My first memory of hearing Texas must have been around 1999 when my older sister played them to me in the car. I was instantly hooked and have been a fan ever since.
When I got the opportunity to go and review them at the 'Prime Live Presents' series of shows I was stoked. Having seen them play a great set at the Isle Of Wight Festival the previous week I was already looking forward to it.
Amazon announced back in May they were moving into live music saying ‘these shows would be the best live experience you’ve ever had’. Tickets are only available to Amazon Prime members and feature big artists playing in intimate venues they wouldn’t normally play in. Included in the announced shows are Blondie, Alison Moyet, Katie Melua and Texas.
For Texas they had a selected a fantastic venue: Porchester Hall, located in Bayswater. Having been to hundreds of shows in London as a seasoned gig goer, somehow I have missed this venue. It is absolutely beautiful, stunningly decorated and a great atmosphere.
We quickly got through the extensive security which was quick, efficient and polite. What struck me first was the amount of Amazon Prime staff on hand to answer queries and deal with customers. They were all friendly and only too happy to help. It was very obvious they had paid attention to detail, with everything: there were even a larger number of bins throughout the venue than you would normally find!
We headed to the drink to grab a bar. It did come as a bit of a surprise that this was a cash only bar. Considering amazon were running the event I would have expected a card payment facility. Something to work on for next time! Apart from that, there was a wide selection of beers, spirits, wines and softs.
With only 650 people in the audience the standing space was extremely comfortable and you didn’t feel cramped in. I’m sure if they desired, more tickets for the show could have been sold.
Sharleen came on stage at 8.15 to start her Q and A. This was lighthearted and fun; Sharleen is immensely friendly and genuine person to listen to. Given it was a sit down Q and A, the audience were attentive and listening throughout.
The band came on stage a 8.45 and played a blinding hour of all the hits new and old. The feeling from the audience was that this band are immensely loved and have a loyal fan base. Everyone reacted at the times; singing along when required and being silent as required. This was definitely confirmed from the average age of the crowd!
They finished with an encore and departed the stage at 10.00, leaving the audience wanting more.
My verdict on Amazon Prime shows: Well worth the £75 for the ticket, you get a unique and quality, well run experience.
Get a prime membership and get to a show. I’m excited to see what they announce next. Amazon are onto something here,reviving the live music experience with a fresh new formula.
Brazilian instrumental guitar band, The Outside Illusion, are breaking down the walls of music with no lyric with their new album, 'Silent Communication'.
Wanting to take guitar music to the next level, away from the current preconceptions of the genre, lead guitarist Denis Salgado believes that the absence of lyrics can help listeners engage more with the music, allowing them to create their own images in their head, rather than being told what to expect.
The band can be compared to the likes of Joe Satriani, especially with Salgado's guitar work, but they also employ an experimental electronic element that sets their rock stylings apart from the crowd.
Listen up MDR readers, we know you are used to us bringing you all new music from all over the world, but now for something completely different!
Are you looking for somewhere wonderful to discover in the Battersea area of London? Do you love great food, and opera? Well, you've come to the right place as we are introducing to you: TWID restaurant and cocktail bar in Battersea.
Don’t be put off by the crazy street outside - once you enter the place it is like being in the heart of Venice. There's live music and stunning opera performances every night from 7-10.
To top it all off, TWID concoct sumptuous cocktails and the food is something to behold before you've even tasted it. I know we don’t normally gush about anything other than music but this place combines such a brilliant theme that any lover of classical drama and opera should make this their next dinner location.
Get down there and tell them ‘My Dad Rocks’ sent you , who knows, maybe you will get some special treatment!
But honestly, you'll have to book immediately at TWID as spaces are hot!
Slydigs are a charismatic four-piece hailing from the thriving hub of musical heritage, Britain’s North-West. The four school friends are pulsating and pumping fresh blood into the rock and roll scene that many see as dead, or at least hibernating. Recently Slydigs have supported The Who on their world tour, plus slots supporting Catfish and the Bottlemen, The View and Pete Doherty.
‘How Animal Are You’ is the lead single from the forthcoming EP of the same name which will be a six-track collection injected with all the swagger of classic rock. The EP was written during the intriguing transition from the mundane daily grind to working with one of rock’s finest ever groups. The EP is expected to showcase the gritty fire that the band has been containing since day one.
