Google+ Little Bird: April 2013

Monday, 22 April 2013

Favourite Albums - Part1 - The Kennedy Soundtrack 'A Tale of Two Cities'

I think everyone has that one record that they always go back to. That one album that you know every word to. The one that still gives you chills. The one that will perpetually strike something inside of you that perhaps no one else will understand. The one that can bring you right back to a completely different chapter in your life.
This can be quite a private thing; your own little morsel of words or noise that you keep close to you.

Probably a bit different from a lot of other things I listen to but hey, variety is the spice of life (or some pish like that)...
I adore this album. Why? Because it makes me happy. It really does. It's the one album I always go back to without fail and I never get bored of it. I have phases of listening to a record over and over again in my car and this one is number one in the Heather repetitive car charts (my other half doesn't get how I don't sicken myself with listening to the same thing over and over).

It came out in 2002, and I've played it countless times since then. Unfortunately The Kennedy Soundtrack are no more *sob*.

I first discovered these guys when I saw their music video for 'Killing Music' and went out and bought the single as soon as. (Remember singles??! When was the last time you bought a physical CD single?!).

The album is a mix of so many styles and I find it hard to place them in a category. There's a blend of nu-metal, rap, rock, funk, hip hop with a tiny splash of a reggae feel here and there.. It's a pretty weird infusion of musical styles but I personally feel this completely works. Lead vocalist Nic brings the rap to the table, and does it quite smoothly I feel, while guitarist Dave throws down some lovely vocal melodies to contrast.

There's a right mix of vibes in the album, from the laid back stoned-outta-my-balls sorta sound, to the meatier 'fuck you' songs. In between however, are some pretty deep, sad and sweet songs that you really can't help but take a moment to really listen to.

This album is a frequent visitor to my car stereo, love singing along (I sing the rap sections. Me rapping is NOT GOOD, really, really not good) and blasting it loud when I'm having  a bad day. It leaves me relaxed and feeling like I could take on the world. Marvellous.

I've been fortunate enough to get in touch with some of the members and bassist Elliot Blake kindly told me all about the formation of The Kennedy Soundtrack..

"Rob (Guitarist) & myself had dreams & ideas of being in a band before owning instruments.... So we decided not to opt for the latest games console for our birthdays & Xmas gifts one year. We made a pact to get guitars, bass & drums with another friend as we had written lyrics & designed an album cover ( heavily influenced by Guns N' Roses skull artwork) we were called " Gelignite" , obviously being 13 & 14 at the time this was short lived but obtaining the instruments ( all be it our drummer, who decided a Hockey goalie kit was a much better choice for his retrospective gift ) we set about actually learning to play, what I found a very difficult instrument, for the remainder of comprehensive school life. 
After Rob finished school he had applied to go to college on a rock & pop course. This was Btech that would last 3 years, I was still in a dead end job in dispa without any direction & I remember my best friend turning to me saying " just come to college with me " looking back it would seem I would owe Rob the life experiences I would gain from this moment for the rest of my life. 
We started college in the autumn of '96, the course allowed us to meet other musicians, jam & learn from others..... I remember walking into to campus studio, hearing & seeing a person singing, playing an acoustic guitar so incredibly well I actually fucking hated him & thought what an arrogant prick.... Later this person would become an amazingly close friend & and the voice of a band we were unknowingly going to be in together.
You meet a lot of new people in college, some people you get to know over time, others you work at relationships by finding common ground. I remember meeting 2 guys, who for what ever reasons found themselves on the Drama Performance course, finding common ground was quite easy with others when you smoke alot of pot. One of those two guys for some reason to me seemed to me, for want of a better word, a little lost & after hanging around smoking, talking we hit on another common ground & that was writing. I remember him saying that he was into hip hop & like to write lyrics to rap to. Both looking for something to do I remember taking some Oasis chords & asking him to write a rap to them. These lyrics would eventually become the first song of a band that wasn't even born.
I think a gig opportunity came up in my home town of Pontypool in the summer after college, so i called up some friends from college who had jammed out in our final projects together.... Rob, Dave, Nic, Myself & 2 others.... We did a mix of stuff, covers some of Daves songs he'd written & one I had written with Nic with another bands chords in college but was now a completely new sounding song musically called "Too Much Stress" ironic from a bunch of teenage pot smokers who didn't even understand the concept of the word "Stress". However it pulled the 4 of us together even more... We all decided that Uni wasn't for us, a decision that the 2 others who played the with us gig couldn't follow, so Nic asked a college friend we actually all knew to come play drums for us. Troy first jammed with us in a church hall & he just fitted in, played well enough as the rest of us, smoked alot of weed too which we were all pretty into, maybe not so much Dave lol..... Nic would constantly say shit like " So I'm in the band then " ???? Which was always met with chorus of "Yes" .... I could understand this now as the early days consisted of songs with just Dave singing & songs with Nic doing the verses with Dave or myself doing chorus lines. Even though we were gel-ing well as a band we had the most embarrassing name inherited from our college final project ( which I will not tell you ) So it was challenge excepted.... Dave, Rob & myself sat in a local pub coming up with all sorts of shit.... Dave kept banging on about liking the name Kennedy, we had another friend in college called James Kennedy who was & is an amazing guitarist ( Kyshera his band are called atm go check em ) Anyway I Dave was bent on his surname & liked the sound of it. Whilst I was looking through the paper at race horse names, as I thought that they were always unusual..... I spotted a horse called Soundtrack, a few beers & choice words we finally came across The Kennedy Soundtrack. Deciding that what we were writing  at the time, was quite diverse & unusual we instilled the belief that the Soundtrack part of the name meant we could write in different styles as long as we had the Rap & Singing as a consistent  As for the Kennedy, well I always thought that it stood for something like the unknown, an X-file, an anomaly .... Reality is Dave just liked the fucking sound of it & I picked out a race horses name in the paper & so The Kennedy Soundtrack became & some of the best fucking days of my life were made."

