Virgin Soldiers cover Linkin Park’s Numb

This is a fantastic video we were sent just last week. Rarely do you see such original covers, and in this case the use of strings to what is a heavier rock song was particularly pleasing to see. Virgin Soldiers is a group from Kent and Sussex, and I believe they’ve even come up with their own word, “Strock” (which we love), to describe themselves – strings and acoustic rock. They have a beautiful new single out now which you can see here so make sure you check out more of their material and what they’re up to at the moment.

Jack @ Musical #Hashtag


Band To Watch // The Preatures

May I present one of my favourite ‘Bands To Watch’ so far, The Preatures! They are a five piece from Sydney and create an eclectic mix of rock ‘n’ roll with pure classic pop. It must be an exciting time for the band, who seem to have an instant likability for their music and cool personas, and surely must be one of the breakout acts in Australia at least for the end of this year and the start of next. Their new single Is This How you Feel? is personally one of my favourite tracks I’ve found during 2013, and as I pointed out in last week’s ‘Must Hear Track’s it’s an irresistibly catchy rock/pop mix that once you hear will definitely be put on repeat.

The effortlessly soft yet powerful vocals of Isabella Manfredi make this track. Combine that with the too cool for school rock ‘n’ roll guitar and addictive percussion beat and you’ve got a fantastic number with hints of old Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac present. Not only have they produced one fine single, The Preatures have another couple of songs up their sleeves – Pale Rider being one that particularly grabbed my attention. An anthem in it’s own right, this quirky and mysterious tack could quite easily be the soundtrack to a classic film intro, and again the combination of vocal and guitar is harmoniously working.

As I said the single is out now, and I’m not too sure on what the future holds in terms of more singles and of course potential albums. What I do know however is that I am looking forward to whatever they end up producing and can only hope that it’s a natural progression from the current material, if anything just simply more of the same.

Jack @ Musical #Hashtag

Must Hear Tracks! 14/06/13

Every week we’ll each post three songs that we’ve found particularly intriguing, have recently discovered, or more often than not, a record we just love! For those of you that haven’t worked it out yet that you means you’ll be getting 9 fantastic, new and exciting tracks posted on here every week in which we recommend you take a listen. Here’s this week’s songs with our very own rating system. Yep, you’ve guessed it – a Hashtag rating out of 5!

Jack’s Picks:

Song: Big Sleep For Alice       Band: LODRO       Rating: ###

Intriguing is the word I’d use to describe this track, and definitely in the good sense too. It’s always great when you come across gritty sounds like this that you weren’t expecting. This dirty rock/pop number is from LODRO, a Brooklyn based band made up of Jeremy Cox, Jigmae Baer, and Lesley Hann.

Song: Beat Of Your Heart     Artist: Summer Heart      Rating: ####

As chilled as it’s going to get this Summer (that statement doesn’t include the weather though) – this is the latest one from Swedish outfit, Summer Heart, with a melodic guitar riff and “life’s so easy” attitude. What’s not to like?

Song: Is This How You Feel?      Artist: The Preatures    Rating: #####

By far the best new track I’ve heard in the past couple of weeks. It’s an irresistibly catchy rock/pop mix that once you hear will definitely be put on repeat. The Preatures, from Sydney, have another good track or two up their sleeves, so I will be posting them and the video for this track on the blog in the near future.

Matt’s Picks:

Song: Girlfriend   Artist: Icona Pop     Rating: ####

From the creators of the hit song, I Love It, the girlband is back with a brand new song! It’s a brilliant party song, and has me bobbing up and down!

Song: Radioactive (Synchronice Remix)   Artist: Imagine Dragons    Rating: ####

I’ve been trying to find a good remix to this song, as I have felt it was always lacking something… and I have found it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Song: Something About The Fire    Artist: Adele & Daft Punk     Rating: ####

Very simple and subtle. All I have to say about this song really. The backing track works really well with Adele’s lyrics and it’s just a great song!

Max’s Picks:

This week I am going for a slightly different approach to my Must Hear Tracks. This will all become clear, right below, but in summary, I have elected to go for a series of live tracks.

Song: 99 Revolutions (live)    Artist: Green Day   Rating: ####

This live version has been released as part of the One Campaign, where a series of protest songs are being used to show the power of music to change the world – you can get more information on it here. 99 Revolutions has come from the latest Green Day album ‘¡Tré!, and this performance shows the band on tour in Italy, and it depicts them doing what they do best – rallying a massive crowd, and getting everyone involved.

Song: Blurred Lines    Artist: Queens of the Stone Age   Rating: #####

Blurred Lines has become a very popular single, so much so that it reached the number 1 spot in the charts, but noone was expecting this during a Live Lounge session for BBC Radio 1. From the bottle of medicine used as percussion, to the Josh Homme rap in the middle, it has QOTSA stamped all over it, and yet it is still very recognisable as the original.