The lead single opens with a slick riff countered by sustained notes that fuzz away with gravelly confidence. Drums enter with a boom and the track begins to swashbuckle with rolling guitars, tumbling bass lines and tambourines that are reminiscent of classic Stones and Oasis. Lead vocalist Dean Fairhurst makes his entrance with a strut in his voice, oozing with a grizzly charm, which compliments his throwback image to the days of Brian Jones.
Before the catchy anthemic chorus, the band throw in synchronised claps for good measure. It’s little things like this that keep the joy in the track and I can assure you that you won't be struck by boredom with 'How Animal Are You?', only the uplifting power of pure rock and roll. Slydigs new song does not let up until the end, and it will be over before you know it, making you play it like a kid with a new toy, again.
The ‘How Animal Are You?’ EP is out 12th May and Slydigs head out on tour the later the same month.
Today, April 27th, the new pioneering music competition Salute is launching, ready for aspiring artist and musicians to upload their music.
From today, applicants can put their music on the platform (a maximum of four tracks per person) where it will be judged by Salute's respected curators and music experts. This team have the difficult job of reviewing all the music with the aim of finalising a top 100. A public vote will then whittle these down to a final 6 whose music will be showcased on the live shows.
Aiming to redefine and reposition song writers, whilst supporting and empowering DIY UK talent, Salute Music Makers is an innovative enterprise launching the next generation of unsigned musicians. The idea behind the project is to create an accessible and fair opportunity for a diverse range of music makers to showcase their talents, with the opportunity to win a life-changing, no strings-attached cash prize of £50,000. The biggest prize of any music competition in history!
Salute is not 'glorified' karaoke, as many people believe current talent shows to be; instead, it is championing original talent and the power of the song writer.
Feargal Sharkey, who you may well know from The Undertones, is providing the face of the competition and he commented: "British music can justifiably claim to conquer the world but that incredible success is built upon one thing, talent. In an age of television static and bewildering musical consumer choice, it is now more important than ever that we give the right, focused support and opportunity to the next generation of great British talent. Salute is set to make that happen."
I would imagine that most people couldn't name a protest song from this day and age, but pioneering songwriter, Beldon Haigh, has come up with two in the past year.
Beldon cemented himself on the scene with 'Freedom', a song that protested the presidency of Donald Trump and acted as a call to arms for the many millions who dislike Trump to stand up and be counted. Now, Haigh has returned, perhaps even more pertinently, with 'Land of Hope' which brings to light the atrocities of the refugee crisis that the world is currently encountering.
'Land of Hope' employs more of the direct, straight-to-the-point lyrics that Beldon exhibited in his previous single, but this time he is appealing to an entirely different cause. His adaptability in addressing audiences is quite astounding and it's refreshing to hear a musician with a true purpose, other than just wanting to make money.
Having played with a number of bands back in the 80s, including Mikifin and Boxing Clever, Beldon has developed experienced song writing skills that see him marrying classic and effective instrumentation with poignant and witty lyricism.
Despite the harrowing nature of what Beldon's new track addresses, the tone is surprisingly upbeat, resonating perfectly with the name of the song. A protest song should look forward positively whilst highlighting the issues, not simply wallow in the problems of the world, and Beldon succeeds in doing the former.
On top of this, Beldon is donating all proceeds from sales of the single to indiGo volunteers, an organisation providing support for aid agencies who are helping with the humanitarian crisis.
Russian singer-songwriter, Georg Roman, has thrown away his pursuit of a career in sport for one in music instead, releasing his hard-hitting operatic anthem, 'Forever'.
'Forever' is song like none you have ever heard. Georg pushes boundaries with his music, creating an unusual yet surprisingly harmonious concoction of operatic, classical and even rock styles, all driven by Roman's roaring baritone voice.
Consequently, you can understand why Georg takes inspiration from a wide range of artists; everyone from Luciano Pavarotti to Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker to Placido Domingo.
Georg looks up to these stalwarts of the operatic world and it is this style he has followed that has led him to perform at well established venues such as The Bolshoi Academic Theatre and The Bonn Opera.
