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idris elba stand by me



Idris Elba is, by all accounts, the Midas of his time; anything he touches turns to gold. Not only is he an international movie superstar, a world-renowned tech-house and progressive house DJ, nor is he simply an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Idris has pushed out one of the best new singles of 2019 thus far, ‘Stand By Me’. (Additionally, Idris Elba also just happens to be my number one man-crush, so there’s also that).


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Happy to announce my directorial debut #Yardie is opening in theatres across the U.S next Friday 15th March

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‘Stand By Me’, a Dancehall infused, dub totting, instant reggae banger is one of the single releases from a collection of tunes inspired by last year’s Elba film; Yardie. Incorporating audio samples from the film, ‘Stand By Me’ and other tracks to be released over the course of the year were produced and arranged by Idris Elba and include collaborations with various British and Jamaican artists. Brixton born artist Tanika and Jamaican Dancehall singer Kranium joined Elba in bringing us ‘Stand By Me’ and instantly the listener is belted by what can only be described as very traditional reggae sound. With a ‘2-step’ and roots feel throughout the song, ‘Stand By Me’ issues archetypal up-stroke guitar patterns and Rhodes keys played with such swing that the whole piece bounces classically, as all good reggae does. It’s a positive vibration indeed.

Lyrically, the song is in keeping with the narrative of the film and the themes it portrays. The story of a young Yardie from Jamaica, witnessing the ills of the world around him, murder, organised crime and gangsters, wondering who, if anyone, will stand by him in times of trouble and strife.

The production level here is so clean and vibrant, it’s a really well-oiled piece. Each instrument has its own shelf of frequency and every second just sounds so clear; the instrumentation throughout is immense, but to play the reggae strum pattern properly a guitar player needs to have paid their dues. Here’s the thing though, I really can’t tell if all the drums were recorded live or if they are all digitally sequenced or punched in with a sampler like an MPC. This is surprising because it either means the live drumming is that tight or sounds almost electronic or if the drum samples used and the patterns created are that tight and authentic they sound as though they were played live.

Is there anything this man cannot do? If one thing is for sure, the box of top-notch music producer has officially been ticked. Keep making bangers like this Mr.Elba and I’m sure we’ll all stand by you.

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jonathan bree

SINGLE RELEASE: Jonathan Bree – ‘Fuck It’


It could easily be said that our generation is the generation of apathy. Disenchanted, disenfranchised and disillusioned politically and in most cases financially. Yet we are fat from the foods of every far reaching corner of the planet, stuffed and lacklustre from the ease of access to vast and infinite forms of media now available, and choice is only ever a finger or thumb tap away. Millennials, now in adulthood, and what could be categorised as ‘post-millennial’ teenagers, now steer the wheels of the world and, like frustrated Punks in the mid 1970’s, artistry echoes the ‘vox populi’ and it’s lazy, frustrated screams. 

Fuck it. That is the name of the latest single release by Jonathan Bree and that one forlorn phrase explains the message of the song perfectly. Fuck it.  


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Performing today at the Parish 12:30pm and then at Hotel Vegas at 5:30pm Captured here at the Desert Daze showcase by @mr_wingard

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From the tone of the lead vocal to the reverberated ‘80s influenced pad sounds, and even the music video; this piece is awesome and could be the dulcet war cry of our generation. If Aldous Huxley heard music in his head when he wrote ‘A Brave New World’ then it would have sounded like this.  

In terms of the production of the song, there is a great use of reverb throughout. The whole song is very lucid and fluent thanks to an almost wet sounding reverb and delay effects unit. Like an original new-wave or post-electro pop piece, Fuck It is crammed with electronic keyboard chord progressions, perhaps a Korg or a Yamaha. Conversely, the main guitar riff sounds a lot more analogue to most of the other instruments used. The riff played continuously throughout the track, finger picked from the guitar chords used, almost has a vague hint of an American Country Music riff. The glue that holds this awe-inspiring yet apathetic and paradoxical song together, in terms of instrumentation, is the drum section. Such a heavy kick drum, married up with this crunchy snare, gives this lullabied melody some contrasting bite.  

The surreal and slightly eerie music video looks as though it was filmed in the 1960’s. A black and white filmed room of dancing girls, dressed as though they are an episode of ‘Soul Train’. A complete contrast to the new-wave sound indeed. The eerie thing is; everyone in the video is wearing a fully lycra body suit, from head to toe, covering their faces. Why? Not a clue.   

This really is such an amazing song. It effortlessly speaks in volume about the ills of our society, our generation and somehow encapsulates it and makes it beautiful. The music video is witty and thought-provoking and as a bit of a treat for our more lyrically inclined readers; Jonathan Bree posted the lyrics of the song in the YouTube video description.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Trudy and the Romance – ‘The Original Doo-Wop Spacemen’


Having recently announced that their debut album Sandman will be released on May 24th, Liverpudlian mutant rockers Trudy and the Romance treat our undeserving ears with yet another ice-cream float of doo-wop with a scoop of punk. 