Song: All My Live     Artist: Frank Turner   Rating: ####

Frank Turner is becoming renowned for his very well constructed covers, from On A Plain by Nirvana, to Somebody To Love by Queen. This latest one was another BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge special, and is a brilliant cover of the Foo Fighters‘ hit song All My Life. Words cannot prepare you for such a different take on the song, but I believe it has been done successfully.

Band To Watch // Hunter As A Horse


I haven’t been able to publish a ‘Band To Watch’ post for a couple of weeks now due to a very busy period of work, but this week’s artist is worth the wait. May I present to you Hunter As A Horse, a duo hailing from South Africa that now reside next to the lush banks of the Thames in Richmond. Mia Van Wyk and Paul Gala met in Johannesburg back in 2002, and with a real ambition to explore and make electronic music they moved to London where electronica was starting to take off. After playing around with several names, including Black Rabbit and Evil Spirit, they finally settled on Hunter As A Horse, something we’ll be asking about when we send them some questions in a few weeks time. They have numerous single tracks out at the moment, all of which convey their raw musical talent whilst paying respect to the duo’s individual past experiences and influences of then and now.

A year on since their reformation under the new name, it only takes a quick look through their social feeds to see the positive feedback from avid (and new) listeners. Unfortunately there are no planned releases as of yet, but I am aware that there has been a variety of industry interest thus far. The lack of any planned new material doesn’t seem to be hindering them though. The dreamy combination of Mia’s vocals composed on top of the almost psychedelic electronic ensemble makes for a match made in…well, South Africa. Backed up by the fact that they recently played a sold out London gig, are playing two shows in France this July, and last month performed a beautiful live session for Amazing Radio, I’m sure that they’ll soon be making fantastic and compelling electro-pop music inspired by their lives so far. As I pointed out earlier, we will be sending over a few questions so keep your eyes peeled for the return post in a few weeks. Hunter As A Horse definitely have the potential to make an impact, we now have to wait and see whether it can be followed through. This is a band we will absolutely be keeping an eye, or rather ear, on.

Jack @ Musical #Hashtag

Must hear tracks! 07/06/13

Every week we’ll each post three songs that we’ve found particularly intriguing, have recently discovered, or more often than not, a record we just love! For those of you that haven’t worked it out yet that you means you’ll be getting 9 fantastic, new and exciting tracks posted on here every week in which we recommend you take a listen. Here’s this week’s songs with our very own rating system. Yep, you’ve guessed it – a Hashtag rating out of 5!

Jack’s Picks:

Song: Nathaniel       Band: Night Works       Rating: ####

This first track comes from Gabriel Stebbing, formerly of Metronomy and Your Twenties. Having come across the debut album ‘Urban Heat Island’ this week (despite it’s release in March of this year) I am pleased to say I have been pleasantly surprised by what’s been produced. It’s hard to categorize Stebbing’s material, but words like dreamy pop spring to mind.

Song: Change     Artist: Zen Mantra      Rating: #####

I found this by complete fluke, and boy I’m glad that I did. As soon as you hear the first note you’ll know if you love it or not! What makes this track even better is that it’s a ‘bedroom’ musical project by 18 year old Sam Perry from New Zealand – looking forward to more material from this guy!

Song: Solemn Skies      Artist: Childhood    Rating: ####

With a soon to be completed debut album, this four-piece is a group to keep an eye on. A couple of tantalizing singles already in the mix, and a support tour with Palma Violets already part of their repertoire, Childhood will definitely be a group you will be come familiar with if you enjoy this type of music.  

Matt’s Picks:

Song: We Can’t Stop   Artist: Miley Cyrus     Rating: ###

Released on Soundcloud four days ago, Miley has a new song out. It’s okay, general pop, but will be a valuable addition to your music library if pop is your thing.

Song: Armed & Dangerous    Artist: Rise At Night (Datsik Remix)     Rating: ####

I’ve not heard the original, but I don’t think I will need to – as this remix is pure brilliance. Not for the fait hearted, or hungover – this song is a brilliant song to predrink to or when you are out in the clubs! For those remix/D&B fans out there!

Song: Fly    Artist: Protohype     Rating: #####

Similar genre as to the previous song, bit heavier though! This song features Alina Renae, and her voice is fantastic! The beats and the vocals really work well together!

Max’s Picks:

Song: Don’t Forget Who You Are    Artist: Miles Kane   Rating: #####

I know that I have already written a review of the full album, from which this is the title track, however, I couldn’t pass another opportunity to praise this track, and the album as a whole. Do yourself a favour this weekend and give this, and the whole LP, a play.

