listen now

Music

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming The Mexanines into the Leeds Student Radio office for an exclusive interview and acoustic session.

261880_10151710544089321_1731373509_n

The talented six-piece have exploded onto the Leeds music scene in recent months supporting the likes of The Pigeon Detective and Reverend and Makers. Their ‘nosy-folk’ influences were translated in the chilled set they performed in our very own LSR office. Get yourself the free download of ‘One of These Days’ online and keep an ear and eye out, these guys are everywhere.

‘Sometimes’ Acoustic Session


Interview

‘One Of These Days’ Acoustic Session

Interview by Emma Rice – Hear more local Leeds music on RPM Presents: Leeds, Live and Local, every Monday night at 9pm on Leeds Student Radio

Bombay-Bicycle-Club

Written by Stuart Cook

It’s pretty rare that any artist can still keep your gaze by album number four, and the notion that said band first got your attention because they were on 4 Music’s Road to V Festival is, for me, just unheard of. What first strikes you about Bombay Bicycle Club’s So Long, See You Tomorrow is that bloody hell is it good. The “radio friendly” label is more often than not a kiss of death to any indie or rock band, but Bombay manage to pull it off without making you want to vomit- the pop influence that makes it so easy to get hooked to any one of these tracks isn’t irritating, it’s comforting.

The riffs that can get lost when synthesisers and production get introduced by album three or four aren’t just pushed to the back of the shelf and cracked out for “that heavy” track, instead album opener Overdone shows a textbook example of how to make guitars sound heavier than your stomach after a look at your bank statement, but melodic enough to lift you out of your overdraft blues.

But See You Tomorrow isn’t just a conglomeration of what has already proven Bombay a great band, it sounds like a band who aren’t quite done yet. Feel brings in the Bollywood sounds that just shouldn’t work on an album from a band as geeky as Bombay- but it does. Every track is produced so goddam well it’s hard to envisage a festival crowd in existence who won’t at least pull a guilty smile when the dance-synth goodness of Carry Me or hip hop kick drum from Home By Now get their fair share of the setlist.

Understandably it isn’t all rainbows who apparently lost the will to tune a guitar and instead learnt saxophone up to grade 3; there’s a lot to listen to on each track. The vocal plot line of “We’ve been dating for a while now, but I still love you” might have you ever so slightly irate by the time the 45 minute run time is up too, but it’s a small price to pay for the perfect soundtrack to your generically bleak February .

CHOJIN

Spanish Hip Hop has been steadily booming and taking off into new and exciting directions in the recent years – a tendency akin to that of many international hip hop industries. Artists, songs, and styles come and go, but when it comes to El Chojin (Torrejón de Ardoz, 1977), any Spanish hip hop artist, listener, or enthusiast loyal enough to the roots of this genre will bow down in awe and admire the contribution of this man’s talent. Having produced a repertoire that has earned him a spot amongst the essential old-school icons in the country, El Chojin has worked alongside major artists such as Frank T, Nach, Kase O, and Zatu. With an impeccable and pure lyrical structure, as well as a style influenced by the likes of legends such as KRS-One and Gangstarr, the Madrid native exposes rich social commentary, and narrates events throughout his neighborhood streets and life, and on many occasions graces the listener with an array of poetic intricacies.

Leeds Student Radio’s LSR Presents has been given the opportunity to get to know the artist on the occasion of a UK visit; join us for a very special hour (Tuesday, February 11, @16:00) shedding light on El Chojin’s background, his insight on the past, present, and future of hip hop, and the experiences of a seasoned veteran in the field of Spanish rap.

LSR Presents: El Chojin is on Leeds Student Radio on Tuesday at 4pm

Hey Sholay’s track ‘Dreamboat’ is our pick of the week. The band’s set on Sunday night was topped off with this beauty, delighting Nation of Shopkeepers’ crowd who danced along excitedly in all their bearded and plaid shirted glory. The lead singer (who disconcertingly resembled the love child of Bob Geldof and Harry Styles) gave a dynamic performance; swearing at and laughing with the crowd, he was clearly there for the music and didn’t give a monkeys about anything else. ‘Dreamboat’s irresistibly nonchalant sound makes it easy to understand why the Leeds/Sheffield-based band are communion records’ ‘ones to watch’. Keep an eye and ear out, they’re going to be big.