Although Georg originally intended to take on a career in sports, wanting to be a professional fighter or weightlifter, fans of his music will be pleased that he chose music instead- it was clearly the right choice.
Welsh singer-songwriter, Chey, has followed up her debut single, 'Dirty Love', with a song in the same alternative, electro-pop vein, entitled, 'She's Got You'.
The new track is a fusion of disquieting electronica and contemporary pop, making for a truly absorbing listen, only reinforced by the evocative music video filmed in an abandoned cotton mill in Manchester.The visuals feature some intricate choreography from a pair of talented dancers that truly complement the feeling behind Chey's lyrics.
Telling the typical story of infidelity and lost love, Chey places this common tale onto an original backdrop of her alternative style of pop. She said: “‘She’s Got You’ deals with the feelings of loss and rejection, losing someone can be a poignant moment in your life - it can also be the moment where you find your strength.”
'She's Got You' was put together with the help of famed London producer, David Ezra, who has also worked with X-Factor finalists, Reggie and Bollie in the past. On top of this, there is a remixed version of 'She's Got You' if you like your music a little more dancy!
With a lot of support to his name already, Jake Aldridge is an artist who is beginning to make his way in the music industry. His music has been played by Tom Robinson on his BBC Introducing mixtape, on Playboy TV and he was even no. 1 on Zone radio's top 40 charts.
With his latest release, entitled 'Fireman', Jake is fusing R&B with hip-hop and even a little bit of pop, with the help of Lisa Ambrose and her quality vocals.
Beginning with Lisa's pure voice and a delicate acoustic guitar, 'Fireman' quickly makes way for Jake's inventive and considered lyricism. His raps and rhymes are original and full of emotion, only adding to the feel of the track. Unlike many others, Jake was not always a musician. It wasn't until his Father passed away when he was 11, that Jake found music to be an ideal platform for expressing his emotions. He quickly found that he had a confident talent for penning lyrics and he hasn't looked back since.
Interestingly, the acoustic guitar motif continues throughout the track, lying subtly underneath the centrepiece of Jake's lyrics. Not only this, but his attitude-fuelled words and style sit in contrast to Ambrose's, almost creating two sides to the song which could be interpreted as two sides to the argument and predicament that 'Fireman' is centred around.
In terms of production, Jake has used all he skills he has learnt over his time in the industry to create a highly professional track that paves the way for him in the urban-pop scene.
Jake finds inspiration in some of the biggest names in rap and hip-hop, including greats such as Tupac Shakur and Dr.Dre. These influences evidently leak into his own style and there's hardly better artists in his genre that he could look up to.
Overall, 'Fireman' is a top-level track that anyone who likes urban music will be able to relate to. But more than that, pop fans will also find a bit of what they like with Jake's crossover style.
Genuine-article singer-songwriters are hard to find these days, but Northampton's Corinna Jane is without a doubt the real deal.
Having previously released 'Three Faces of You', an upbeat pop-rock track that exhibited her quirky personality and music to the world, Corinna has now returned with 'Echoes Of My Mind', an emotive ballad that showcases her versatile vocals and simple, yet effective songwriting approach.
This is perhaps one of Corinna's best traits as a songwriter; her ability to construct simple songs, in terms of structure and instrumentation, that allows the thought provoking subjects of her songs to take centre stage. There's nothing over the top about Corinna's music and sometimes, the most simple songs are the best.
A wavering piano lead introduces the song, setting the tone for a track we immediately seem to know will be an emotional one. It isn't long before Corinna's delicate vocals ooze into the song, showing off their range all within the first verse. Subtle string sections sit humbly in the background, adding that further bit of expertly-crafted texture.
'Echoes Of My Mind' is a dark piece of art, referencing the end and aftermath of a relationship. The track is built up to a point, in depth of instrumentation, that it truly reflects the insurmountable grief that comes from a situation such as this.
With an evocative black and white music video that perfectly accompanies the themes at play within 'Echoes of My Mind', Corinna is sure to be making waves with her quality songwriting and beautifully constructed songs.
Originally intended to open on April 3rd, the new and revolutionary talent platform, Salute, has had to push back the date for contestants to enter on accounts of the project waiting on some very exciting news.
