The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
Aberdeen FC find themselves in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday 16th March and to celebrate one enthusiastic fan has created a pretty nifty cup final song.
JJ Bull recorded the song along with support from many other fans who provided their support for Aberdeen FC. Throughout the video there are messages from the fans which include “COYR” and “‘Mon the Dons”
Watch ‘Stand Free’ below:
Fans who sent in their videos of support came from all across the globe, including New York, London, Manilla, British Virgin Isles, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Dundee, Aberdeen, New Jersey and even Dubai.
When questioned about what brought about the idea JJ responded “I just thought it would be really fun”. He also added that he was inspired by the AFC European song, which was released back in 1983.
The song has so far received great feedback from fans, praise from the club and radio play from Scottish stations. Follow JJ Bull on his Fitbathatba youtube account for more hilarious soccer videos.
Founded in 2006 by Brendan Lynch and Derek Schuurman, Vortex Ascent is a studio band that features a collective of solo artists from around the world coming together to form a special collaboration of music. Everybody is required to record their music in their own location and then send it over to be produced (normally in London).
Their concept EP in 2007 entitled ‘Vortex’ received an award for best UK unsigned band and more recently the song ‘Did you see’ won the Sunset 2012 Critic’s Choice Award from Ditto TV.
Vortex Ascent’s latest album ‘Shine a Light’ is out now and can be purchased from the Vortex Ascent Bandcamp page. It was produced with Andy Rugg, formerly of the Coldplay engineering team. Special contributors include musician/critic/producer Paddy Bush (brother of UK musician Kate Bush) and USA-based author + speaker Cathy O’Brien.
Described on their Soundcloud page as ‘dream pop’, I think that gives a good overview of the styling of the album. It contains a mixture of individual tracks recorded in a dreamy way so that it flows beautifully from start to finish. It contains a mixture of male and female vocals, a variety of instruments and yet every track from ‘Shine a Light’ belongs to be there.
The album consists of 14 tracks, starting with ‘Dodging Bullets’ which can be heard above. The opening track sets the tone of the album with a dreamy electro fusion of pop, rock and chillout music.
Stand out tracks from the album include ‘For What it’s Worth’, which features a near post rock instrumental section covered by indie inspired vocals; ‘Dark Skies’, which if you can imagine a musical equivalent of the end of the world sums it up nicely; and ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’. ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ uses spoken vocals (from American author/public speaker Cathy O’Brien) over a beautiful piano track to deliver a message about the perils of government and the lies they spin.
The album ‘Shine a light’ is full of inspirational messages delivered in the form of fourteen very well produced tracks. Each single stands alone, yet none feel out of place on a very creative and experimental record. If you’re a fan of experimental, electronica or chillout then ‘Shine a light’ is definitely a record you should take a closer look at. You can follow Vortex Ascent on their website or Soundcloud.
Richard Tyler Epperson is set to release his new album ‘Hourglass’ on April 8th, 2014. The Utah (USA) based multi-instrumentalists acoustic/indie songwriting would appeal to fans of John Mayer, Kurt Vile and perhaps to an extent Coldplay.
‘Hourglass’ is essentially about how fast life moves along, the journeys along the way and how to make the most of the finite amount of time we have on this earth. Many of the songs are riddled with philosophical meaning – “Listening back to the songs, I started to realize a lot of them had lines or hidden messages about how fast time goes by and about trying to find happiness in the short time we have. Those thoughts inspired the song Hourglass and the name seemed to be fitting for me at this point in my life.” – Richard Tyler.
The album consists of 14 tracks including ‘Like Always’, which you can listen to below:
‘Rain (on me)’ is an example of the type of message hidden within the lyrics, moving from slightly depressing tones, to more spritely and moving messages. The next track ‘The Life (fall on me)’ is more empowering and focuses on the amazing things that love can bring.
Richard started playing bass guitar at 12 with the help of his dad and two older brothers. At fifteen he taught himself to play the piano because he received a keyboard as a present. Richard began writing and recording instrumental pieces soon after and later played in bands until his early twenties as a bass or rhythm guitarist. In his mid twenties, Richard began focusing on his own songs and creating his own style.
You can pre-order ‘Hourglass’ which is due out April 8th here.
Everything about CoCo and the Butterfields should make you get up, tap your foot and sing along with well crafted, deep, yet insanely fun lyrics. Sung beautifully by the pitch perfect violinist Dulcima Showan and silvery sweet tones of Tomas Twyman, the band is completed by “Handsome” Rob Wicks on banjo, Jamie Smith on beatbox and Micah Hyson on the double bass.
