This week we were fortunate enough to be able to attend Sam Smith‘s fourth consecutive gig in London’s O2 Arena. Concluding the UK portion of his sold-out “The Thrill of it All” world tour, the night was something to celebrate for a multitude of reasons. Support came from the talented Lewis Capaldi, whose guitar-based and earthy songs were authentic but let down by his self-demeaning stage presence. Luckily, however, Sam is a natural entertainer and wooed the crowds from the second he rose from the floor on a solemn chair; singing “Burning” with all the melancholic trimmings with which we fell in love. Accompanied by an equally talented live band and four backing singers, the night was both triumphant and heartbreaking. Leading us through his best work – including a remastered version of “Money on my Mind” and “Nirvana” – the crowd was enveloped in the rich and cascading vocals of his heart. Special mention must go to his breathtaking rendition of the Oscar-winning “Writings on the Wall”, during which the large pyramid adorning the back of the stage erupted and broke apart. A truly phenomenal concert to which no amount of praise can do justice: deserving in every way of the exclusive boat-based after party that followed for friends and family.
At just 21 years old, there is a discrepancy between the aged wisdom of Phum Viphurit‘s distinctive sound and the youth of his face. Born in Thailand but spending his childhood in New Zealand, it is perhaps unsurprising that his field of expertise lies in the combination of different sounds. Taking inspiration from Bombay Bicycle Club and Ben Howard, he one day hopes to make music in his mother tongue, Thai. We can only assume, however, that it will be as accessible and lovable as the track below, “Long Gone”.
Today we introduce you to Mansionair, an Australian trio perhaps best known to this date from their acclaimed support slot of the CHVRCHES UK tour. Their latest track, “Astronaut” encompasses beautifully their trademark electric soul, and comes from their experience of life on the road. In a recent interview they discussed their absolute love for touring and its relationship to the isolation also present, with the result being a feeling of weightlessness and confusion – in other words, that of an astronaut.
Chasing Grace may well be on a break, but thankfully for us their music keeps on giving. “Free”, as is their trademark, so beautifully tells a story of great importance – illustrating a tale in the listeners’ minds through intricately layered instrumental and volume blending. The protagonist’s introduction so beautifully comes in the form of a recurring piano motif, before the high-energy (yet understated) guitar and drums come in to take us on a journey, whilst lead vocalists Grace and Phil effortlessly alternate for maximum musical effect.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last year, then you will no doubt be aware of the infamous charm of today’s artist, Sufjan Stevens. Fresh from his successes with the breathtaking “Visions of Gideon” and “Mystery of Love” (commissioned for the soundtrack of the film “Call Me By Your Name”) he brings us “Tonya Harding”. Interestingly, this did not come about because of the latest production – but simply because of his fascination with the song’s focus. He sent it to the filmmakers for consideration, but they could not find a place for it and so it remains a standalone single. All for us? No complaints here.
With such a refreshingly honest focus on mental health, “Secret For The Mad” is the beautiful and haunting work of Essex-based singer-songwriter and author, dodie. Her first EP, “Intertwined” reached Number 35 on the official UK album charts in its first week of release despite its unsigned status, with her second EP, “You” (and from which this track comes) debuting at number 6.
Hailing originally from the Australian city of Perth, it is no wonder that “Crooked Colours” has such a warm and laid-back sound. Fresh off the release of their debut album, Vera, the trio are set to embark on a world tour in order to share their electronically mellow vibe. Fusing together high intensity rhythms with a soft oozing melody, there is nothing crooked about “Flow” – just a whole load of colour.