Saturday, 19 December 2015

Saint Sister | Madrid EP

Irish folk pop duo Saint Sister released their debut EP Madrid last month on Trout Records. They have only been together since 2014 and they have already made numerous television performances in Ireland and have supported Arcade Fire's Will Butler. 
Band members Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre recorded Madrid in County Kerry's Noise studio and was recorded by Alex Ryan of Hozier. Their 'atmosfolk' sound is beautifully ethereal. They use synths, complex, echoing vocal harmonies and an electo-acoustic harp to keep the traditional Celtic sound within their music. Their vocal harmonies on Blood Moon remind me a lot of First Aid Kit. They have successfully fused electronica with traditional Celtic music, together this creates a mystical and mesmerising sound.
Track Listing 

1 - Madrid
2 - Castles
3 - Blood Moon
4 - Versions Of Hate
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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Liverpool named UNESCO city of music

My beloved home of Liverpool has this week been named city of music by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). It is only the second UK city to receive the honour after Glasgow. 

Liverpool received the title due to the place music has within Liverpool’s “contemporary culture, education and the economy”.

There is no end to Liverpool's variety of music events, artists and venues. 

Here are just 5 of my favourite things about music in Liverpool - 

1. LIMF has become Europe's largest FREE music festival, and it's popularity is continuing to grow.

2. Liverpool Sound City festival has become HUGE since it's humble beginnings in 2008.

3. Africa Oye festival is the UKs largest celebration of African and Caribbean music

4. The amount of new talent that comes out of Liverpool and is harvested in Liverpool thanks to our amazing education facilities including LIPA, Liverpool Media Academy and Liverpool Community College. 

5. The amazing venues - The Kazimer, Shipping Forecast, The Arts Club, Philharmonic Hall and Zanzibar to name a few. 

I feel so proud and privileged to be from this place.

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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Lissie Acoustic Tour | Manchester Academy | 5th December

I had the pleasure of seeing Lissie for the third time on Saturday. Storm Desmond delayed her stage time by two hours, the poor woman had 10 hours of travelling down from Edinburgh by train, after numerous train changes and delays, she got off the train at Manchester Piccadilly, got in a cab and walked straight onto stage. No soundcheck or time to catch her breath, and she was phenomenal.  
Lissie has recently gone independent with her music, she has her own label and she is her own boss. You get the feeling that she is much more relaxed than before, she is playing and writing exactly what she wants and doing exactly what she wants. 
After her day from hell travelling, she was just the second song in Further away (Romance Police) when her guitar amplification just stopped for some reason (the problems you have when you can't sound check!) but ever so professionally, Lissie carried on. She took her guitar off and carried on singing acapella with the whole crowd clapping and singing along. 
Lissie treated us to a few songs from her new album My Wild West (out February 2016), including a great feminist anthem Daughters. After she played her latest single Don't You Give Up On Me, Lissie started taking requests from the audience. She played many much loved tracks from her previous two albums, the amount of requests that were shouted out showed just how much people love her music.
Playing acoustically showcased her incredible vocal range. She has such a strong voice, Patti Smith esque with a hint of Stevie Nicks.
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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Blog Sound Of 2016 | Longlist

The aim of the Blog Sound of poll is identical to the BBC Sound Of list; it attempts to showcase new and emerging artists, but it differs in so far as many of the voting bloggers do not work in the music industry, they are simply fans who have a passion for writing about the music they love.

The full longlist is:

AQUILO - Calm sounding electronic pop duo from Silverdale, Lancashire.

AURORA - Norwegian singer who covered Oasis for the John Lewis Christmas advert.

BILLIE MARTEN - Yorkshire based acoustic singer songwriter.

GEORGE COSBY - London based singer songwriter with a deep voice and brooding songs.

HAELOS - A band who describe their music as dark euphoria

LISS - Four piece from Aarhus, Denmark who make slick sounding pop.

LOYLE CARNER - A spoken word artist with his own unique confessional style.

MABEL - The daughter of Neneh Cherry who is producing her own brand of soulful pop

MURA MASA - An electronic producer and multi-instrumetalist originally from Guernsey 

MT WOLF - A reformed band who also featured on the Blog Sound of 2014 longlist.

NAO - Solo singer who mixes funk, soul and electronic sounds in her work.

PLEASURE BEACH - Indie rockers from Northern Ireland

THE BIG MOON - London based four piece alt rock / indie band 

THE JAPANESE HOUSE - Amber Bain's solo project of electronic ambient songs

YAK - Energetic rock group with elements of punk, garage indie and psychedelic blues

The most voted for and top 5 acts on this longlist will be revealed on the 5th January 2016 

Sadly my three votes didn't make it into the long list, but I definitely have high hopes for Billie Marten and Aurora

Listen to the longlist here on this playlist - 
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Monday, 30 November 2015

BBC Music | Sound of 2016

Today the BBC Music sound of 2016 longlist has been announced. The list is picked by a panel of 144 DJs, critics and writers who have the hard task of picking 15 acts they feel will rise in the coming year. 

Sound Of 2016 longlist
Izzy Bizu


Alessia Cara

Loyle Carner


Jack Garratt

J Hus

Dua Lipa


Billie Marten

Mura Masa


Rat Boy

Section Boyz


My personal favourites of this years list are Frances and Blossoms. Jack Garrett seems to be the favourite to win though, this year he won the Brits' Critics Choice award and his success continues to grow. Previous winners of the BBC Music sound of... have been the likes of Adele, Haim, and Ellie Goulding. The list will be whittled down to just 5 and we will then find out the winner on 8th January on BBC Radio 1. 

Who is your favourite to win?

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Saturday, 28 November 2015

LeRiche | Rain

LeRiche is only 22 and comes from Newfoundland - Canada. He has just released his first single - Rain.

This song is beautifully crafted - enchanting melodies played wonderfully on guitar, accompanied by a string quartet and the sound of rain falling - recorded through an open window in a Toronto studio.

LeRiche is looking to release his debut EP Quiet Steady in summer 2016, personally I can't wait to hear more from him! Have a listen to the song and let me know what you think. Give him a 'like' on Facebook too - I can't believe he only has 40 'likes' - he should have many more!

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Thursday, 19 November 2015

CALM & SBTV 'Rollercoaster' - Rapman

Continuing with the theme of my previous post, I wanted to make you all aware of this powerful video raising awareness of male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

Please click here to watch the video: 

On International Mens Day, SBTV announced a partnership with male suicide prevention charity CAMPAIGN AGAINST LIVING MISERABLY (CALM) and online male student magazine, Unilad for the launch of powerful video 'Rollercoaster' featuring rap artist Rapman, spotlighting the issue that suicide currently stands as the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK, according to 2014 figures. The video is accompanied by a social media call to action, asking people to show their support for the video across social media platforms with the hashtag #dontbeastatistic. 

The 'Rollercoaster' video tells
 the story of a young man who takes his own life after he mistakenly thinks his best friend and girl friend have started a relationship, when actually they are planning a birthday party for him. The video is available to watch now on SBTV, as well as Unilad Facebook and CALM website. Rapman and Jamal Edwards MBE created the video after Rapman discovered a friend of his had seriously considered taking his own life and Jamal suggested Rapman create a video to raise awareness for male suicide.Jamal Edwards MBE, founder and CEO of SBTV stated: "Rapman told me about his friend and we had a chat and came up with this video. Male suicide is a very important issue that desperately needs more attention and I'm glad SBTV can help and encourage men to reach out to their friends, family or support charities if they are feeling depressed or suicidal."
Rapman stated: “I began to remember a friend of mine who started getting really depressed over a snowball of events including himself losing his job and his girlfriend. I knew he was down but just thought it was a faze until one night he called me contemplating suicide. I thought he was joking but soon sensed his tone and realised it was serious. He told me he had been taking antidepressant medication for a while and had nothing worth living for. I sat on the phone to him for hours telling him things will be ok and he will eventually find a new partner and job. I went over there and after a lot of heart to hearts managed to talk him off the ledge. Months down the line he took me out to tell me thank you that he's got a new job and girlfriend and if it wasn't for my words, he really would of killed himself. So I figured how many other people are in this situation. I could tell this story with a twist and help someone else”.
SBTV and CALM also jointly launched a call to action social media hashtag #dontbeastatistic which will be used by users to show their support for 'Rollercoaster' across social media and also by CALM to highlight future music video campaigns supporting male suicide prevention.  
Jane Powell CEO of Calm stated: "In 2014, 76% of suicides were male, and suicide currently stands as the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in this country. That's why it's so important that artists such as Rapman and media platforms like SBTV and Unilad raise awareness for this endemic issue and spread the message that you don't have to be a statistic; reach out to friends, family and our support network if you are feeling suicidal.