Guitar, violin, double bass, banjo and beatboxing mixed together in one kick ass band by the name of Coco and The Butterfields
When something clicks, it clicks. No matter how strange it might seem to have violin, banjo, guitar, double bass and beat boxing simultaneously in a song, it works and it’s unique. The sound is so unique the band have set claim to a new style by the title of fip fok – which is essentially a well crafted combination of folk, hip hop and R&B.
Their most popular song to date goes by the title of ‘Warriors’, which comes alongside a creatively constructed video. It is the vocals, beatboxing, bass, violin and general crazily unique sound that unless you are made of steel, should get that toe-a-tapping:
“For we are warriors and warriors are not afraid to die!”
Coco and the Butterfields formed back in 2011. The Canterbury based musicians have spent many days performing cover songs on the streets of Kent, as well as throwing in a few original tracks that have developed in to something special.
Having won Live & Unsigned in 2012, the fearsome fivesome went on from strength to strength, having headlined some cracking festivals along the way – including a leading unsigned festival in Rome and lots of local festivals including Lounge on the Farm in the UK.
Make sure to follow CoCo and the Butterfields (Facebook & Twitter). The amount they’ve accomplished in the short time they’ve been together shows their potential and when they hit the big time the whole nation won’t know what’s hit them.
Philadelphia based indietronica musician Micahel Fitch has released a cracking single by the title of ‘The Santa Ana Winds’.
So far Michael has independently released two albums, 2011′s “Après la Guerre” and 2013′s “Life In Mondegreen” which are available on iTunes to download.
Michael Fitch was raised in southern Virginia, before moving to Philadelphia, PA where he now lives and records his music. Growing up listening to the music of Duane Allman, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, the influences he has gained along his way definitely resonate within his indie-electronica style.
Listen to ‘The Santa Ana Winds’ here:
His latest single shares similar styles to that of Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’, a smidgen of Tears for Fears and an ounce of The Smiths. All together it creates a chilled, deep sound that offers the listener good vocals, well put together melodies and a taste of something a little different.
Gumshen began back in the mid 2000s out of a garage in North Seatle under the name Menthol James. Since then they recorded an E.P in 2007, changed their name and gone from strength to strength and have recently released ‘Progtronica‘.
Guitarist Jan Ciganik escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia in the 80′s, found success in the 90′s Seattle grunge scene playing with the acclaimed band Ventilator produced by John Cale. Eventually he met up with drummer Dennis McCoy and others to form Menthol James. After a few line-up changes they were joined on bass by actor/musician Ron Hippe (broadway theatrical credits, Northern Exposure, Caspar Babypants with Chris Ballew).
Listen to “Not everyone of us” below:
Sharing similar styles to the likes of Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix, along with influences of the legendary Pink Floyd, Gumshen offer a polished sound. The title of their new album ‘Progtronica’ actually sums up the sounds pretty well: imagine a progressive electronic rock and you have Progtronica!
The MonaLisa Twins are set to release their new album ‘MonaLisa Twins play Beatles & More’ on MArch 28, 2014. The dynamic artists are one of the few modern bands to write original songs in the 60′s beat tradition, including a modern twist on the genre to offer a fresh rock n roll sound. Inspired by the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. Their signature features are polyphonic harmonies and a wiry, bright guitar sound. The even mix of fun and depth in their music and lyrics brings back the spirit of this time and therefore speaks to a wide range of international audiences.
Originally from Austria, they traveled extensively, performing in the USA, Australia and UK in their teens. They started out with cover songs on YouTube and released two CD’s with covers in 2007 and 2008. At 16 they decided to go for a professional music career and began to record their debut album “When We’re Together”, which was released in 2012. Since then they’ve played lots of live shows in small to medium-sized venues and festivals in Continental Europe and UK.
Their new album “MonaLisa Twins play Beatles & more”, a fan-requested compilation of first-class live and studio cover recordings is due for release March 28, 2014. Moving forward through 2014, Mona and Lisa are dedicated to work on releasing more music videos and writing new songs.
Since Sonisphere festival’s cancellation in 2012, the UK festival rock scene has been dominated by the ever-present Download Festival.
But 2014 sees the re-emergence of Sonisphere and boy do they have some big names announced. The headliners are The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Metallica (by request). Compare these to the headliners of Download Festvial – Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin Park and Aerosmith – it seems that for rock and metal fans that Sonisphere has the edge.
Download Festvial 2014: A different approach?
Sonisphere Festival 2014: Big names!
