Harry Styles – Sign Of The Times (Single Review)

Posted by Leo Melo (Para ler esse post em português, clique aqui)
Sign Of The Times Cover

Rating:

In 2011 I was still living in Brazil – still living my young life at age 24, and yet questioning who where those kids singing “What Makes You Beautiful” everywhere I went or radio station I tuned on.

Having lived through the peak era of boy bands during my teens (and jealous of all the attention girls where giving to them – I won’t lie), I thought this format was long gone. And yet, as I listened to that song from One Direction – one the first times in fact – I remember saying “this one here has an amazing talent. Out of all of them he is the one I will expect great things from” – and that member was Harry Styles.

Harry Styles has recently released the first single of his upcoming album – a song called “Sign Of The Times”. While I don’t agree with the position some reviews have given to him, as being a possible “new David Bowie”, the inspiration is undeniable. But not only from David Bowie. The song has also elements of Pink Floyd, The Doors, and many others.

It is impossible to deny how much music has changed in only a few years. And yet, it is beautiful and amazing to see a young artist create music with elements and characteristics that many people grew up with and still love and cherish.

All I can say based on this music, and from I said back in 2011 – I cannot wait for this album to be released. Definitely my biggest expectation for 2017.

The release will be on 12 May – by Harry’s own label, Erskine Records.

Listen to the single on Spotify:

Spoon – Hot Thoughts (Album Review)

Posted by Leo Melo (Para ler esse post em português, clique aqui)
Spoon Hot Thoughts

Rating:  

I must confess. I feel embarrassed to say that I have never heard Spoon before. By that I mean that I have never voluntarily selected a song from them on any of my music streaming selections or purchased an album by them. They have been part of soundtracks to movies I’ve seen in the past, such as “(500) Days of Summer”, and the 2015 “Poltergeist” remake (especially being a horror movie fan that I am), so I have listened to them at some point.

It was once again one of those bittersweet moments in life. On one hand, I felt like I should listened to the at some point because their music is incredible. On the other, it was such a delightful discovery that I cannot stop listening to everything they’ve done until now. And a band that has already released nine albums so far, it gives you enough material to enjoy days of great music.

If there is one thing that I enjoy in a band is their ability to mature. A band that learns more about who they are and challenge their ability to make music with every album is beautiful. I strongly believe that is the case with Spoon. With every album they’ve changed just enough for us to listen to their progress.

The latest album, entitled “Hot Thoughts” demonstrates not only their maturity, but their ability to learn and get inspired from their contemporaries. It is very easy to see influence from other bands. And although I haven’t read anything to that affect from the band, I think these references are close to unmistakable.

The first song of the album, also entitled “Hot Thoughts” has great combination of guitar riffs coming from the lead singer Britt Daniels and Rob Pope, mixed with bells and claps that add to the overall rhythm. A perfect start to an album.

WhisperI’lllistentohearit” is probably one of the best song titles I’ve have ever seen. And the song doesn’t fall behind. It starts with a slower instrumental section and large vocals – only to shift in the middle to take a contemporary indie feel to it – resembling a mixture of Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire. The song lives in such a paradox in my view, that this shift seems to be a completely different song, and part of the same song.

Do I Have To Talk You Into It” is marked by a steady rhythm of drums, bass and keyboards in such a way that your head moves along with it without you even knowing it. No need to talk me into listening to this song.

First Caress” has a particular characteristic which I fell in love with. The backing vocals and some of the overdubs are whispered in such a way that it feels like the vocals are played right next to your ear. There is nothing better than listening to this song on a great set of headphones.

Another song I love is “Pink Up”. It kicks off with two minutes of instrumental music. It soon takes a mood of Bon Iver vocals, with layers of voices that make it so grandiose, that voices becomes a melodic instrument.

Tear It Up” – very British feel to it (not forgetting that Spoon is a band from Austin, Texas). All I must say about it. You’ll see when you listen to it.

Shotgun” is the most rock’n’roll song of the album. A powerful guitar sound and riff is accompanied by a fixed and paced rhythm of the bass. It almost has a soundtrack feel. If there was a movie made out of this album, “Shotgun” should be the opening track.

