren’t the best as they showed problems with discs in my spine, meaning I have things to look out for which could mean an A&E trip. But on the flip side my pelvis was okay, which was great news!

So April lead to another doctor’s trip as now my right foot was turning in. With anticipation I explained what was going on, and after an examination was referred again to another specialist who then referred me to Podiatry.

Roll on to May and I’ve had the Gastroscopy test (sedation is a very strange experience I must admit), and the results are back confirming I must live a Gluten Free diet due to having Coeliac Disease – 100% confirmed.  It is great to have confirmation that I am doing the right thing by eating Gluten Free, but even better results came back for my Echocardiogram! The results showed no problems with my heart, so at least my heart is behaving!

Physiotherapy sessions are going well with each one so far focusing on different areas of my body. There are talks of moving from exercises to physical activities to try and feel more active and like my old gym going self before the pain and dislocations got too much.
Podiatry have told me no more Converse (but I can’t part ways yet so still wear them but not as much) and high backed supportive shoes are a must! I’m still looking for a pair that I like and can wear at work as I work full time in an office and I need the support as I can often be on my feet for long periods due to being a trainer. More so I need the high back and support because I have to wear an insole in my right shoe, which makes me look wonkier than normal which is a little bit funny lmao.

With all this I have had to come to terms with a lot of things the last few months however I am now in a good place. With all these tests now nicely finished, and only regular trips to physiotherapy and podiatry, I am getting back into my routine. I am doing yoga, and looking to start cycling again (as advised by my physiotherapist) and getting back into writing. Which has all contributed to me being ready to get back to what I love; blogging, reviewing and sharing my thoughts/opinions with you all. I’m looking at music and adventure posts like before, but now looking at food and hypermobility posts too! I have found my silver lining…

So… I am 23 years old living life with Chronic Pain, Severe Hypermobility Syndrome and Coeliac Disease. I am learning to be open about things, to be realistic and to let go of feeling ashamed that I will not be able to do everything without help – when I said learning I definitely mean it with that bit as I am so stubborn aha. As well as learning to listen to my body and trying very hard to not see my conditions as massive negatives.

My advice to anyone regardless of age or how you feel about what you’re going through, make the doctors listen! Listen to what your body is telling you. It knows you better than you know you!

If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch in the usual means!

Thank you all again for your kindness during this time of disappearance xo

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
 
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below.
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo

Album Review #4

  There is this band that I’ve listened to for as long as I can remember, and I have over played their albums and cat-scream sung over every song at least 400 times. And yet I found myself being a bit standoffish with their latest album. Why? Because it is a sound that is not quite them, yet now I’ve let go and actually listened to it, it is so them! Now to cut to the chase, this band is Paramore. I’ve been to a gig and caught them at festivals, and I have always loved them. I had red hair because I love red hair, but also because Hayley had red hair. I still have the hoodie that was purchased from the gig I went to back in 2009 and I was heartbroken when I threw my t-shirt away, that’s how long this love affair with Paramore’s music has gone on for. They have been a big part of my life, they have been my down time music, my blocking the world out music and they have also been my over the moon happy music. Paramore have always managed to be there for me musically.
  So when their new album ‘After Laughter’ saw its first public release of Hard Times coming out, I was filled with anticipation. And well when it came to my ear, I was upset. Paramore’s rock vibe was not apparent within this track, this wasn’t Paramore. This wasn’t my Paramore that I have loved all these years! You see their new album ‘After Laughter’ see’s the band experimenting and channelling some 80’s vibes into their songs, all combined with some pretty raw/real life lyrics. But then the song got stuck in my head and I just had to sit myself down, suck it up and listen to it and well… There it was! My Paramore. The quirky lyrics (that often are quite raw), the riffs, the drums and the connection. It was Paramore, but what seems to be Paramore coming of age.
  Finally I stopped being a stubborn little child and realised if I’m now in my early 20’s and I’ve been listening to Paramore for around 10 years, then they are going to change. They are going to experiment, that’s what music is after all. After that telling off/realisation I plonked my butt on my bed, put some headphones on and played the album. Boy, was that the best thing I did that week! The 13 song track list is phenomenal, filled with some great music and writing and well I’m fully embracing those 80’s vibes. Below I’ve listed my favourites off the album and what I thought whilst listening to them, but seriously compiling this list was hard! It’s such a great album.
  • Told You So – The third track on the album, this song is packed with great vocals, quirky tunes and sassy lyrics. It’s that type of song you can’t help but sway along to, and you can’t help but sing along too either. I think many can agree when someone says to you “I told you so” you just feel bitter, maybe even flick a glare their way (I know you know), and this song captures that perfectly with the lyrics. What really love about this song though is the use of the bass and guitar throughout. They are very clearly heard and actually hold more of the beat than you think. The drums throughout are great, but they appear to incorporate more of an additional structure to the tune that’s within the track rather than being the heartbeat of the song.
  • Fake Happy – This song is just unreal! It’s the fifth track on the album, and starts off so mellow and low, with soft lyrics and acoustic guitar strumming slowly building the song up which then, just stops. Out of nowhere, the funkiness builds! This song has a great contrast, as the tune is quite upbeat and happy, but the lyrics are deep and very meaningful. For me this is a clever touch on mental health. It may not be, but that’s the connection I’ve put with this song. There are people out there that will feel this way at some point for whatever reason, and this form of recognition is great. It gets it out there and helps to break down the stigma. I love it. But it being a banger of a song helps too. As I said it may not be about mental health, but if I can make the connection (and ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed) then many others may too. Which is how this stigma removal could benefit from this song. With lyrics like “I bet that everybody here is just as insincere” and “Oh please, I bet that everybody here is fake happy too”, helps to provide proof that you aren’t alone in this world, adding a support mechanism.
  • Idle Worship – The slightly more heavier sounding track with hints of a very young Paramore filtered within, ‘Idle Worship’ is the tenth track on the album and completely love it! This song is oozing with sass, its oozing with a powerful vibe, and brimming with some great music. The vocals in this song are amazing, with different pitches and projection, Hayley’s vocals definitely shows how talented she is within this song. The drums are equally as versatile within this song as they are either loud, yet tame beats or fast intricate ones. The guitar is just bang on! And exactly what I wanted to hear in this one, as it incorporates the new sound with hints of Paramore’s slightly older sound from back when they were throwing bangers like ‘Decoy’ out. I would like to point out that although this song isn’t as rock sounding as ‘Decoy’, it has a hint of that vibe which has been very cleverly mellowed out and incorporated into this new 80’s vibe. ‘Idle Worship’ is that song that just blast out of my car speakers, and sing my heart out to! To the point where if you are unfortunate enough to be sat next to me at the traffic lights, I am probably going to be throwing some sassy (at least think so) dance moves at the red light, followed with some pretty horrific singing. That’s how great a song this is.
  • Rose-Coloured Boy – The second track on the album ‘Rose-Coloured Boy’ is another great song showcasing this new 80’s inspo sound, that Paramore are playing with at the moment. With a quirky backing vocal that sounds chanty, the sound has some serious 80’s elements within it including some synth. I can’t help but feel this is a song about someone who is very into believing on showing that they have no problems, that there are no problems out there, that there is no excuse for being sad. And I feel this song just hits that feeling you get from that, right on the head. With lyrics like ‘we can’t all be like you, I wish we were all rose-coloured too’ and ‘boy you ain’t ever seen my mind’, you can feel the emotion and the slight annoyance being portrayed perfectly. Again I could be completed wrong, but just feel it is so cleverly done and it just fits so well.
  • Hard Times – And last but not least, the first track on the album and the first release/introduction to the new sound ‘Hard Times’ is definitely within my top, top 3 favs off this album. From the video, to the music, to the lyrics, to the new vibe, I just love it! This is another one that feel is touching on mental health/dealing with crappy times, yet in a very grown up way. The lyrics seem to come from both aspects of that feeling. With the chorus sounding like that thing that’s ruining your mood/day/month yet, the verses seem to be more centralised round the affected person and how they are feeling. Again a beautiful contrast with the funky, upbeat sound of the music and vocals, mixed together with the emotional filled lyrics. This track has great use of that 80’s inspo with synth and a killer techno sounding tune that sticks in your head for days. My favourite thing about this song is the guitar, its funky, its filled with upbeat happy chords yet isn’t overloaded. Both lead and rhythm riffs sound great within this piece, and the techniques used just add to the quirky beat yet showcase what Taylor can do with his guitar. Hard Times is a smashing first release and first track of the album.
  What I really like about this album is that it feels really realistic, and you can connect to it. To me, this album appears to be Paramore as a group growing up and maturing as they get older. As well as them having to face/deal with issues within real life. Perfect example of this is ‘Fake Happy’; this song to me (as I’ve mentioned above) just screams the real life “problem” of mental health/illness battles, which many people can and will relate to. Which I think is important here, because when music speaks to you, its a better experience overall, as you not only hear the music but you feel the music. You appreciate each guitar strum, each chord, each drum beat, each vocal pitch and each synth note. Every single fine detail is heard, felt, and lived within music when it can be relate-able or even connect between its listener and itself.
  All in all its a great album and now that I’ve got over the initial temper tantrum (because I’m stubborn), I 100% recommend this album and can ensure you will enjoy it!


 
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
 
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below. 
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo

Seconds Apart – The Asylum Venue – April 21st 2017

  So it’s been a very long time since I last reviewed a gig and what better way to come out of this mini retirement I fell into, than to review a gig that was full of versatility and well brilliance! And what a perfect time to mess with titles/writing styles then creepin’ back out of mini retirement! 

  Friday, April 21st I took a trip down to The Asylum Venue in Birmingham, a venue that has been a mini home for me over the years, to watch the boys; Marx, Led by Lanterns, The Real Cool and Seconds Apart. And boy was it something! I entered the venue only knowing who Led by Lanterns were and with the tiniest bit of research in regards to the other bands. Now this is my favourite thing to do with gigs at intimate venues. I love going into the unknown and experiencing the whole thing from discovering who a band is to watching them live to getting to know them. And its from this experience that, before we get to the nitty gritty, I just want to say all of these lads are absolutely the sweetest people you will ever meet! I haven’t been to a gig in a long time where all bands and all members of the bands, were as humble, appreciative and well sweet as all of these boys!