The Original Doo-Wop Spacemen is a cinematic wall of sound, with nods to 40’s Disney flicks (check their cover of Baby Mine from Dumbo) and 50s acts such as The Teddy Bears or Dion & The Belmonts. All their nostalgic influence being stated, they also deliver a heavy, crushed guitar tone akin to Iceage (especially their latest single Broken Hours) and vocals in the same league as King Krule, as well as thick, full bass tones and Phil Spector-esque drums. 


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Howdy and Goodbye Austin, Texas. Forever in our hearts @sxsw Thank y’all for watchin’ 💋

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The vocals on Doo-Wop Spacemen are subdued in comparison to previous songs such as the quivering impetus of My Baby’s Gone Away. More like crooning to the girl next door as opposed to hollering at an ex-beau. Trudy always excel themselves in backing vocal duties and these are as blissfully reverb-soaked as ever, provided in part by soulful existentialist Brad stank, even complete with a splattering of schoo-bop-doo-wop’s. This song gives an indication the album may contain a self-reflexive narrative throughout.

Trudy are an amalgamated act who never fail to disappoint with each release. With this new single they appear to have refined their sound to a self-assured and recognisable niche, sounding much more mature and considerably different to most formulaic acts in the indie scene at the minute. Cinematic and lush, any one of their ditties wouldn’t seem out of place being lip-synced by Dean Stockwell in Blue Velvet by David Lynch.

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SINGLE RELEASE: Squid – ‘Houseplants’


“To hell with poverty, let’s get drunk on cheap wine” bemoaned Leeds monoliths of Post-Punk Funk, Gang of Four in 1978. With the latest Brexit statistics of meat and cheese prices skyrocketing but wine being okay. It’s a nihilistic response to a cultural crisis, but with the release of Squid’s latest single Houseplants we’re summoned to have a bit of a fucking boogie, chugging down lambrini to a motoric beat whilst everything turns to toss. 


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SAFE. @sxsw

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Houseplants, a follow up to the bands Dan Carey produced hyperventilating instant classic The Dial furthers the already established ironic yet earnest explorations in tight funk rhythms, ear-worming repetition and splashes of post-rock textures. Yet this time around we’re welcomed with more immediacy and we’re lauded into the groove that smacks your jaw like an on-time train from Northern Rail. This train that’s just hit you in the face we can imagine that the passengers look something akin to the lost souls in a Hieronymus Bosch painting except they’re reading all Sunday Telegraphs TV times supplement, updating their linkedin profiles and sorting out cocaine for the weekend whilst bleeding blue and yellow goo from their pours without realising it. 

 Absurd right? Well as is the genius of Squid. With Houseplants we see a claustrophobic attack on middle England, we as listeners are attacked with the unfortunate pedestrian concerns that we haunt ourselves with daily I.e. careering, buying a house, children’s television. Whilst the familiar is screamed at you by the band’s lead vocalist / drummer Ollie Judge, you begin to realise just how absurd the whole thing is.

It’s cruel optimism and the results of ongoing destruction of our souls daily by the neo-liberal agendas beyond our control set to a pulsing beat and infectious groove. It’s brilliant and exactly what we need right now it such times of divisions. Frustrations we can dance to. Squid seem to hold similar lyrical and sonic concerns to many of this new emerging sound of rhythm fuelled post punk (black midi, Handle, N0v3l) and with Houseplants, another jewel is added to this tapestry of militant post-funk resistance. Viva La Squid!      

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Leave My Home is the brand new single released early this month as an ode to changing your surroundings for something new. The single isn’t worlds away from French Kiwi Juice’s (FKJ) previous works, prior fans of the artist should expect the same attention to detail that has been given to his other projects.

The Tadow singer references how he has to change his surroundings after being in the same place for so long. The ascending vocals may be representative of this journey beginning at one place that is comfortable but reaching another that is much more fulfilling. The French multi-instrumentalist did not disappoint with this track. A simple yet faultless production and fusions of jazz and electronica take centre stage to create a piece that is perfect for any mood.


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🙏🏻 Paris

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Much of the single is focused on the music as many of the lyrics are repeated, with little distinction between the verse and hook. Yet, this doesn’t seem to matter so much as the vocal harmonies that run throughout the track hold their own. In true FKJ style, the track transcends you to a place of utter relaxation where you can free your mind of all worries for the next 4 minutes.

Honourable mentions of this brand new single have to go to the steady percussion, soothing bass and the guitar solo that demands to be heard. Vincent Fenton, better known under the moniker of FKJ, has kept to his reputation of making music that you can vibe to alone or with friends, and this single is no different.

