Gavin James- Bitter Pill | Review

After seeing Gavin James perform live at the Bodega in Nottingham recently, I was beyond excited to buy his album ‘Bitter Pill‘ and the deluxe version, complete with live performances, did not disappoint, and definitely remained true to the busker roots of this very Irish music.

“I left my heart at the lowest places
lost all my graces in midnight flames”

Standout tracks include ‘For You’, ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Say Hello’ and ‘Till the Sun Comes Up’, focusing simultaneously on heartbreak, but resilience. The audience participation in the live version of ‘Say Hello’ is especially poignant and brings the song to life. The vibrancy of people and relationships in James’ music makes climactic choruses all the more uplifting.

Buy the album here: http://www.gavinjamesmusic.com/

Valentines Tunes

Lisa Hannigan- Paper House

Lisa Hannigan- I Don’t Know

James Tayor- Something In The Way She Moves

The Swell Season- Alone Apart

Joni Mitchell- Woodstock
I’ve been listening to these relatively unsung tunes for the last week and actually thought them quite appropriate for a “Valentines playlist”.

Gabrielle Aplin, 28/1/16 | The Albert Hall, Manchester: Review

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Doors opened at 7pm for this packed event- the venue was pretty much full by the time the second support act came on.

First support act- Hannah Grace:

Hannah Grace, part of Gabrielle’s band, has actually been singing solo for several years now and her incredibly strong vocals give her a jazz/soul feel. Warming up the crowd well with her sweet yet slightly shy and awkward presence, Hannah’s vocal performance with the instrumental accompaniment of Tadhg was flawless.

 

Second support act- Lewis Watson:

Known for also duetting with Gabrielle, Lewis Watson’s youthful, soft male voice contrasted well with that of Hannah’s. The crowd warmed to him extremely well- many fans of Gabrielle Aplin have clearly heard many of the songs off Lewis’ 2014 album, ‘the morning’.

 

Gabrielle’s set

I was really impressed with how many songs of her second album Gabrielle sang. Having seen her live in November 2013, I was worried that there would be a lot of repetition, but beautiful renditions of Shallow Love and What Did You Do, followed by a David Bowie cover, did not disappoint. The band accompanied tracks were especially impressive.

 

Film Soundtracks

Most memorable film soundtracks:

Manhattan

Romeo+ Juliet

Once

The Godfather

Inception

The Quiet Man

500 days of Summer

 

Top 5 Albums of 2015

Light Up The Dark | Gabrielle Aplin

Gabrielle Aplin’s second album saw a much more electric-guitar based rock twist to her sound, as opposed to early acoustic, soft-toned melodies. Whilst controversial, many fell in love with the slow, grungey sound of ‘Heavy Heart’ and other influences of country, folk, and rock throughout the album. The deluxe version of the album is especially impressive, and shows a really exciting, growing artist.

Singing for Strangers | Hudson Taylor

Alfie and Harry Hudson Taylor and their band, ‘Hudson Taylor’, brought out their debut album this year after much work planning and producing. It didn’t fail to live up to fans’ expectations with a perfectly balanced mix of old and new. The soul- affirming beat to ‘Don’t Tell Me’ sums up the positivity behind the album, even in the minor chord harmonies of more sombre songs. In summary, beautiful folk with a bit of harmonious rock influencing it.

Drones | Muse

Muse have produced yet another very playable album. Although in places slightly repetitive, songs like ‘Psycho’ don’t fail to add a heavier feel to any playlist. Moving away from their days of being comparable to Radiohead, ‘Dead Inside’ shows great use of enthusiastic drums to enhance the rock vibe.

Currents | Tame Impala 

Forever psychedelic and impeccably produced, Tame Impala’s ‘Yes I’m Changing’ is a catalyst for nostalgia with synth in the background, yet a solid drum beat making the song perfect for both work/ focus and dancing/ pre-drinking. The album comes together well, with variety amongst an distinct tone running throughout.

A Head Full of Dreams | Coldplay

Rumoured to potentially be Coldplay’s final album, ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ returns to Coldplay’s upbeat, uplifting tone of ‘Mylo Xyloto’. The album counteracts the heartbreak of ‘Ghost Stories’ perfectly, although tracks with dream-like instrumentals indicate that perhaps this  album is reflecting some celestial plane of joy as opposed to stark reality. But, after all, isn’t that what music is there for?