Finally, “Us” cannot be missed on this review. A sexy and smooth set of brass instruments (mainly a saxophone), with an effect that makes it sound like it is played on a auditorium. Midway through the song a set of drums and percussion comes in, complimenting the mood. A perfect end to a great album. So perfect that it feels like an intermission to the album, giving a breath and a need to listen to the album again.

Listen to the album on Spotify:

William Kentridge in London: Thick Time

Posted by The London Ginger (Para ler esse post em português, clique aqui)
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I discovered the work of artist William Kentridge during the first months in college (I did Visual Arts at Belas Artes in São Paulo), and in those days I wanted to develop video projects and urban installations and this was how I got charmed and was surprised with the talent and works by this artist.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, he studied and lives there to this day. His work is largely inspired by his life experience during the apartheid and his reflexions on colonialism and exile.

Along with the social-political subject, we can see in his work a fascination by Modernism and Expressionism, by matters of time, space and universe, as well as nature’s creativity.

I’ve had the opportunity to see a few of Kentridge’s exhibits in different countries and with each visit my enchantment and admiration grew.

Some of his work in the current exhibit in London (at the Whitechapel Gallery) are familiar to me, but each time, each new assembly at a different place, I notice details I haven’t seen before.

“The Refusal of Time” (2012) is one of my favourites. An installation with 5 video projections of 30 minutes each, assembled in a room with megaphones and a machine that represents human breathing. This work is a collaboration with Philip Miller (responsible for sound), Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo and Peter Galison. This installation deals with the subject of time, its measure and control.

Another one of my favourites is also part of this exhibition, “Second Hand Reading” (2013). It’s a video of drawings over pages of the Concise Oxford Dictionary, and is 7:01 minutes long. In this video he presents more a political question in a very subtle way, with contradictory meaning slogans.
Besides these two, there is one more of his earlier work that is part of this exhibition. “7 Fragment For George Méliès, day for night and the journey of the moon” (2003). It’s 9 video projections with sound, 16mm and 35mm based on live video and cartoons, and the sound work is again a collaboration with Philip Miller. This work is inspired by artists such as Jason Pollock, Bruce Naumman, as well as being a tribute to George Méliès.

There is also a space dedicated to 3 tapestries that were created by him and in this space there are also books about Kentridge’s work.
The exhibit counts with 2 new works.

“Right into her arms” (2016), an installation of a miniature model theatre with images and cartoons projected, the video projection is 11 minutes long.

“O Sentimental Machine” (2015) – there is no mistake in the way I wrote the title, it is exactly like this – 5 video projections, and the videos are 9:55 minutes long.
Of course these photos don’t do justice to the magnitude and depth of William Kentridge’s work. Whoever is in London or just visiting until 17 January 2017, and is curious to see this fantastic and inspiring artist’s work up close, do not miss the chance.

Thick Time exhibit
21 September – 15 January 2017
Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High Street
London
E1 7QX
T: +44 (0)20 7522 7888
E: info@whitechapelgallery.org

Dualib – Auroras (EP Review)

Posted by Leo Melo (Para ler esse post em português, clique aqui)

I must start by saying that I have the privilege and honour of having this artist as a personal friend of mine. During my days in which I was an audio professor, I had the amazing pleasure to work alongside this brilliant musician. And it was there that I witnessed his brilliance, as he used every break and every chance he had to work on his music.

Creating music from nothing is an amazing art, and something that we all admire. But Dualib makes music in a way you cannot teach, or learn. You either know or not. Imagine a great restaurant chef, and in front of him he has an infinite number of ingredients. It takes a true artist to combine them and create exquisite moments. And much like a chef triggers our pallets, Dualib can create an ambiance for your ears and mind that will take your breath away (almost all five senses there).

The ability to combine samples from existing music and unique creative beats is his strong point. On his latest EP, launched in 2016, he mixes samples with elements of hip-hop, bass, flowing synthesisers and pianos.

In this EP, called “Auroras“, composed of 4 songs, it kicks off with a music called “Morning Sex”. A smooth and cool hip-hop beat, created mainly by the steady rhythm of bass drum and snare, combined with a beautiful piano. It all makes up for a sexy song, in perfect sync with its title.

“Snooze”, the second song of the album sets the mood for that early morning feel after pulling an all-nighter. The synthesiser notes, mixed with perfect drums on the down beats, and pauses just on the right place.

