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Fairshare Music is a music downloads site, which donates half  its profits from each sale to a charity of your choice. Music lovers can download fantastic tracks, knowing that by doing so you’re helping others – what could be better?! I really think this could be the next big thing for music downloads.

Fairshare have teamed up with a large number of charities such as Amnesty International, Oxfam and The British Heart Foundation.

Homeless charity for young people, Centrepoint, today released an album of covers from the year 1969 (the year they were founded) – ‘1969 Key To Change’ – with Fairshare, featuring artists such as The Feeling, Hard-Fi and Jools Holland.

You can Download the album here – so get Donating!

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My album of the month for October is another new release. It just goes to show that there really is some fantastic music coming out at the moment.

So October 2010’s album of the month is…

Brandon Flowers – Flamingo

Flamingo’ is The Killers’ frontman, Brandon Flowers’ debut solo album, released last month. From first listen, several of the songs have stayed with me, the most notable being ‘Was It Something I Said?’ ‘Magdalena’ and lead single ‘Crossfire’. For me this really is the mark of a great album – songs which easily enter your head, but don’t become irritating.

The album very much has a feel of The Killers, there’s a lot of synth, but perhaps less rock influence, certainly than The Killers’ older albums. You can tell a lot of it was initially meant for The Killers, but that’s hardly surprising as obviously that’s just Brandon’s writing style. Of The Killers’ albums ‘Flamingo’ is definitely most like ‘Day & Age’, but in places there’s also influence from ‘Hot Fuss’  – for example ‘Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas’ has some similarities with ‘Glamorous Indie Rock And Roll’.

Another notable song for me is ‘Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts’. In classic Killers’ style, it has a belter of a chorus, and fitting with the Vegas theme of the album, expertly uses gambling as a metaphor for love ‘Why did you roll your dice, show your cards’.

Brandon has been blessed with a powerful and distinctive voice. There is no way you can hear any of his songs and not know that it’s Brandon Flowers!

This is another fine example of an almost perfect album. There is not a single track that I dislike, and for me only a few other albums have truly managed to do this  – most notably The Feeling’s ‘Twelve Stops And Home’, Muse’s  ‘The Resistance’ and Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s ‘Trip The Light Fantastic.

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Will And The People are a four piece British band whose music brilliantly fuses the genres of reggae, rock and pop. Frontman Will Rendle prides the band on engaging the audience whenever they play live.

Will has been writing music since he was in his teens and at just 24 he has accumulated over 60 self penned songs and has collaborated on several more.

Among Will’s early influences are Bob Marley, The Specials and Sublime. The band have previously supported The Police and The Hoosiers. Will lives for his music and is a very prolific and creative writer.

Listening to their demo CD, I would describe their style as a blend somewhere between Paolo Nutini and Palladium, with the catchy melodies of ‘Salamander’, and beautiful harmonies of ‘Sometimes’.

I found that every track was very easy to get into and all of the upbeat tracks had me dancing. A slower, heartfelt track called ‘Mary’ could easily be compared to Take That’s ‘Julie’. ‘Weirdos’ is probably my favorite track from the demos as I feel it has the best blend of upbeat catchy pop and harmonies.

But don’t just take my word for it!

Will And The People’s album ‘Morning Sun’ came out earlier this month and is available to buy here.

Check out their lead single ‘Mr Sketchy’ (which was released in May) here.

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On Wednesday night I was one of the lucky few, privileged enough to see The Feeling playing some of their new songs which will potentially make it to their upcoming record. And what a night it was! We were treated to 10 fantastic new songs; here is a brief run-down of my initial thoughts on each – enjoy!

Set My World On Fire

Instant crowd pleaser. I had seen about half of the song performed just by Dan a few weeks beforehand, so I was already in love with it. It was great to finally hear the full song, and it sounds absolutely phenomenal with the whole band. Definitely a contender for the lead single.

Set My World On Fire

Leave Me Out Of It

The long-awaited Feeling/Sophie Ellis Bextor duet! And it did not disappoint! Not sure why, but I couldn’t get this back in my head very easily after the gig. However, since hearing it again I’m falling more and more in love with it! So I would say to some extent it’s a grower, but I’ve quickly learnt to love it and I remember being completely in awe of seeing Sophie with The Feeling – my two favorite artists working together – you don’t see that everyday!