After announcing the competition and its ethos at new London venue, Omeara, in late March, Salute were building up to the launch date, when potential ‘Music Makers’ could begin to upload their music to the platform. After this stage, all music would be evaluated and vetted, with the goal of narrowing down all applicants to a top 100.
However, this initial phase of the competition has had to be postponed as the team behind Salute are waiting to hear on some potentially game-changing additions to the project that could take it to a whole new level.
Speculation suggests that the news could relate to confirmation on an innovative partnership with one of world’s biggest and pioneering organisations, but those following the progression of this exciting new talent platform will have to wait and see.
The new date for access to all entrants will be 27th April.
What is Salute?
Salute Music Makers is a pioneering enterprise redefining the face of the music industry. The idea behind the project is to create an accessible and fair opportunity for a diverse range of music makers to showcase their talents, tapping into the DIY generation of music. Initially, hopeful applicants will upload their music to an app where it will be vetted by industry professionals, before narrowing it down to a top 100. After this stage, a public vote will pick out a top 6 who will fight it out for a £50,000 prize on the Salute live TV shows. Aiming to empower original, grass-roots music makers and distance themselves from the conventional talent shows such as The X-Factor and The Voice, Salute is leading the search for talent in a new direction.
You may recognise James Grant from this picture as the front-man of 80s group, Love and Money, but now he has returned and teamed up with producer Gordy Goudie, to form The Korvids and their brand of funky-disco for a modern audience.
The pair have labelled their new album as perfect for the older generation, who still want to bust a move or two in honour of their younger selves. Upon listening to the record, this seems like a perfect description- it has that throwback sound, reminiscent of disco and funk, with groove-heavy basslines and wah-laden guitar leads.
It's simply the kind of music that you can't dislike; it just makes you want to move, or at least tap a foot. 'Bad Faith' is a highlight, exhibiting Grant's trademark falsetto vocals and an enticing piano lead. It was even produced with the help of Steely Dan's producer, Gary Katz.
James says, “I wanted to be someone else for a while. Sound different. Write different. It can be dreary being me all the time...I sing most of my vocals on the record in falsetto, which, as we know, is the international language of disco.”
Back in the 80s, Love and Money never seemed to really hit the big time, despite Grant's talents, so he'll be hoping that his new direction in music will take hi even further. Equally, Gordy has produced for Simple Minds and has even played bass and guitar for Echo and the Bunnymen and The Primevals.
Disco lovers, whilst I'm sure you're enticed- you'll have to wait until 28th April before you can get your ears round the new album.
In the meantime, check out more on the Korvids here:
After hitting us with 'The Wayfarer' earlier this year, a song taking influence from the story of the Peace Pilgrim, Glenn Harrold has returned with 'Fading Photograph'- a track full of lost love, heartbreak and powerful emotion.
As a multi-million selling hypnotherapist for the majority of his time, Glenn touches on a wide range of topics including consciousness, love, peace and spirituality in both his work as well as his music.
You can listen to 'Fading Photograph' here:
Glenn's simple, yet effective approach to writing quality pop songs helps him explore these themes without unnecessary cryptic-lyrics and the vocal delivery of Dean Rhymes gets these ideas across perfectly with his rich and pure voice.
Glenn’s hypnotherapy career has also led to him appearing on Steve Wright’s show, Breakfast TV and Five live.
'Freedom' is the new protest song from Beldon Haigh- railing against the 45 president of the United States, Donald Trump.
I'm sure there's thousands of people out there who've been waiting for something like this and Beldon's song is a call to arms to stand up for your principles as a human being. It questions the values that President Trump is putting across, asking most predominantly, whether this is the kind of image we want to project to our children? Something Beldon feels strongly about, as a father of three.
Haigh's songwriting prowess stems from his time in the 80s, playing with bands such as Mikifin and Boxing Clever. Having honed his craft for a number of years, Beldon decided to take some time out to write his new album and 'Freedom' is one of the outcomes.
Supposedly, the idea for the song came to him in a dream and so Beldon was hasty to get it written down before he forgot it. It only took him twenty minutes.