RPM Presents: Leeds Live and Local is on Leeds Student Radio every Monday night at 9pm

Redlight

There was an expectation. A venue that had reached heroic heights in the past weeks presented its people with an early christmas present; a golden, golden lineup. The buzz, the hype, call it what you will, but the queue’s anticipation was undeniable as we eavesdropped in to Dusky’s undertones. At Midnight his set was well underway. For some reason DJs feel they must ‘warm up’ the crowd by starting them off with the classic BPM of one hundred and twenty. Like that distant Uncle who’s only invited to dinner on Christmas eve, the beat is firstly entertaining but very quickly becomes monotonous and, let’s be honest, a little awkward. The party doesn’t begin until Cousin Sam, Aunty Doreen and Grandma get drunk and that is what Dusky’s set should be likened to- a fingers-up at formalities and straight in to the good stuff.

As the changing of hands began, expectation rose higher. Ben Pearce had an act to follow and follow it he did. The lights’ psychedelics mirrored the atmosphere- playful and carefree like the lyrical set the DJ played for his crowd. Having dominated dancefloors since 2012 the snappy vocals of ‘What I might do’ encapsulated all. It was electric. I didn’t know a single word but my God did I sing along.

If Ben Pearce warmed the vocal chords, Shadowchild brought the sweat. It was the stage in the evening when one makes the radical decision to leave one’s friends- they can be found later- the highest priority is to find.the.air.conditioning. The beat went on, the layers tripled and teased the people until they begged for the drop. Shadowchild – killed it.

The euphoric hook of ‘Lost in Your Love’ tantalized and before we knew it we were kissing strangers and dancing like Redlight was the antidote to all of life’s problems. An incredible set only magnified by it’s predecessors and perfect venue. Canal mills, we salute you. Have a cracking Christmas.

Words: Emma Rice

RPM Presents: Dance & Electronic is on Leeds Student Radio every Friday night at 9pm

Album Review Kilto

Kilto Take – Resolute

Kilto Take’s debut album Resolute is one of the most important releases in the Rock, Punk & Blues world this year. Accomplished vocals and close set guitar melodies overlay a fast, driving beat: each track predicts a future filling stadiums. First albums rarely have such a confident sense of space; it’s this mastery of the epic that renders each track so powerful and uplifting.

Retrogress – originally released in 2010, as the band’s first single – is a particular highlight. Opening with the crisp drumming and bass that underpin the track, the precision with which the two intertwine showcases real talent. As the track unfolds, focus shifts to the contrast between the staccato, tribalistic guitar and smooth vocals, swelling to a huge and memorable chorus.

If there’s one criticism, Kilto Take have yet to bring anything new to Indie Rock. Listen blind to the first minute of title track Resolute and you’d be convinced you were listening to a new Muse track. Of course, the similarities to Muse, U2 and Arcade Fire are all complimentary: none of those bands could touch upon this level of cohesvieness at the start of their careers. Varied without ever becoming disjointed, each track in Resolute grows into something truly special.

4.5/5

Josh Woodcock

The Album Review Show is on every Wednesday at 7pm on Leeds Student Radio

Album Review Gaga

Lady Gaga – Artpop

Lady Gaga, a woman of many guises, has blessed the world with her third studio album Artpop. Following debut album The Fame (and Monster re-release, which turned Gaga into a global superstar within the space of two years), Born This Way was unable to repeat previous success in terms of sales but managed to mash together many influences sonically which seems admirable in retrospect. Artpop sees Gaga team up with previous collaborator DJ White Shadow but also borrows heavily from EDM with production credits from David Guetta, will.i.am, Zedd and Madeon among others. The predecessor often struggled under the weight of her ego (sorry, vision), and the same can be said for Artpop. It seems Gaga was focussing too much on the ‘art’ to accompany the album, rather than the ‘pop’.

That’s not to say that Artpop fails completely as an album, but seems to lack the sensibility that won her fans at the start of her career. As stated in a recent interview, Gaga suggested that as an artist in a broad sense, she is on a journey to find her best output and any music to date may or not be “good”. Overall the album seems more bad than good in this respect. Four-to-the-floor beats are relentless on the album, and the album especially falls down on the songs which don’t include these. ‘Jewels n’ Drugs’ is an audible catastrophe, a rap/trap hybrid featuring T.I., Too $hort and Twista which really ought to have been left on a computer hard drive. ‘Dope’ is the first ballad from Gaga that feels contrived and unnatural; previous efforts have been heartfelt, emotional numbers and this is not. The dance-ier material on the album should be her bread-and-butter but tracks such as ‘MANiCURE’ are frankly boring and ‘Aura’ is an embarrassment for all involved. ‘Do What U Want’, featuring R. Kelly, is the album’s highlight. Lyrically it shows off Gaga’s talent and the R&B vibe is refreshing in the wake of subsequent tracks. Zedd shows off the one-dimensional nature of his productions on his contributions, proving quite grating on the tracks he produced, especially ‘Donatella’. Madeon brings his pop sensibility to the table on the tracks he contributed to, but one feels as if the co-production of Gaga stifles the tracks somewhat.

