Discovering Shakespears Sister

‘It was acceptable in the 80s’ is a common phrase coined to excuse the unconventional-ness of the decade. However, it also allowed for many spouts of artistic expression especially in the music industry. The flow of inspiration poured uncontrollably but every so often flooded into something genre defying. Enter Shakespears Sister, a pop-rock project of beautiful weirdness dressed in a gothic elegance.

Initially, I came across the band after watching an old re run of Top of the Pops that featured British 80s pop group, Bananarama, a girl group featuring Dublin born Siobhan Fahey. It was whilst watching their performance that my mother asked me if I had ever heard of Shakespears Sister and the look of almost betrayal that crossed her face when I told her I hadn’t is an image I wish I could share with all of you. Unfortunately, that is not the case however I can share with you my discovery into the music she introduced me to.

The name alone piqued my interest and set high expectations for unusual lyrics and dramatic flair, both things the band did not fail to deliver on. Shakespears sister was originally formed as a solo act by Fahey in 1988 when she left Bananarama after feeling her musical needs were not being fulfilled. Embarking on her own project allowed the punk turned pop artist to explore her roots once again, this time staying true to herself as a music artist. The name originated from The Smiths song of the same name, the apostrophe being left out after a misspelling that Fahey liked because she felt that it made it her own. Fahey worked alongside many other personalities in the music industry during the process of writing and recording including friend and college Marcy Levy. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Levy contributed both musically and artistically by providing vocals and instrumentals. After some time as a ‘hired hand’, Fahey convinced Levy to give herself a new professional name and Levy decided upon Marcella Detroit – the name she would become most known for during her work with Shakespears Sister and thereafter.

Just before the solo act became a duo, Shakespears Sister released the debut single ‘Break My Heart (You Really’), a song that unfortunately did not achieve the success Fahey sought. However it did achieve it’s goal in separating her from her persona in Bananarama and revealing her new darker look to the world. As well as this it made it apparent the chemistry Fahey and Detroit shared in the recording studio. Neither woman was thrilled about the idea initially, wanting to maintain their independence as artists but after agreeing on a 50/50 split, the two united as equal band members. The reluctance in the beginning of their musical relationship would manifest over the course of their time together until it inevitably lead to the band’s break up in 1993.

With Detroit now on board, Shakespears Sister released their second single (but debut as a duo) ‘You’re History’. The song proved to be the breakthrough both woman wanted, showcasing how Fahey and Detroit complemented each other in both artistic creativity and talented vocals. Whilst the music video is a compilation of quirky 80s nonsense, the song itself is a catchy tune introducing Fahey’s and Detroit’s blending of styles. ‘You’re History’ reached number 10 in the UK charts in 1989 and was followed by the band’s debut album, Sacred Heart, that proved just as successful.

Whilst Sacred Heart also featured the popular singles ‘Run Silent’ and ‘Dirty Mind’, it is the band’s second album, Hormonally Yours, that produced the song Shakespears Sister are most known for and the one that captured my heart. The album was introduced with the first single ‘Goodbye Cruel World’ but it was the second single ‘Stay’ that gave the band their first and only number one as well as the win of Best British Video at the BRIT Awards in 1993.

The narrative music video to ‘Stay’ is truly heart breaking as it depicts Detroit singing to a man presumably on his deathbed. Detroit’s distaught and desperate performance pours into her high vocals and violently tugs on every heart string you possess. The song begins as something soft and full of lost love before Fahey’s entrance a as a malevolent force representing death. Both women fight physically and vocally with their unique voices engaging in a battle for possession. ‘Stay’ is like a dark mixture of two songs, the concoction an appealing elixir of music styles.

Unfortunately, Shakespears Sister fell into the pit that is ‘musical differences’ and went their separate ways after many years together and a brief revival. Although some may find the music to be dated by it’s era and therefore an acquired taste, Shakespears Sister offer something to take you away from modern day and are worth the indulgence.

 

By Skye W. Winwood

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Remembering Dolores O’Riordan

The world has lost yet another beloved star, but her light will keep shining among her family, friends and fans. The death of The Cranberries’ lead singer Dolores O’Riordan was announced on Monday the 15th of January 2018 and has left a dark cloud of devastation hanging over us all. At this time, the cause of her death is unknown and those closest to her have asked for people to respect their privacy and let them mourn in peace. A request that should be abided by all, but we can share in our grief through the beautiful music Dolores has left behind.

