Saturday, 31 July 2010

New Artist Alert: SJ

For the second installment of my 'Uni Friends Specials' of my New Artist features, meet SJ; a singer/song-writer from Cambridge who's first offering, 'Lost in the Dark', is ready for you to hear. It's a cool electro-pop tune which display's SJ's great vocals and song-writing skills. It's rich with samples mixed with cool electric guitar riffs sitting just below the mix in the choruses and it's here that SJ's vocal talent is really exercised as she opens up. The modulation towards the end is the icing on the cake; lifting the song into it's final phase with a sudden abrupt end that catches you off guard and still leaves your feet tapping.

You can also hear the acoustic version for this song which, for me personally, showcases SJ's talents even more; her vocals are sublime here and it really gives the lyrics a new meaning. This is definitely my favourite version.

SJ is from Cambridge but is also at University in Southampton currently. You can listen to her songs for yourself on her Myspace page, where she cites her influences as The Eagles, Beyonce, Norah Jones, Coldplay and Queen.

Friday, 30 July 2010

This Army The Joe Public Summer Tour!

Here's the poster for the 'This Army' summer tour of the fantastic The Joe Public. Be sure to check out a show!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

New Artist Alert: Beatitudes

With just one track online currently, I'm hoping this is the sign of things to come from the young band 'Beatitudes'. It's a cheeky yet infectious acoustic guitar intro supplemented nicely by the cool vocals; I like the melodies explored here and there's hints of Paolo Nutini and James Morrison. I was expecting a few snare stabs before the full band came in so I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more tracks because this must just be an acoustic song. It's nothing short of great though; really nice chord progressions matched with strong vocals do enough to set the song apart from every other singer/songwriter act; this sounds fresh and professional, definitely sure of itself and confident which is why it stands out.
Beatitudes hail from Southampton and describe themselves as "A fusion of Soul, Dance, R'n'B, Rock and all that Jazz...Music for people that LOVE music" and have a few shows lined up for the future:

30th July/Drift in the City Bar/Portsmouth
31st July/Joiners/Southampton
29th Aug/The Brook/Southampton
15th Sept/Soul Cellar/Southampton

You can have a listen to 'Danielle' for yourself and check out their upcoming shows on the band's Myspace page.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

I'm back!

It's so good to be home. I had a fantastic and very relaxing two weeks away on the Norfolk Broads, but am certainly looking forward to settling back into familiarities; not least of all the comfort of my own bed!

So just a quick post to say that I'm back and will very soon be back into the swing of launching some new music your way!

If you've got Twitter, you can follow me @samborakid


Saturday, 10 July 2010

Off on my holidays...

When you read this, I will be en-route to Norfolk (incidentally where I lived between the ages of 3 and 8) heading towards the Norfolk Broads for a 2-week canal boat holiday! I can't wait to just chill out without responsibilities and thinking about work, although I obviously now won't be able to post for a couple of weeks.

I'll be back soon!

Monday, 5 July 2010

'Live Before You Die' Bon Jovi Blog Contest

To my readers: Bon Jovi are holding a fantastic competition which enables one lucky blogger the chance to win 2 tickets to the final show of the US leg of the tour in Chicago. All you have to do is blog about your ideal show...this is my entry!

Jet-lagged and bleary-eyed, I step off the plane in Chicago. It was a long flight from but I'm buzzing because in less than twelve hours I'll be taken to the soaring heights of Jovi heaven once more. I've never been to Chicago, I muse to myself as I scour the luggage carousel for my Heart and Dagger suitcase. Outside the airport, I'm waiting with my girlfriend but I won't get a chance to 'flag down a cab' like they do in the movies; I've just spotted our private car which takes us to our fancy hotel. I'd never be able to afford this kind of luxury. It's OK; Jon's paying tonight.

Fast forward a few hours. Bags have been strewn on the bed, I've wolfed down my complimentary dinner and am eager to get to Soldier Field to be at one with the Jovi nation; feel welcomed and safe amongst those like me, virgins seeking their first Bon Jovi highs and veterans expecting great things since the O2 set-lists were published online, hoping tonight will be as special as it always is. Or maybe even just a bit more.

Everyone's smiling. Happy faces queueing, I catch tinny drones of Bad Name playing from a mobile phone and a distant singalong of Prayer is attracting a lot of attention. The merchandise tent is being set-up nearby and it's really starting to sink in. I'm actually here! I see the sleeping bags and throwaway pillows; I've been there before. But tonight I'm in the pit, escorted to the front by Obie himself just before showtime. The crowds will part for Sir Obie so it won't be a problem getting to the barrier.

This crowd is well and truly pumped, the atmosphere is fantastic and the weather couldn't be better. We're upstairs now, watching through a large window as the drones of fans pour into the venue; excitedly patient and trying not to push as we're sat comfortably in the VIP suite with other eager competition winners. I feel as nervous as Jon must have done back in Sayreville at his first ever show. I know what's coming next; I can't contain my nervous energy as I swig over and over again from the cold bottle of beer before my girlfriend assures me it's empty and has been for a while now. But I didn't quite hear what she said. Tico just strolled in. My mind has gone blank. Do I talk about rudiments and paradiddles? Ask him about his swing? I don't even play golf. Here is the physical representation of why I took up playing drums all those years ago and I feel like a starstruck teenager. Well, I guess that's what I am. Coolly he saunters over, shaking hands and signing autographs and I somehow manage to string a few words together. Decidely humiliated yet too grateful to care as he moves on to someone else, I spot Richie, Hugh, Dave and Jon. It's like some kind of mad dream. Richie looks taller than in pictures, his eyes so warm and friendly; Dave's hands look weathered and I imagine them spanning his keys or penning a symphony; Hugh looks just like one of them, so comfortable with his brothers, maybe they'll let him do some PR for the next album; and Jon tops it all off, his million-dollar smile lighting up the room as the ardent fans flock towards him. I'll play it cool, let him come to me. I can't. I feel like a teenage-girl. Who cares. I just want to shake his hand. But they don't stay long, it's nearly show-time.