Penny’s Dropped

Omnichord! Excuse my excitement, but the omnichord lends this song such a beautiful, shimmery feel. It has some really lovely lyrics – something which Mr. Sells does very well indeed! I just can’t stress how beautiful the omnichord sounds!

Love And Care

Initially I feel this song is musically reminiscent of one of my favorite Feeling B-Sides, ‘Play, Don’t Think’. And as it gets towards the end I feel it becomes quite reminiscent of The Beatles or Paul McCartney which is fantastic to hear! More beautiful lyrics here also. This one stayed in my head quite well after just one listen which is always a good sign. 

Leave Me Out Of It (With Sophie Ellis Bextor)

Another Soldier

This was one which stuck in my head a lot after the gig. It’s hugely emotional but incredibly catchy, because much like ‘Fill My Little World’, it runs off the beat. Another strong candidate for a single I think.

Say No

It’s taken me a while to decide, but I think I can say that this is my favorite from the night. It sent shivers down my spine from the first listen (I really was in bits!) and since it’s just got better and better. It was also one of the songs that stuck in my mind most throughout the next day. There are some really beautiful lyrics in the song which really touched me. I think what I love most about it, is that it starts out small and builds to an amazing climax – there is so much going on by the end!

Seven Years

Another instant crowd pleaser here. I can see that this would make a fantastic single as well as ‘Set My World On Fire’ and ‘Another Soldier’. It’s a brilliantly catchy, all-out pop song. As it began the room just exploded in colour! This was another one that stuck in my head, probably more than any other after the gig. And throughout the next day I just couldn’t resist bursting into ‘love is what you make it, and if you break it, you get seven years bad luck’!

Seven Years

Searched Every Corner

Initially this is looking to be one of my favorites. They’re working with the Freemasons on this song, which is very exciting. This is another up-beat, all-out pop song, defying anybody not to dance. Something I find that The Feeling can do a lot lyrically, is writing lyrics that everybody can relate to, and this is another classic example. It’s hard to explain but it just feels so natural to me.

Bullshit Rules The World

This is a song which I’ve known existed for a very long time so it was great to finally hear it. It’s not dissimilar to a Rage Against The Machine song and makes a very valid statement on society – I particularly liked the line ‘But you ain’t getting paid, til you’ve compromised and neutralised your whole life away’. I feel this says a lot about how the music industry is going, which is why I love The Feeling – they don’t compromise their music for the sake of the record company, it comes straight from the heart. 

Undeniable

After the first listen this wasn’t one which particularly stuck in my mind. Although I can say that this is definitely a grower – and a fast grower at that! Having listened to it several times since I can safely say that this song is beautifully epic! Again it’s lyrically stunning, (My favorite line has to be ‘Together we were made’) and as Dan says, the 12-string guitar is so pretty!

Filming the encore with amazing camera glasses!

Once again I have to say it was an absolutely fantastic night. The new songs combine the best of ‘Twelve Stops And Home’ and ‘Join With Us’ and will make welcome additions to the already thriving family of Feeling songs! This leaves me so excited for the new album, I can hardly contain it!

All photos in this article courtesy of Karen Heath

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Nathan Osmond is an accomplished American country singer who has been performing for 25 years. He released his debut solo album ‘Feels Like Heaven’ (produced by Grammy Award winning producer/songwriter, Gary Baker) late last year.

Being the son of 70’s star Alan Osmond, Nathan is part of the Osmond second generation. During the early 90’s, Nathan and his brothers signed up with Curb Records and Epic/Sony in Europe and achieved three songs in the top 40 in the UK. Now, Nathan is focussing on his solo career.

Nathan worked with Dean Sams of the country group Lonestar, on four of the tracks from ‘Feels Like Heaven’ and describes the album as ‘Perfect for the contemporary Country listener.’  His hit single, ‘Sweet’ has already been picked up by CMT in America to be featured on a new reality show.

His style combines all the charisma of The Osmonds whilst remaining contemporary. Unlike a lot of chart music today, this is the sort of music which is meaningful, emotional and ultimately has staying power.