Dolores began her music career when she joined The Cranberries in 1990, an Irish rock band formed in Limerick a year prior. The band was initially formed by brothers Mike and Noel Hogan along with Fergal Lawler and Niall Quinn under the name The Cranberry Saw Us. However, the line up was simply not meant to be when Quinn left the band after only a year together. The remaining members began their search for a female singer to front their band and found all they were looking for in Dolores O’Riordan. Dolores came prepared to dazzle, writing her own lyrics and melodies but it was the early stages of the famous ‘Linger’ that got her the job. ‘Linger’ is a perfect summary of the band’s style and approach to music, as well as Dolores’s talent and uniqueness. Her sweet and soft voice still manages to project powerful emotions and capture the heart of anyone listening.

The band’s early EPs and demos caught the attention of many people in influential positions, putting them on the track for success from near day dot. In 1993, they released their debut single, ‘Dreams’, an upbeat song about new love laced with youthful innocence. The song entered the top 30 of the UK chart in 1994 and was one of the songs, alongside ‘Linger’, that featured on The Cranberries debut album, Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?. Although mainstream success was achieved early on, both ‘Dreams’ and ‘Linger’ were re-released at later dates to prove even more popular and quickly sending The Cranberries soaring through the charts.

One year after the release of their first album, the band came back with No Need To Argue, an album that completely outsold it’s earlier counterpart. The album contained the iconic song ‘Zombie’ and went triple platinum within a year of it’s circulation at the top of the charts. Apart from ‘Linger’, ‘Zombie’ is arguably the band’s most popular song to date and is a heavy showcase of their placement in the rock genre. Dolores’s vocal performance is as phenomenal as previous recordings but this time laced with an anger made poetic by her angelic tones. The song contains a powerful message concerning the political conflict surrounding Ireland at the time, filled with turmoil and harrowing lyrics.

No Need To Argue has proven to be the band’s most successful album as popularity barely ceased. Later albums, such as To The Faithful Departed, did not reach the same peak of success but kept the band’s place in the heart of their fans. The Cranberries continued to make music together throughout the years, producing numerous music videos and embarking on one of the most successful tours of their career. Rumours circulated about Dolores leaving the band to follow a solo career and in 2004 the band entered a hiatus. In 2007, Dolores released her first solo album, Are You Listening?, and sold over 300,000 copies worldwide. 2009 saw the reunion of the band – although it was not described as such at the time – where they went on a tour of both North America and Europe. The band played their old songs as well as Dolores’s solo music before then going on to release a brand-new album in 2011. In 2017, an acoustic album titled Something Else was released alongside the promise of tour dates. Unfortunately, the tour dates had to be cancelled due to issues arising with Dolores’s health.

The tragic news of Dolores O’Riordan’s death has left many people in a state of shock and mourning for the young artist. Her fellow band members have paid tribute to the singer via social media and it is obvious she was an admired and well-loved woman who will be missed by both those she touched with her music and in her personal life.

 

By Skye W. Winwood

Oceans of Noise’s new E.P is like a siren’s call

Oceans of Noise are not about half measures and are proving it with their self-titled E.P. Even though it is yet to be released, Oceans of Noise has a polished and perfected sound belonging deep in the depths of dark rock. Even more astonishing is that the band was only formed three years ago but come across as a band with at least a decade’s worth of experience. Although, this may come as less of a surprise when learning each member of the band brings their own extensive background of experience.

At just the tip of the iceberg is soprano, Sertab Erener, a hugely successful and award-winning artist in her native country of Turkey as well as across Europe. She also holds the immensely impressive title of the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest winner and featured on the soundtracks to various films such as Masked and Anonymous and the Japanese-Korean film, A Tale of Two Sisters. Completing the band are guitarist Emre Kula (from the prog rock band, Kes), bassist Eser Unsalan, keyboardist Ozan Yilmaz and drummer Alpar Lu. The band also extends to Joel Hamilton, a multi Grammy Awared nominated producer who has seen success with the likes of Bonobo, Highly Suspect, Tom Waits and Unsane.

