This Week’s Music Video with Sam Smith, Disclosure feat. Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Tyler The Creator, Youth Lagoon, My Morning Jacket and Guy Garvey

Disclosure – Caracal Review

So Disclosure have released a new album and I’m excited about it. It goes by the name of “Caracal” and features everyone from Miguel to the Weeknd – the album sees Lorde seduce a married man in the video for ‘Magnets’ and also introduces us to the new James Bond track vocalist with “Omen” featuring no other than Sam Smith. The Lawrence brother’s are deservedly celebrating their second UK number 1 album, a massive achievement considering they’ve only been active since 2010, and what a huge progression since their early days in the industry.

Holding on is a track that features Grammy winning Jazz singer Gregory Porter, whose voice has been anywhere and everywhere this past year, even on this particular song “Holding on” which has been a massive hit prior to the album’s release. The background synth and almost clap-along beat is a standard with Disclosure tracks and it fits beautifully with Porter’s gliding vocals.

Up next we have an 808 that leads us into a snare, and a snare that leads us into some extra terrestrial sounding special effects, that eventually lead us into the magnificent roar of Lion Babe. “Hourglass” is Jillian Hervey’s first feature track, and she couldn’t have picked a better duo to collaborate with. In “Hourglass” she stays true to her soulful husk, and this combined with the magic of Disclosure’s production makes for a pretty easy listen.

“Willing and Able” by Kwabs is my favourite from the album, it’s introduced by trademark Disclosure percussion and is completely chilled and relaxed. I’m a huge fan of the very slight reverb on the vocals, and the synth progression on the build up to the chorus is what holds everything together.

Regardless of who Lorde collaborates with she always manages to keep in tact her signature style and doesn’t lose any of her substance through the wants of other artists. Her feature track is called “Magnets”, and both Lorde and Disclosure performed last year at the Brit awards, doing a combined version of “Royals” and “White noise”. They obviously clicked and realised they worked well together because “Magnets” has an absolutely incredible sound that takes the qualities from both parties and merges them into one.

King of the slow jam Miguel has his spotlight with “Good Intentions”. Just by listening it’s really quite hard to tell it’s his vocals, and this song I feel is slightly over processed. I wouldn’t say Miguel’s sound is distinct, but it’s definitely recognisable in his own music. I really feel like it’s been lost under all these deep house Disclosure layers and I can’t help but imagine how amazing it would sound if his voice was a little more raw and stripped back.

Ever since hearing her own track “Zillionaire” I’ve been obsessed with Nao. It was a song I had heard and forgot to Shazam, thus spending days of my life trying to piece together the lyrics I could remember in the hopes that a google search would reunite me. “Superego” definitely does not disappoint, it’s what liquid gold would sound like if it had the ability to sing. Again it incorporates a ridiculous amount of synth and layers but thankfully they don’t take away from the quality of her vocals, she makes it work and that’s just her style.

The album draws to a close with Echoes, which isn’t anything that different to what we’ve already heard from Disclosure. It features Synth, obviously. Why do the Howard brothers love synth so much? The last track on the album goes by the name of “Masterpiece” featuring Jordan Rakei, it’s a slow start with a slight build up, but it’s not what I would call a masterpiece.

All in all I would probably give “Caracle” a 7 out of 10 rating, it had the potential to be a 10 but I feel like the boys have played it too safe and repeated a lot of the same sound that could have been really innovative and new. It wasn’t an album that featured tracks I was surprised by, instead I was kind of thinking “oh, more synth.” I understand that Disclosure have a particular sound but sometimes it’s good to step out of the box and make something that really surprises listeners which they’re more than capable of doing. Hat’s off to them though, because they’ve produced some really solid material and I know there’s more greatness to come.

Disclosure – Caracal = 7/10

Hannah Crowe

Single Review – Sam Smith – Writing’s On The Wall

With the next instalment of James Bond on it’s way the theme song for Spectre is Writing’s On The Wall by Sam Smith. The track has the typical Bond features with the orchestral instrumentation which is the sole contributor to the music here. Sam’s vocal ability here is undeniable from the moments of power to the delicate falsettos and I can see how it might fit into the whole Bond theme despite venturing into cheesy ballad territory at times. It is perhaps not different enough to Adele’s effort in terms of the musical arrangement and this limited his vocals at times, but a solid track nonetheless.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

MUSIC NEWS – Foo Fighters Photography Policy Tackled by French-Canadian Newspaper and Albert Hammond Jr. on Going Alone

Foo Fighter’s Photography Policy Under Fire

The Foo Fighters policy for taking ownership of any photographs taken by them at their concerts was recently labelled as “exploitative” by The Washington Post and Quebec newspaper Le Soleil made a stand by sending a cartoonist to the gig in Quebec City as photographers “had to give up all their rights” according to the paper. Here’s an example of the gig from the view of the cartoonist. http://www.lapresse.ca/le-soleil/arts-et-spectacles/dossiers-arts/festival-dete/201507/11/01-4884847-photos-des-foo-fighters-lart-de-contourner-des-exigences-trop-strictes.php

This controversy comes after Taylor Swift was branded a “Hypocrite” for practicing a similar policy, but her management later stated that images could be republished with their permission.