Now the nitty gritty…

… First onto the stage at this intimate venue was Marx. Marx is a rap artist who has also, in the past, dabbled into metal. Standing solo Marx worked the stage with utter confidence, interacting with the crowd and exclaiming his appreciation for being there and to all the other bands (especially the headline act). That alone was lovely to see, but Marx overall was ticking lots of boxes. Now as I said Marx is a rap artist, and that brought a massive twist to the night as the main genre was alternative. And besides his banter on stage, Marx performance was filled with some serious hard work! With well timed and placed beats, song transitions, and some serious lyrical work, Marx filled the venue with a refreshing set. Marx showcased fast lyrical production as well as some more slower paced lyrical build up adding depth to his songs. But he also showed some great music build up too with great use of strings into some of his songs, bringing a classical aspect within his hip-hop sound. As I mentioned at the begin Marx has previously worked within Metal and Pop Punk bands, so with that background you can appreciate that this guy has some serious potential, as he is versatile and talented. With that being said I can honestly say I can’t wait to see more of him and that he is doing a great job.

   Second onto the stage were Led by Lanterns, a four piece midland based band who are smashing it! Led by Lanterns consists of Welsh and Brummy lads who are not only great musicians but musicians who are also fronting a great cause, which I will explain towards the end. With their pop punk vibe, the lads fit well into the overall Alternative scene of the night.
  Now Led by Lanterns have three very strong vocalists who all have unique voices, this is something that could put them as a band at risk. However, these guys arent short of music knowledge or background. Each member has previously been in a different band, and with that combined with the fact they are each incredibly music savvy, the lads have managed to put themselves together and eliminate the risk of outshining/drowning out each others vocals. But they have also managed to showcase each vocalist’s talent and uniqueness too. This has been achieved by well placed harmonies and solo slots, which are visible throughout all songs and was incredible to watch live. Despite all vocals being amazing I will mention that the lead vocalist has something about their voice, thats hard to pinpoint exactly the right way to describe. He’s got what I can only describe as a twang to his vocals that just stands out, and makes it different to what you’re used to and honestly, I just cant get enough of it!
  The body of music itself was just as talented as the vocals. The drums were intricate, provided a great beat throughout and even though they were loud and booming, they just felt right! There was no beat missed (at least none visible to the ear or eye), with the drummer showing that they have talent and skill. But the drummer also displayed through the set crowd interaction too in the form of what I can only describe as drum communication, for example that drum roll that’s used at the end of a joke, that was visible a few times throughout the set. And it was nice to see the drummer interacting with the crowd, alongside the other band members too. Now with guitars and bass, the tune was incredible! Bass was well heard, never faint in the background and provided more depth to the beat or the songs.
  The boys performed their two released singles and it was amazing to watch. They sounded exactly how they were recorded, displaying that these guys 100% do not need help from technology enhancing. Their first released single was Recovery, and hearing the guitar riffs and executed bass, that builds the main body of the song live was a great experience. Their second release was Save a Life and it was even more astonishing to hear that live.
  Now as I mentioned previously, the lads are working alongside a great cause and have produced a song to help with the campaign. The campaign in question? Well the Led by Lanterns boys are working alongside the ‘Save A Life Surrender Your Knife’ Campaign. A cause that is unfortunately needed in this day and age, as knife crime is a serious problem. Now with heart touching lyrics and soft yet powerful riffs, and a dominating bass and drum beat, Save a Life is the official song fronting this campaign alongside the incredible work of Artist Alfie Bradley’s 27ft Angel (made of knives). This is such a beautiful cause and seeing the lads join in the campaign just highlights how lovely these boys are. For more information on the campaign and the lads song please check out the links below attached to their name. All in all, I absolutely loved the Led by Lanterns set, and it was great to finally get to watch them properly and not just hear them singing walking around their house.

  Third to the stage were The Real Cool, a three piece band from Birmingham who brought the second twist of the night to life, by bringing a well balanced mix of synth and 80’s pop influence to their dream pop/indie vibes. Now that may not be the best description of this band, to which I can only apologise, however once you hear them and you start to sway to their dancey yet mellow beats you will get the vibe I am referring to.
Starting out first with their stage presence I was absolutely digging them. The Real Cool are great to watch visually, as you can see they are enjoying themselves. With cheeky smiles flashed all round, dancing by the lead vocalist and bassist, and the head bops by the drummer. You can’t not enjoy watching them. Now the drummer was actually one of my favourite aspects of the set. While smashing out well executed beats, the drummer looked completely at ease. Like he generally looked like he was at home, that being on stage didn’t faze him. Hey for all we know, he may even have been thinking about what he was going to have for dinner! But I absolutely loved it! I loved how at ease and relaxed this guy was, I couldn’t stop watching him (apart from when my eyes were drawn away by the lead vocalists dance moves and bassists cheeky smile that is). This to me shows this guy knows what he is doing! He is confident in his performance and with his band members. This lad is talented! And he was doing nothing but displaying this throughout the set.
Getting back to the music, audio wise the band are just as great! Vocals, string, drums and synth were all balanced well within each song which was refreshing. Vocals were dreamy, powerful but not in an overbearing manner as they were still quite soft and gentle feeling. Drums, as mentioned before, where were great! The beat was steady, consistent, nothing missed and very well timed! Bass was strong, clearly heard and provided a lower version of the main tune within songs. Guitar was subtle, provided the main tune but was not always consistent which added a quirky depth to their songs. Synth was subtle, provided further depth and added more tune build up, and tangled in nicely. Having the mix of strings, vocals, drums and synth allowed for the lads to truly layer up their songs with intricate slots so that their there was never once one instrument heard longer than the other, never anything overshadowed and an overall great performance was achieved.
The overall set of The Real Cool was amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can’t wait to catch them again!