The band have managed to develop a truly hypnotising and engaging sound that is a combination of effortless skill and Poseidon like energy that will drown you in a sound of synths and riffs. Just from the E.P’s lead track, ‘The Age of Ghouls’, it’s obvious the anticipation the band are building is rightly deserved. ‘The Age of Ghouls’ is directly from any 80s dark love/lust occult film, with a sensual, swaying beat and seductive riffs. With a voice crafted for rock, Sertab provides spine tingling vocals to a background of heavy, crashing guitars and drums. The pure emotional and raw talent of the band bleeds through the track with a promise of a future rock anthem.

With this well-established sound, it’s almost hard to believe the band came together over something as simple as a jam session. After playing a few times together performing covers of other songs, Oceans of Noise quickly realised the potential they had together could lead to their own original songs. Whilst ‘The Age of Ghouls’ is the lead song, the E.P also features the beautiful ‘Frozen Love’, an aching ballad that will have you shedding a tear as you reach for the lighter. The track is bittersweet, offering slow moments of harmonic melody before hitting hard at the chorus with irrevocable passion. The E.P also offers ‘Finding White in Black’, an English translated version of the track ‘Ayla’ from the film Ayla: The Daughter of War. Even more radio friendly ‘Miracle’ is a showcase of the band’s talent to appeal to both devoted and mainstream fans.

Oceans of Noise will be releasing their self-titled E.P on January 27th with the chosen launch destination of London’s Omeara.

Links:

Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/oceans-of-noise/1296282833

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/21HzqFortyEjD2yOdCZAPY

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/oceansofnoise

Facebook: facebook.com/oceansofnoise

Twitter: twitter.com/oceansofnoise

Instagram: instagram.com/oceansofnoiseband

Website: oceansofnoiseband.com

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

‘DNA’ cover by RobertIDK

People say the best form of flattery is imitation, when someone admires you so much they feel the need to honour your work. Song covers can be a hit or miss deal, either producing tracks that are equal or greater than their original or letting loose into the world something people never wanted to hear. Taking on a song not originally sang in your native tongue is risky. Taking on a song from a beloved band with an army of fans eagerly waiting to tear you apart shows true bravery in creativity. After promising his subscribers an English cover of ‘DNA’ by BTS, fans of both RobertIDK and the popular K-pop group have been waiting with bated breath to see how the Youtuber will pull this one off. On December 28th 2017, Robert released the highly anticipated cover onto his Youtube channel and it was nothing like fans expected.

Listen to the cover here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEj4PSXZgP8

The video begins with a quick message explaining, ‘This is my English rendition of DNA. I tried to write words that felt right with the meaning of the song. I left in all the original English words, as well as some of the Korean lines that I really love and didn’t want to change.’ The original track by BTS is performed almost entirely in Korean to a background of whistles and acoustic guitar before soaring into an explosive chorus. Although not as hard sounding as some of the K-pop group’s other tracks, such as ‘Danger’, the song definitely contains a beat that demands your body to dance.

Listen to the original here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBdVXkSdhwU

Despite this RobertIDK’s cover takes things in a softer direction, backed completely by a beautiful piano melody that still perfectly fits the message of the song. Not only this but, as stated at the beginning of the video, a few of the Korean lines have been kept the same and delivered in a pleasing harmony that show the dedication Robert put into the cover to learn the pronunciation. The rewritten lyrics are a show of Robert’s rising talents as a lyricist and has given his subscribers a little more insight into him as a musician, previously only being shown unchanged covers or parody songs performed by the Youtuber.

Overall, the song is a beautiful rendition of an already popular song but comments from subscribers on Robert’s Youtube channel have showed BTS could possibly have some competition in the future.

Links

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertIDK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertIDK

‘Discovering BTS’: https://musicnews2dayblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/29/discovering-bts/

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Dallon Weekes’ departure from Panic! At The Disco

Out with the old and in with the new, is the mind set of many of the world’s population with New Year’s Eve rapidly approaching. A time for putting to bed the past and allowing us to wake up the new opportunities presented to us in the new year.

