Knxwledge's '1988' - Album Review

Though the LA-based producer Knxwledge has released some 43 projects since his 2015 ‘Hud Dreems’, his new studio release, ‘1988’, is only the second endeavour he has pushed through Stones Throw Records. It goes without saying, then, that Knxwledge is one of the most prolific neo-soul artists out there at the moment, but he is also one of the most reliable. Knxwledge – born Glen Earl Boothe – has, by now, an unbeatable track record and seemingly endless discography. He is the man behind the track ‘Momma’ from Kendrick’s 2015 Grammy-winning album, ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’, as well as half of the music duo NxWorries, alongside Anderson .Paak, who distributed their critically acclaimed debut album

GoGo Penguin – Atomised: A Review

GoGo Penguin return to the scene with their 6th full-length album, a genre-defying self-titled piece that reconciles their jazz and electronica influences with classical tones. The Manchester trio – comprising of Chris Illingworth on piano, Rob Turner on drums, and Nick Blacka on bass guitar – have released the single ‘Atomised’ ahead of the album’s drop on May 1st. Speaking about the making of the album, Turner describes the new album as “more sophisticated” and experimental. “We had quite simple lives in the past. We were younger, so there wasn’t so much drama, and there hadn’t been so many important events in our lives that fed into the music. This time, there’s a lot more facing the real

Rock & Roll Diplomacy: Music as Soft Power

The Cold War was a clash of cultures as well as political/economic systems, and music had an important role in this drama. In 1956, The New York Times declared that ‘America’s secret weapon is a blue note in a minor key’, as so-called ‘Jazz Ambassadors’ such as Dizzy Gillespie embarked on global tours part-sponsored by the State Department and CIA. This was a geopolitically expedient programme as it projected an image of creative freedom and racial harmony to foreign audiences – an attempt to distract from the savage reality of Jim Crow segregationism at home. This irony was not lost on many of the Jazz Ambassadors, such as Louis Armstrong, who cancelled a State Department tour through the S

Hart & Neenan discuss their moving track in memory of rising DJ Olivia Jaxx

Following the devastating loss of 'Olivia Jaxx' (Sacha) - DJ/Producer Duo Hart & Neenan have collaborated on an exclusive Original track in memory of Sacha. Where 100% of the contributions of this release will be donated towards Sacha's funeral and Mind Charity. Olivia was a rising Female DJ in current scene and her trajectory within the last year has been truly been remarkable. She will be deeply missed by close friends and family and a great loss for the music community. We spoke to Dale about his memories of Olivia and his decision to make the tribute track. Hi Dale, I wanted to start by wishing you our condolences for your loss. Can you please tell us about how you met Olivia and your m

Boris Johnson tests positive for Covid-19

In a video posted on Twitter minutes ago, the Prime Minister confirmed he has developed mild symptoms over the last 24 hours, testing positive for coronavirus. The Prime Minister Wrote: Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus. I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus. Together we will beat this. #StayHomeSaveLives

Childish Gambino: 3.15.20 Album Review

After the elusive stream that appeared on for 12 hours earlier this month, Childish Gambino has officially dropped his latest album 3.15.20. The album is available on all the usual streaming platforms as well as a continuous stream being placed back up on Donald Glover Presents. Donald Glover has long vowed that his next project would be the last under the moniker ‘Childish Gambino’ and it seems like 3.15.20 is it. While the online stream of the album was accredited to Donald Glover (and appeared as though it would be titled ‘Donald Glover Presents’), the official release is attributed to Childish Gambino; it seems Glover is finally dropping the veil between himself

Bicep are Back with Atmospheric Anthem 'ATLAS'

'ATLAS' - Bicep Bicep have released their first new music in nearly 2 years. About time. The boys from Belfast brought out ‘ATLAS’ yesterday, and it is a beautiful addition to their catalogue. Although, they seem to have released it in the stealthiest way possible, given that tune only has around 35,000 views on YouTube. This is a surprisingly slow start considering that literally everyone in the world is scouring the internet for entertainment right now. However, we’re sure that this release will grow to be as equally respected as its predecessors. 'ATLAS’ starts its journey with a pure and atmospheric vocal sample that ebbs and flows throughout the song. The calm and compressed breakbeat s

Introducing: Paryah

Following the success of their recent live show, BabyStep would like to introduce Manchester-based duo Paryah. Consisting of Luke Whittingham and Sam Burrell, Paryah is in many ways an unorthodox act. Whilst incorporating the unmistakable sounds of deep house and melodic techno into their work, the duo seamlessly lace their sets with guitar and vocals, creating a sonic experience like no other. Although championing a DIY setup, they are no strangers to the live circuit, and have played a series of events across Leeds and Manchester, one of which being their show with Delphic at Wire last year. We caught up with Paryah ahead of their Manchester date at their Residents Rooms show, where they g

Track review: 'OHMNI 202091' - M.I.A

It makes sense for an artist who first released their music onto the social network MySpace back in the early 2000s, to keep the trend going and post their new work onto Patreon. This is exactly what M.I.A has done. Returning after some three years with a new track, ‘OHMNI 202091’, the rapper is attempting to remove her music from any paywalls and ‘keep it open’ as M.I.A writes on her introductory Patreon post. This is the first new track from the singer, whose real name is Mathangi Arulpragasam, ahead of a studio album to be released later this year. Amid a global pandemic and ensuing lockdown, delivering your new music totally online and independently seems apt. M.I.A expressed how she did

Coronavirus: what does it mean for the Leeds music community?

Maddi Fearn Credit to Oporto Bar Leeds It seems every day we're hearing of a different global festival we must kiss goodbye to for the year because of the Coronavirus, with the news coming this week that Glastonbury has taken the tough decision to make 2020 an enforced fallow year. Amidst the nationwide disappointment felt by music fans as they see their big summer plans quashed in a flurry of tweets and news headlines, it's easy for supporters to forget about what the reparations of cancelling local gigs, events and festivals mean for Leeds-based musicians, promoters and venues. On the 10th of March the Music Venue Trust announced survey feedback from grassroots venues across the UK which f

A list of all independents still open in Leeds

There has been a significant strain put on businesses amid the outbreak of Coronavirus, the most negatively impacted businesses have been independent traders and owners. Many of them survive on pay cheque to pay cheque and don't have the luxury to save bail-out money for their business, resulting in them suffering most and having to make heartbreaking sacrifices to desperately try and stay afloat in such uncertain times. Leeds has a rich & proud history of independent trade with one of the most recognised city markets in Europe, the impact has been visible in the city with many stores having to stop trade and close their doors. The wonderful people of Leeds Indie Food have put together an e

Glastonbury Festival cancelled due to Coronavirus

Glastonbury 2020 has been cancelled amid the ongoing pandemic coronavirus. The festival was been due to celebrate its 50th anniversary with headline acts Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift. A statement from Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis read: “We are so sorry to announce this, but Glastonbury 2020 will have to be cancelled, and this will be an enforced fallow year for the festival. The festival organisers Emily Eavis and Michael Eavis announced on Twitter on Wednesday that the event, which was set to take place from 24-28 June at its usual home of Worthy Farm in Somerset, was to be called off “following the new government measures announced this week – and in ti

Our team picked some Albums to get you through self-isolation

Coronavirus has acted as a cautionary tale of modern times, posing a very real threat on the well-being of our mental and physical health, economy and social lives. Whether it's pubs getting shut down or people fighting in Aldi over toilet roll, we've seen some of the best and worst in humanity over these past few weeks. We wanted to create some content that keeps spirits up and tries to make just one persons day a little better. Coronavirus has resulted in people spending far more time at home, meaning they have a lot more time to fill in the day. We thought it would be a good idea to get our contributors to recommend an album that people can listen to during their time at home. We were b

Titchat Takeover: A review of Queer Identity at the Corn Exchange

The students of Leeds Arts University have curated a temporary exhibition focusing on queer identity in the heart of Leeds at the well-renowned Corn Exchange. It feels like privilege to be allowed such a personal view of someone's identity; these multi-media works give us an insight into the subject of queerness as the artists themselves experience it. The exhibition is one of pure intentions, seamlessly empowering both artists and audience by shining a light on valuable stories that need to be told. Whilst the exhibition is interesting when viewed as a body of work, it is clear that each work was not made in response to one another. It is the joy of queerness that binds all the pieces toget

Clump: Level 2 Fine Art Exhibition – A Review

Last week saw the opening of the University of Leeds Level 2 Fine Art Exhibition, titled ‘Clump’. In reflection of their “assemblage of forms, spaces and interactions”, these pieces deal with an array of themes, from the “personal to the completely abstract” (Martha Harris - host of the exhibition). Suitably divided into two parts, the first section in UoL Chemistry Basement exhibits the darker and more interactive side of ‘Clump’; whereas the latter part at Yorkshire House shows off pieces of a lighter and more contemporary nature. ‘Clump’ launched on Thursday 12th March and was a huge success; both locations saw queues of people visiting, interacting with both the artists' work and the art

Track Review: The Difference – Flume & Toro y Moi

In a rather unexpected collaboration, the Australian producer Flume has teamed up with Toro y Moi for a new track called ‘The Difference’. Flume has been a long-time fan of Toro y Moi’s work, citing ‘Talamak’ from Moi’s 2010’s ‘Causers of This’ as one of his favourite tracks, which will be providing the foundations for Flume’s upcoming projects. The track dropped alongside a brand-new music video, directed by Jonathan Zawda who frequently works with Flume and was the man behind the album cover for his 2016 Grammy-winning album, ‘Skin’. The short track’s fast tempo couples well with the music video which see Flume endlessly running across downtown LA in something of a fever dream, as the visu

'Dopamine & Dance Moves': Interview with Franc Moody

Having just made their mark across several UK tour dates, and set to continue to do so across Europe this week, we thought there was no better time to sit down with Franc Moody as they prepared to douse Belgrave Music Hall with their signature cascade of intergalactic funk. Led by Ned Franc and Jon Moody, this collective of musicians have been recording and performing since 2016, and have succeeding in conjuring up hit after hit of dazzling dance floor anthems including 'Dopamine', 'Night Flight', and 'Dance Moves.' As the venue geared up for the night ahead, we sat down with the band and discussed how the music-making process works for them, what to look out for in the future, and just how

Review: inner city electronic 2020

Photo from Jody Hartley Photography For the third year running, the city of Leeds was once again gripped by the inexorable buzz of inner city electronic; a 24 hour festival that welcomes an accomplished cohort of some the finest DJs and producers around to play across 10 venues throughout the city. As a bustling stampede of anticipant party-goers flocked to the streets, Leeds once again braced itself for a multi-faceted extravaganza that, whilst supplying a potent barrage of quality music, promised to once again provide a range of talks, workshops and interviews from 1pm onwards at Leeds College of Music. It is perhaps the striking of such a balance between all of these features that firmly

Introducing: Automan

We first heard of London based band Automan in our infancy as a magazine Three Years ago, we headed down to a gig they had on in London and liked what we saw. As a result of enjoying ourselves a little too much the review never came out, we didn't want do an injustice to their distinct sound. So here we are three years later, crossing paths once again. Amongst all the change that will have happened over the years their sound hasn't been one of them, they are still pushing a trademark introspective sound of dreamy riffs and heartfelt lyrics. We talked to Freddie Brown and Huw Bell, the duo that are Automan. What followed was a conversation that delved into how the band formed, influences and

Album review: Grimes - Miss Anthropocene

Released on 21st February, Grimes’ 5th studio album Miss Anthropocene manages to simultaneously embody the magic of her artistry, yet also be her most unexpected piece of work to date. A metaphorical and culturally charged album, Miss Anthropocene appears darker and more eclectic compared to the positively poppy Grimes we saw in her 2015 Art Angels. Although already firmly cemented at the forefront of the alternative music scene - with her multidimensional vocals and spacey synths - the mainstream media have come to know Grimes due to her relationship will billionaire Elon Musk, whom she is now expecting a baby with. Utilising her heightened media presence, Grimes (aka Claire Boucher) now wi

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