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'Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences'

Lisa Hannigan at Arts Club, Liverpool, 21.10.16

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Lisa Hannigan plays the Arts Club, Liverpool, tonight (October 21st, 2016), showcasing some of the tracks from her third studio album, ‘At Swim’ (released August 19th, 2016).

Produced by Aaron Dessner, guitarist with The National, the 11-track offering features some of Hannigan’s best and most sentimental work. Tracks such as ‘Fall’, ‘Prayer for the Dying’, ‘Funeral Suit’ and ‘Anahorish’ touch upon feelings of love, loss and isolation, whilst others such as ‘Ora’ and ‘Snow’ offer a lighter shade to the almost stark, seasonal colours of autumnal and wintry darkness, weaving hope and sadness as a narrative throughout. This album puts Hannigan’s delicate and haunting vocals right at the forefront of the action and her lyrical imagery will resonate long after the last track has played.

I think this is Hannigan’s most mature and settled work to date; perhaps ironic given the fact that she has since stated that it was written during a particularly difficult time of insecurity and instability. I find that it is during such times, when you question yourself and your achievements and motivations with the most intensity, that you are the closest you’ll ever be to exhibiting your true self. How does the saying go; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength, and Hannigan certainly does that with this collection of tender brilliance.

shelleyhanveywriter

 

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

October 21, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Getting lovingly reacquainted with some old favourites

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I am loving Apple’s new music streaming service: Apple Music, which is initially available on a three month free trial basis before introducing membership fees from £9.99 per month for individual users.

I tired of Spotify a while ago and only occasionally listen to user playlists, mainly due to the complicated navigation required to access your favourite genres or albums. This is the best feature of Apple Music in my opinion – you’re asked for your favourite genres and artists and your ‘For You’ tab is customised on a daily basis with albums which fit in with your preferences.

Unsurprisingly I have fitted firmly in to the country-pop-rock category and have been getting lovingly reacquainted with some old favourites : Carrie Underwood’s ‘Some Hearts’ (2005), Alicia Keys’ ‘The Element of Freedom'(2009) and Bon Iver’s ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ (2008) to name but a few. I also love that Apple compiles playlists of notable songwriters and producers such as Max Martin and Xenomania.

Pop is unashamedly my greatest passion; artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Backstreet Boys, Madonna, Christina Aguilera and of course, Britney Spears, just sound better with each passing year. 1998 to 2005 has to be the amongst the best seven years of music to date, surely?

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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August 5, 2015 at 3:34 pm

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Damien Rice at The Albert Hall, Manchester 11.06.15

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So, after an eight year wait the day finally arrived for me to once more enjoy an evening in the company of – in my opinion – the greatest singer-songwriter of my lifetime.

Damien Rice performed at the Albert Hall, Manchester (June 11th, 2015), with support from Lucy Rose. It would be fair to say that I was pretty ecstatic at having got tickets for this show; one of only three to be performed in the UK.

Rice released ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’, his third studio album, late last year to critical acclaim. The album contains just eight tracks but they each showcase Rice’s literary and musical genius. I have a couple of standout favourites: ‘The Greatest Bastard’, ‘Trusty and True’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Change You’. I struggle to seperate the eight however as they all feature different elements that I love. I’ve always found Rice’s work to almost mirror my own life experiences, particularly in relationships. Perhaps that’s why I relate to them so much and find his live performances such a cathartic experience.

Rice doesn’t use set lists, so each live show is truly unique for his fans. In Manchester he performed a selection of old and new tracks, with classics such as ‘Cannonball’, ‘The Blower’s Daughter’, ‘Volcano’ and ‘Nine Crimes’ thrown in for good measure and to great applause from the audience. Having been to see Rice three times now, I definitely witnessed a visibly more jubilant and chatty performer who was trading jokes with the crowd, recalling funny stories from previous gigs and his personal life and just generally seeming more upbeat than ever before. I have always found Rice’s personal brand of intensity and broodiness particularly appealing and quite seductive…yes I have a major crush on the man, just putting it out there! He reflected on the possible reasons for his downbeat demeanour in the past; the pressure of artistic expectations, relationships, money etc, but said that after “speaking to someone who specialises in these things“, he found that by stripping all of these things away, he was left with a much happier person who discovered that it might actually be nice to let people in and not shut yourself off so much. Who knew?!

It was great to hear some of Rice’s more recent tracks performed live, including ‘The Box’ and ‘Long, Long Way’. I’d have personally preferred less of the old and more of the new, but that is simply due to how much I love his latest album. With a new record in the pipeline, I’m sure there will be other opportunities to catch a live show and hear those tracks that he didn’t get chance to perform this time round.