The 'Rollercoaster' video also features as part of CALM and Lynx's Bigger Issues campaign, which peaks today with a social media thunderclap, inviting people to tweet and encourage conversation about male suicide. Check out the website:

100% of all income received by SBTV from YouTube views of the “Rollercoaster” video will be paid through to CALM.
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Thursday, 12 November 2015

ALPHA Photography Exhibition - 20-27 November. theprintspace gallery London

‘ALPHA’ is an exhibition by five London-based photographers in aid of the charity CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably). CALM aims to prevent male suicide in the UK, and offers support to men who are living with depression or are in crisis. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged 20-45 in the UK, and CALM aims to keep men alive by talking.
This exclusive body of work has been produced by the artists to coincide with International Men’s Day and East London International Photography Festival (Photomonth) in an attempt to raise wider awareness of these issues. 
The exhibition intends to start a dialogue about a subject often too difficult to acknowledge in today’s culture. A culture that in 2013 saw 78% of suicides in the UK carried out by males. A culture where the expectation of the stereotypical ALPHA male is relentlessly reinforced.

Professor Green, CALM Patron (Taken by Scarlett Page)

A mix of unknown and known faces including Gary Numan, Frank Turner and Professor Green are the subject of Scarlet Page’sportraits of men that have lived with depression or difficult life events. Captioned with imaginary words, some poignant, some comical, they highlight the emasculation men can feel when trying to express their emotions or talk about their experiences.
Helena Berg's images almost trapped or frozen underwater, including Placebo frontman Brian Molko, evoke feelings of isolation and separateness; the inability to be in action.

Jennifer Pattison’s ethereal images of her father’s artworks, made during his time in rehabilitation, reflect a personal connection between herself and these objects and in turn her relationship to his depression.
Will Morgan’s series of images, shot at dawn, are a play on ‘the darkness before the dawn’; the notion that in one’s worst moments there’s a realisation that it will pass and things will get better.
With long exposure shots at night, Peter Gunzel’s sombre landscapes highlight in photography (and depression) both the passing of time and the ever-present light. 

I really wish I could attend, if you know me you know I am really passionate about mental health awareness. If you are in the area or can get to London easily, please give the exhibition a visit.

ALPHA runs from Friday 20th November until Friday 27th November at theprintspace Gallery | 74 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DL

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

BELLA SPINKS | EP out November 27th

Bella Spinks is a 22 year old singer-songwriter from Brighton, she is signed to Sublime Recordings and her debut EP entitled 'Debut' will be released on November 27th. Debut is produced by Matt Ingram who has worked with Laura Marling and Lianne La Havas, and string arrangements are provided by Fyfe Dangerfield (Guillemots).

Bella writes lyrics similar to the styles of Kate Bush and Regina Spector. 
She writes beautiful, compelling words and performs them with her sweet and effortless vocals. She is talented not only in singing and songwriting but also accompanies herself gracefully on piano.

Check out a live video of Bella here singing Call You Home. 

Track listing

1. Call You Home
2. Regenerate
3. George of the 5th of September
4. Laura Save Yourself

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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Róisín O | Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room, 23rd October

As part of Liverpool's Irish Festival, last Friday, Róisín O played her first show in Liverpool Philharmonic Hall's new Music Room. I had the pleasure of going, and it was an astonishing performance. 

Róisín played many songs from her debut album The Secret Life Of Blue (2012) as well as a couple of new songs and covers as well. Her performance showcased her beautiful vocal range and control, especially on songs such as Synchronicity and How Long. 

Before performing the inspiring Climb High, she explained her reasons for writing the track, 'It's a song about chasing your dream, and I love singing, this is what i'm meant to do and one day I said to myself, I just have to f****** do it" 

The fast paced You Owe Me A Drink is her 'ode to Ireland', she laughed as she told us "we like to have a drink us Irish". This song showcased her fantastic guitar skills.

Róisín played two covers during the show, a brilliant version of Sia's Chandalier with a bit of 2pac's California Love thrown in, which again showed us just how great her vocal range is. She also got everyone up dancing when playing that classic Fleetwood Mac song The Chain which she played the bass on. There is no end to Róisín's instrumental ability, she showed us she can play guitar, piano and bass - all extremely well. 

Róisín played a few new songs, including If You Got Love which was released in May this year. I was able to have a chat with her afterwards and she explained she is hoping to get another album out next year, I am really looking forward to hearing what else Róisín has to give us. 