In a turn of events fans can argue we saw coming, Dallon Weekes has announced his official departure from punk/pop band, Panic! At The Disco. Through the medium of social media Dallon wrote, ‘For the last eight years I’ve had the incredible opportunity to perform in Panic! At The Disco…I’m grateful for the chance I’ve had to be part of [the band]…I will always consider myself indebted to those who made me feel welcome…you changed my life. Thank you all.’ A heartfelt farewell to those he will be leaving behind but also an encouragement for fans of both the band and himself to follow him on his new musical adventure.

Dallon joined Panic! back in 2009 after the departure of band members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker, on a temporary touring basis as the band’s bassist. However, in 2010, his ‘temporary’ status was upgraded to an official, contributing member. Panic! At The Disco greatly benefited from the decision to take Dallon on full time for he was able to contribute artistically to the band’s fourth studio album, Too Weird To Live! Too Rare To Die! The public were made aware of Dallon’s new status via Twitter half way through 2012. For Panic! At The Disco’s fifth album, Death of a Bachelor, Dallon took a step back once more, not contributing to the album and returning to be a touring member only. With the solo direction Panic! seems to be taking, it has not come as a shock to many fans that, on December 27th of this year, Dallon revealed he would be permanently leaving Panic! At The Disco.

The initial reaction of many fans has been disappointment and upset to see Dallon leaving but many people, amongst myself, are eager to see how this new creative freedom will develop in his own band, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me. IDKHow is a project Dallon has been working on with ex Falling In Reverse drummer Ryan Seamen. Already with two songs released (‘Modern Day Cain’ and ‘Choke’) the band are gaining quick traction with their songs preforming immensely well in the iTunes charts.

Having been given a brief taste into Dallon’s musical talent working with Panic!, and beginning to develop his individual style with IDKHow, I, along with many fans, encourage people to continue supporting Dallon in the future. The introduction into IDKHow has softened the blow of Dallon no longer being a part of Panic! and fans are eager to see the direction Dallon will take things in.

Links:

Website: https://www.idkhow.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DallonWeekes

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPeiIDYMwZQpL7aocblfqtQ

‘I Don’t Know How But They Found Me new single ‘Choke’’: https://musicnews2dayblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/01/i-dont-know-how-but-they-found-me-new-single-choke/

 

By Skye W. Winwood

Remembering Jonghyun

With the Christmas period slowly coming to an end and the new year just around the corner, it is important to remember those who will not be moving on with us. In the modern day of invasive technology and overwhelming press, celebrities all over the world are having to find ways to cope with the growing pressure put on them by the media. Unfortunately, sometimes, the struggle becomes too much and leads to the tragic and heart-breaking reality that some celebrities can no longer live this kind of life anymore. With all the artists in the music world already gone in these recent years, one recent death has shattered the hearts of many and left a feeling of emptiness we can only console with one another.

Jonghyun is most known for being a member of the K-pop group, SHINee, as well as being a solo artist, radio host and author. Born April 8th 1990 in South Korea as Kim Jong-hyun, Jonghyun saw fame over many medias and multiple layers of success as an artist. On December 18th 2017, Jonghyun took his own life due to reasons people believe are related to a long time battle with depression. The details of his death will not be discussed in this blog post out of respect for the sudden and recent loss felt by family, friends and fans, but I believe it is important to highlight the life and achievements of a beloved musician.

In recent years, Korean music has made its way over to both the UK and USA to enter the mainstream and become the new music playing through everyone’s earphones. Bands like BTS, Exo and, of course, SHINee have propelled the genre of K-pop into the western music chats where it only continues to rise to the top. Jonghyun was a large part of this movement with his work as a vocalist in both SHINee and his participation in the group project S.M. The Ballad.

Jonghyun began his musical career in 2008 when he was chosen to be a member of the boy group, SHINee along with Lee Tae-min, Choi Min-ho, Key and Onew. Jonghyun quickly established his place in the band and by 2009 was writing lyrics and was the lyricist for “Juliette” the group’s fourth Korean single. The translated lyrics (from Korean to English) are a beautiful arrangement of a burning confession of love, unsurprisingly influenced by the classic Romeo and Juliet story. Jonghyun explained he wanted to create something people could relate to and saw the iconic story as something everyone could understand. SHINee, along with Jonghyun, soon began to cause a storm with their fashion trends spreading among students and their music reaching overseas. The band have been highly praised for their insanely synchronized and intricate dance routines as well as being labelled for being one of the best live vocalists in K-pop.