It's nice to know where bands come from, what inspired them to create music and what each person is bringing to the table. It seems these guys each brought their own tastes and musical inspirations into the band which created the strange blend of sounds that is the Kennedy Soundtrack.

I asked the guys what their go-back-to albums are to get a feel for their musical inspirations...

- Elliot - Bass -

Well I think mine has to be Nirvana's Nevermind. I must have been about 13 hear the opening riff to Teen Spirit & I remember I could not stop rewinding my Walkman (lol) and listening to that intro riff over & over. The guitar riff & the drums kicking in was just so immense.

Fave songs? I guess after thoroughly enjoying Nevermind I fell in love with "Drain You" & "Lounge Act". Drain You simply for the efforts you would make as a teenager to impress someone as I could probably relate as a love struck teen, Lounge Act for the sheer rebellious tone of the song "I won't regret fucking thing" lyric resonated with me as I did what pleased in my teens without consideration what upset I was causing others

I guess Appetite for Destruction by G n' R is a joint 1st as well as they're the first band that introduced me to heavy rock n roll & it. Totally pissed off my parents for the fucks Axl use say.

Fave songs? "Welcome to the Jungle" ...... I remember watching G n' R live from the Ritz on late night ITV & Axl starting with the infamous " Do you know where you are? " speech. As there are many songs/hits on that record I must also say that the last song on that album " Rocket Queen " stirred something inside me, the melodic chord changes at the end of the song mixed with hard riffage from the start of song showed a contrast & a softer side in G n' R that probably doesn't appear in any other song on that album. With Axls last lyrics stating "All I ever wanted was for you to know that I care" 

- Rob - Guitars -

Use Your Illusion II by G n' R....Guess I liked the attitude. The epic-ness of the songs with the full orchestra and over blown guitar solos. Just remember it had a lot of play time in the Walkman. And G'n'R brought us together, trying to be a band without instruments. Was the start of it all I guess. Although Hendrix at Woodstock was the reason I wanted to play guitar in the first place.

Fave songs? Estranged is the song of choice then like I said all 9:24 epic minutes of it.

 - Nic - Vocals -

Nic couldn't pick just one, hence the swearing haha!

"Yeh, 'Straight Outta Compton', MJ's 'Bad', Iron Maiden 'Number of the Beast', Cypress Hill ''Black Sunday', 'Hip Hop Collection' - Various Artists  'Red Hot Metal' - Various Artists and that's just off the top of my head and then chose one off em all, BASTARD!!! lol"

Fave Songs?"Fats Domino 'Blueberry Hill' - comp, Bob Marley Legend, Chaka Denis and Pliers 'Tease Me', fucking hell!!"

- David Challenger - Guitar/Vocals -

A full interview with Dave is coming in another blog post, here's a snippet.