“Sunday AM”, just shows how Dualib knows how to capture the songs essence and make it the title. The beats in this song are amazing, with characteristic claps that marks the tempo while setting the scene for a set of synthesisers to come in and swoop the mix for a cool Sunday morning. This song simply flows.

And for the last song, you might notice the whole album theme. “Sunny To Cloudy” is the perfect end to the perfect EP. I absolutely love how the song skips in the beginning, creating a “scratched record” moment, only to lead to a smooth hip-hop mood. But the main element that captivates me in this song is how he can combine so many sounds and beats that seem so out of tempo by themselves, and yet they align perfectly together.

Dualib is also a co-founder of SNTL Sounds – be sure its Facebook page, where they launch a new mix every week curated by him and Minizu.

And, of course, be sure to follow his own Facebook page for his latest material. You can also follow him on Soundcloud and Mixcloud.

Trust me. You will listen to his music on repeat.

Listen on Soundcloud:

Leo Melo – Bucket List Music UK
Twitter: @blmusicuk
Facebook: Bucket List Music UK

The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It (Album Review)

Posted by Leo Melo (Para ler esse post em português, clique aqui)

Art is cyclical. As generations grow old, the sense of nostalgia installs in such a way that we cannot escape the need to reach for out for the “good old days”. And that sometimes means going back to a period we weren’t even born, but we feel so attached (maybe because our parents or grandparents has introduced them to us) that it is impossible not to reach back.

Although I am only now approaching my 30s, this feeling is currently involving me.

It is hard to evaluate the current music world. And I mean that in the nicest way. It is my own personal way to acknowledge the fascinating fact that technology has allowed us to curate what we like in music.

Because of this I am constantly looking for new bands that can grab me in this infinite multiverse. One band is at the top of this list: the British band The 1975.

Remember the sense of nostalgia I mentioned in the beginning? This band has really caught my attention exactly because of this.

I first heard them through a podcast that I am a huge fan of called “All Song Considered” by NPR (which I absolutely recommend for all music lovers), and I remember saying to myself: “they are going to be one of the next top bands in music history”. That was over 3 years ago – a time before their first album, when they had launched their first EPs.

But in this review I will talk about their latest album with the brilliant title “I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It” (many might say it is too long, but I absolutely love the poetry behind it).

It is only their second album, but it already met all the high expectations surrounding it. The album is complete with sound references from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Not only that, it makes these decades sound contemporary. So it is new music that brings out the warm and comfortable feeling of the “old days”. It’s a real-life back to the future.

The whole album flows naturally, kicking off with the song “The 1975”, which is almost an anthem that empowers the album. It immediately is followed by “Love Me” and its amazing rhythm created by guitars, a cool bass and drum flow, and incredible synthesisers. And trust me, the lyrics are worth having a look – they are a great criticism to our current social media moving world, and our status in it.

Another great song worth mentioning is “She’s American”. I might be crazy, but this song has very big reference to “Genesis” – a great base line, groovy guitars, and the characteristic drum sound with plenty of delay, reverb and tight snare drum. I am addicted to this song. Not only because of its sound, but the lyrics are also a brilliant look on American girls and their view on British boys (apparently this song came to existence during the time they lived in California while recording the album).

“If I Believe You” is a beautiful song. It has a soothing and sexy rhythm to it, that almost makes you want to slow dance. There is an R&B feel to it, with an extended pre-chorus backed up by a moving organ sound, followed by a deliciously gospel-like chorus. Not to mention the saxophone that perfectly embodies the song with a soft solo. I don’t think I need to repeat myself in saying that the lyrics must accompany the song.

Finally, I must mention one of the top hits of the album – the song “Somebody Else”. Again, a perfect example of nostalgia. It embodies an 80s electro-ballad song. The voice has moments in which the delay really gives out this reference.

I could write a very extensive review of this album – especially considering it is 17 tracks long. But a review is nothing more than an opinion written by a nostalgic, nearly 30 years old, lunatic. Just listen to this masterpiece – and let me know if you agree. And I can honestly say that, after spending however many minutes with this album, the hardest part is coming back to reality after this exquisite time traveling session.

Listen on Spotify:

Leo Melo – Bucket List Music UK
Twitter: @blmusicuk
Facebook: Bucket List Music UK

The Corrs – White Light (Album Review)

Posted by Leo Melo (Para ler esse post em português, clique aqui)

Writing about this band involves a certain level of responsibility. As a contributor to The London Ginger’s website, all readers must know that this is one of her top bands of all time. Part of her story and who she is. And all I can say about this is: I completely understand this love.