Cheers Obie! I call, what a legend! We couldn't be closer; Jon's famous white mic-stand is stood waiting as patiently as the thousands of fans in the arena right in front of me. Suddenly the PA system trails off and the lights go down. I join in with the screams, fighting back the tears as the band come onto the stage, Jon swaggering on slightly behind as he lights up the room once more with a huge grin before launching into the opening song; Dave's blistering keyboard intro. I wasn't even alive when they wrote this song.

We Weren't Born To Follow
Born To Be My Baby
Something For The Pain
Superman Tonight
Edge of a Broken Heart
Save a Prayer
It's My Life
Story of My Life
I Believe
Work For The Working Man
In These Arms
Harlem Rain (Richie vox)
Any Other Day
Silent Night
Wild is the Wind
Bad Name
I'd Die For You
Have A Nice Day
I'll Be There For You (Dave vox)
The Fire Inside (Acoustic)
Nobody's Hero (Acoustic)
Edge of a Broken Heart
Shot Through The Heart
We Got It Going On
Love's The Only Rule

The segues between the songs are flawless; the musicianship representing the honed art of nearly thirty years' hard graft. Each subtle nod and telling glance; Tico, Richie, Dave, Hugh and Bobby hanging on to Jon's every slight movement; a tell-tale sign of where this runaway train is going next. The crowd are stomping their feet, cheering, screaming, chanting. The lights are still down but once again Dave leads the way; his piano intro once more lifting the screams to a near-deafening level, having crept onstage unseen.

Encore 1:
These Days

The anthem has been played; Jon swiped Richie's cowboy hat as the crowd sang the first verse and chorus to Wanted. Waving goodbye, the band bows graciously at the edge of the stage. I'm within arms reach of the entire band's feet. Tico passes me a stick with a wink, I'll never let this go. The most amazing night of my life. The emotion took me somewhere I've never been before; this band that taught me how to love and feel have taken me on a near-3 hour rollercoaster and I can't believe it's over. As Jon's tight denim jacket disappears from view, I can't help thinking the house-lights should be up by now. People have already started filtering towards the exits. But there are tribal drums. The deep resonating toms sweep the floor and pound hard into the chest of every single person in this room, as it erupts with deafening screams once more. I can't believe they're playing my favourite song. Richie's Hey Hey Hey Hey! chants fill the arena and I'm fighting back the lump in my throat once more.

Encore 2:
Something To Believe In
Dry County

As I'm escorted back to my hotel, I wonder if I'll ever get that high again. Still grasping Tico's stick and the fireworks ringing in my ears, I think back to how close to Jon I was, how I could see the whites of his eyes, every nuance of passion in his face, looking across to Richie's timeless expressions as his fingers graced the fretboard of his beautiful guitars, Tico's mouth-playing as he pounds along relentlessly, the world's most underestimated drummer, Dave's stolen waves to people in the pit and Hughie's collected, content smile as he sits back on his effortless bass-lines. I didn't sleep at all that night. On the plane home the next day, I relived the concert again and again in my head, oblivious to the flight attendants offering peanuts and my girlfriend sleeping soundly as she rested on my shoulder. The greatest band in history just played the greatest show of their careers, and I was front and centre.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

New EP: Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling and Dharohar Project Recordings

iTunes UK-only EP release featuring Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling performing FOUR brand new tracks alongside traditional Rajasthani folk collection Dharohar Project.

1. Devil's Spoke / Sneh Ko Marg
2. To Darkness / Kripa
3. Anmol Rishtey
4. Mehendi Rachi

You can also watch a preview video, featuring footage from the India tour, here:

There's a really lovely preview of the EP's second track here. The marriage of the two styles and songs and indeed cultures is a great testiment to music's universal language.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

1 Year Anniversary!

The beginning of July marks the one year birthday of When We Were Beautiful! I'm glad I've kept this blog going; there was a slight lull at the beginning when moving house and starting uni but now that it's really found it's groove I'm really enjoying sharing everything with you.

Looking back on my very first post, when I was kind of unsure really what I was going to write about, I said:
"So I've decided to join the blogging ranks and talk about my musical musings. I haven't really thought this one through yet...maybe nobody will follow it. Maybe I'll talk about music I like or describe songs I've written or get excited about Bon Jovi's new album or review drum kits, I guess I'll just see what happens as I go along, it's probably best." July 2009.

Well I think it's been pretty close to predicted; OK I haven't reviewed drum kits, but I have instead reviewed upcoming artists with the hope of providing some much-needed publicity for them, and I certainly got excited about Bon Jovi's new album and everything else Bon Jovi for that matter! I would say it's probably been 50% Bon Jovi-related, 25% new artist-related and 25% of my own opinions on things, but that's just what has come out.

Of course, I'm always open to criticism and suggestions, so if you've anything you'd like to share then please do get in touch, either by email (address in the sidebar) or by commenting on my posts!

Finally I'd just like to say a huge thank you to YOU, my fantastic readers. Whether you've casually swanned in and out or followed my every post, you are the reason I'm sharing my thoughts and opinons and my status as a finalist for a Bloggie previously in the year was incredible and proves that there are some people interested with and enjoying what I've got to say! So thank you for reading and I hope you continue to do so. I plan to continue to discover and share with you new artists, review them and other, more established artists, as well as sharing my thoughts on Bon Jovi and all other things music-related. So I hope you'll be along for the ride :)