This Monday we have two completely different artists to talk about.
Firstly - Phoebe Ray.
Phoebe has been supporting Matt Cardle on his UK tour recently. This is where I first heard her.
Now, it's rare that I hear a support act and feel the need to immediately buy their CD (yes - I'm into CDs) but this was the case with Phoebe.
At the Matt Cardle gig I heard some people describe her style of music as country pop and I am inclined to agree.
Some songs use arguably hip hop inspired drum beats where as some place more of an emphasis on Phoebe's beautiful vocal tone accompanied by a more acoustic choice of instruments. This helps to give the album and her live set diversification and keeps interest.
One of my favourite Phoebe Ray tracks is 'Red Lipstick'.
This is one of the more acoustic-y sounding songs that I was talking about.
It is a relatively slow song that is perfect for holding a light up and swaying (you know that really pretty, often quite breathtaking thing that happens at gigs when a kind of emotional slow song is being sung).
The song doesn't feature any drums but the backing vocals during the chorus and use of echo give the illusion of space.
I haven't personally heard a song like this by a current artist in a while.
In contrast, 'Sky Rocket' is a catchy, more electronic pop inspired track.
In the video for this song, a sample of what I'd describe as Ground Control preparing for a rocket launch is used at the beginning of the track, adding to the story line.
This leads into synth type sounds and an interesting, sketchy drum beat with a killer bass line.
Elements of the vocal in 'Sky Rocket' remind me of Pixie Lott at times, particularly on the word 'memory' in the chorus.
The verses are almost whispered, combined with the use of layering and reverb, this creates an almost floating vibe.
Overall, I really like Phoebe Ray. I think the mixture of different styles and sounds on her tracks, combined with the tone of her voice is really interesting.
Can't wait to hear more. You should definitely check her out live.
Secondly, we have The Recoupes, a four piece rock band from Essex/London.
As such, their music is more heavy - drum and guitar influenced.
I'm going to briefly talk about their second (I believe) EP - 'Anna'.
I wanted to start by mentioning the EP artwork because I just really liked it.
The 'Anna EP' features a black and white image of the underneath of what I would call a pier, from the angle of looking through the wooden staves. Therefore, in the distance, you can see the shoreline and buildings.
The band's name is featured on the left hand top corner in a distorted font and the word 'Anna' is written in the right hand bottom corner in an almost handwritten type script.
In the middle of the artwork is the main focus - the outline of a girl's face in a wave-y drawing style. (I'm going to take a guess and say this is Anna...).
I thought this was just a really interesting, beautiful yet desolate image.
Anyway, onto the music.
As I've already mentioned, The Recoupes are very enthusiastic when it comes to loud drums, fantastic electric guitar riffs and generally great lyrical content.
'Drunk Messages' is the first track on the EP.
I listened to the EP in order so this was the first time I heard the raspy vocal of The Recoupes and I personally quite like it.
The song itself, in my interpretation, is about basically leaving drunk messages on people's phones and all the chaos, regret and drama that can come with that.
In my notes, I wrote down that I quite liked the 'breakdown' towards the end. I am referring to about two and a half minutes into the track where the vocal makes way for a reduced drum beat to showcase a cheeky bass pattern along with other catchy guitar parts. This is a nice contrast from the rest of the song.
This then builds up into an explosive instrumental section where the drum kit fully re-enters to finish off the song.
I think 'Drunk Messages' would be fantastic live, potentially at a festival, with a large crowd singing along and jumping in unison during the chorus - picture it.
Next up we have the title track - 'Anna'.
I liked the way this song started with a relatively simple guitar sound, leading into drum clicks that start the song.
Instrumentation wise nothing has really changed.
My favourite bit of the song is the end line of the chorus, 'I wish you well, Anna, Anna.'
The accompaniment drops out on the 'Anna's', only leaving the vocal and cymbal crashes. This punctuates the song really well.
'Please Don't' follows 'Anna'.
A drum beat introduces this track which is a slight contrast from the rest of the introductions on the EP. I'd argue that this gives the song a different, perhaps more relaxed vibe.
The backing vocals in this track add a new dimension to the band's sound and help to make the chorus quite catchy, in my opinion.
'Please Don't' has a relatively abrupt ending which I quite like.
The final song on the EP is 'Complications'.
This is a strong contender for my favourite track on the EP.
I feel as though you can hear Catfish and The Bottlemen influences in this track which help make it sound anthemic in nature.
In complete contrast to the instrumental introductions that precede it, 'Complications' opens with a clear vocal that is then accompanied by an electric guitar which then builds and layers up to the familiar band sound.
The track turns rather instrumental towards the end which is pretty cool. There is kind of a false ending as well which keeps things interesting!
Overall, The Recoupes have an intense yet infectious rock sound and I look forward to hearing them live one day.
Until next time...