But there is more to a festival than just headliners (and beer), and this is where Download Festival has been trying to fight back. Whilst not every metal fan will agree, Download has a decent list of support bands:
DOWNLOAD SUPPORT BANDS:
Fall Out Boy,
Black Label Society,
They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but nevertheless there are some good names in there and some top bands. Personally Volbeat are on of the best bands I’ve seen live in the past few years and are worth going to see alone – and with Sunday shaping up as Steel Panther, Alter Bridge and Aerosmith, it’s a very good day for the slightly softer rock fans.
Sonisphere have just announced more support acts, so lets now take a look at what they have to offer:
SONISPHERE SUPPORT BANDS:
Alice in Chains,
Just by looking at the lineups of both festivals it almost looks as if Download Festival has accepted that this year they’re not going to be able to compete with Sonisphere in terms of the huge names in metal, so they’ve taken a different route. Also how many times can one festival rinse and repeat the likes of Metallica, Maiden, Alice in Chains, Slayer, etc?
I think Download have taken the right approach this year. Sonisphere has pulled out the big guns with it’s top headliners and whilst Download’s aren’t as strong, Aerosmith is a big statement of moving in a different direction, as is going with a lesser name (but a favourited band) in Avenged Sevenfold.
The problem lies in the lack of rock bands breaking through to the big time in this country. There have been a few recently that have promised a lot (Bullet to my Valentine come in to mind), but have failed to deliver. However, Sevenfold have been given the nod this year after a number one album and sell out tour, and hopefully it will help them to cement themselves as festival headliners for the next 10 years to come.
In Europe Other bands who could be given a chance to headline in the near future are the likes of Volbeat, Airbourne, Black Label Society and Alter Bridge (to name a few).
So overall for metal fans the headliners offered by Sonisphere will most likely gain your hard earned dollar, and it should do! But at the same time I do say well done to Download for trying to mix it up and keep things fresh and if you’re a fan of rock over metal, then Download is looking pretty good as well.
Zack Fay, based in Denver, Colorado, is about to release his eagerly anticipated single ‘VIP’ on iTunes on the 14th February 2014.
As a new artist, Zack has managed to develop a look, alongside explicit lyrics which will definitely entice certain sections of the music scene to have a listen.
The lyrics in ‘VIP’ feature Zack sharing his delight at becoming a member of the high life. The song is catchy, but some of the song could use a little bit of tightening. The lyrics are well written and up to date with modern day pop, with short repetitive sound bites, but the vocals and the backing track in the chorus need a bit more power behind them to make the song really stand out.
Following in a long line of prestigious Future Music winners, Heidi Browne from Market Drayton, Shropshire has been named as the winner of the national Open Mic UK competition at The NEC in Birmingham!
Heidi was crowned champion in front of a capacity crowd at The NEC in Birmingham on Saturday night taking home a recording and development deal. Her own original song G.I.R.L.F.R.I.E.N.D won over the judges making her the winner of the 21 and over age category and the overall winner of Open Mic UK 2014.
The competition is brought to you by Future Music – the company behind the discovery of artists such as Jacob Banks, Warner Music’s Birdy, Columbia Record’s Lucy Spraggan, Union J’s Jaymi Hensley and Jahmene Douglas, both of which are now signed to Sony Music, and last year’s TeenStar winner Luke Friend!
After impressing the judging panel at auditions from against more than 9,000 acts who signed up to Open Mic UK this year across the UK, they went on to perform in the Open Mic UK live showcases, battling through both Regional and Area final heats.
The judging panel for the Grand Final included record label representatives from Sony, Warner and Universal with names such as four time Ivor Novello Award winner Mark Hill, Birdy’s producer Gareth Henderson, Alex Baker from Kerrang Radio plus DJs who work for BBC introducing and Capital FM radio, along with Head of Future Music Chris Grayston. Also picked by the judging panel as winners were Natalie Shay from New Southgate in London, who won the under 16’s age category, and Wildwood Kin from Torquay in Devon who took home the title for the 17-20 year old age category.
This year’s winner Heidi, says on the Open Mic UK competition experience; ‘’I entered the competition for a bit of exposure. I never thought I’d be successful as a quirky singer-songwriter! Winning the competition has restored my faith in what I’ve been doing for so long and I’ve been overwhelmed by the support of my fans, friends and family.’
Heidi has now won a comprehensive consultation package including social marketing, image and branding with Future Music, an initial extensive winner’s publicity package, a Lewitt microphone courtesy of John Hornby Skewes & Co. and an amazing £5,000 to spend on the development of her music.