There are so many different types of Irish music, not just traditional, Róisín O is a perfect example of this. If I had to put her in a genre (which I hate doing) I would say Alternative Pop, though you can hear her Irish Folk influences.

Róisín's whole performance was utterly captivating, if you ever get the chance to see her live don't miss it, I promise you, you won't regret it. 

(pictures from Tom Carroll - my lovely boyfriend

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Saturday, 26 September 2015

Songs To Heal Wounds

(picture from Pinterest)

Music has an incredible way of taking us away from reality, even if it is just for the three and a half minutes of a song. It can also inspire, uplift and generally give us a kick up the backside if we need it!

Here is a list of a few of the songs which have helped me escape, motivated me or given me a bit of perspective when I have been worried or down.

Beautiful - Carole King

Open Eyes - Debby Ryan

Rise Up - Diane Birch

Let's Find Some People - Roisin O

Better Day - Dolly Parton

Not Afraid - Eminem

Shower The People - James Taylor

Nothing I Do - Jamie Cullum

Stand Up - Jessie J

Conquer The World - Jessie J

Shadow Days - John Mayer

Daughters - John Mayer

We All Need Saving - Jon Mclaughlin

Let Them Fly - Kate Rusby

The Sun Will Rise - Kelly Clarkson 

Heal Over - KT Tunstall

Difficulty - KT Tunstall

Just Say Yes - Snow Patrol 

Think About It - Stevie Nicks

Fix A Heart- Demi Lovato 

I will probably follow this up with a part 2! 

Let me know your favourite songs which have helped or inspired you.

Livvy x

Friday, 25 September 2015

Sam Smith | Writing's On The Wall

Today (September 25th) sees the much anticipated release of the new Bond theme song, Writing's On The Wall by Sam Smith. 
Bond theme songs are typically big, showy and feature huge orchestrations to coincide with the adrenaline rush of the films.

The focus of Writing's On The Wall is Smith's vast vocal talent, particularly his strong falsetto. The track is quite restrained and slow, slower than Adele's Skyfall. It features hints of a string orchestration, which rises at times. The climax of the chorus leaves us only with Smith's voice and faint piano chords. 

When I first heard the track, I didn't think "WOW!". My first thoughts were "this is interesting", it gives off a very mysterious feel, and I suppose there is a lot of mystery in Bond films.

There have been 23 official Bond themes, it would be easy to copy the fast pace of Live and Let Die, or the big and showy Diamonds are Forever; Sam Smith has given us a completely different Bond theme, which makes it even more unique. 

Let me know your thoughts anyway!

Livvy x

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Inspired and the Sleep | In My Labyrinth Mind

Inspired and the sleep are an indie-pop duo from San Diego, CA, consisting of singer-songwriter Max Greenhalgh and multi instrumentalist Bryce Outcault. 

Their latest track 'In My Labyrinth Mind' dropped in August, leading up to the release of their EP Eyelid Kid out in October. 

The track has a psychedelic, indie-pop, chilled 'dream pop' vibe and I'm loving it. Echoing guitar and a consistent drum and bass beat behind the ethereal vocal - it has all the elements of a great indie pop track. 

Take a listen here, and be sure to like Inspired & The Sleep on Facebook. 

Friday, 18 September 2015

Alex Vargas | Giving Up The Ghost

Today sees one of my favourite new artists Alex Vargas release his highly anticipated new single 'Giving Up The Ghost'.

This track is brilliant - R&B mixed with Soul, it showcases his huge vocal and songwriting talent.

Vargas has been working incredibly hard on his new music, I could see how hard he works when I witnessed his intimate showcase at The Lucky Pig. Focussed and determined to make great music, his popularity will only grow. I can see Vargas standing the test of time and being around for a while. 