Having heard the album, I can safely say that it sounds like a gem! Each of the tracks are instantly likeable, and Nathan really has got amazing vocal and musical talent, which is quite remarkable in this day and age. The tracks which instantly stand out to me are ‘Sweet’ and ‘Feels Like Heaven’. But as I say, each of them are instantly likeable – well worth a listen!

But don’t just take my word for it, find out for yourself – Watch Nathan’s Sizzle Reel here!

You can buy his album physically, or download the album exclusively from Nathan’s official site.

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Last night, I watched a 4 Music exclusive called Mika: Through The Looking Glass, in which Mika was interviewed about his new album “The Boy Who Knew Too Much” and performed some of his new tracks. Here are my first impressions:

A little similar to "Life In Cartoon Motion" - don't you think?

A little similar to "Life In Cartoon Motion" - don't you think?

Rain: Mika mentions in the interview that this song was originally written as a “break up letter”, which he turned into a song because he thought it would be “funny to put it into a dance track”.

The song gets off to a very promising start, it has a good dance beat to it, and the lyrics e.g “I’m caught in a trap, I can’t look back” do seem to have a darker and less childish feel to his debut album. Also I find it hard not to sing along to the line “I hate days like this”. However…

The chorus is where the song looses me I’m afraid. It’s not necessarily that the chorus is bad, and I’ll admit it’s very catchy, but it just goes on too long! All it basically is, is Mika saying “Rain” over and over again for approximately 30 seconds. If it had a few different words, or if it didn’t go on for quite so long, it would be a good chorus.

All in all, this song is good, it just could have done with a little more work.

Dr. John was written about a character Mika has made up who is “obsessed with voodoo”. This was inspired by Mika’s “fascination with dark magic” as a child.

UnfortunatelyLive performance of Dr. John this song also suffers with a chorus problem. Perhaps it had a lot to do with the performance and lighting, but once again I felt this song was a lot darker than his earlier stuff, and I was just getting into it when it was interrupted by a chorus very reminiscent of “Billy Brown”.

Of course once again it is a catchy song, I’ll admit I woke up with it in my head. This is not necessarily a good thing as it is already starting to really get on my nerves. Catchy songs are great in terms of record sales, but not always in terms of good songwriting.

So far my first taste of “The Boy Who Knew Too Much” has taught me that, just when you think Mika has put a different spin on his songs, “Life In Cartoon Motion” comes back to haunt you. Lets see if the next two songs can change my mind…

Blame It On The Girls Mika claims is written about his “sisters more than anything” and the people who brought him up which becomes clear early on in the song.

At this point I have to congratulate Mika, because this is the first Mika song (possibly ever) that I’ve heard which doesn’t overuse and over exaggerate falsetto. In fact there is very little falsetto used. This I feel has always been his downfall as well as his appeal. I don’t have a problem with falsetto in songs, in fact usually I’m a big fan of it, but when Mika does it I often find it a little too much, it just seems too squeaky and becomes very annoying.

The only real criticism I have of this song is that it is quite repetitive – but hey, a little repetition never hurt anyone!!

We Are GoldenMika then performed “We Are Golden” to see my review click here

I See You, like all of the new tracks so far, has a very promising opening… And a promising middle and end! It is a piano based song and the first verse and chorus are near on beautiful.

I have two main criticisms of this song. The first is that falsetto is not necessary in this song. The problem is that if his voice is at a similar pitch to the piano he is playing – it blends in with the piano music and sounds more like backing than lead vocals.

Secondly, by the second chorus, an R&B style beat has kicked in, which disappointed me, as this is not the direction I would’ve liked the song to have taken. I feel that this could easily have become a powerful ballad without the unnecessary falsetto and annoying beat.

 He’s getting there!

The clear overuse of falsetto is still there, and I would hardly describe it as sounding more “Gothic” (particularly in the choruses) but he’s definitely getting there!

Generally I would say that the new tracks are good, and are an improvement on “Life In Cartoon Motion”, but I don’t feel that this is Mika’s full potential. I think that given time these songs will grow on me, but I’m ultimately holding out for album number 3. I’m hoping that by then he will have improved his sound even more, in the same way that I feel “Final Straw” – Snow Patrol’s third album was when they really began to shine, and their music has continued to get better and better.

“The Boy Who Knew Too Much” is released 21st September.

Watch “Mika: Through The Looking Glass”

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