Wednesday, 29 May 2013

When Awesome Music Artists Remain Undiscovered: Merry Ellen Kirk

When I review an album, I usually give myself at least a week of blasting it so I am familiar enough with it that I can write with at least a little authority.

This morning, I downloaded Merry Ellen Kirk's FREE EP, Feathers & a Leaf. I feel bad, because Alberto Albis recommended her to me a long time ago, and continued to remind me until I finally got round to downloading - now I REALLY understand his persistence.

I've listened to each track once, and already I am desperate to talk about it. I can't call this a real review yet, but what I can tell you is that Merry Ellen Kirk's voice is like liquid gold. I feel like I've been transported into another world, of magic and beauty, and ...argh. I can't even explain. Her music is almost ethereal... I've not heard anything really like it before, and yet it's... familiar.

Merry Ellen reminds me in a strange way of fairly old singers, the song "Maybe Someday" in particular reminded me a bit of Ruby Murray in the sense that it has very pretty, very gentle lyrics and a soft melody. It's a very classic sound BUT that's just one song. There's so much variety,  yet it all fits together. If you listen closely, there are occasional hints of Kate Bush (if you're not a fan of Kate Bush, don't let that put you off. They really are only tiny hints - Kate Bush makes me want to rip my ears off, Merry Ellen makes me want to turn the volume up and drift away on her lyrics.)

If you want something mellow and beautiful to listen to, I'd suggest following the link above, and downloading. I realise this isn't the kind of music I usually talk about on this blog, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and praise the hell out of this EP because it's THAT good. And when I have listened to it a little bit more, I will try to gather my thoughts and write a proper review! 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Review: Hashtag Alice - Evolved

Now and again, Twitter has its uses. Namely, stumbling across great bands by mistake. I happened to be scrolling through my news feed one day, when I saw someone I follow tweeting a band named HashTagAlice. That name was too cool for me to ignore, so I took a chance and looked them up on Reverbnation. I was instantly intrigued, so when they put the call out for people to review their upcoming album, Evolved, I leapt at the chance!

HashTag Alice is made up of Amalia May, Ben Linus (no, not the guy from Lost, he is WAY nicer!), Tom Worth, and Richard Mason-Jones. They come from Oxford, UK, and after just two years on the scene, they are already starting to get noticed - especially in the U.S where they will be heading out on tour next month (Check the dates in the Reverbnation link above).

So... is Evolved worth listening to?

Well, it's quite unusual for me to love an album on the first listen, but that's what happened here. My first impression was that this is music you can listen to anytime, anywhere. You wanna take it on a roadtrip? Hell yes. You want motivation to do something? This will get you moving. You want something you can play in the background while you chill out? It works for that, too.

HashTag Alice rock hard, but not so hard you'll have the neighbours begging you to turn it down. More likely, you'll have them shouting over the fence, "Hey, who's that band you're playing?" 

What makes these guys so interesting is their sound. I wouldn't say it's absolutely unique, but they have reached a stage where you could easily identify their songs if they played on the radio - due in part to Amalia May's vocal (more about that shortly.) Think Avril Lavigne, but with more punch. That punch - I have it on good authority - comes from the varied range of ages within the band. The younger members bring current music styles, while the influence of the more mature adds a touch of classic rock. Who doesn't love a bit of classic rock?

My personal favourite tracks on Evolved are, "Piece of This,"(VERY Avril Lavigne, and maybe almost a bit of Pink thrown into the mix for good measure.), "Danger," "A Little More Time," (I really relate to it, and it's a definite earworm), "Wolves In Central Park," "Never Never," and my absolute favourite, "Ignorance Is Bliss."

Amalia May is an enormous talent. Her voice is perfect, soft but still edgy enough to work a rock vocal, and she really shines on "Ignorance Is Bliss." Amalia is exciting because I'm not sure we've even got the best of her yet. She's amazing now, and I can't wait to hear what a few more years brings out of her.

Evolved is a great introduction to what HashTagAlice can do, and this is only the beginning. Mark my words, people, these guys are going to be huge.

To pre-order Evolved, click here.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Heels In Pink - The Jewellery Site for Girls (and Boys) In The Know

So, ladies... who doesn't love jewellery? Well, lucky for you, I've just heard about a brand new site AND made my first purchase, because it's just that good!

Heels In Pink was created by a super talented lady here in the UK (a super talented lady I met through Twitter, and met in person recently at a Fozzy concert!) who has designed some fun jewellery for fans of WWE! The collection isn't just for those who like wrestling a bit, it's for those who REALLY get it, and know all the catchphrases and nicknames. Amongst the designs are "Why Too J" necklaces, inspired by Chris Jericho's legendary sparkly jackets, and earrings with such sayings as "Yes, Yes, Yes," and even a pair in the likeness of Sheamus! The designs come in a variety of colours, and keep watching the website because WWE hair bows are coming soon!

If you want to check out the site for yourself, the link is here: It's SO worth a look!