Nirvana 'Unplugged in New York' - What I love about this album is the simplicity of it, almost anyone could just grab an acoustic guitar, play and sing along. One of my favourite tracks is probably "On a Plain", but there's many other gems in there too. Actually, the ones that stick out most for me are probably the songs that Nirvana didn't even write. The songs they covered, such as "The Man Who Sold The World" (David Bowie) and "Lake of Fire" or "Oh Me" (Meat Puppets). Another song "Where Did You Sleep last Night?" was another favourite of mine and my friends 

Stereophonics - 'Word Gets Around' - It is a very sing along kind of album. We do love a good sing song. "Check My Eyelids For Holes", "Last of The Big Time Drinkers" all amazing sing along tracks.This album, I feel that I can identify with the sentiment and what these guys are about. It was an exciting time for welsh music. I know we had the Manics (I do love James Dean Bradfield's Voice and his guitar work) but the Stereophonics, I think, are perhaps a little more accessible. I felt that they were just like me and my friends, valley boys

U2 - 'Rattle & Hum' -  Another Live album (mostly) and again containing many of their classics from Joshua Tree and also cover versions of Beatles and Bob Dylan. I wouldve been 8 or 9 years old when this was released. I think it pretty much past me by, as did most things, including Bros (yuck) & Kylie Minogue (yum). This album, along with the film that was released along side it, I discovered a few years later. I liked U2 anyway but when I saw the Rattle & Hum film and B.B.King was playing with U2, that sealed it for me. I was into blues when learning to play guitar, and this album does go back to the USAs Rock n Roll Roots.

            My favourite track of this album, without doubt is Bullet The Blue Sky and its way better than the studio version, though having said that, Im pretty sure the live version is overdubbed quite a bit, but I dont care. I love the fact theres slide guitar in there, funk riffs, a rolling bass line and vocals which are almost spoken in places, its also quite dark

I love hearing about musical influences. Those albums we love so dearly become a part of who we are.

I would love to hear about yours, feel free to email me and I will include you in a future post.

H x

Friday, 19 April 2013

5 Song Friday - Female singer special

This Friday I thought I would bring you 5 songs from 5 different female fronted bands that I enjoy.   Hopefully you will find something new too. As a singer myself, I love hearing new female vocalists and searching for different styles of singing to draw some influence from them. I've tried to select 5 different vocalists with very different styles of singing, so I hope you enjoy!

Sharing is Caring.

Molotov Jukebox 'Don't Panic'

I freaking love this band. My boyfriend came across them and introduced me to them and I got hooked! They have a rather unique style which they themselves described as 'gyp-step'; a blend of classic guitar, violin, trumpet, walking bass lines and jazz-influenced drums. Excellent. Natalia Tena is the singer AND ACCORDIAN PLAYER. That's right. An accordian. It's pretty cool. You may know her from the likes of Game of Thrones and Harry Potter but bet you didn't know she could do all this too. I'm envious. She has a nice classic-style voice actually, very sweet with some subtle attitude in it. She is quite a laid back singer and I would definitely like to hear her push her voice and see where she takes us.. Love this band.
Saw them live in Aberdeen - one of the best nights ever.

The Design 'Burn'

I discovered these guys last year, when I found out that this song is inspired by the Hunger Games book series (if you know me, you know I have a serious problem, as I am a little obsessed with these books NEXT FILM THIS YEAR!! BOOM!). I really enjoy lead singer Kat's voice, she has a deep soulful voice with a bit of rasp and some crazy vibrato. Worth a wee listen I reckon.

The Pierces 'Kill Kill Kill'

I found this band through my short phase (wasted time) watching Gossip Girl. It's two sisters with a mix of musical styles behind them (think jazz/blues/country). They both have really nice, classic sounding voices and their songs each have a unique flavour to bring to your ears.

Siouxsie & the Banshees 'Spellbound'

Wild hair and obscure make up. Gotta love a bit of goth, you do. This song is AMAZING. She may not be the best singer in the world, but who cares, she's got character. This song is so much fun and is excellent up loud!!

Massive Attack 'Dissolved Girl'

Boy does this band take you on a journey.Technically this isn't a female fronted band, but this song is. Vocalist Sara Jey, sings on this track and it's just amazing. One of my favourite Massive Attack tracks. This song is dark and fabulous. Enjoy. Loud.

