Musical Discovery: ‘Came Here for Love’ by Sigala feat. Ella Eyre

It’s about time that Sigala graced our song libraries once more. Save for February’s Show You Love (where Sigala was only a featured artist), it was last December when the DJ got us warmed up for summer. Now that sunny days and scorching hot weather is upon us, it seems fitting that the Easy Love producer is back with a new single, Came Here for Love.

Joining him on the single is a singer who is no stranger to helping out on dance, electronic and drum-and-bass tracks – Ella Eyre. Having previously worked with Rudimental, DJ Fresh and Sigma, the 23-year-old has quite the impressive CV as a featured artist. It isn’t the first time that Eyre has worked with Sigala (real name Bruce Fielder) either, as the two joined forces on Ella’s track, Good Times.

This time however, the DJ isn’t bound by Sigma’s drum-and-bass style, instead returning to his traditional tropical house groove. With trickling marimba and sharp piano chords, we return to familiar territory. However, as one YouTube commenter points out, with slight violin-style instrumentals, the track also has a hint of Clean Bandit to it too – a slight, but nonetheless welcome change to Sigala’s usual melodies and musical make-up.

Yet, as much as it’s about Fielder’s creative construction of the track’s instrumentals, the DJ’s other strength is his ability to showcase the featured singer’s vocal talents – something which shouldn’t have been too hard given Eyre’s past experience.

Calm and minimalistic during the verses, the focus is very much on Ella up until the chorus, where the two artists’ contributions blend together for a full-on uplifting vibe.

Came Here for Love is a traditional song in many different ways. With love as the lyrical theme of love and vibrant piano chords, it’s a traditional Sigala track and thus, a traditional summer song through-and-through too.

Musical Discovery: ‘Grant Green’ by Mr Jukes feat. Charles Bradley

It’s been over a year since Bombay Bicycle Club announced that they were to go on hiatus, but now some of the band’s members have returned – albeit in the form of their own solo projects.

Cue Jack Steadman, the lead singer of the group who’s now explored the jazz genre with his stage name, Mr Jukes. In his latest single with Charles Bradley called Grant Green, the musician pays tribute to one of the greats from the American jazz music scene.

With mellow bass riffs lying underneath flowing drum rhythms, it’s a track which is certainly jazzy in nature. Further adding to the tone is the vocals of Charles Bradley, who channels the traditional soul of a jazz singer in the song.

Like most jazz, Grant Green has that perfect play-in-the-background vibe to it. Whilst the verses are, agreed, somewhat forgettable, the atmospheric feel to the single means that it’s still just as powerful when played for more casual listening. After all, it’s the chorus where Jukes and Bradley really shine through.

Accentuated notes from the brass section and drums maintain the liveliness of the song, with catchy and memorable lyrics also adding to the successful chorus.

As garden party season approaches, this is certainly a track to have on your playlist.

Musical Discovery: ‘Glue’ by Fickle Friends

With a growing fanbase and a big debut imminent, all eyes are on the Brighton electro-pop band Fickle Friends when it comes to their next release. For a while now, news outlets have reported that the five-piece group are to unveil their debut album in the summer, but with the announcement of an August EP (entitled Glue), could that be delayed? Even if that is the case, Fickle Friends continue to build the hype around their music, as they revealed the title track from the record late last week.

Bouncy synths introduce a track which sounds far more electronic than previous singles such as Brooklyn and Hello Hello. However, it isn’t long before it is balanced out with the traditional guitar riffs which are such a strong part of Fickle Friends’ style. Accentuated notes tense up the track ahead of the song’s catchy chorus, where Natassja Shiner’s soft and smooth vocals add to the euphoric, plucky electronic guitar and bass.

It’s yet another groovy track for the band to add to their already impressive collection, complete with summer vibes to keep us hyped throughout the season until the big EP release. Even when the band said in a recent newsletter that the song was ‘kinda born out of frustration from lots of writing sessions that hadn’t gone all that well’, there’s no dip in quality when it comes to this new single.

So, if this is indeed a teaser for bigger things to come (that debut album), then Glue certainly is a single which perfectly summarises the upbeat electro-pop vibe of Fickle Friends, and will no doubt be a great opener to the three-track EP coming our way on Friday, August 11.

Upping my photography game

Until now, I’ve been thanking my lucky stars that Flickr’s Creative Commons and fair use laws exist. Whenever I have an album to review or political opinion piece to write, I browse the site for photos to accompany my lines of text. It brightens the page and makes it livelier. However, upon looking at other bloggers and their websites, it’s clear that I need to include more original photos on this blog.

I remember a friend telling me a short while ago that they missed my lifestyle posts on this blog. During the changeover, where my blog became an online portfolio for my journalism, out went my Weekly Update posts in exchange for more professional articles. Except now, where I think I’ve finally found the middle ground.

During my second year at university, the Digital Photography module reignited my passion for photography. Keen not to let new passions die, I’ve been considering taking a photo a week to encapsulate my seven days. I’d be able to complete my – at present, failing – New Year’s Resolution to take more, whilst also going back to the blogging days where I talked about my everyday life.

For the past few weeks, blog posts have been pretty infrequent (which doesn’t help when it comes to competition entries), but I believe this should finally solve the issue about what I talk about on Sundays. Wednesdays are still problematic, but most of the time, these have been an extra music review, which is fine.

