The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
Dates for this year’s Open Mic UK singing competition have been announced, and with over 9,000 entrants last year, the 2013 competition is set to be the biggest yet! The search for the UK’s best singers, singer-songwriters, rappers and vocalists starts this August!
Open Mic UK is one of the largest national music competitions for singers and solo artists in the UK and is brought to you by Future Music, who’ve helped develop such acts as; Birdy, Jahmene Douglas and Lucy Spraggan.
FOR A LIST OF AUDITION VENUES GO TO: www.openmicuk.co.uk/singing-auditions
Those who make it through auditions will go on to perform in live showcases in front of a professional judging panel and packed out audience in some of the UK’s most prestigious live music venues. Acts talented enough to reach the Grand Final will perform within the UK’s most recognised live music venue, The O2 in London.
Events coordinator Chris Grayston can’t wait to see the class of 2013, “every year the bar is raised and the quality gets higher and higher, we’re really looking forward to seeing fresh talent from across the country. This is a great chance to let the country see your talent.”
Judging panels are made up of music industry specialists, A&R, vocal coaches and guest celebrities. Gracing the judging panel in previous years have been BBC Radio DJ’s Annie Nightingale and Ras Kwame, Kiss FM’s Charlie Hedges and Mark Hill, an Ivor Novello award winner. All are hopefully set to make another appearance for the 2013 competition!
There are plenty of opportunities for acts that enter Open Mic UK to win prizes throughout the competition with over £50,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, including recording studio time and music development classes, plus a main prize of £5,000 cash to the overall winner! The winning act will be crowned in front of a packed out crowd within The O2 in London!
Along the way to playing within The O2 acts get the chance to play in some of the most prestigious live music venues across the country including the Birmingham NEC, Sheffield City Hall and the Portsmouth Guildhall.
All ages are welcome to enter as Open Mic UK is divided into age categories; Under 16, 16-20, and 21 and over. It’s all about finding an act that has the ability to become a professional recording artist, be it singers, vocal performers, groups or acoustic singer/songwriters.
Previous winner Birdy continues to go from strength-to-strength having been signed to Warner Music. Since winning Open Mic UK aged 12, Birdy has had number one records in France, Holland, Belgium and Australia and enjoyed a UK top 20 hit with her spine-tingling version of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love.
So, if you think you’ve got what it takes to follow in her footsteps, enter now and get on the mic for Open Mic UK 2013!
Here at The Music Mag, we’re all about finding the next big thing – the unsigned bands that deserve recognition and the amazing songs that we want everyone to hear. From Nu Grunge to Acoustic Folk, Punk, Indie and everything in between, the variety of music available here in the UK is a great asset that we want to shout about! But, when we focus on the new, it’s easy to forget the classics that inspired them and made the wide range of sounds now featured on the music scene possible.
When Elvis Presley released his first single in 1956, the world got all shook up by rock ‘n’ roll – this was a new, exciting sound and the fans went crazy for it. Combining rockabilly with gospel, blues and country, and a few scandalous dance moves, Elvis and his contemporaries changed the face of music. Over here in the UK, it was The Beatles who were leading the way and trailblazing the rock ‘n’ roll styling of the 1950s and 60s – creating a level of mania that One Direction can only dream about and selling more singles than any UK act in history. Whilst the rock artists of today may be channelling a totally different vibe, there’s no denying that rock ‘n’ roll stars like Elvis, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash and The Fab Four have influenced the music that we make and listen to today.
So we’ve teamed up with Gala Casino in celebration of their Elvis A Little More Action slot game, in recognition of the great talents of the past who’ve paved the way for the incredible acts that we feature here on The Music Mag. One lucky winner will walk away with an Elvis DVD collection and £75 worth of Ticketmaster vouchers!
To enter the competition, just leave a comment below with your answer to the following question:
In what year did Elvis release his first single, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’?
The competition closes on 3rd May and is open to UK residents only. Good luck!
Madame So has re-recorded Sell By Date and it’s kicking some serious butt on Youtube with a cool lil video to go along with it.