  Finally the Yorkshire boys were on the stage getting ready to show Birmingham what theyve got. And boy was I not prepared for what was to come!
  Deep moody tones filled the now pitch black room whilst three spot lights scanned the room like mini lighthouses, before the lead vocalist proudly broke the suspense with an arena styled announcement. A little further suspense built before the band broke all silence and blasted some serious talent. If you closed your eyes during that very moment I assure you, you would have felt like the venue was your local arena. Which was incredible to witness as unfortunately there are bands out there that see smaller more intimate venues as only what they are. So the music is playing, with incredible drums, amazing guitar riffs, great bass and then this loud strong booming vocals fill the room. Honestly these boys are incredible.
  After the first song is over we get an introduction to who these boys are and get a hint of cheekiness from the lead vocalist when a little sneaky comment is made about Yorkshire being the home of the best tea. From here, their performance gets stronger and stronger.
  Now Seconds Apart are an alternative band, with some serious and I mean serious potential! Each member is super talented and its displayed throughout the set, however the overall package as a band is just bliss! The drummer throughout produces very in time beats, with intricate and fast paced moves that see him using every inch of his drum kit. There is not a single beat missed, there is no hesitation and frankly I wish I had more words to use other than incredible, amazing and great, because he was all of those things. What I loved about the drums in this band was how abrupt they could sound, like hello I’m here, and it truly helps to build on the alternative angle they’re going for. Guitar and backing vocals, well, they were fascinating! Slightly distorted riffs build up that alternative aspect of their music, however that’s not where the guitarist’s skills end. With fast changes from rhythm to lead and back again constantly, the guitarist showcases how incredible he is with his guitar. And that’s not where it ends for him either. His vocals are a slightly deeper tone than the lead vocalists, and he is also able to provide that alternative “scream” vibe during some of their songs. Now with this it creates another layer to their music, as it produces a natural harmony as well as backing and variety. As a vocalist he is also super talented. Now the lead vocalist is also the bassist. So again there is another multi-tasker in the band, and he is also extremely talented. With an unusual and very unique voice, the lead vocalist is able to fully utilise this within their songs and his performance. Being able to hit the high notes as well as he does is also very beneficial! The vocals throughout were breathtaking, there was no slip up on lyrics, no heavy breathing through the microphone and everything was clearly sung, which meant you weren’t left trying to figure out what the lyrics were. In terms of the bass, it was also very well timed, providing depth to the main beat of the songs but also strengthening the rhythm created by the guitarist. Overall, again, the lead vocalist is a very talented lad and just adds to the fact that the whole band is just marvellous!
  Visually, the band were a delight to watch! The drummer was very animated, the guitarist used his space well and showed off some dance moves including some head bops and headbangs, and the lead vocalist was like a typical bassist and vocalist! Moving round the whole stage fully taking advantage of the space he had and the fact he’s got very long legs, he was everywhere! Including at one point in the audience, on a chair and just loving performing. What made them all the more delightful to watch was each member was also having a great time. Inbetween songs when they were interacting with the crowd and introducing songs they were all smiling genuine smiles, making jokes and you can tell they really put their heart into their performance. For me that made it better.
  So, covers. They can either be great or they can be just pure cringe. When the lead vocalist announced they were going to do a cover of a song they felt was going to be good for a little sing song, I’m not gonna lie I was hit with nervous. Well this was one of those great ones and I can safely say I’ve never heard anything like it before! Starting off with Clean Bandit – Rather be, the lads put a quirky spin on the dance/indie number by throwing some alternative vibes all over it. But then it swiftly turned into Rage Against the Machine, and then to Craig David and then, my personal favourite, into R Kelly – Bump n Grind and then swiftly back into Clean Bandit – Rather Be. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! The transitions were swift yet slid perfectly into each other, the alternative aspect on these popular R’n’B/Pop songs and the including of iconic tracks was just intensely creative, clever and pure genius! I was gobsmacked yet in awe of that very moment! If I hadn’t already found a likening to this band I definitely was appreciating them now.
  Seconds Apart were as you can tell, to me, great. I loved every aspect of their set and I highly recommend you check them out if you haven’t already. They have got some serious talent and some serious potential, I can see these guys going places and when you see them live you’ll see it too.


  I will take this time now to say thank you to Marx, Led by Lanterns, The Real Cool and Seconds Apart for such a wonderful show, and for being so welcoming. Thank you for taking the time to speak to me inbetween interacting with each other and the audience. Thank you for being humble, gracious to one another and for showing what music is about. 

  If you haven’t already go check out these guys and their Facebook pages, they’re all incredible and you won’t be disappointed.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
 
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below.
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo

Album Review #3

So I’ve always thought this girl group were talented, however over the years they caught my eye for how they stand together showcasing that they are all different and still all as beautiful as each other. How they’ve made a stand against bullying and encouraging young girls to be them and live how they want to, not to worry about their appearance and that its okay to be them is also a massive reason behind me liking and respecting the girls in this band. Well this time they’ve caught my eye (and my ears) with their latest album!
 