With this new single, FKJ shows no sign of slowing down. The 29-year-old is reinventing the music scene, blending your favourite genres into one that only he has found the key to. The French-artist will be making another appearance in the UK this year at Lovebox festival which is sure to be unforgettable.

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SINGLE RELEASE: Loyle Carner- ‘Loose Ends’ (Feat Jorja Smith)


Loyle Carner‘s debut album Yesterday’s Gone was a fantastic record that established Carner as one of the UK’s most intriguing rappers. He writes biographical and often poignant lyrics which take an introspective look in to his life. His flows are at a slower pace than other MC’s, as if he’s taking as much time as possible to choose the perfect word, or the perfect line to best describe a thought, observation or moment.

On his latest single, Loose Ends, Loyle has enlisted the help of Jorja Smith, who recently won the Brit Award for ‘British Female Solo Artist’ after her critically acclaimed debut album, Lost & Found. The track starts with Smith’s typically striking vocals, she has a habit of making her high notes seem effortless. There’s a remorseful and emotive feeling to the song, created by the downcast piano notes and the simplistic, rhythmic drumming track. Loyle‘s vocals take centre stage, he uses his conventional, thoughtful flow, paced expertly by his habitual “uh’s”, which are little bits of vocalisation he uses to help space out the lyrics.

The track sees Loyle speak about some of the downsides of his success, which has seen him fly all over the world, but means that he hasn’t been able to keep up with friends and loved ones as well as he’d like. “I feel ashamed, I know there ain’t no savin’ away. They went astray, I went to Australia, so what am I supposed to say to ’em?” Overall, Loose Ends is a fantastic blend or soul and rap. It’s brought together two of the UK’s finest young talents and is one hell of a powerful match. This is the third single Carner has released in the last five months, and he’s heading out on tour next month, which is hopefully a sign that he will be releasing a follow-up to Yesterday’s Gone soon.

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SINGLE RELEASE: Blue Bendy – ‘Closing Sound’


Closing Sound is an amalgamated oeuvre, halfway between a late night jazz fusion orchestra and a New York no wave song. Blue Bendy are a relatively new sextet from South London (one could only imagine how hard it is to coordinate schedules). Opposing the fast-paced, vulgar imitation of the current South London scene, Blue Bendy appear to be gifting unto us a different perspective from The Wasteland. Having done the rounds at South London’s obligatory The Old Blue Last and The Five Bells as well as a magnetic show at Manchester’s own institution Gullivers (for the launch of Yellow Thursdays zine), at which I also performed, Blue Bendy have been on the radar but also careful enough to not release any music, an eagerness that lets many new bands down.

With the introduction of this debut single sounding like a lo-fi hip hop interlude, the song constantly evades clear definition. Front man Arthur Nolan decorates the desolate jazz-punk orchestration with gloriously dismal poetic crooning – think Iceage, Horsey, King Krule – counterpointed by keyboard player Olivia Morgan’s dissonant vocals, in a dystopian Nancy & Lee type fashion. 

Closing Sound is a song where every instrument has its place, autonomous yet providing the same wave of energy to propel the song forward. Angular bass lines and janky guitar riffs sit below the light and seemingly hopeful keyboard motif in the latter half. Trapped under the cacophonous whooshing and feedback, turning the wheel towards its logical but untimely end – as Nolan mutters some inaudible proverb. It’s a bleak and untameable song, clearly coloured by London itself, the gurgling, inescapable black mass. Whilst hard to define, it doesn’t beg the need to be defined, it’s a black cloud of collisions with a crack in the sky and an orange street light glowing. 

Closing Sound by Blue Bendy was released by London record label Permanent Creeps on 22/02/19.

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SINGLE RELEASE: Kevin Morby – ‘No Halo’


On the 27th February Kevin Morby announced his upcoming double album Oh My God, joint with the news was the release of his new single No Halo. Morby has made a career from re-imagining America’s classic rock heritage, a heritage which as time passes on has started to swallow NYC innovators such as The Velvet Underground, Ramones and The Jim Carroll Band in its revisionist history.

No Halo is no exception from this rule with Morby’s well documented Dylan-esque croon and a Rhodes organ chord progression creeping through the track; the classic Morby formula is at play but with repeated listens one can’t help but feel that something else is at play too.


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No Halo 📸 by Barrett Emke, shot in studio, West Bottoms, Kansas City. Thanks B!

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The track feels like something of an ode to the innate rhythms of rock n roll and the digestion of these rhythms as a child. Whether it’s the ‘1,2,3,4!’ before a Ramones track kicks in, or learning a new nursery rhyme with a ‘1,2,3,4’ in the playground when the sun’s out and slightly burning your face fat. There’s something both weirdly human and meditative about our unsaid appreciation of these patterns. They guide us through life, song and the passing of time without us knowing too much why or our need for them.