Song: Armour    Artist: Grand Old Juke   Rating: #####

I am genuinely loving this track, and the EP as a whole. It is music that puts a smile on your face, moves your feet, feels familiar, and also feels new and unique all at once, and that is just how I describe Armour. I shall leave the rest of the EP to be discovered by you.

Song: Ain’t Room For Two    Artist: The Empire State   Rating: ####

This is real, rock’n’roll, swinging music, with a clever balance between guitar and piano elements which communicate with each other, behind the cleverly written lyrics. This band are definitely worth a listen, with this song as a starting point.

Album Review // Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are

Miles Kane’s first solo full length, ‘The Colour of the Trap‘, really allowed Kane to come out of the Alex Turner shaped shadow, and stand out as his own artist – and a brilliant one at that. ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ is the album to confirm his prowess as a songwriter, and boy does it deliver.

It all kicks off in style with the energetic Taking Over, setting the scene for an LP of real guitar music. The title track, and also the latest single for the album, is one of the strongest numbers, with a very poignant video to match. Despite Miles’ recent rise to fame, it is clear he is determined to keep his feet firmly to his Merseyside roots. Don’t be surprised if he becomes more of a household name following this album.

You continue to bounce your way through the album, with a short rest in the form of Out Of Control, a slower ballad with string section and piano accompaniment. This is definitely one of the more mature songs, with element of the Last Shadow Puppets project shining through.

Fire In My Heart is another song which breaks from the full on, jump-around, sing-along recipe, with acoustic guitar taking centre stage. This is a very strong track which shows how much Kane has learnt since his last effort, with a more balanced and intricate composition. This is in stark contrast to Give Up, the first song from the album we heard, earlier in the year.It already feels like it has been around for ages, making for a very familiar sound, but one that still packs a punch with every listen – this was made for a crowd of 1000 to shout back in chorus.

Finally, Darkness In Our Hearts rounds off what is sure to be the album that propels Miles Kane into the modern rock elite, along with his Arctic Monkey friends. Overall, it is a fast paced album, with much more to offer than ‘The Colour of the Trap’, that is sure to be blaring out of every set of speakers this summer – well, this is what I hope for.

Rating: #####

Max @ Musical #Hashtag

Album Review // Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork

For the past few months, the rumours have been building, the clips have been aired, and we have watched the short film with its gruesome artwork, and now, the moment has arrived – ‘…Like Clockwork‘ is here for our ears to enjoy. And enjoy is exactly what they will do. It all kicks off with the throbbing riff of Keep Your Eyes Peeled, where the piano provides a much more sinister tone to the song. It has a great balance between the down-and-dirty, and lighter guitar licks, which bend and twist in a way very familiar to any QOTSA fan. This song really does set the scene for what is one of the most anticipated albums of 2013.

Amongst the heavier, filthier songs are the softer, more delicate ones, where the heart of Homme begins to crack, such as in The Vampyre of Time and Memories. These provide short breathers between the crowd stomping songs like If I Had a Tail – one of the stronger tracks on the album. This has a thumping chorus, separated by a series of well constructed verses, formed by some of the strongest lyrics heard from the band. Perhaps all of the collaborations are the cause of this?

My God Is The Sun is sure to become a fan favourite, not only because this was the first song that we heard from the album, but also because it is a classic Queens… track, taken from the Joshua Homme cookbook of his brand of rock music. Kalopsia sees the influence of Alex Turner, lyrically, and this is very evident. Trent Reznor also sings on this track, all adding up to a great song that perhaps defines the sound of this album, from the squealing guitars, to the lullaby-like play on the fretboard.

Smooth Sailing sees the album take a funk turn, with a bit of slap bass – something I certainly wasn’t expecting. That’s not to say that it does not work. In fact, this is one of the many gems within the 10-track LP. I Appear Missing is more of a ‘classic’ QOTSA track in the first half – all until the lyrics “it’s only falling in love because you hit the ground”. From here the piece becomes more distorted, with unusual fill ins and irregular beats that leave you feeling dazed and confused, as though you’ve fallen from a fourth floor window.

The album finishes with the title track, which sees Homme singing in a strong falsetto for much of the 5 minutes. It is one of the slower tracks on the record, but one that is just as powerful as the best of the rest. On the surface, it seems far more minimal than the rest of the album, but it is in fact full of carefully composed layers, with a string section guiding you through the latter half. So, is this the ‘Songs for the Deaf 2’ that people had hoped for? Yes and no. It is certainly one of the best records they have made, up there with the aforementioned album. However, it is much more complex than it, with more risk put into it, the results are much greater. I can see this becoming one of the greats that we look back on in several years time – very deserving of our rating.

Rating: #####

Max @ Musical #Hashtag