After being the first ever group to win the X-Factor, I expected these girls to fade into the background of the music world. And boy was I wrong!! They’ve now got; 4 albums, 15 awards and 4 number one singles! So who is this group?? It’s only Little Mix, like you didn’t already guess!
So Little Mix have released the album Glory Day which features the very well known and recognised Shout out to My Ex. Now this album is something else! Across the album a multitude of genres being crossed; from dance to pop to a Hiphop vibe and even an old school traditional pop/swing vibe! The way these different vibes and genres are incorporated and mixed together to create an album is incredible! So congratulations Little Mix and the production team on that one! But as well as this genre mix, you’ll notice that the big discussion points throughout the album are; independence, love and heartbreak. So not only is it a multi genre album filled with emotions and empowerment but it also oozes sassiness! The album also showcases each individual vocal talent the ladies hold, and this is done by not only showing that they can harmonise with each other, but that they can each over power one another effortlessly.
Now in regards to the songs, I do have a few favourites! So naturally have picked my top 3 and below I’ve explained why they are; 
  1. FU – This song has an old school vibe to it but is mixed with some electronic features as well as sassy lyrics. Its title itself explains the exact extent of sass it holds, however the lyrics themselves are quite funny. Lets not lie here, woman are tarnished with the psycho brush and this song just plays on that perfectly with lyrics such as “take my key to your benz”. Now why I like this song so much is because it reaches out to the part of a relationship where you both really hate each other and are driving each other mental, but you just cant stay away from each other. Its that toxic relationship that many of us have or will encounter in our lives. But its discussed in such a soft musical way that its not a power ballard and its not a dissing match song either. And with how the song sounds old school but has lyrics that include modern day terminology, just appeal to me! Its different and its refreshing, but its also real.
  2. Down & Dirty – This song just oozes dance hit! It also pushes the boundary of the label they’ve been given due to having a large younger fan base. This song its age appropriate yet brushes over the fact they are woman and not teenagers. Its clever as it never mentions the things its referring to. Im also not going to lie, but the GoT reference is also a killer move! Who doesn’t love GoT right?! This is a song I can see being blasted loud during the summer period and maybe even be a killer club song! Its repetitive beat will definitely get stuck in your head and make those feet move!
  3. Touch (Acoustic) – Now love the original version of this however, the acoustic one has made it in my top three purely for the vocal talent. The song itself in both versions is a great song, with beautiful lyrics that you cant help but sing along to. The original is also a floor number! I cant sit/stand still when its on, I just feel like dancing. However, acoustically you will fall in love with the voices of Little Mix. The acoustic version has been slowed right down, has soft piano keys and very strong powerful lyrics. You hear each individual woman sing their section so beautifully and then when they come together it is just simply mesmerising. High harmonies to perfectly pair the strong bearing solo voice during the chorus. Its just such a beautiful piece of music and I could honestly listen to it over and over. Goosebumps.
So if you haven’t already, it is definitely worth giving this album a listen to. You will be shocked! Its definitely something I never thought id enjoy and well I’m not ashamed to say I do!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
 
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below.
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo

"I try to make the worst seem better…"

  I am one for enjoying a song that makes you feel the emotions behind it, whether thats empowerment or even like crying into a tube of Haagen Daz ice cream. One of my favourite examples of this currently, is the recent release by Lady Gaga – Million Reasons. This song is just brilliant as its filled with emotions from the very beginning right down to the end. And its not just built up through the lyrics, the whole overall piece is incredibly done to portray these emotions that Ms Gaga must have been feeling when she wrote this masterpiece, and maybe still even feels every time she performs it or even sits at home in her pjs.
  So firstly I’m going to talk about the physical music side of this song. Something all songs will have is layers, this is the different instruments used and the different aspects that they bring to a song. In the case of Million Reasons the instruments used are; vocals, piano, cojan and acoustic guitar. The way in which these instruments are played and layered is key to how the song sounds when played together. Now when the song starts we are introduced to the soft keys of the piano and strings of the acoustic guitar. Playing similar styled tunes they build a romantic setting for the song. Then when the vocals begin, it is originally only Gaga herself, who’s voice brings more of a harsher tone to the gentleness of the piano/guitar. It is then joined at intervals by further vocals that add depth to specific words, illuminating the emotions behind them. Then we are also introduced during the vocals to the soft yet depth filled beats of the cojan. This layering builds an aspect of romance yet pain, especially with the depth of the cojan and the layering of vocals on specific lines. All in all the musical aspect of this song is strong and powerful but it such a delicate way, like a flower strong and vibrate to the eye but delicate to the touch, this song is strong on the emotions but delicate on the ears.
  Now, I’m going to talk about the lyrics and what my interpretation of them is. The song starts off with “You’re giving me a million reasons to let you go”, something no person wants to have to say or hear in a relationship. A sentence that admits defeat and heartache. This on its own is filled with raw emotion, emotion that is real. Then from here the lyrics become deeper and the way you feel becomes sadder. Now the emotion overall behind this song is quite clear (in my eyes). It is that feeling of painful desperation and desire that springs to life when, for whatever reason, your relationship seems to be falling apart with no obvious reasons to stay together. Despite it all, you deeply desire just one singular reason to pop up and prove why you should stay. A reason that you need to come from them. You can’t find it, or even you do know what it is, but it just needs to escape from the lips of your partner. “But baby, I just need one good one to stay”. For me, this song is that calling out for hope. It’s that acknowledgment of knowing that even the tiniest thing, will give you all the hope you need.
  This song is about heartbreak. It’s about loss. It’s about pain and desire and everything hanging on one thread. This song is real life and Lady Gaga has smashed it. Lady Gaga has beautifully mastered what is her own heartbreak into something thats not bitter, thats not nasty, but honest. No matter how the relationship ends, you will always face this stage. It’s horrible. But knowing that these celebrities who’s lives we admire and desire so much are facing them too, due to the openness of Gaga, just proves how human we all are. Overall this song is a masterpiece! It has been carefully integrated with layers, has tonnes of talent oozing throughout, and is easy to listen to because its gentle. This song deserves awards! It’s beautiful produced, beautifully written and to be completely honesty… It’s just about the best break up song I think i’ve heard! Huge congratulations to Gaga and team for creating such an incredible piece of music.