Take a listen to the Paris-born /London-based muso’s song right here:
Written by Talkshow Host
Freedom, the debut EP from Irish singer-songwriter Al Keogh proves one thing beyond any doubt: folk never dies for long. Written and produced by Keogh, while playing five to six nights a week anywhere he could; Freedom showcases the modern interpretation of folk music as assimilating into an electronic culture.
The acoustic guitar of these songs isn’t so much the driving force as it is the platform for the other instruments: take for example Smothering Walls crisp riffs with the warmer organic synths, or We Should Learn‘s ambient beats and dancing guitar.
This is a folk record after all with all the familiar stapes: introverted lyrics, Keogh’s strong rich voice exhibiting both intimacy, and dread, and the elemental feel of the Irish coast: a powerful influence on the record. It is in the structure of each song that Keogh excels, particularly on Nothing’s Changed in which Keogh knows when to ramp up the tension and when to let the song breath.
Freedom is a very assured and impressive debut form Al Keogh and is sure to be one of the year’s most eye-catching and talked about independent releases of the year.
Check out more Al Keogh here.
Review by Kevin Boyle
Norwich’s Matchbox Heroes have already gained, with their first EP, a reputation as up-starts in the indie music scene. With performances on BBC radio and Future Radio the bands profile and popularity are on the rise. With the first single, Hold On, from their forthcoming second EP “Nice to Know You” this forward trajectory is set to continue.
Written and produced by the band, Hold On with its smooth riffs and lyrics outlining the desire for something greater, and the drive and anxiety that comes with it, is a marked step forward for the band. Matchbox Heroes have crafted a simple but effectively relatable pop-rock song that has the ability to set up camp in your head even after the first listen.
Hold On represents a growth, in both confidence and craft, and with this the band has fire off a rallying melodic cry of where they want to go from here.
“Dying Over a Dollar” is the highly anticipated mixtape released by Tone Dollarz. Gritty, yet personal, “Dying Over a Dollar” conveys life on the street to its listeners with emotion and aggression. An intro for the mixtape has been posted on Youtube and features Tone Dollarz rapping about crime and life in the hood.
The aim of the mixtape is to recite his and other people’s struggles in music, on the street, and generally in life. The Mixtape shows that people can grow and flourish despite the environments they grew up in.
Growing up in The Bronx, Tone Dollars, 22, graduated college and considers himself a preacher for those living in the hood and ghetto environments. His music covers a lot of stories from his past, as well as from other people he knows. One major factor he calls upon in his music is his Father, who served 13 years in prison. This personal element found in his music is what separates him from others similar artists.
Tone uploads videos to his Youtube channel, songs to Soundcloud, and the mixtape is due to be released in mid May. To hear Tone Dollarz’s music please visit his Soundcloud page listed below:
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
So you’re heading to a festival but wondering “What the hell do I need to take with me?”. Well the first option is nothing – just take yourself and a bottle full of dreams. But if you’re interested in having a great time and being prepared then here’s a festival checklist.
Mobile Phone & Camera
Most people have a mobile phone nowadays, for those who don’t then a camera is the way forward to remember the amazing bands, the friends made, and the drunken antics that will fade in to non-existence after a few days away.
A great addition to festivals is that most of them have a stall here you can leave your phone with them for an hour and they’ll charge it up for you. This is a cracking service, especially seeing as all IPhones and Android phones run out of battery in about 12 hours!
For a weekend (friday to Sunday) you’re going to need a bit of dosh. You can try and bring a lot of your own food and drink, but you’ll be watching bands all day and therefore need plenty of food and drink. £150 should be enough, it gives you £50 a day for food, drink, rides and souvenirs!
A kick-ass playlist!
Like it or not, you’re going to get stuck in traffic at some point. But why is this a negative thing? When you have a kick-ass playlist! Spend a few days finding some new music from bands at the festival you’ve not heard before, along with some classics and a few surprises. Last year we were blaring “I am a real American!” from the car.
After a few festivals you will learn that wet wipes are your friend. Be sure to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste as well, some toilet roll, and if you’re interested in not smelling fowl after two days I’d bring some shower gel and extra water. What I’ve done in the past is had a makeshift shower at the car each morning. It revives you after an hour or two of sleep, and makes you smell just peachy!