From their Irish origins in the mid-nineties, the Corrs have been a success. In 2015 they launched their seventh studio album called “White Light” after a break of 10 years – and they continue to show their immortality and place in music history.

The first thing I must say is that, it is truly hard to find music that transports the listener to the bands origin and culture. Of course it is impossible to know all existing music, but The Corrs is definitely a band that makes music with a hint of Irish.

And their latest album, which is the subject of this review, is no different. The sisters (and brother) made another beautiful album that kicks off with one of my favourite tracks from the list called “I Do What I Like”. From the initial guitar notes and backing vocals, the first thing that comes to mind is – “this is The Corrs, right?!”. A pop song with a delicious rhythm and brilliant words about individuality. After all “it’s my life, I do what I like”.

The title track that named the album, “White Light”, has an individual detail, that I am particularly passionate about. I strongly admire music that takes you somewhere, that reminds us of a smell, colour, thought…much like Beethoven’s “Moon Light Sonata” which is told to have been created for a blind woman who wanted to “see” a beautiful Moon light. This song really reminds me of white light (an odd type of synesthesia, I guess). A pop song with some little electro element (done acoustically), creating a brilliant danceable and singable mood.

And, this review cannot go without mentioning their testaments to Ireland – the songs “Ellis Island” and “Gerry’s Reel” which are both beautiful story-telling songs. Although only instrumental, “Gerry’s Reel” is one of the best examples from this album that are truly of Irish decent. And The Corrs are well known for including traditional Irish music in their albums and concerts.

Recently I had the opportunity to watch a live performance by The Corrs at the London O2 Arena. Although sitting very far away, I was not only impressed by the sound, but the presentation was absolutely gripping. An excited band that showed that love truly lasts forever and that a reunion after 10 years between musicians and fans is always something beautiful to witness.

I can honestly say that, although recent, I am a big fan of this band. Beautiful lyrics, enticing music – it could not get better. And as I always say – take some time from your very busy life, and enjoy this album. Then the previous, then the one before, then the one before that, then the one before before that…well…you get the idea!

Listen on Spotify:

Leo Melo – Bucket List Music UK
Twitter: @blmusicuk
Facebook: Bucket List Music UK

Live On Two Legs – Pearl Jam (Review Shots – Classic albums)

How to write about one of your favourite albums of all time? It seems like there aren’t enough words to describe every feeling you get when you listen to it again. All those feelings come back to you, memories, places, and the world just seems to stop. Nothing else exists but you and those songs.

Am I talking about an album or falling in love? I guess both.

Pearl Jam has always been a band that, for me, was better live than in studio albums. And before I am misunderstood, the studio albums are absolutely genius and beautiful. So – imagine how I feel about them live. In fact they actually released a collection of albums of a full tour. I still need to find where to buy these, but the first time I saw them I felt in musical paradise. And they sold them separately, which I think was just perfect.

This album has absolute Pearl Jam classics such as Even Flow, Daughter, Black, Given To Fly, Do The Evolution and many others. Songs that really move you – and in many ways – joy, happened, sadness – or just the absolute need to bob your head to the song as an absolute grunge fan.

I could write pages and pages about it. But I have a better suggestion. Go listen to it. NOW!

Listen on Spotify:

Leo Melo – Bucket List Music UK
Twitter: @blmusicuk
Facebook: Bucket List Music UK

Ghost – Nevamis (Review Shots)

Nevamis cover 1024x1024

Hello. Take a seat. Turn of your phone. In just a few minutes Nevamis will take the stage in this very exclusive stadium. The only seating the house is yours. This is what you feel when you listen to Nevamis’ EP “Ghost”.

The songs have very few instruments, mainly acoustic guitar and voice, and yet it sounds enormous and intimate at the same time. The effects used in the mix really complement the songs and the whole feeling of the EP, really giving out the feeling of an exclusive stadium concert. And of course, complete with beautiful lyrics and voice by Nevamis.

Nevamis is a London based artist that has recently performed small shows around the capital, including The Café Royal and Sofar London.