With the success of SHINee behind his back, Jonghyun began development on other projects such as providing vocals for the song ‘Let’s Go’, which was written with the intent of increasing public participation in the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. Along with this, Jonghyun has been recognised for his support concerning issues that are otherwise frowned upon. For example in 2013, Jonghyun changed his Twitter profile picture to an image that indicated support for the LGBTQ+ community despite receiving negative backlash from a Korean website claiming to be members of the SHINee fanclub. In 2013, Jonghyun also found his talent as a composer with the song ‘A Gloomy Clock’ that was featured in IU’s third Korean album, Modern Times. This led to another piece called ‘Red Candle’ that was composed and written by Jonghyun. In 2014, S.M. The Ballad returned with Jonghyun being the only original member.

By this time, Jonghyun had quite the history, talent and experience behind him and decided to begin working on his own solo album. In January 2015, he released his debut solo album, Base, which was quickly devoured positively by critics. The album peaked at first place on both the Billboard’s World Album Chart as well as the Gaon Album Chart. Jonghyun soon began working alongside other popular artists such as Exo and Lim Kim, acting as a songwriter and composer for both.

After conquering the music world, Jonghyun moved onto new but not completely unknown territory with his experience as a song writer. September 2015 saw the publishing of Skeleton Flower: Things That Have Been Released and Set Free, a book containing Jonghyun’s experiences and inspirations. In October 2015, he was chosen as one of the top five K-pop idols through a survey conducted by forty anonymous music industry officials.

The shocking and emotionally charring news of his passing has left many fans lost and seeking solace in Jonghyun’s music. The very serious issue of depression in the celebrity world is sometimes overshadowed and forgotten until someone else is pushed too far. Jonghyun will be dearly missed by millions but we can hope his death highlights the dangers of ignoring mental illness in ourselves and those around us, and contribute to the world moving forward with a higher state of awareness.

 

By Skye W. Winwood

Christmas Playlist 2017

Christmas is the most magical time of the year but how can there be magic without music? To infuse your festive day with a chorus of angels, guitar riffs and little drummer boys, here is a Christmas playlist of 25 pop, rock, classic and everything in between songs filled with holiday themes.

Fall Out Boy – ‘Yule Shoot Your Eye Out’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW3X7-gk8q0

Known for their quirky, catchy and clever song titles and lyrics, ‘Yule Shoot Your Eye Out’ is an original Christmas song in true Fall Out Boy fashion. Of course, Christmas is a time of celebration but sometimes it can also include moments of reflection on past relationships, especially those lost. ‘Yule Shoot Your Eye Out’ is a beautiful heart breaking Christmas tune that will be stuck on your tongue all day.

Mariah Carey/My Chemical Romance – ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’

Mariah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXQViqx6GMY

MCR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8rjrPIGZ5U

From Christmas heart ache to Christmas heart longing, Maria Carey has provided one of the most iconic Christmas songs of the modern period. From the first tinkling of those bells in the intro, you know you are about to be propelled into a world of snowy Christmas nostalgia and impossible to reach high notes. Alongside Maria’s original, My Chemical Romance recorded their own cover which could almost be a completely different song, for those of you tired of the same old same old this year.

Set This Off – ‘This Christmas (I’ll Burn It To The Ground)’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Scg_VG982o

If the Grinch had written a Christmas song, this would be it. Devoid of the stereotypical festive cheer and seasonal harmony, ‘This Christmas (I’ll Burn It To The Ground)’ is a punk rock song for those who still want to celebrate Christmas but have had enough of all the commercialised traditions.

The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl – ‘Fairytale of New York’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8

Released in 1987, ‘Fairytale of New York’ has remained a Christmas classic throughout many of our lives. The calm intro into the song embodies the feelings of calm relaxation we all hope to experience over the Christmas period. However, once the song kicks in at about the minute and a half mark, we tumble into the true chaos but still enjoyable season we all know and love.