Albert Hammond Jr. on Being a Frontman

Yesterday The Strokes guitarist spoke of his confidence that he could be a frontman and that he “feels like I have good songs”. He also spoke at his frustration over the slow progress of The Strokes new material saying that “After a while you feel drained from because of how much you love and care for it.” His doubts were raised over a month since Julian Casablancas stated the band were working on new material so perhaps we’ll have to wait a little longer than we think for that. Albert’s upcoming album Momentary Masters is out on July 31st.

Sam Smith Favourite to Record New Bond Theme

Sam Smith remains favourite to be the performer of the new theme for the latest James Bond instalment Spectre. This is despite him recently suggesting that the song would be performed by Ellie Goulding. Smith is very similar in style to the last performer of a Bond theme which was Adele for Skyfall in 2012 so perhaps someone a little different is needed for the sake of not repeating themselves with a similar track. Duran Duran who recorded the Bond theme in 1985, suggested being more original in recruiting acts such as Daft Punk or Kanye West to record the theme. Lorde, Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey and Noel Gallagher are the other favourites to record the film’s theme song.

50,000 ‘Torontonians’ Sign Petition to stop Kanye West Performing at Pan-Am Games Closing Ceremony

Those creating the petition cite their opposition to Kanye being chosen as opposed to a local artist, but Deputy Leader of Ontario Green Party, Mark Daye claimed he was an “obnoxious no talent a**hole”. This comes after West was ridiculed by some of the British Press after his Glastonbury set in the face of a petition of 100,000+ to prevent him from headlining the festival. Despite this, those such as Noel Gallagher and Jack Black have came out in defence of Kanye but I think it’s likely that whether positive or not; Kanye West doesn’t really care what people have to say and will continue to go in his own direction.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

MUSIC NEWS – Grammys, Kanye West embarrasing himself, Noel Gallagher ranting and Paul McCartney collaborating

Album of the Year

The 2015 Grammy’s saw Sam Smith clean up as expected with four awards including Record and Song of the year, Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album for an artist with undoubted vocal talent and ability with the final two categories being very much deserved. Album of the year for which Sam Smith and Beyoncé were nominated, was won by Beck for his excellent Morning Phase (Not only did we give the album full marks but we put the album 2nd on a list of the year’s best albums) who also picked up Best Rock Album. The album also received Best Engineered, Non Classical Album and is a credit to Beck who played a monumental amount of the instruments on the album. Pharrell Williams picked up three Grammys for Best Video, Urban album and Pop performance whilst Aphex Twin won Best Electronic/Dance album which no one can complain about along with Jack White’s award for Best Rock Performance for Lazaretto. Best Altervative album went to St. Vincent’s self-titled masterpiece (we gave it full marks and put it top of out best albums of 2014 list) which was probably the most deserving of the lot.

Another cringe worthy moment occurred for Kanye West as the already bemused Beck picked up the Album of the Year award. West leapt on to the stage, went to say something and then sat back down for what he later explained was annoyance of Beyoncé not receiving the award and attacking Beck for diminishing artistry. Apparently writing, recording and composing all you own music and playing a vast amount of the instruments on your own including conducting orchestral pieces diminishes artistry as opposed to not writing, composing, recording or playing any instrument independently like Beyoncé for the wonderful vocalist that she is. Indeed her self titled album has undoubtedly her best work yet and Beck himself thought she was going to win, but perhaps for once they went for substance over status. Something clearly hard to swallow for Kanye who can only dream of the capability Beck used to bring Morning Phase into fruition again for as talented as Kanye himself is. But if you read Kanye West quotes then he gives you the exact reason why Beck won.

Meanwhile Noel Gallagher has been speaking out (like he has been for the last twenty one years) about his view of the music industry. Alex Turner has been back in his sights and anything making those in the NME office squirm is always welcome. He said he’d rather drink petrol than listen to him talk in what was a wider rant about record labels removing artists independence which was a point reiterated by his negative comments about Ed Sheeran. His isolated points are pretty much a reflection of what we were all thinking anyway.

Paul McCartney has been busy in the studio with another project. This time it’s with Lady Gaga and follows up from what seems to be a sizeable influence on Kayne West’s new material and collaborations with video game Destiny.  He’s not known for standing still but he’s making himself known to yet another generation.