Be sure to listen to his latest EP on Spotify.
Twitter: @Nevamis
SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/nevamis1

This review is part of the 100 day challenge I am doing on Snapchat. If you’d like to see these review shots, follow my Snapchat: Leo Melo – Bucket List Music

Twitter: @blmusicuk
Facebook: Bucket List Music UK

Women: New Portraits – Annie Leibovitz

Anne Lebov low

Today was the day to go to the long awaited “Women: New Portraits by Annie Leibovitz” – and I was not disappointed. Though “small” in terms of space or arrangement of works, the exposition is hosted in an old hydraulic station in Wapping, built in 1890, Wapping Hydraulic Station, typical region of the Wharfs (on the banks of the Thames river) in London, brick walls and old antique tiles, with a high ceiling, this location as background for the emblematic, strong and delicate photos by Annie, makes the exposition feel even more interesting.

In the main room of the exposition are three large screens, two of them showing a series of photos of the many women photographed by her, and one with the photo of Queen Elizabeth taken by Annie at Buckingham Palace. There is also a panel with printed pictures.

In a reserved room there is a big table with books from Annie for everyone to browse.

This exposition “Women: New Portraits” is part of a project that Annie started 15 years ago. During this period she made photographs reflecting the latest changes in women’s roles, all with women that achieved greatness in many areas such as art, music, CEOs, politics, writers and philanthropists. This exposition walks side by side with current debates and struggles lead by women to achieve their equality.

Annie Leibovitz has been creating her work and art since the beginning of the 70s, when she worked as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone magazine and in the 80s she began expanding her work to Vanity Fair and Vogue. She has been awarded for publicity campaigns, received honours and was elected a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

The exposition is open until 7 February, and whoever lives and London or is just passing by, it is worth the visit. It is free to enter.

Free entry.
Times:
Monday-Thursday: 10am – 6pm
Friday: 10am – 8pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 6pm

Address:
Wapping Hydraulic Power Station,
Wapping Wall,
London E1W 3SL

https://www.ubs.com/microsites/annie-leibovitz/en/exhibition.html

1989 – Ryan Adams (Album Review)

Ryan-Adams-1989 cover

In many aspects we know that Rock music and Country have similar origins, similar instruments and a reasonable crossover in terms of style. In fact, there is a very fine line that divides the two genres – just enough to make the difference. And we all know that does limit itself to music (religion, nationalities…) – but I shall not dare to dabble in such matters. Though my reasons will seem clear enough.

Ryan Adams, a fully established rock star has covered – from cover to cover – Taylor Swift’s album “1989” (Ryan’s version was released 21 September, after many released snippets and much talk about it), keeping the same title, and altering a few lyrics to create a “heterossexual male” point of view.

The reason behind my statement above was just to mention how curious it is that, as Taylor Swift makes her way towards a pop life, slowly leaving the country star image, here comes Ryan Adams to the rescue to remind us all that, although she has started this shift, her music is for everyone, only needing very few tweaks (and a great composer and arranger as he is – but that is a minor detail) to bring the rock/country style to the music.

Now – to the album (I might take this as my catch frase – seems that I make this introduction to my review, all leading to “now – to the album”). Just beautiful. The melodies, the arrangements, the manor in which he included acoustic instruments, a delicate piano in many of the songs to bring the heart and soul that already exists in the original version. Some are slow and melodic, and some move like rock and roll should – like the song “Style” which has a true rock move and feel to it.

He takes songs like “Blank Space” and almost makes you cry with the slow melodies in the acoustic guitar. And when you get to “Shake It Off”, you almost believe it is not the same song. For those who listened to the cover by Lo-Fang of “You’re The One That I Want” from the movie Grease – the experience is very similar.

A testament of his brilliance lays in songs like “I Know Places”. Listen closely (maybe close your eyes even) and you can see the midwest desert – it is a true cowboy song, giving a whole new meaning to the frase “They are the hunters, we are the foxes…”.

You are not only captivated by the acoustic guitar melodies, but  a some songs are embellished by deep bass drum sounds and all mixed in this profound echo and delay that leaves you feeling like you are watching a show by yourself at the Royal Opera House. One light at Ryan Adams.

“How You Get The Girl”, “This Love” are just a few more examples of songs you can’t skip. It really feels that the original song and the cover compliment each other in the whole album. So, to be fair – don’t skip a single song!