Panic! At The Disco – ‘Feels Like Christmas’

Of course, I couldn’t make a Christmas playlist without including Panic! At The Disco’s new Christmas song ‘Feels Like Christmas.’ Although, only released this year, the jaunty, joyous tune will no doubt find a permanent place on everyone’s Christmas playlist in years to come.

Slade – ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A8KT365wlA

IT’S CHRIIIIIIISTMAS, need I say more? Slade asks the important Christmas questions before launching into a rock ‘n’ roll Christmas classic. Recently, mysterious rock band, Wartoad, have released a cover of the much loved song that will help the homeless with the proceeds collected from people buying the single.

New Found Glory – ‘Nothing For Christmas’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q9VOAJyuYE

Of course we all love receiving gifts and the excitement of surprise on Christmas morning but New Found Glory’s ‘Nothing For Christmas’ reminds us of the true reason for the season. A song about love, appreciation and a heartfelt message that one person could be enough to make Christmas everything this year.

Andy Williams – ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFtb3EtjEic

A musical masterpiece that belongs on the Broadway stage, ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ is exactly what it says on the tin. Even to those who do not celebrate the holiday, it cannot be denied the atmosphere and love spread throughout the season is felt by all. Including the classics of an iconic Christmas, this song is timeless and can always guarantee to have everyone up and dancing every year.

All Time Low – ‘Fool’s Holiday’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX74HsAVWr0

With a sound akin to The Darkness’ ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End’, All Time Low’s ‘Fool’s Holiday’ is packed full of festive metaphors that will have you singing and swaying this holiday period. The song is a perfect combination of punk and beauty that was tailored made for fans of an alternative Christmas.

Tony Bennett/Michael Buble – ‘Winter Wonderland’

Tony Bennett:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSb-EGXMToI

Michael Buble: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIKt5p3UmXg

Both versions of this song are beautiful renditions of a holiday classic, it was impossible to choose just one to include in the playlist. So, my Christmas present to you, is the gift of both versions of ‘Winter Wonderland’, whether your more for Tony’s dreamlike sequence or Michael’s upbeat jazz tune. Whatever your mood this Christmas, ‘Winter Wonderland’ should always be included.

Sia – ‘Santa’s Coming For Us’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3EYjVPRClU

Although the title may sound a little menacing, the actual sound of ‘Santa’s Coming For Us’ is a festive pop track blessed with Sia’s amazing vocals. The singer’s signature sound has been given a Christmas sprinkle and provides a fun filled track that is only one part of her new Christmas album, Everyday Is Christmas.

Queen – ‘Thank God It’s Christmas’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V5mtUff6ik

Gone but never forgotten, Freddy Mercury has blessed Christmas with his soulful, harrowing vocals in Queen’s ‘Thank God It’s Christmas.’ The rock ballad was released in 1984 and spent six weeks in the UK charts over the Christmas period and into the new year. The song is a musical release of all the built up tension we feel during the year until we’re crying ‘thank God it’s Christmas’ along with the song.

Relient K – ’12 Days of Christmas’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA6QsHdXwdI

Tired of the same old Christmas songs? Relient K give a punk revamp to ’12 Days Of Christmas’ and turns it into a head banging track you never would have suspected could become a new Christmas favourite. The humorous track includes every single day from the original song with the band’s own spin thrown into the mix to turn it into something completely new. The fast pace of the track will have you tongue tied even more than usual trying to keep up but no doubt you’ll have fun giving it a good go.

Wham!/Jimmy Eat World – ‘Last Christmas’

Wham!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8gmARGvPlI

Jimmy Eat World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3J7trGtpB0

A heart wrenching song that simply has to be played at Christmas no matter how it pulls the tears from your eyes. However, if you’ve had enough pf being emotionally tortured by the classic by Wham!, Jimmy Eats World have given the song a punk cover that is a little more upbeat but no less heart breaking.

Weezer – ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ-6sSRej9Q

Even some of the most festive people cannot stand Christmas carols but Weezer are here to change your mind. ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ is an alternative cover of the timeless classic that will appeal to even the most scrooge-like of you out there.