All being well, a new blog series – A Thousand Words – shall be starting very soon indeed…

Musical Discovery: ‘The Man’ by The Killers

Bass-heavy alternative is sweeping the genre at the moment, whether it’s full-on funk or something a little bit more inventive, everyone seems to be jumping on the musical bandwagon. Now, with a song that sounds like the lovechild of Jamiroquai and Two Door Cinema Club, Mr Brightside singers The Killers return from a five-year absence with The Man.

Although far from an anthemic rock single, the fluid drum beats and groovy guitars apparent in Battle Born and Hot Fuss still linger underneath Brandon Flower’s falsetto vocals. The Man (taken from the band’s upcoming album, Wonderful Wonderful) debuted as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record on BBC Radio 1, and certainly hints at a record which strikes a balance between funky alternative and hard-hitting rock.

However similar it may sound compared to other alternative bands in the industry at the moment, we can all be thankful that The Killers are back after a lengthy absence.

The Man is available to stream on Spotify and iTunes now.

Musical Discovery: ‘Wearing Nothing’ by Dagny

Facebook adverts are just as interesting as they are concerning. Over time, the social networking platform has managed to nail my complex taste in music, offering a mix of musicians I had never come across before. Most recently, the mysterious algorithms were responsible for me finding the Norwegian singer, Dagny, and her track, Wearing Nothing.

A pop-heavy blend of Kylie Minogue and Charlie XCX, Dagny encapsulates the soft vocals of the former, and the screaming cheerleader sound of the latter. It’s a flashback to the older days of pop with the singer, whilst also hanging on to the genre’s current style through sophisticated instrumentals.

Stripped-back (pun not intended), the chorus offers a sluggish, bouncy rhythm. The bass drum keeps the song in time, before a plucky guitar riff adds in an off-beat groove on top. Rather than being an excitable, loud melody, the almost anticlimactic drop sets a smooth tone fitting of the track’s meaning.

Whilst the pop industry descends into this weird tropical, calypso mash-up (which is, quite frankly, getting a little bit tedious), it’s refreshing to hear a pop song that offers a more chilled tone for people to listen to – and all thanks go to Dagny for that.

At the centre of the action: thoughts on covering the general election

Journalists can have two results to the news of an election. For most of us (excluding those in Scotland) the news of a third vote in the space of three years can stir up fatigue as a voter. However, it’s the reporter within us that gets excited, knowing that UK politics is about to change once more, and we’re at the heart of the action.

My set-up for the evening, as I reported on the count in Mid Bedfordshire.

Annoyingly, with the EU referendum taking place on the week of Glastonbury, I was unable to cover it. So, naturally, when the surprise general election was announced, I was quick to ask the local media if I could help out.

This led to me working with the Broadcast Journalism Council and Radio LaB in Bedfordshire on their programme, The Vote. I was sent off to the Mid Bedfordshire count – an ultra-safe seat for the Conservatives and their candidate Nadine Dorries.

The night started with me heading into the offices of Central Bedfordshire Council, worried that a mere student reporter would be turned away by the security guard or the receptionist. Thankfully, I was quickly handed my visitors’ pass and escorted to the press room.

There’s always a sense of community that comes with hanging out with other reporters in a press room. A feeling of mutual stress (in that we are all rushing to meet deadlines) and excitement fills the air as I get settled down – laptop powered up, shorthand notebook open and mobile phone fully charged.

It was 20 minutes later that I had my first ‘two-way’ (a radio term for having a back-and-forth discussion between a reporter and presenter). I painted the scene of the constituency and gave details of some of the candidates, before it was back to work.

It wasn’t long before the Liberal Democrat candidate came in to say hello, and I had my first interview of the night. Due to the rules in place around the count, reporters weren’t able to go into the marquee where staff were counting the votes, and so a member of staff had to go in and track down candidates on our behalf.

Once the first interview was out of the way, then things started to pick up. I had to edit the recording to get a solid 30-second clip, whilst also grabbing a quick snack (a sweet chicken sandwich which sadly, wasn’t too pleasant), composing tweets for Twitter and doing the occasional two-way. Much like in a normal newsroom scenario, work was starting to pile up, and the night started to pick up pace.

The Labour candidate was next to come into the press room for interviews, and it was whilst transcribing the recording that the news came through: the result was due to be announced shortly.

Plenty of Skype calls and phone calls were made to the studio as I sprinted into the marquee. A particular highlight at this point of the night was the fact that I posted news of the result ahead of the BBC – get in!

After that, I was able to speak to two more candidates and do a final two-way before packing up for the night. On the whole, regardless of the party allegiance, everyone was up for a chat – even when a serious election was taking place.

I was in a position which was new to me. My Friday Article posts on this blog are pretty reactive to political events, and save for my work experience at the press office of the Department for Work and Pensions, everything else has seen me respond to politics, as opposed to experiencing it first hand.

Being at the centre of politics during a general election is intense, fast-paced and exciting. Given the current state of affairs and the possibility of a second election, I can’t wait to return to heart of the action again in the near future.

If you fancy a look at what I got up to on the night, you can see my tweets on my Twitter profile, and listen to interviews with some of the candidates on my Facebook page.