Wellies are an absolute essential if it’s anything but clear skies. Due to the amount people walk around even a little bit of rain can make any festival site a hub of mud, lost trainers, and crazy people covered from head to toe in the stuff.
Be sure to take some wellies with you just in case. I picked up a pair from George in Asda for just over a fiver last year.
Changes of Clothes
Let’s face it… you’re going to get dirty, and with the English weather being about as predictable as whether or not Guns n Roses will show up, a variety of clothes are needed.
Some shorts/cropped jeans always go down nicely – even when it’s muddy – and the wellies/shorts combo is a look that many pull of at festivals throughout the UK. It also beats wearing soggy trousers all day.
Be sure to wrap up warm as well, it can get chilly at night!
If you’re camping you’re going to need a tent! Make sure to bring spare pegs, as it can get bloody windy!
Food and Drink
Bring food and leave some in your tent, and leave a lot of it at your car to save money. Sandwiches/pasta/etc can be a lifesaver when you’re feeling a bit skint. A trip back to your car before can take 10 minutes, but allows a replenishing of food, and a couple of cheap cans of lager!
You can normally take drinks with you to your tent as well, but often they don’t allow bottles, so we sure to take cans if possible.
A positive attitude!
You’re about to see some kick-ass music and experience a really fun weekend. So don’t fret, you’re now well prepared for whatever may happen, so just go there and enjoy it.
Please let it be hot! Well on the off chance the sun comes out you’re going to be in it all day, so take some sun cream with you. Definitely a necessity if the forecast is sunny.
Hopefully the checklist has helped prepare you for a wicked weekend!
For more good reads on The Music Mag, click here.
Mixing country, folk and mainstream pop, Dwayne Jones creates an original sound with just the right twang of recognisability.
His new song Miles & Hours is very good – in fact the first time we listened to it, we listened to it 3 times in a row: it’s a song that you feel an instant connection to.
But enough talking, have a listen below!
ON CHANNEL 4 NEWS TONIGHT – FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS INTERVIEW WITH JON SNOW RE MANCHESTER GOTH HATE CRIMES.
Following the recent headlines about police recording attacks on youth sub-culture groups Fearless Vampire Killers will share their thoughts on the subject with Jon Snow on C4 News @ 7pm tonight. Fearless Vampire Killers have recently come off the Kerrang Tour after winning Best Newcomer @ the Kerrang Awards last year. Despite their musical success they have come across prejustice & abuse for their extravagant clothes & make-up.
“At the end of the day a crime is a crime. If you were assaulted on the way home today would it ease the pain knowing that their motive was your shirt or your choice of make-up? I think not. The sentence should be equal”
Kier. Fearless Vampire Killers
Fearless Vampire Killers ‘Diamond Dust & Crimson Reign’ Out April 22nd
Fearless Vampire Killers’ new single,The Prince: Diamond Dust And Crimson Reign is released with accompanying music video on February 25th2013.
The song is taken from the band’s latest release, Exposition: The Five Before The Flames (March 11th), which is a five track literary exposition and a prequel to their debut album, Militia Of The Lost.
Exposition takeslisteners back to the band’s fantastical and fictitious concept world of Grandomina in a unique way. Each of the five songs on Exposition has been written by a different band member and gives them a platform to explain the story behind theirfictional, Grandominan characters.
The Prince: Diamond Dust And CrimsonReign is the closing track from Exposition, and has been written by Co-lead vocalist and resident author, Laurence Beveridge. The narrative of the song continues directly on from the climax of Militia of the Lost and leaves the story ready to be picked up in their second album, expected later this year.
In The Prince: Diamond Dust And Crimson Reign, the now united five: the Fearless Vampire Killers, convene with the Duke of Hearts at the Manse du Miroir to embark on a reckless assault against the still smouldering ruins of the palace in search of the Cardinal. There, the Prince searches fruitlessly through the palace for his lost love, only to find a casket with her name etched on its front and her ashen remains inside…
Fearless Vampire Killers will be embarking on their first headline tour of the UK in April. The 11 date Diamonds And Disgrace Tour features support from the new incarnation of former My Passion members, Fort Hope.
A Full list of forthcoming tour dates are below, including a number of festival appearances and recently announced support shows with both Yashin and The Misfits. Catch FVK @ Download later this year