As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
 
If you’d like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in the comments box below.
 
Thank you,
 
Leanne xo
 

Gleam – Suki10c, Birmingham – 29.07.16

  Apathy was the first to take on the stage at Suki10c in Birmingham, UK on Friday 29th July 2016. The two piece band from Birmingham started their set with vibes and sounds similar to that of The Pretty Reckless and The White Stripes. Husky vocals, heavy drums and a strong I’m here presence. Apathy played their set to the venue showcasing themselves by both performance and intelligence, as their set list was planned out strategically to keep you intrigued.
  Unfortunately some songs appeared to have rushed drums, and an unusual vocal technique (that I can only describe as dragged out/laugh styled melodies), that just weren’t my cup of tea. But when they started to play Snake, I was shocked by the drastic change of vocal technique. Snake in general saw Apathy completely loosen up and become more confident, which illuminated their performance! But the main thing about Snake that will always stand out to me is the vocalist’s voice! She sang so beautifully and so different to all the other songs, it automatically shocks you and draws you into their music more. The placement of this song in their set was perfectly done.
  Apathy are a strong band performance wise, as they stand strong and focused. But they also hold talent too; the vocalist as a woman will stereo typically only be pictured as being able to performer more of the higher pitches. For Apathy, that’s not the case. The vocalist can reach many pitches and uses them well within the songs performed. She carefully builds the tension required between pitch changes and doesn’t drag out the high notes too long, which means she didn’t sound drained. The drummer can move quickly, which is great as he is covering a wide range of beats provided to fill out the songs as well as providing the steady beat throughout the set. He’s skill is very noticeable and works well alongside the vocalists guitar. The guitar playing is very rhythmic and throughout the set is quite low and steady, which is what alongside the drums, provides that similarity to The White Stripes.
  Personally I think that by adding a little more depth and structure to their songs, it might make them stand out a bit more than they already do, as already they are unique especially within the Birmingham/West Midlands area. But this is solely being said due to them being a two piece. As a two piece, it can often bring a few downsides to musical performance for many who try it, as often there are is no bass structure. With Apathy, I can see the potential. They show passion which is a strong attribution to making music, but they also have a vocalist that can sing quite low notes which utilised further, with the addition of her beautiful melodic notes and some higher tones, could provide more structure to their songs and really showcase what they’re made of.
  Apathy’s overall performance was really good and their music is very enjoyable. They simply ooze everything required for success as well as you can visually see them feel the music, they are not just playing it. I really rate these guys and can’t wait to see what more they have to offer, as I know that they will produce/perform more wonderful things!
  Oceania was the second band to grace my ears and boy did they! The three piece band started of really strong, which sometimes isn’t a good sign as the band can become tired and restless towards the end of their sets. Not with these guys! Their whole set was incredible, solely down to their music too as there was very little stage movement.

  Now usually I would make a comparison of the whole sound, but that’s just not possible here. Their sound is very unique and not being able to make a major comparison is an amazing quality for the band to have. The only comparison that can be made in my eyes is around the guitar/bass riffs. In some songs; guitars have that quirky Two Door Cinema Club twang, with the simple bass beat to match. Yet drums would be fast and super clean cut, showcasing the drummer’s skills. In other songs; the drums are vividly heard and stand out against the tone the strings are producing. The bass would become faster in tempo, which would in turn make the guitars switch to a deep and hypnotic melody technique that completely contradict everything else. The vocalist provided pitches that would conflict perfectly against the riffs he was playing. Which worked very well for the band, as being a band of three, it meant there was more tonal coverage. What’s spectacular about this band is the fact they all bring something different in style, yet produce something quite beautiful that cannot be pinpointed to a single genre at all.

  Oceania are a talented group of lads and to be honest, I can’t wait to see them again! Especially as I managed to speak with their vocalists and he is the most humble and down to earth guy ever! So I can only assume that the other two guys are just as nice! Being a humble band will go in their favour, as you don’t want to be knocking down or winding up the people who will help you achieve and build.

Third to the stage were Half Asleep. Standing proudly ready to introduce this new vibe to the crowd the drummer kicked off the set, with guitars not too far behind. The band sounded tight, were clearly heard and well to be honest they sounded great! Guitars were clear and crisp, bass was heard perfectly and drums were there usual high standard. However, with Half Asleep’s terrible luck, I was a little anxious as to whether or not we’d be graced with vocals. So as the vocalist got into the music and opened his mouth, the intensity I felt was unreal! FINALLY out of nowhere this voice radiated round the room so clearly, it was pure heaven!