Elvis Presley – ‘Blue Christmas’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I2f1UJjiAA

It can’t be Christmas without the king, even years after his passing, albums are still being released around the festive season containing the hound dog’s deep and hypnotising vocals. ‘Blue Christmas’ is a smooth yet soaring track from another time when romance is all people wanted for Christmas.

The Brobecks – ‘Christmas Drag’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w3Vmme361Y

Another song for people who are just not feeling the festive atmosphere this year, ‘Christmas Drag’ reminisces about Christmases past and the want for something new next year. It highlights that not every year can be the perfect Christmas time but next year is only around the corner.

Fall Out Boy – ‘What’s This?’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb1ZS6lMFuk

Whilst releasing their own festive tunes, Fall Out Boy have also used their musical talent to cover song’s like The Nightmare Before Christmas’s ‘What’s This?’ Originally written and performed by Danny Elfman, the band manage to make the song their own and was included on the Nightmare Revisited album.

The Darkness – ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQhuoY5h2kE

Manging to pull off a Christmas rock classic back in 2003, it may possibly be one of the band’s most well-known songs outside of the alternative community. To this day, many of us still don’t know exactly what all of the lyrics are from listening to the song alone but it doesn’t stop us singing along at the top of our lungs.

Dido – ‘Christmas Day’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMFzQhR9dJw

In beautiful Dido style, ‘Christmas Day’ is an acoustic track telling the tale of a passing love and the wait each Christmas for that love to return. The perfect song to wind down the hectic, family filled Christmas day that transports you into a love story that will go on and on with each replay.

Panic! At The Disco – ‘White Christmas’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z1j8wB1pmI

Akin to the sound of a barber shop quartet, Panic! At The Disco’s ‘White Christmas’ sounds like it was recorded earlier than 2008. A short and sweet track consisting of only a minute and a half, it’s the perfect interlude between that hearty dinner and the wait for Christmas pudding.

Blink 182 – ‘I Won’t Be Home For Christmas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy9_JjLnmZI

After Panic’s ‘White Christmas’, something is needed to wake you back up for a night of joy filled drinking. Blink 182 will provide this pick me up with their ‘I Won’t Be Home For Christmas’, a song that tells the ugly truth about Christmas some of us experience. The too invasive time of year when we’re forced to play polite to people we would avoid at any other time during the year. ‘I Won’t Be Home For Christmas’ is backed with an upbeat sound that turns the otherwise depressing lyrics into something humorous and relatable.

New Found Glory – ‘Ex-Miss’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYGEzmk3UKo

Already having one on this playlist for a new found love, New Found Glory also highlight the other side of Christmas romance with their song ‘Ex-Miss’. A combination of Christmas bell’s and shredding guitar, this is one for anyone who hasn’t had the best year but are armed and ready to beat the next.

Never Shout Never – ’30 Days’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb0D2IciaxU

A slow and simple track looking back on the year and wishing there was just a little more time before the New Year arrives. A song about last chances and making the most of the few days we have left of the current year whilst also being a song thanking those loved ones in our life that make everything worth it.

Relient K – ‘Merry Christmas, Here’s To Many More’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5J55oKEZMo

Possibly my personal favourite Christmas song, Relient K’s ‘Merry Christmas, Here’s To Many More’ is a song about making it through the tough times faced throughout the year. A song capturing the wholesome message of the holiday season, that you are loved and cared for even when you don’t realise it. It’s the perfect song to finish off this playlist as well as the Christmas day, the lyrics simply about overcoming whatever has tried to drag you down and promising the reward of many more years of joy to come.

 

Merry Christmas everybody and all the best in the New Year!

 

By Skye W. Winwood

It ‘Feels Like Christmas’ with Panic! At The Disco

With five more sleeps until Christmas morning, everyone is finding themselves in that inevitable countdown panic. Rushing around to make sure all the presents are wrapped, that there are enough carrots for all of Santa’s reindeer and fighting over the last turkey in the store. With so much to stress over the commercial side of the holiday season, we need songs like Panic! At The Disco’s ‘Feels Like Christmas’ to bring us back to that feeling of joy and remember exactly what Christmas is about.