'Giving Up The Ghost' features on Vargas' new EP which will be released on 2/10/2015

September 26 – Germany, Hamburg, Reeperbahn (Indra)
October 23 – UK, Manchester, Eagle Inn
October 25 – UK, Bristol, Start The Bus 
October 26 – UK, Brighton, The Hope & Ruin 
October 27- UK, London, Oslo
October 29 – Denmark, Aarhus, HeadQuarters
October 30 – Denmark, Odense, Kulturmaskinen
October 31 – Denmark, Aalborg, Musikkens Hus
November 1 – Denmark, Copenhagen, Dr Koncerthuset, Studie 2
November 14 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg City, Sonic Visions - Café
November 16 – Belgium, Brussels, Botanique/Rotonde
November 17 – France, Paris, Pop Up Du Label 
November 18 – Netherlands, Amsterdam, Paradiso 
November 22 – Germany, Cologne, Artheater
November 23 – Germany,  Berlin, Kantine am Berghain (Mahogany Music Club)
November 24 – Germany, Heidelberg, Pret A Ecouter Festival @ Karlstorbahnhof 
November 25 – Switzerland, Zurich, Exil
November 26 – Switzerland, Bern, Barn

Livvy x
tember 26 – Germany, Hamburg, Reeperbahn (Indra)
October 23 – UK, Manchester, Eagle Inn
October 25 – UK, Bristol, Start The Bus
October 26 – UK, Brighton, The Hope & Ruin
October do
October 29 – Denmark, Aarhus, HeadQuarters
October 30 – Denmark, Odense, Kulturmaskinen
October 31 – Denmark, Aalborg, Musikkens Hus
November 1 – Denmark, Copenhagen, Dr Koncerthuset,
Studie 2
November 14 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg City, Sonic Vi
sions - Café
November 16 – Belgium, Brussels, Botanique/Rotonde
November 17 – France, Paris, Pop Up Du Label
November 18 – Netherlands, Amsterdam, Paradiso
November 22 – Germany, Cologne, Artheater
November 23 – Germany, Berlin, Kantine am Berghain
(Mahogany Music Club)
November 24 – Germany, Heidelberg, Pret A Ecouter F
estival @ Karlstorbahnhof
November 25 – Switzerland, Zurich, Exil
November 26 – Switzerland, Bern, Barn

Thursday, 10 September 2015


I've recently discovered this great new singer-songwriter from Toronto, Canada - meet Elissa Mielke. Elissa has just released her debut EP, available here.

This four track EP is beautiful, her voice is so soulful but delicate at the same time. Similar to Regina Spector's vocal styling. 

Elissa worked with producers Don Kerr and Howie Beck who has worked with singer Feist in the past.

This EP is the beginning of something really special. Mieke has a real raw talent which should be exalted.

Get involved - like Mieke on facebook, follow on twitter and buy her EP. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Shires to join Little Big Town on their USA/Canada tour

UK country music stars The Shires have been announced as the support act for US country stars Little Big Town on their USA/Canada tour this November. Safe to say The Shires have had a triumphant 2015 and there is no stopping them - 

The Shires stated: "We can't believe how fast things are progressing. In November last year, we were supporting Little Big Town at Shepherd's Bush Empire. Within a year, we are now headlining Shepherd's Bush Empire and supporting Little Big Town in the United States!" 

Here are their USA/Canada dates - 

Nov 12th - Adams Center, Missoula, Montana
Nov 13th - Taco Bell Arena, Boise, Idaho
Nov 14th - Keller Auditorium, Portland, Oregon
Nov 19th - Abbottsford Centre, Abbotsford, Canada
Nov 20th - Paramount Theatre, Seattle, Washington
Nov 21st - INB Performing Arts Center - Spokane, Washington

The Shires are signed to Decca records and also Universal Music Nashville - they are the first English country act to be signed to a major label in Nashville!

 BBC Radio 2 have been strong supporters of The Shires - Their first single Nashville Grey Skies received it's first airplay on the Bob Harris Country show. 

Check out The Shires playing All Over Again acoustic here -  

As well as touring with Little Big Town, they have their own headline tour this October. See them playing in a town near you!

Thursday 1st October - Bedford Corn Exchange, Bedford
Friday 2nd October - The Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen
Sunday 4th October - Glee Club, Cardiff
Monday 5th October - Exeter Phoenix, Exeter
Tuesday 6th October - Pyramid Centre, Portsmouth
Thursday 8th October - Leas Cliff Hall Theatre, Folkestone
Saturday 10th October – Ironworks, Inverness
Sunday 11th October - Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
Monday 12th October - Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
Wednesday 14th October – Empire, Middlesbrough
Thursday 15th October - The Leadmill, Sheffield
Friday 16th October – Roadmender, Northampton
Sunday 18th October – The Institute, Birmingham
Monday 19th October - O2 Academy Liverpool, Liverpool
Tuesday 20th October - Cambridge Junction, Cambridge
Thursday 22nd October - Bath Pavilion, Bath
Saturday 24th October - O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

Livvy x