  Now being able to hear the vocalist meant that finally I and the many spectators could see exactly what Half Asleep have to bring . This perfectly pair with the introduction of their new sound (following their name change), meant that now each members talent was showcased and able to be witnessed. I must admit I am totally digging this shoe-gazey sound so much more!

  Showing that they still respect their roots and that they are all about originality, the band performed a new stripped down version of Narcotics which was tastefully and beautifully done. The usually heavy grunge styled number was more toned down, filled with dreamy riffs. Utilising the slowness of this stripped down version, the guitarists were able to perform structured and dragged out chord changes, whilst the bassist was able to stand out and showcase deep tones that added depth to the song. The drums were much lighter enabling the technique to be appreciated, whilst the vocals were softer and had a slight poetic feel to them rather than the husk they usually are. 

  Ending their set with the ever so energetic Relax and Distill, the band filled the room with their passion. Everyone watching was bouncing along to the beat. All in all it was another great performance from the Birmingham (UK) based five piece.

  Finally the headline band Gleam took to the stage and filled the room with their excellent playing and stunning music! But that’s all you’re going to read from me about this set. I thought we’d try something new…

… I’d like to introduce you to an all round nice guy named Perry. Perry is one of the guitarists from Half Asleep, who is also a fan of Gleam. From talking to Perry at the gig, we decided to try something new. So through extensive emails (sorry Perry!) we managed to get an interview done solely around him watching Gleam in the perspective of a support act and a fan. I am very happy with the results and well, take a look for yourself below!


So you’ve just played as support for Gleam, how does it feel playing with a band like Gleam?

P; “Playing with a band like Gleam was pretty cool, being as there aren’t many shoegaze bands in Birmingham, so it was nice to join up with a band on the same bill as us. It was also a pleasure to play with them, considering they are some of the nicest guys I have ever met, and a great band. I mean Gleam are the kind of band you always nod your head too.”

Gleam have a different sound to you guys. So what is it about their sound, in your eyes, that makes them so popular?

P; “Gleam are fairly similar to us, however they do have some key differences. For example, they have a real chilled indie vibe to that really adds to that shoegaze sound they bring. Not to mention the keyboardist very cool, and it adds a sick twist to their music.”

What was your favourite part of the set?

P; “My favourite part of gleams performance was them playing their hit “believe” everybody seemed to know this tune so a lot people were bouncing and nodding their heads.”

As someone in the crowd, what do you think Gleam does best to captivate the audience?

P; “From a crowd point of view the most captivating thing from their performance would of been the music itself. It worked really well with the intimate venue and just sounded huge yet so chilled. As a live performance overall, its so energetic and they really know how to please the crowd.

I did noticed during their set, that one of their guitarists was having some technical difficulties. He really dealt with the issue well and was super calm, I mean to top it off he was a master with the keyboard too.

My all time favourite was when they played, a favourite of mine, Believe. The whole room seemed to know this track and there was so much energy, everyone was bouncing along.”


What do you think of their overall sound?

P; “Their overall sound is mad! The three guitars really adds a cool vibe to the shoegaze sound they are going for, as well as adding a lot of depth to their music. As for the drums and bass, they add that real nice bouncy vibe, yet hold the music together by producing the beat that holds the timing together, and adding that indie vibe. All in all this mix in their music goes together really well.”

And finally, anything you want to add or say?

P; “Just that from me and the rest of Half Asleep, thanks for the opportunity to play with you guys!
Hopefully in the future I’ll get to play with them again, but I will definitely be going to catch them at their next local show. Oh and make sure you check them out and make sure you get down to their local shows.

Big up Gleam!!”



  As always thank you for reading this, it means a lot to me! I have had so much fun writing this!
I also want to say thank you to the bands for allowing me to write this, and a massive thank you to Perry for letting me torture you with a ridiculous amount of emails! 

  Oh and well the bands are great, and you better go check them out! 

FB Links;

Apathy – https://www.facebook.com/apathybirmingham/?fref=ts
Oceania – https://www.facebook.com/oceaniatheband/?fref=ts
Half Asleep – https://www.facebook.com/HalfAsleepUK/?fref=ts
Gleam – https://www.facebook.com/gleeeam/


Leanne xo


"Sorry you're not"…

… A winner!!
   Tell me all you got that? If you did, good! If not, read on and hopefully you’ll catch on!

   Enter Shikari; this should’ve made the title click straight away! They’re a UK band that mixes synth, guitars, bass, drums and all kinds of vocals to create something meaningful, and beautiful! A lot of Shikari songs feature important messages regarding political viewpoints, environmental issues and other serious things that are seen to be somewhat brushed under the carpet by the media, especially the media that is aimed at the younger generation. With their music, full of catchy riffs and lyrics, fantastic videos and a lot of meaning, Enter Shikari get you to think about these issues and really get the point across.

   Now Rou the lead vocalist and front man, has a voice that you can really pinpoint and identify as his. His voice goes from harsh, almost screaming, to soft, melodic vocals, to a weird mix of speak-singing which isn’t quite singing, but more talking (if you guys know a word to describe it- PLEASE DO TELL! It’s an on-going problem trying to describe!). So, as if they can get any better – not only are they all super talented, super clever and witty in their song writing, but they’re very, very versatile in their style. Changes in their sounds are displayed across all four albums, and also in big ways with Shikari Sound System. This is their more dance/trance approach to music, compared to the Enter Shikari albums that are their more mainstream/well known metal/electronic/rock sound.