Listen to the Christmas jingle here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szaJ5aW-LUs

After announcing on an Instagram Live Stream he had a surprise in store for fans, front man of the band, Brendon Urie, had us all waiting in a giddy excitement akin to that of Christmas Eve. Dropping the brand new festive track ‘Feels Like Christmas’ earlier today, it’s as if the big day has come early. The song mixes classic Christmas nostalgia and the funky sound Panic has evolved into over the years, echoing a more upbeat sound from Death of a Bachelor played to a background of bells and beats.

The track begins with a quick guitar snippet of ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ before jumping into the jaunty jingle of Brendon’s vocals. The jolly tune has elements of a musical number, something that would fit perfectly on a live stage graced in floating snow as the narrator swings around lamp posts after discovering the meaning of Christmas. It’s apparent Brendon’s time on Broadway influenced the track and it perfectly encapsulates the fun and excitement of the Christmas season.

Apart from the uplifting lyrics and twinkling sound, the message behind the song is a beautiful ‘thank you’ to the band’s fans. Below the audio video on Youtube, Brendon says, ‘thank you all for making this year my favourite so far. Through the hard times and the beautiful moments, I’m glad we’re always there to lift each other up. I’m so excited for the new year and what’s to come. So to end this year right, here’s a little holiday jam I wrote. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.’ Once again, reminding us of the importance of musician and fan connection whilst blessing fans with the same gratitude we offer the band. Oh, and the best part? The track is completely free to download here: http://smarturl.it/feelslikexmas 

Links:

Website: https://panicatthedisco.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/panicatthedisco/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PanicAtTheDisco

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/PANICatthedisco

‘Death of a Bachelor live album!’: https://musicnews2dayblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/death-of-a-bachelor-live-album/

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Ikkarus are flying high with their new album Stains & Echoes

Many people can have the talent and dedication to make it as a professional musician but the one thing we all battle against stands as a foe: life. Sometimes duties and responsibilities have a louder call than our aspirational desires but that doesn’t mean we should give up on our dreams. Javier Lardizábal has followed in the footsteps of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, not only in genre style but by balancing his rock star life with that of an airline pilot. Javier has flown the skies and after nearly ten years has finally reached cloud nine in the form of releasing his band’s album Stains & Echoes.

Listen to the lead track, ‘Nightclub Sundays’ here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7hXr34FFuQykjrjKNQt9ix

Javier continued to write and develop the tracks on Stains & Echoes during his time as an airline pilot, finally bringing the album to completion when he found Dave Ramos (drums) and Wens Castellanos Garcia (keyboards). The band are based in Mexico City but have plans to take over the world with their alternative indie sound, a feat that should be easy with Javier’s musical talent and pilot training! Javier, himself, provides the guitar and Layne Staley vocals. The bass heavy sound and Javier’s swirling singing give Stains & Echoes a distinct 90s sound with a musical magic that could belong on the Charmed soundtrack. However, the album fits perfectly into the modern world with snippets of trip-hop being mixed into tracks like ‘Nightclub Sundays.’

‘Nightclub Sundays’ begins with a thrumming bass similar to that of classic Red Hot Chili Peppers songs before slinking into a keyboard/guitar tune that brings it more into the modern day. Javier’s soaring vocals echo throughout the whole track with the same resonating sound of Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam and Shaun Morgan from Seether. The elongation and vocal straining evoke a sound similar, also, to the late Chester Bennington, being fuelled with the same raw emotion and passion.

Other tracks such as ‘A Means to Say Goodbye’ head more towards a Shinedown sound whilst still providing that wash of atmospheric keyboard that make the tracks otherworldly. Whilst ‘The Messenger’ is a blazing instrumental track that adds a lighter layer to the otherwise punk attack album. The almost primal drum beats of ‘The Messenger’ really showcase the band’s talent as musicians by making that musical connection to an audience without any lyrics being needed. Whilst the guitar and keyboard solo’s evoke a distorted and chaotic sound similar to Muse.

Ikkarus are soaring high but show no signs of burning up any time soon beyond the fire this album will no doubt create for them, burning bright throughout music history.

Links:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/stains-echoes/sets/stains-echoes-debut-album/s-EhKgD

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7hXr34FFuQykjrjKNQt9ix

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx_8edZX53UC5yRFGLCZExw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ikkarusband/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ikkarusofficial 

Instagram: @ikkarusband

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

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