Saturday, 30 January 2010

New Music Review: The Best Brothers Band - This Is What It Feels Like

The Best Brothers Band describe themselves as an indie/rock/pop outfit from Atlanta, Georgia. Below is a review to their track, 'This Is What It Feels Like'.

As the ride cymbal is gently tickled with the tip of Nick Fountain's sticks, husky vocal tones ease gently alongside easy-listening blues licks and picky riffs. It's the intro to 'This Is What It Feels Like', and I'm reminded of an American-sounding Kelly Jones (Stereophonics). I did immediately notice the lack of bass and felt slightly lost whilst getting into the song without any foundation laid, but soon got past the emptiness from the bottom end of the track; besides, Keane have done OK and although I was slightly yearning for some heavy semi-breeves to keep the bottom of the song tied down, the style of music was suited fine without. I enjoyed the crescendo leading into the chorus, as the many layers of backing vocals came at me from all angles, but did feel that the crash/splash cymbals were sounding slightly over-used. Having said that, Fountain keeps a tight funky groove locked in well considering the lack of bass. Leading into the chorus, James Morrison and Jason Mraz both pop into my head and I can feel the promise of a guitar solo looming. Here it comes, building and developing as it progresses; intensifying, winding and I can picture the band onstage, hunched in emotion and each caught up somewhere deep inside themselves. The last few seconds really show off the vocalist's range as he jumps into an Adam Levine (Maroon 5) ad-lib, rounding off the song nicely. It's a cool indie-pop song, definitely one worthy of radio airplay with it's friendly chord progressions and happy, singalong chorus.

If this has inspired you to check out The Best Brothers Band, and I urge you to do so, please visit their MySpace page where you can hear a lot more from the guys. They'll be performing at Rye Bar in Athens, Georgia on Feb 20th and a Haiti Relief gig at the Frederick Brown Jr Amphitheater on March 6th in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Friday, 29 January 2010

The Constellations - Setback (The Kickdrums remix)

I recently recieved a quirky little pop number to share with you, with the promise of a free download!

So, I give you The Constellations. Their track, Setback (The Kickdrums remix) is available for you to download here. It's a fun and bouncy, quirky yet sometimes eerie frolicking dancey pop tune that is quite infectious!

The Constellations will officially be releasing Setback in the UK on the 8th of March through Parallel Lines. They have also confirmed a run of dates in London the week before release.

Monday 1st March @ The Barfly
Tuesday 2nd March @ The Flower Pot
Wednesday 3rd March @ Wild & Innocent Night - Hoxton Bar & Grill
Thursday 4th March @ Hoxton Underbelly
Friday 5th March @ Club NME - KOKO


In other news, for those of you with preferences of fashion, please check out Belle Fantaisie; a great blog showcasing lots of fashion and frivolities.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

New Music! Interview and Review: Veronica Bianqui

When We Were Beautiful is very proud to announce its discovery of Veronica Bianqui. I managed to steal a few moments with Veronica; please enjoy her interview below and my review of her track 'Shame On You'.

Hi Veronica! So, according to your Myspace page; you grew up in LA. How did that have an affect on your wanting to become a musician?
I'm not quite sure that living in LA really influenced my decision to become a musician at all.  I honestly don't know why or when I decided.  Perhaps all memory and sense of myself started at the moment I knew music was what I wanted to pursue, and so I couldn't tell you anything that happened before! It's a cool idea, i think? hah.

Where do you spend most of your time now; where do you call home?

Most of my time is spent in London, until I return to Los Angeles, which is my home.

Is the hectic life of a musician a full-time job for you at the moment or are you still studying?
Ha I wouldn't say my life is particularly one of a "hectic musician," but, yes, sometimes balancing gigs and studies can be a bit challenging. I study Ethnomusicology, one of the most exciting and relevant fields in our day and age. 

Where do you take inspiration from when writing your music?
Words, Books, laughs, smiles, cries, small gestures, big questions, strangers, friends, anger, the Sun, the rest of the stars, the ocean, sadness, desire, loneliness.  Inspiration, however, is not always a bolt of lightning which strikes unexpectedly, you must also reach for it and it will come to you.

How did 'Shame on You' begin life, and where did you take inspiration from to write it?
I was asked by an independent film maker, Matias Masucci, to write a song for his up-coming feature-length film "Noise Matters" because he was impressed with a gig of mine he attended.  So, I tried to incorporate a bit of the overall tone and a few of the political messages from the script into the song, without making it explicitly about any one thing.

You've chosen to label your music as ‘acousticized soul.' Tell us more about what that term means to you.
It means a vibration which runs directly from my soul to the guitar strings, and out of the sound hole into the world.  It's the attempt at amplifying the wordless-soundless feelings that make up myself. "Amplification of the soul" is perhaps a better term.