H x

Monday, 15 April 2013

That Always-Go-Back-To-Album - Part 1

I think everyone has that one record that they always go back to. That one album that you know every word to. The one that still gives you chills. The one that will perpetually strike something inside of you that perhaps no one else will understand. The one that can bring you right back to a completely different chapter in your life.
This can be quite a private thing; your own little morsel of words or noise that you keep close to you.

I decided to ask some people to share their's with me. I asked, friends, musicians, bloggers and people I admire to tell me a little about what makes a particular record so special to them.

Martin Walker - Guitarist of Akord: Oceansize 'Frames'

The album I always go back to is "Frames" by Oceansize.

Frames is so varied and has such a unique and raw sound. Think Radiohead, but with more dirt! The album has 8 tracks all reaching at least 8 minutes long! The reason I continually go back to it is because I always miss something each listen. There are layers in these songs which you wouldn't hear unless you really search for them. Every time i listen to it in it's entirety, I go on a musical journey with a band that pronounce every note. I come away with new ideas of my own.

Although they have now disbanded, Oceansize continue to help me get away from my average life and escape into their world. Every album has something different. However, 'Frames' produces the most power, emotion and musical technicality .

Fave song? A personal favourite is the track "Trail of Fire" which has influenced the way I write my own music. It has a somber start but builds and builds until the double kick is pounding into your ears and Mike Vennert's vocals are causing the goosebumps on your arm.

I have a personal attachment to the song "Savant" and the lyrics are beautiful: "Where others float, you and I crash land"

Anna Pie from 'Pie Thinkings' Blog - OPM 'Menace to Sobriety'

The album I always go back to is Menace To Sobriety - OPM. 

The reason for this... well... It seems every time I go back to listen to it, I actually forget how amazing it is. It was the first parental guidance cd I ever bought and I actually asked my Dad if I could sing along to Stash Up. "I don't give a fuck, not a single fuck, not a single solitary fuck, I don't give a fuck, motherfucker!" at the top of my lungs, when I was 13. Totally. Freaking. Awesome.

Fave song? Brighter Side. Can still remember all the words to it.

Ree Ree from 'Alternatively Lovely' Blog - Ed Sheeran '+'

It's recently been Ed Sheeran's album, its just so soothing to listen to, and suits most of my moods. There aren't many albums I listen to, as I tend to just pick tracks here and there, but Ed Sheeran's does something nice to my soul ;-)

Fave song? Oh so hard to choose! Maybe Drunk?

Elena Dora - Scientist Extrordinaire! Less Than Jake 'Pezcore'

Well, I like it because its the album that shows best what Less Than Jake are about.

It's fun, it's about being young, having a good time, not being too serious. It's silly but also insightful. When I'm in a bad mood Pezcore cheers me up, when I'm sad it makes me smile, when I'm stressed it helps me put things into perspective. If I'm in a good mood it puts me in an even BETTER mood. The ultimate feel good album. I love that its their roughest album but says so much about them and still says so much about them well over ten years later. It's one of those albums that I've listened to for so long that happy memories always come flooding back. It also just makes me want to forget all my responsibilities and just be crazy and have fun (probably not such a good thing now haha). I just associate it with having a good time and partying. But it does make me not want to grow up!

Fave song?: A toss up between My Own Flag and Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts.

My Dad - The man who brought me up to love rock music. Rainbow 'On Stage'

Possible the best photo of me
 and my dad in existence

As far as I can remember is was my first album I ever bought. 
Still holds a lot of teenage memories. Their version of Deep Purple's 'Mistreated' reminds me of first love ending. The album has so many songs for different moods.

Fave song? Catch The Rainbow.  

Gary Addison - Lead Singer/Bassist of Semperfi. Lamb of God 'Ashes of the Wake'

 I would probably have to say "ashes of the wake" by Lamb of God. 

The reasons why that it is modern metal at its finest. Complex grove based riffs with drums to match and vocals that sound like come from the depths of hell itself, this album blew me away when I first heard it and is an album I can listen to from start to finish over and over again. It always shocks me that they play in D standard but they sound so heavy and brutal. 

Fave Song? : My favourite song off the album would probably be "Break you". That opening riff is filled with so much grove and feeling but at the same time it helps show off the band's technical ability and hits you like a tonne of brick. Great band, great song, great album.

Whats yours?
Will be sharing mine very soon.