All in all, one of the top 3 live shows ever for me; with Rice occupying 2 of those positions now.

http://www.damienrice.com

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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June 15, 2015 at 2:20 pm

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The beautiful and beguiling Benjamin Button of pop rock

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The beautiful and beguiling Benjamin Button of pop rock is back.

Natalie Imbruglia returns with a new album ‘Male’ (released August 21st, 2015 via Sony) and a cover of the Daft Punk (featuring Julian Casablancas) classic, ‘Instant Crush’.

This will be Imbruglia’s fifth studio album, following the likes of ‘Left of the Middle’ (1997), ‘White Lilies Island’ (2001) and ‘Counting Down the Days’ (2005), which feature some of my favourite tracks of the late ’90s/early noughties including ‘Torn’, ‘Shiver’ and ‘That Day’.

‘Male’ is a 12 track album featuring covers of songs that were originally performed by men including, ‘Cannonball’ and ‘Friday I’m in Love’. After its release, Imbruglia is said to then be working on an album of original material.

It would be fair to say that I am in awe of the endeavours of this singer-songwriter/actress/businesswoman/model/human and animal rights activist. If I could be her for a day, I would simply walk down the street singing my songs and looking at myself in shop windows. It would probably look strange, but I would be pretty happy about it.

@natimbruglia / http://www.natalieimbruglia.com

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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April 21, 2015 at 12:38 pm

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Thank you for the music – Noah and the Whale say goodbye

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NATW

A piece of news has made me somewhat glum today.

One of the original bands in the British folk revival scene, Noah and the Whale, have decided to call it a day.

The band made their announcement via their official Facebook page:

“Dear Friends

Noah and the Whale have decided to call it a day.

We have had an incredible eight years together and are immensely grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way.

There are too many people to mention in this short message but we would like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to all of our amazing fans, who have supported us so magnificently over the years and made everything possible.

Love,
NATW”

Noah and the Whale are the reason I started listening to folk music back in 2009. They introduced me to Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn and Emmy the Great and brought two albums in to my collection which are both examples of pure lyrical and melodic perfection: ‘Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down’ (2008) and ‘The First Days of Spring’ (2009). The band later took a more alt-rock path which, whilst I still appreciated, I did prefer their earlier folk work.

‘Rocks and Daggers’ and ‘5 Years Time’ are two of my all time favourite songs.

So, Charlie and the boys – Thank you for the words, the sounds, the amazing live shows and the memories.

I’ll always be pretty happy when I’m just kicking back with you.

http://www.noahandthewhale.com / @noahandthewhale

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

 

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April 1, 2015 at 4:04 pm

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James Bay releases debut album ‘Chaos and the Calm’

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The long awaited debut album from 2015 Brit Awards Critics’ Choice winner, James Bay, was released today on Republic Records (March 23rd, 2015).

‘Chaos and the Calm’ features 15 tracks which showcase Bay’s classic rock and blues predilections, but also pay a welcome homage to his surroundings whilst he was recording in the pilgrimage capital of country, Nashville.

‘Hold Back The River’, ‘Scars’, ‘Collide’ and ‘Move Together’ are my current favourites.  I am definitely firmly rooted at the soft rock/blues end of the musical taste spectrum, but I think this record has a bit of something for everyone in this ball park.

I’ve been looking forward to this album for months now and I for one am not disappointed. I hear the similarities between Bay’s sound and that of later date Kings of Leon, but I have to say that I much prefer Bay’s music and I would liken his tone and vocal edge much more to Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) or Ben Howard. Aged just 24, I think we can look forward to a long and well established career from this artist.

A very satisfying debut.

http://www.jamesbaymusic.com

@JamesBayMusic

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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March 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm

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O’Brien, Blasket Islands and a clear day of summer

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villagers

Villagers release a third studio album, ‘Darling Arithmetic’ (IRE: April 10th, UK/EU: April 13th, US: April 14th, 2015 via Domino Records) in a couple of months and have given us a taste of what’s to come with the stunning single, ‘Courage’. Few things bring me such peace as listening to Conor J O’Brien…perhaps if I was driving towards Slea Head on a clear day of summer, gazing out across the sea to the Blasket Islands with the track on repeat, this would be the only imaginable improvement to the experience. I fully anticipate this album being a contender for the 2015 Mercury Prize if this track is anything to go by.

Track List
1. ‘Courage’
2. ‘Everything I Am Is Yours’
3. ‘Dawning On Me’
4. ‘Hot Scary Summer’
5. ‘The Soul Serene’
6. ‘Darling Arithmetic’
7. ‘Little Bigot’
8. ‘No-one To Blame’
9. ‘So Naïve’

The band will tour the UK, Ireland and Europe in April/May, 2015 and tickets go on presale this coming Wednesday at 9am (February 11th, 2015) via the official website below.

http://www.wearevillagers.com

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

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February 9, 2015 at 1:08 pm

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