Morby’s lyrics don’t shine too much of a light on these eternal questions either but he evokes images of nostalgia “When I was a boy / No rooftop on my joy” with the elemental “no how, no one, nothing was not made of fire” and the spiritual “And hey, hey, hey / No, no, no halo, halo, halo, halo”. Demonstrating to us that with a tiny simple repetition we’re merely a few syllables away talking about the fundamentals of what’s important about life as we know it. This is all reinforced by the Astral Weeks flutes, Coney Island Baby Sax and The Steve Reich-esque clapping reinforcing this hypnotic reflection on this mortal coil. Heavy fucking shit man. The best music always is.

With No Halo it really feels like we have the first signs of an artist reaching a cosmic maturity and looking back at the building of himself as an artist. One can’t help but feel like this isn’t Mr. Morby’s first tackling with this subject with track 3 on 2017’s City Music’s ‘1,2,3,4’ except whilst previously this toe-dipping into this subject matter felt like something of parody or an ironic wink as the simplicity of rock n’ roll; this time round it feels as though Kevin something profoundly spiritual in the simplicity of it. Thusly it feels like the songwriting’s as honest, bare and nude as Kevin Morby is on the front cover and makes me tremendously excited for his upcoming double album.

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SINGLE RELEASE: Jack Conman – ‘Easy Xo’


20-year-old Humberside native Jack Conman already has a lengthy discography and a wealth of experience under his belt and since his first ever gig at just 12 years old, Jack has not stopped grafting.

His debut EP Euphoria Springs reached Number 5 on the singer/songwriter iTunes charts back in 2016, sharing space with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Jamie Lawson. Since then he was handpicked to perform at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull in 2017, as well as appearing in session with Colors Berlin, performing what he called a “slappy acoustic version” of his tune Greatly Hasty, which has garnered over 258,000 views. He’s also released a slew of dreamy singles showing off his talents through mature, intricate, honest lyricism, with guitar playing prowess that anyone 20 years his senior would be jealous of.

This new single Easy Xo is the fifth single from his upcoming LP Seventh Sense Libido, and is another smooth slow jam showcasing his production proficiency, letting the music do more of the talking than the lyrics on this occasion, with it all being handled by the man himself. Making a name for himself as a more than competent guitarist, Jack flexes his multi-instrumentalist muscles with some beautiful accompanying piano, and an undeniably toe-tapping inducing drum beat to tie it all together.


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UK Tour in June What other cities should we play? Xoxo

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His sheer and unwavering passion for all thing’s music shine through this single and through his sheer work ethic. Before moving to Manchester in 2017 he was gigging up and down the country, and since being at University nothing has changed. Keep an eye on your local gig venues wherever you are in the UK, Jack Conman is probably fast approaching. Now in Manchester in his final year at BIMM, his debut LP is on the way and the hype is warranted. At such a young age, Jack Conman is a talent that is only going from strength to strength, and you’d be silly take your eyes off him.

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SINGLE RELEASE: Nilüfer Yanya – ‘Tears’


It’s looking like 2019 is going to be a crucial year for London-based singer/songwriter Nilüfer Yanya. Her debut album, titled Miss Universe is scheduled for release on March 22nd. The record will feature an ambitious and intriguing thematic premise, that of a shady fictional company called ‘WWayHealth (We Worry About Your Health)’. The premise influenced by one of Nilüfer‘s favourite TV shows, Charlie Brooker‘s dystopian and often misleading anthology series, Black Mirror.

Tears is the second single released by Nilüfer this year after In Your Head, a track which instantly became one of the artists’ best songs and featured some of her strongest hooks to date. On her earlier tracks, Nilüfer utilised the technique of leaving ’empty’ space in the backing to some of her tracks, which I found to be a bit hit and miss. At times it could add tension, as you waited for the next note to be played, but sometimes it just left a couple of her songs lacking any kind of tangible punch. But on the 2019 singles, that space has been filled, Tears has a stuttering, jumbled synth-pop backing that never feels empty, instead of giving the impression that it’s constantly evolving.


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Tears 💧

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The song sees Yanya accepting past mistakes and coming to realise what she really appreciates. I really enjoy her vocal delivery, her London accent adds character to her vocals and it gives a lot of her vocal highs a unique twist, particularly on the song’s chorus. Towards the end of the track, the synth backing becomes more and more distorted, sounding like something halfway between a computer malfunction and a video game glitch. Overall, it’s another really promising single, Nilüfer is building up a lot of positive momentum now and her album Miss Universe has become one of my most anticipated debuts of the year.

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