Without a doubt Lady Gaga is a talented lady but the lack of emotion makes Artpop feel inorganic and forced rather than a labour of love. It almost sounds like an EDM tribute to her first album without the enjoyable hooks and catchy toplines; the few redeeming tracks are not enough to make a start-to-finish listen worthwhile.

2/5

Album Review Kelela

Kelela – Cut 4 Me

Cut 4 Me is one of the most interesting free mixtapes to have come out in a while. Calling it a mixtape feels slightly belittling, because as is the general trend in hip hop and R&B today, new artists are more or less giving away free albums in order to make their mark on the scene. This project is more than cohesive enough to be classed as an album and can easily hold its own amongst some of the best mainstream releases this year. It’s unlikely Kelela’s voice alone would attract much attention in today’s congested online music world. What this project does is launch her singing style into a very contemporary bass-music backdrop, which often includes aggressive beats that display grime and dubstep influences. This idea is something which has been brewing for a while now in electronic music and for the most part has been done very creatively. Artists like Jessy Lanza and James Blake have proved how aspects of more traditional singer-songwriting can be incorporated into music that lies on the fringes of dance music, and it’s fair to say that Kelela is doing a similar thing and in doing so is adding to this very exciting movement. This type of vibrant renovation isn’t genre-bound either; similar elements and influences can be found in mainstream hip-hop releases like Yeezus and Danny Brown’s Old.

Although Cut 4 Me is considered a Kelela release, the beats used are as much in the fore as her voice. The project serves a dual purpose in introducing Kelela to the world but also showcasing a fantastic lineup of very exciting producers from the Fade to Mind and Night Slugs labels. Demonstrated on tracks like ‘Enemy’ in particular, a brilliant balance has been found between the eerie and pulsing grime-inspired instrumental produced by Nguzunguzu, and Kelela’s vocals that ride very comfortably along the beat. This is the case on each track, emotive vocals and exhilarating production majestically complement each other in a variety of ways; and neither element is ever too strong to ruin the formula.

I hate rating music in any way possible and so I’m only ever going to give 5 or O. This gets 5.

Seb Bowcott

The Album Review Show is on every Wednesday at 7pm on Leeds Student Radio

Album Review Perry

Katy Perry – Prism

Katheryn Hudson didn’t have any trouble with ‘second album syndrome’ when releasing her (major-label) sophomore album in 2010, Teenage Dream. It has sold 5.5 million copies worldwide, and despite a lack of Grammy awards, Katy Perry is back again with Prism. And why change a formula that clearly worked before? Dr. Luke and friends are back on production duties, creating an album that feels like a natural follow up to its predecessor.

You don’t feel like you’re joining a cult to become a fan of Katy Perry, and I’d agree with other critics that there’s a sense of vulnerability in the lyrics, especially in ballad and new single ‘Unconditionally’. ‘Birthday’ feels like the continuation of ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’, and other uplifting dance-pop tracks such as ‘This is How We Do’, ‘Roar’, ‘International Smile’ and ‘Walking On Air’ are all fun and extremely listenable; while not achieving anything new sonically, they work really well to help form a cohesive body throughout the album. ‘Dark Horse’, which features a verse from rapper Juicy J, is an interesting inclusion. The influence of Trap is clear in the composition of the song and is the only real risky, experimental track on the album. If there was a low point in the album, it would have to be ‘Double Rainbow’, which is mainly down to the contrived lyrics, and ‘This Moment’. ‘Double Rainbow’ strikes me as something co-writer Sia has been trying to give to a pop star for a while.

Prism, overall, is a solid and relatively cohesive album which can only continue the upward trajectory that Perry’s career has been on over the last few years. It captures the current trends in pop music but still manages to stand out in an ever-crowded market, thanks to some clever production and a measure of authenticity. It feels like only a matter of time until these tracks and the rest of her discography are heard at stadiums, rather than arenas.

4/5

Steven Rimmington.

The Album Review Show is on every Wednesday at 7pm on Leeds Student Radio

draft

So last week was the big launch of Spice UK and with all the hard work put in it was a roaring success.  Spice UK features big hits from the best African and Caribbean artists such as Wizkid, Movado and more.  Hosts Rob Bruce (DJ Kenke) and Joel Ryan bring a mix of funny topics and banging tunes – always looking for people to tweet in their requests. This is the perfect show to play at your pre-drink party or have a one man rave too!

Spice UK is on Leeds Student Radio every Friday 8-9pm

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux