Monday, 15 August 2016

Beauty Sleep - Living Right

The debut single from Belfast-based trio Beauty Sleep pushed quite a lot of people's metaphorical buttons when it came out at the start of the year. "The Dark" has been streamed over 50,000 times on Soundcloud, been picked up by lots of blogs, earning it a lot of love on the Hype Machine, and has been played on nearly every Irish radio station, as well as a few stations a little further afield.

Now six months later, the band have unveiled their follow-up single, which they hope can capitalize on the success of their debut. "Living Right" sounds like just the song to do that, in that it is both comfortably familiar to those already familiar with Beauty Sleep whilst offering something a little bit different. "Living Right" retains the hazy dream-pop sound that characterized their debut, but has a more extroverted, punchier sound that its predecessor, reminding us a little bit of Chapterhouse in places. Plus, it's got a whopping massive chorus that you can't just help but fall in love with.

"Living Right" is out now.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The DLX - Wake Me Up

Just over a year ago we found ourselves charmed to pieces by "Let Go" by Mississippi based group The DLX, with the song ending up firmly within our favourite songs of 2015, so it's nice to hear some new music coming from them.

"Wake Me Up" isn't as folky as their previous single (although there are some slight "Ho Hey" vibes to it), but it's as still as accessibly pop as before, with a chorus that is very likely to get under your skin and stuck in your head.

"Wake Me Up" is taken from the E.P "Hello", which is released on 16th September.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Anteros - The Beat

Of all the new acts that we've come across in 2016, perhaps our favourite of the bunch has been the London four-piece Anteros. They first grabbed our attention back in April with their fabulously catchy single "Breakfast", and our love for them was solidified when we got the chance to see them at The Great Escape in Brighton. After seeing them in the flesh, we predicted that one song in particular in their set was so good, that it would end up being their breakthrough single when they got around to recording it.

Well, the time has now come to see whether our prediction will come true or not, for Anteros have just released the song in question, "The Beat", and it's just as good as when we first saw it live. The song is an infectious little pop tune with a chorus so infectious that it'll be stuck inside your head for so long that even the world's most powerful cotton bud will be unable to scrub it from your brain. The song, and the band in general, will inevitably be compared to Blondie, although for our money the song is more in line with the sound of The Noisettes during the period when they were immovable from the upper echelons of the chart.

So will "The Beat" be Anteros' breakthrough single? The answer to that question is out of our hands, but if we had a say in it, it would be a resounding 'yes'.

"The Beat" will be released as part of the "Breakfast" E.P, which is out on September 19th.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Metaphorical Boat is 5 years old

So here we have it, five whole years of running The Metaphorical Boat. Where has the time gone? (No really, where has the time gone? Can any physicists help me with that conundrum?). When I first registered the name on Blogger just so I could write some half-formed thoughts about a band I heard in a bar in Nashville, I had no idea that it would still still be going strong after such a length of time, but here we are.

The five years of running TMB has been one of my most rewarding experiences, and it has led to some great opportunities. I've got to write for some of my favourite publications, including getting to write gig reviews for the website for one of my favourite radio show, Across The Line (although admittedly, looking back at some of my reviews from their archive, there's a few things I might have changed if I were reviewing them today. The 3th paragraph of this one, for example).

I've also had the opportunity to meet a lot of great people who had first come across me as a result of this blog, and whom I would never had had the opportunity to meet if I had just kept my opinions about music to myself. And of course, there is so much fantastic, enriching music that I would not have come across unless this blog existed, and so to every maker of music, whether you're signed to the biggest record label in the world or are self-sufficient, whether you're making music solely for money or solely for the heck of it, you have my most sincere gratitude.

Music blogging has changed a bit since I started 5 years ago. The amount of music blogs appears to have steadily decreased in that time - The Hype Machine is currently tracking 701 music blogs (including yours truly), which is down by a few hundred since 2011, and it seems as if people are more likely to turn to music recommendation services like Spotify for new music than they are a music blog. However, that doesn't mean that the two services cannot happily coexist.

Up until the end of the year I was a bit of a Spotify sceptic, only really using it if there's a song I can't hear anywhere else. However, since then I've been won over by their Discover Weekly feature (which recommends songs to you based on what you listen to), and as a result I'm listening to a lot more new music than I had previously, which as a result has filtered into me writing about more music on the blog. It's also helped to introduce me to music that I otherwise would have immediate dismissed. I didn't realise that I enjoyed Tuareg music, but then along comes a band like Imarhan on my playlist and I'm immediately hooked -

And Spotify recommendation playlists end up relying on blogs too. I've had a few cases where someone has come across a song on Spotify, loved it, then visited TMB to learn more about the artist and get some more context into them. And there's evidence that if a song is getting a buzz on blogs, then Spotify are more likely to favorably add the song to one of their highly influential, lucrative playlists, even if the band is unsigned. So there's still room for music blogs, even if the focus appears to have shifted slightly.

So here's to the first 5 years of The Metaphorical Boat. Hopefully there'll be several more to come, even if we've slowed things down a bit for the last wee while. Thanks to every one of you who has ever taken the time to read any of our thoughts on the blog, and thanks to all you wonderful makers of fine music, without whom we would never have got past day 1. To see us out, here is what is possibly our favourite song of 2016 so far, "Auld Wives" by Bear's Den, a song that mixes folk music with 80s synth-pop so majestically -

Friday, 22 July 2016

Dreambeaches - Habits

"Habits" by Buffalo based quartet Dreambeaches sounds like one of those indie-rock songs that you think you've heard on an advert for some really exciting everyday thing, or being used as bed music on Flog It or Homes Under The Hammer for some inexplicable reason, for which you usually can't place who the band nor what the song are (not that there's anything wrong with that - the PRS payments for such placements are rather generous, one believes). We don't know if "Habits" has actually been used for those purposes yet, but if it is, then the advertisers/producers can do so in the knowledge that they've got a pretty great wee song on their hands. It's a punchy, sarcastic ode to the minor travails of modern life, and a rather nice little one at that.

"Habits" is out now.