Watch the video for 'Freedom' here:
With influences such as Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Al Stewart, Cat Stevens, Lou Reed and pop acts like Elbow, Tears For Fears, Del Amitri, and The Waterboys, Beldon has a strong inspirational pedigree that becomes evident upon listening to his powerful and emotional song writing.
After releasing their debut single ‘This Time’, which received airplay across 30 radio stations, and then receiving support from The Times with their second single ‘Only When You’re Lonely’ as one of their Essential Tracks of 2015, Apachelux have returned with ‘Waiting For The Red Light’. With influences as diverse as Maya Jane Coles, Royal Blood and Girls Aloud, Apachelux’s genre-straddling sound aims to create those ‘dancefloor moments’.
Apachelux consists of the musical minds Jay Wigmore and Louisa Strachan, who met at Village Green in 2014. The duo are based in Southend-on-Sea, currently a hub of creativity and home to an increasing number of up and coming artists, such as Nothing but Thieves, Asylums and Youthclub. Recorded in their home studio and mixed and mastered by John Webber at Air Studios, ‘Waiting For The Red Light’ is set to release 7th April.
Hailing from all the way down under in Australia, Lisa Richards is casting her brand of endearing and enchanting jazz-pop across the rest of the world with her new album 'A Light From The Other Side'.
After a turbulent childhood and upbringing, Richards has found her calling in the world of music and it's almost a shame she didn't start sooner!
Instantly, the first you'll notice about Lisa is her one of a kind voice which is nothing less than inimitable. There is a gentleness, yet individuality of timbre in her vocals which are difficult to describe. Despite this, they fit in perfectly with her laid-back, easy listening, jazz influenced style of music. Lovers of Norah Jones will be sure to find what they love in Lisa's music too.
Richards is the kind of artist you'd have imagined to be around in jazz circles many years ago and this simply shows the way in which she has reinvented the genre for modern audiences.
Having already accrued 4 albums to his name, Adam Lanceley is not one to slack when it comes to writing music. It seems that the London based singer-songwriter is simply a machine, churning out track after track. But Adam's new EP 'Back To The Sunshine' displays a musician who has come a long way since his beginnings in the industry and now he is donating all proceeds of the record to charity.
When Adam was young, he was involved in a horrific car accident that left him fighting for his life. He sustained severe head injuries and his family were informed that he would probably not walk or talk again. In lieu of this, Adam has shown the utmost determination in recovering, proving those doctors wrong, and now he even runs 10k races and marathons for charity.
Consequently, Adam decided to donate all net proceeds from 'Back To The Sunshine' to the Brain and Spine Foundation, a charity he was worked with in the past and one that means a lot to him.
When writing his music, Adam is influenced by a mix of factors: everything from topical and relevant events to personal experiences from the present day, as well as his younger years. For example, destinations such as Yorkshire and Devon, amongst other places, have provided Adam with fountains of ideas that he has turned into intriguing and meaningful lyrics, attributing ordinary places with mystical grandeur and reflecting fond memories from his childhood.
The talent show platform has been a mainstay in the reality TV sector for a long time now and it seems to have been dominated by the same few shows like The X-Factor, The Voice, and Britain's Got Talent - two of those shows being spearheaded by the formidable music industry shark, Simon Cowell.
But now there is a new fish in the pond called Salute and its rivaling the big guns by providing an alternative platform for unsigned artists to showcase their music.
Salute is all about grass roots music; giving talented UK musicians a fair opportunity to show what they've got. Shows like the X-Factor have often been criticised for always focusing on the monetary side of the music industry, but this is exactly what Salute aims to combat.
Initially, Salute 'Music Makers' will upload their music via an app (avoiding the cringey audition phases) whereupon a listening phase will occur. Tracks will be vetted by industry curators and professionals such as Feargal Sharkey, former Undertone front-man who is heading the face of the project. Applicants will be narrowed down to a top 100, and eventually a final 6 will be decided by public vote.
It is these final 6 contestants who will feature on the live shows, exhibiting original and themed music each week. No longer will there simply be artists performing 'karaoke' of classic musicians- everything will be fresh and new, empowering the talented song-writers and musicians of our country, not just those who are good at singing and can be molded into the perfect pop-stars.