H x

Friday, 12 April 2013

Five Song Friday

Have a new post series that I am hoping I can keep up with. Five Song Friday aims to bring you the five songs that I am loving at the moment in the hopes that maybe you'll discover something new.

I LOVE hearing about new bands and genuinely get excited when I have new tracks on my ipod to listen to - good excuse to get off my arse and walk to work with my headphones on (thanks to my other half for my amazing headphones!!!).

I go through phases of getting really fucked off with my ipod so I'm constantly searching for new songs in the hopes that I don't lose my faith in the music scene completely.. (If I hear one more song from Taylor Swift I might actually lose my shit).

So here are my 5 picks for this week. 

The Getaway Plan - 'The Reckoning'

You know where's a good place to start when searching for new bands to check out? 
AU-FUCKING-STRALIA. Those buggers know how to produce good music, for example Karnivool - need I say more? I came across this band on spotify on one of my 'keep-clicking-related-artists-until-I-find-something-I-like. This was the first song I listened to and I fell a little in love with it. Not too sure about their other stuff at the moment (a lot of cliche lyrics about stars and wings etc..) but this track I am definitely enjoying.
This song has strong hints of Dead Letter Circus through it (a band which I adore). The singer has a good range on him, not an overly distinctive voice but he definitely has a good set of pipes.
There is an interesting vibe to this song, something very tense about it all - instrumentally it has a cinematic sound to it; could definitely hear essences of it in a film.
Listen loud.

Superchick - 'Cross The Line' (Box Office Blockbuster Remix)

Ok, so not an overly original sound, but I am currently finding this extremely catchy and find myself popping it on quite frequently. However, I would only recommend this remixed version of the song - the original just sounds so empty and bland..... These guys are actually a christian rock band (.........) and I honestly don't know a great deal about them. I had a track called 'Courage' on my ipod when I was a lot younger and I only recently rediscovered them.
I enjoy this song, it's a good, catchy rock song, and fun to sing a long too. Sometimes that's all you need.

Foals - 'Inhaler'

I wish I could remember how I came across this song. It was quite some time ago and I instantly loved it. It's got hints of everything, most notably to me are notes of Idiot Pilot and even early Feeder (think first album), maybe even a bit Queens of the Stonage. It's grungy, a bit funky and just generally weird. It has quite a laid back, snazzy wee intro that you can imagine skipping down the road too, but then breaks into a somewhat intense sounding chorus, followed by riffffffffss. Excellent.
I like songs that mix it up. 

Martin Grech - 'Here it Comes'

I return to this song quite frequently. I am pretty fascinated by the sound that Martin Grech creates. This is a pretty amazing album - with Open Heart Zoo being one of the best tracks on it - won't get into it as there's so much that could be said about that work of art of a track.
Here it Comes is weird, dark song. Dark lyrics accompanied by very Radiohead/Drum & Bass/Nine Inch Nails-esque music. His voice is haunting - I'm really not sure I could draw a comparison, its unique. He doesn't sing clearly and has such a weird tone and can sure hit some high notes.
This song is just a bit of a journey and I highly recommend a first listen through headphones.

Akord 'Carry The Sound'

I'm sure you saw this one coming, so I'll keep it short (and I may a bit biased), but this song is just incredible. It's 6 mins or so long, but certainly doesn't feel it. Such soft vocals accompanied by roaring guitars and a video full of lasers and strobe lights! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT PEOPLE?


H x

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Help Send Akord to Download Festival

Having just won the Kerrang Big Audition (WOOOO!) these guys have embarked on their next big adventure - the opportunity to play Download Festival 2013!

(Read about who Akord are and about their debut single 'Set In Your Life' (which they won the Kerrang thing with!) here)

I spent the weekend helping out on the set of their debut video - hair, makeup, lighting, tea & coffee duty! Was so much fun and I feel really lucky to be a part of it.

Here is the final product of lots of blood, sweat and tears from the lads. The concept is fascinating and really well captured by the brilliant Jamie Bathgate who did all the filming and editing. It really is fantastic and I highly recommend you visit Jamie's youtube page:

So, here's where the fans come in. You need to click this link where you can vote for them (and share on facebook/tweet).
These votes will shortlist all the bands which have entered to 100 bands who go on to be judged and 15 bands will be selected to have the opportunity to visit the Red Bull studios in London. From there, 8 of these bands will get the chance to play the Red Bull stage at the Download Festival in June. Amazing news.

So click the link, vote and remember, sharing is caring.

H x