In your own words: "I can’t help that I relate more to Jack Kerouac than Perez Hilton. Bob Dylan than American Idol. Other influences include John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, The Doors and any singer of the Delta Blues." The last true songwriters of our generation seem to have really struck a chord with you. How important is it these days, considering the artists that dominate our pop charts, for people to remember what a real song is about? Do you think any of that passion has been lost from the days since Dylan and Lennon?
I wouldn't quite consider Dylan and Lennon songwriters from our generation... I'm not even sure if I quite know what a real song is about, it's hard to define, really. I saw an acoustic performance of Lady Gaga playing "Poker Face" while she played piano, and I thought, "shit, that's a good song..." and she does it well, though it's not necessarily a style I particularly listen to.  I mean, I can be snobbish and say 'real songs' are only those that say something meaningful or don't have 72 production tracks and auto tune on them, and while that's true at times, it doesn't always have to be true.  If it moves your body and affects you deeply, then it's a real song, isn't it? I suppose...At the same time, people are constantly bombarded with this saturated mainstream music that they don't realize there could be something else out there, something old or undiscovered, which can blow their minds.
You also count Nirvana as an influence of yours, although it's not really an artist that springs to mind when I listen to 'Shame on You'. What influence did they have on you?
I used to write a lot on electric guitar before I got too lazy to plug it in! haha. A big thing I got from them, i think, are my dynamics. And Kurt Cobain's vocals, i love them.

How do you feel about the music industry in general at the moment? Are you excited or anxious for its current state and future?
We can all agree that we are in an uncertain, transitory state. And I think it's an amazing, exciting time to be a part of it. Things are bubbling to the surface, only just starting to be exposed, something massive is going to happen, probably within the next 5 years. Can't quite put my finger on what it is, but I feel it, I think a lot of people feel it...

What's new for you at the moment, and what does the future hold?
What's new for me? Starting a new life in London, trying to decide where to venture to next! What does the future hold? The future holds a bit of madness, a bit of chaos, a lot of love, and a lot of guitars.
Finally, can you tell us a secret? 
They're in the songs.

A happy-folk laden riff chugs into my speakers and immediately the young-sounding yet mature voice of Veronica Bianqui hits me. I'm not sure what to expect whilst waiting for the vocal but I'm not left waiting long as tones reminscent of Regina Spektor mixed with an almost female-sounding Johnny Cash crawl into the mix. I love how the ends of the vocal phrases lean gently into the next line, as the start of each new lyric tries desperately to catch-up with the ever-driving riff. The vocals are raw yet soulful, and ooze real passion; squeezing every ounce of meaning from the cleverly-fitting lyrics, and the Mumford & Sons-esque backing vocals compliment the simple yet effective guitar work. I love how the track is so texturally sparse for so long, but suddenly builds and intensifies; rousing a stomping folk-reuinon as 'the backing to a television advert' that I pictured in my head becomes 'a busy and pleasantly ferocious late-afternoon folk club'. Even at it's busiest part, the song still ebbs and flows, giving the listener a feeling of swaying along at my imaginary folk club with the bustling crowd. But as soon as it's begun, the song halts at a surprising and unwelcome ending; it doesn't feel like three and a half minutes have passed and as I sit in the silence now very apparent in this room I find myself waiting for a rabble of whistles, applauding and more feet-stamping before the next track comes thundering in.

'Shame on You' and other live tracks from Veronica Bianqui can be found at her MySpace page. I urge you to wrap your ears around her infectious indie-folk tunes and join the party at her next concert while you can!

Upcoming shows

02/02/2010 -  Three Kings Pub - Clerkenwell, London
06/02/2010 - The Luminaire - London
18/03/2010 - Monkey Chews - Chalk Farm, London

Remember - Please vote for us HERE to become winners of the Best Weblog About Music category for the Tenth Annual Weblog Awards 2010!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Vote for me!

Many thanks to all those anonymous souls and my fabulous readers who voted for When We Were Beautiful at the Annual Weblog Awards; The Bloggies for 'Best Weblog About Music'.

I have been short-listed as a finalist in this category, so please vote for me once more if you have a few spare seconds here!

Voting closes on 31st Jan, and the winners are announced in March.

Many thanks again for all your support, I can't wait to share with you my new music reviews and exclusive interviews soon!

Glenn :)

Saturday, 23 January 2010


Sorry I've been slow to write, I feel that my inspiration, balanced alongside uni and other things comes in drabs; one week I'll have loads to talk about and the next there won't be much at all. But don't worry, I've secured some exciting new music to share with you and review soon!

Today, I'm off to get another tattoo to add to my slowly-growing sleeve. I love tattoos, they can look so cool and beautiful, but of course can look as eqaully ridiculous! Below are some photos of John Mayer's sleeve, which, aside from the coy, I'm taking inspiration from for my sleeve.

Most people spend months and even years deliberating what to have done; I tend to run with an idea and figure that if it sticks, I like it. If I can't remember the colours or where I wanted it within the next few days of it popping into my head, it's probably worth ditching that idea. Below are a couple of funnies that tickled me, and I'm sure they wish they'd ditched their ideas too; some are goord for a laugh, but you have to live with that forever!

Hopefully in years to come, budding bloggers and musicians will look at the fantastic sleeve of a famous drummer (me) with awe and appreciation. For now though, I hope this doesn't seem like a stock post; I didn't want to write about the same artists whilst I am waiting on reviewing new ones, so they shouldn't be too long coming! Below are some exceptional examples of what can be done with a needle. Enjoy!


Sunday, 10 January 2010

New Tattoo/New Listenings

Hi ya'll. Well my first week of uni is over, it's amazing how quickly you settle back into a routine; feels like I've never been gone!

Yesterday I had a new tattoo which you can see a picture of above. If it looks perhaps a little strange on its own, I plan to encorporate it into a sleeve over time. What do you think?

With all the new music I recieved for Christmas, I've devised a short list of essential songs. Who knows, maybe you'll discover a new favourite artist!

1.) Mumford & Sons. Album: 'Sigh No More'. Track 11; Dust Bowl Dance.
This track adds a new dimension to the already great foot-stomping folk on this album. The album is very much noticably lacking in drums, and relies on the lead singer's feet; left foot strikes a tambourine with a foot-pedal and the right-foot strikes a kick drum, all whilst singing and playing the guitar. The energy in the final third of this track is massive; a huge drum pattern emerges which is soaked in reverb and just shits on everything else in the mix but is completely what the song needs. If you listen to it and don't nod your head, you best check your pulse.

2.) Jace Everett. Album: 'Old New Borrowed Blues'. Track 7; Greatest Story Never Told.
I discovered Jace Everett as he did the sound track for sexy vampire-flick True Blood and this album is a little different. It's recorded in his front room with two other guys; and together they make up two acoustic guitars, an acoustic bass, harmonica, howling, shouting and general acoustic-greatness. This track is a lighter touch on the album; a haunting ballad which oozes raw emotion and is an undeniable hidden gem.

3.) Sugarland. Album: 'Live on the Inside'. Track 4; Sex on Fire.
As a live album, this encorporates more covers than originals, but when I saw that these included Sex on Fire and Nightswimming I had to hear for myself. Sex on Fire is a huge, somewhat over-played rock anthem that propelled the Kings of Leon to the dizzying heights of Radio 1 superstardom and turned them into a household name. I'm not a fan of their older stuff but love Only by the Night. However, hearing the deep Southern Nashville female drawl on this vocal is a highlight for me on the album; Kings are themselves from the deep South and Jennifer Nettles' wicked country vocals provide a cool left-turn.

4.) John Mayer. Album: 'Battle Studies'. Track 5; Perfectly Lonely.
Unfortunately Battle Studies doesn't in any way live up to its predecessor Continuum, but it would have had to have been one hell of an album. Perfectly Lonely is, I think, one of the better songs on the album; an easy-listening blues-pop number on an album that really acts more as background listening than something which really grabs your attention. The backing vocals are great and guitar work is, as always with John Mayer, sublime, but I'd have to loved for him to have gone to town more, epsecially on the solos. I hope he's not running out of ideas, but the first single, Who Says, sounds far too much like Stop This Train; so much so that he started playing one live, intending to play the other!

So hopefully you might decide to Youtube/Spotify a song or two here, or you might have your own opinion, in which case, leave me a comment below!

Friday, 1 January 2010

"Jon Nob Jovi"

This is UK newspaper The Sun's, or rather, Gordon Smart's opinion on Jon Bon Jovi:

"Jon Bon Jovi wins a new gong - Nob of the Year. There's no physical award for this, the leather-clad gimp is not worth £12.50 for the frame. Jon Nob Jovi told the Bizarre team that his five nights at London's O2 in 2010 should always be referred to as a residency, not a five-night run. I won't be going to any of his five-night run because he is yesterday's man, his music is dull and he stole his haircut from Lassie."

The quip was slipped into the editor's 'Bizarre Awards', naming Jon as his 'Nob of the Year'. In a year where JLS are forever talked about in his pages, I don't think he's really entitled to an opinion on music tastes.

Happy New Year!

I think the only state I was ever going to write this blog post in was feeling as weak as a kitten with a throbbing headache and a very unsettled stomach. I think now, like most of the rest of the world, detoxing seems like a really good idea...

My resolutions are to stop smoking, play lots of music, discover amazing new bands and be happy. It's all about your positive mental attitude and attracting everything that is good through the power of your thoughts.

I hope you all had a fab holiday and aren't feeling half as hungover as I am.

I'll leave you with a quote from Jacques Attali: 'Music washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life'.

Happy New Year! :)