Salute have also teamed up with Unilad to form a fusion of social media, digital and TV to power the competition online. As well as this, Jamal Edwards MBE has also got on board with Salute and will be talking at their launch event at London venue, Omeara on 22nd March 2017.
Whilst some of the other talent shows can boast top prizes for their winners, such as record deals or opportunities to perform on special occasions at prestigious events, Salute beats them all, offering a £50,000 prize to the overall winner of the competition, that they can use to boost their music career.
Applications for Salute will open April 3rd for all contestants, whilst the listening phase will begin mid-May and finish in July. It will then be the time for the public vote, with the live shows beginning in September and the winner being announced in October.
So you thought classical music was a thing of the past? Where older men with wigs compose epic pieces with tons of straight-jacket musicians helping them out in the performance- how wrong you were!
Trying to reinvent the sound of classical music for modern audiences is the talented young Maltese composer, Edward Abela. His brand of soft piano-led compositions are nothing like what you would expect from 'classical' music, employing imaginative soundscapes and effects to ameliorate and drag the genre into something wholly more appealing and fresh.
With his new EP entitled 'Echoes', Abela has built upon his work from his previous album 'Chronicles', giving us much of the same style that he has built a name for himself with. Fans will be pleased to hear that he has not strayed too far from his signature style, yet he has developed his ability to create images through his music and this is key for Edward who always aims to tell a story through his work.
'Stella Maris' is an intriguing piece with an innate curiosity and child-like nature that you can instantly imagine as part of a film score. There is no doubt that Edward's experience as a composer for Warner/Chappell has helped him pioneer this filmic style, but equally, he can be placed up there with the best, including his influences Ludovico Einaudi and Nils Frahm.
Meanwhile, the lead track 'Echoes' is an interweaving masterpiece of complex instrumentation that displays Edward's true compositional abilities. Whilst other sounds and effects are introduced, providing originality, the piano is always at the heart of Abela's work, creating beautiful, yet often simple melodies that transport listeners away in just a few notes.
There is an ambience and atmosphere to Abela's work which is rare to find and the cinematic nature of his music would be equally at home providing a soundtrack to sit back and relax to as much as it would be on screen.
Overall, 'Echoes' picks up where Edward left off with his last album, but this trademark style is quickly becoming synonymous with the composer and his undeniable talents. Well worth a listen if you're ready for some deep thinking!
M3staken (M3)identifies himself as primarily a hip-hop artist, but it can certainly be said that he is like no other hip-hop artist you have heard before.
The young, yet talented producer and musician has grown up in South Carolina, developing a unique style of music that pushes boundaries as much as it pleases it the critical listener's ear.
His new soundtrack album 'Apex' is somewhat of an experimental, concept piece that builds and develops M3staken's hip-hop roots with genre-defying hints of both electronic and classical music. Of course, these aren't style you would normally blend together, or even associate for that matter, but M3's willingness to see what happens when you do is both commendable and impressive. It's not often you come across a young artist who is quite as ambitious with their musical experiments as M3staken.
'In Space' exhibits jarring hip-hop beats with a discerning drone and the first example of his piano skills on the album thrown in. It's a dark instrumental piece, but one that is thought provoking and image conjuring too. 'Apex' is by no means a traditional soundtrack album, but somehow you feel like there would definitely be a place for it in the film market.
'YaphetKotto' displays more of M3's dissonant and fractured style but it is not just noise; there is structure in the unstructure of it all, only proving M3's talents that clearly belie his years.
Moving in a lightly different direction, 'Milo' provides us with a much more melodically pleasing tune, layered on top of complex beats and subtle bass. It often be easy to turn everything up when composing music, but M3 is subtle and considered in his production, bringing us a sound like no other.
Overall, if you're looking for something a little different, something a little left field, but you're still a hip-hop lover at heart- give M3staken's Apex a try. It will certainly take you to new ground and expand your musical horizons.
As well as album, single and gig reviews we now have sections devoted to looking at the latest tech including mobile phones, audio and TV for the home and even cars. In short anything you can listen to music on or in. Or just stuff our crack team of writers things is interesting.
Please feel free to send us any comments or your own reviews and recommendations.