   Watching Shikari live is something I really think everyone needs to do. I’ve been lucky enough to see them 4 times to date (hopefully there will be many, many more); twice at Reading Festival (one as Enter Shikari, one as Shikari Sound System) and twice on tour at venues in my hometown. Each time they’ve been so full of energy, super interactive with the crowd and given an amazing performance! They fill the stage with music, movement and positive energy; at a gig at the HMV Institute in Birmingham, Rory climbed the balcony and hung upside-down whilst still playing. Live they are no different from their recorded tracks, always on point, showing just how talented they are and just how much work must go into their music!

   Enter Shikari are definitely one of my all-time favourite bands. They’re passionate, say what they feel, care about important issues and produce some absolutely amazing music.  

Thanks for reading again guys, means a lot. Leanne xo

Here’s Enter Shikari – Sorry You’re Not A Winner: 



Light You Up – The Asylum, Birmingham – 13.11.15

Hey guys, December was a busy month with Christmas, New Year and family functions but here is the long and anticipated gig review of Light You Up! Hope you enjoy xo



   Light You Up were playing the Asylum: we had to go. Our close friend were on the tour with them, diving and doing sound, so it gave us a chance for a catch-up and a good gig in one of our favourite venues.

Beaumont:

   Beaumont were the first band to grace the stage in the grotty little upstairs room. We hadn’t heard them before finding out about this gig, but after giving them a listen beforehand, we were definitely digging their music; but we had our doubts. With the vocalists voice, we were slightly concerned it may not be the same live, but boy were we wrong; our worries completely obliterated. He was amazing; in fact the whole band were. The whole set was very well timed and well put together the only thing we feel could’ve been better was their movement but this was totally not their fault. They looked restricted, and it’s no surprise due to the positioning and size of the stage. They all moved the best they could, engaged with the crowd, performed well, played brilliantly and seemed to light up the stage and come alive to their own music.

   (It’s also worth mentioning, their merch is AMAZING, I couldn’t help but get the ghost tee – Kirsty)

WSTR:


   Next on stage were WSTR and instantly they screamed fun. If you’ve ever watched their music videos you can tell that they are full of energy and charm. As soon as they started, two giant inflatable balls appeared, floating above the crowd, bouncing around the place, encouraging everyone in the room to interact with each other and really get the crowd involved and excited, in the right mood for a gig. In terms of their music they sound exactly like they do on the tracks they’ve released, everything was tight and to a high standard. These guys were not afraid of the tiny stage and went absolutely mental, jumping around, moving constantly and really entertaining. Their set was great, keeping everyone in the best moods, warming everyone up for the headliners: Light You Up…

Light You Up:


   Gliding on stage with the biggest smiles on their faces, smiles that were contagious, Light You Up began their set. Not only was their whole set fantastic, all perfectly timed, never missing a beat, their stage presence was out of this world. They spoke to the crowd consistently, not only hyping them up and creating a great atmosphere but talking about things that mattered to them. Each member showed amazing talent, consistency and love for what they were doing; sounding exactly how they do recorded. Towards the end of their set, they did a little acoustic session, keeping it chill but still an amazing atmosphere. You really got a feel of the vocals, the lyrics and the passion they’ve put into their art during this little session. Even better than this, was watching them come back together and really get back into things, leaving their set on a complete high, working as one to bring the crowd back up; powerful and magical. We managed to speak to Light You Up after their set, and also watched them interacting with their fans. They were humble, genuinely interested, and thankful for everyone who attended. Although they are a well-known band, they’re just as genuine as smaller bands, with less of a following. These boys are not only crowd pleasers, entertainers, but also all round lovely people, which is always wonderful to see. A gig full of good vibes and warm hearts.



   Something we want to mention is the relevance of the date of this gig. While out, enjoying ourselves, surrounded by amazing musicians and good friends, a few hundred miles away, something terrible was taking place. People who went out with the exact same intentions as us had their world collapsing around them. We found out about the terror attacks in Paris just after the show. It’s tragic to think that a venue was targeted, somewhere people were meant to feel safe and at home. We had friends with us who knew of people at the show, or in Paris at the time and it was truly terrifying. Luckily everyone we knew was okay, but too many people weren’t, and even more were affected by this tragedy. Our hearts go out to everyone not only in Paris, but also in Lebanon were more attacks took place that night, and also to anyone who was affected by this awful event. A huge amount of recognition needs to go to the bands that played that night, because throughout everything that was going on, and the terrible atmosphere that seemed to pour into the venue, they stayed. Willing to talk to people, sticking around and being lovely to anyone and everyone.

   This gig was one we will never forget, for the amazing performances, the amazing people we met and the events that took place around the world. Below are links to music videos for all 3 bands, they’re really worth the watch!


Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting me as always – Leanne ox
Hi guys its Kirsty, I featured as a co-writer on this one (I know very exciting and different to being a guest blogger), thank you for reading mine and Leanne’s opinions it means a lot – Kirsty xx


Beaumont – Boys and Girls:



WSTR – Graveyard Shift:


Light You Up – It’s About Time: