Amidst the sea of burgeoning new singer songwriters hoping to stay afloat in 2012 drifts a promising contender whose innovative and gritty production style looks set to bring electro-soul to the ears of the mainstream. Lyna Galliara’s upcoming single ‘Bullets’ is a bold step for the young songstress, as it blends elements of jazz and psych-funk with her more contemporary soul style; if her debut album is as strong as this then she can expect a whole legion of new fans, not to mention record labels, knocking at her door this year.
‘Bullets’ begins with a set of stuttered, layered jabs on a synthesizer, creating a sense of tension that keeps the listener engaged throughout the song. Her sultry singing style is perfectly suited to breathy harmonies and melodious vocal hooks that permeate the verses, building to the climactic choruses that feature gunshots that offer an interesting aural counterpoint to the innocent lyrical message, “And at times I’ve almost died, but my dreams kept me alive.”
The jazz noodling in the middle-eight adds an extra dimension to the song, breaking it apart from regular mainstream soul singles, positing Galliara as a genuine artist who is unafraid of taking risks within her music; in an industry in which too many players simply follow a well-trodden path, it is this bravery that could be the making of her.
Bullets by Lyna Galliara
In addition to a sneak preview of ‘Bullets’, Galliara also offered an exclusive earful of two of her new songs, which display her experimentations with arrangement and musical styles, from extended intros and funk-tinged rhythm tracks to the moody ‘blues bar’ themes of a more brooding, stripped bare number. With an album composed of tracks like these, Lyna Galliara can expect a hot reception when making her push into the public eye.
To hear more of Lyna’s music, receive free downloads of her music and hear about any upcoming gigs become a fan of her Facebook page.
When an artist’s natural talent matches their burning ambition to succeed, it is often only a matter of time before the shackles of reality give way to the realization of their dreams. Boasting an eclectic songwriting style, Lyna Galliara’s carefully crafted canon of songs effortlessly blends elements of jazz, retro soul and blues to create harmonious paeans to the sweet taste of triumph over adversity. Take the ascending chords that introduce the defiant ‘Rainshine’, over which Lyna croons her credo of continuing through pain that leads her to a joyous, life-affirming chorus that truly champions the underdog.
Lyna is entirely self-taught and plays many instruments herself, which makes the hook-filled piano melodies on the cinematic ‘Gangsta Theme’ all the more emotive; as the producer of her own songs, she has utilised an exciting range of synthesized sounds and drum grooves that lend her music a freshness bereft of many of today’s pop tunes. Displaying influences from a wide array of leading contemporary artists, she is unafraid to reference older, more established singers in her work, lending her music a rounder and more mature tone, unsurprising when you consider that Lyna has been writing songs since the age of five.
This maturity is never more clearly displayed than on the stuttered improvised introduction to the synth-heavy ‘Summer Sun’, that allows her voice to dance amongst the beats, skipping breezily around melodies that many vocalists would struggle to master. Lyna’s music is never pigeon holed to one particular style; the instrumental ‘Got No Rhythm’ is a masterpiece in composition that hints at her wide variety of influences whist never sounding anything other than utterly original. However, what really binds her songs together as one is her distinctive, soulful voice, a flourished signature written upon her musical creations. With an upcoming LP in the offing this summer, Lyna Galliara is a name that will soon become synonymous with success, no matter how hard she has to fight for it.
As a music journalist, you tend to go to a lot of gigs, but it’s only a very select few that you end up sitting on the floor in the middle of the gig with the lead singer lying next to you telling the audience, (also seated), a story of how small his penis shrank to when he first tried ecstasy.
As you can probably already tell, this was a fairly special show; for those of you don’t know Jesse Malin, he is one of the most underrated talents of the New York rock scene, after fronting seminal hardcore band Heart Attack and the glam punk extravaganza that was D-Generation. After paying his dues in these semi-successful collaborations, Jesse then pursued a solo career that began with the Ryan Adams-produced 2002 debut ‘The Fine Art of Self Destruction’, which saw the songwriter tipping his cap more towards the likes of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle, leaving the eyeliner and distortion peddles behind him.
Cut to almost a decade and a handful of albums later and Mr. Malin was faced with the prospect of entertaining a couple of hundred rock fans that had braved the bitter weather to hear him play. Clocking in at just under two hours of continuous playing, (and bear in mind that few of Jesse’s rock and roll numbers last more than four minutes), we certainly got our money’s worth. After entering the stage to the strains of orchestral Christmas music, Jesse and his backing band tore through three pop-tinged punk rock numbers taken from his latest album, complete with defiant fist shaking, rock and roll swaggering and triumphant shrieks of exuberance to punctuate the heart-wrenching melodic tales of blue collar loves and losses.
To visualize Jesse on stage, fans of the Mighty Boosh should think Vince Noir performing his definitive Mick Jagger impression, (YouTube it, well worth the click), wielding an acoustic guitar as if it were a weapon. His showmanship is inimitable, as he regaled the audiences of self-deprecating, genuinely funny stories about life on the road. One story saw him walk out into the crowd, talking about the occasional mishaps of combining sex and drugs, (see first paragraph)…moral: stick to rock’n’roll.
It wouldn’t be a Christmas show without an encore of ‘Fairytale of New York’, a song that he recorded for his 2008 covers album ‘On Your Sleeve’ and perfectly bookended his set that was packed full of inspiration, desolation and above all hope against any odds…now pass the bottle and get practicing that Jagger strut!
When Robbie Williams decided to leave the boy band phenomena of the nineties, ‘Take That’, he was regarded as a music industry joke, famously dubbed a ‘fat dancer’ by that sharp wit Noel Gallagher; that was until he released his critically lauded solo album ‘Life Thru a Lens’ and the accolades started falling at his feet. It’s unlikely that he had the ‘Instagram’ iPhone App in mind when he conjured up the album’s title; however, it perfectly sums up the very nature of this handy new App.
‘Instagram’ seems to be a blend of various other Apps and websites, taking the best elements from its peers and producing an App that can become so much more than just a sum of its parts. Essentially, it is a forum by which you can share your daily photographs, updating your profile with your snaps for your followers and friends to ‘Like’ and comment upon. Sound familiar? Yes, well it may seem like the bastard lovechild of Facebook, Flickr, Twitter produced by a heavy night on the sauce, however it is a forum solely dedicated to photographs as opposed to the banal status updates and quasi-intellectual haikus of Facebook and Twitter and it focuses purely on the sharing of photographs rather than the hard sell of Flickr.
By providing users with over a dozen free filters to alter and tweak the way in which your iPhone’s camera captures your picture perfect stills, ‘Instagram’ is a fantastic way for you to share your daily photographs for free. You can even post your location on Foursquare as you update your account with every new photograph, so fans and followers can come and try to match your best shot! Let’s just hope the App developers don’t continue the trend of following Robbie Williams’ album titles as inspiration for their next production…it would only be a matter of time before they got to ‘Rudebox’.
To read the published article, more about iPhone Apps or to purchase ‘Instagram’, click here.
Cast your mind back to a few years ago, when the iPhone was in its fledgling years and everybody would crowd around their friends’ screens to watch what is still arguably the most addictive and gratifying game that has ever blessed our tiny screens: ‘Angry Birds’. Well they’re back. And guess what? They’re still angry.
For those of you who are lucky enough still to discover ‘Angry Birds’, here is a very brief summary of the game: You control a catapult that fires birds of varying shapes, skills and abilities into fragile structures that house gloating pigs who have stolen the birds’ eggs, aiming to destroy these light-trottered thieves and retrieve their eggs. Oh yes, and they also make hilarious noises when in flight. Not the sort of pitch that would go over particularly well at any potential investor meetings, however it is still one of the most downloaded and highly rated games for the iPhone, which is why the news of a Halloween special edition of the game should bring joy and elation to any fan’s ears.
This time the backdrop to the action is a haunted wood, with pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns strewn across the rocks and stones that the pigs have used for shelter. The birds fly through the air with the same yelps and squeals as the original, yet the ambience is given an eerie undertone by the church organ soundtrack playing in the background. Each of the birds has a different skill depending on what colour and size they are, in that when you tap the screen once they are in the air, they either speed up, boomerang back, split into three smaller birds, lay an exploding egg or spontaneously combust.
The premise for the game is very simple, yet it is the game play, the quirkiness and the sheer ridiculousness of it all that will keep any gamer enthralled for hours on end. Let’s hope that every calendar holiday warrants a new special edition; I can only imagine what ‘Angry Birds Christmas’ would entail…furious turkeys?!
To read the published article, more about iPhone Apps or to purchase ‘Angry Birds’, click here.
Did you know that 12% of people dream in black and white? Also, recycling a 3-foot stack of newspaper can save a whole tree! I’ll wager that you weren’t aware of the fact that the average office desk, one at which you may be sitting at right now, contains 400 times more bacteria than a toilet!
The reason that I can boast this information is not due to any hypnotherapy studies, being an eco-friendly tree surgeon or an obsessive compulsive desk cleaner, it’s simply down to my daily checking of the iPhone App ‘OMG Facts’, updating my brain with weird wonderful and downright wacky facts on subjects that range from history and politics to sport, media and alternative music.
The information seems to have been collated from various sources, as each fact has a link in it to, say Wikipedia or The New York Times, for you to verify the content and complete any further reading on the subject in hand. However, it’s not all useless tidbits of waffle and fluff that you will find on this App; for every OMG Fact that states that “Justin Bieber can solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than 2 minutes,” (along with an accompanying video; I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch that?!), there’s a, “Charles Dickens invented over 13,000 characters in his lifetime!” J.K. Rowling, eat your heart out!
The next time that you are on your lunch break at work, (which, one would hope, you will be eating at a cafe rather than a toilet, or worse, your office desk!), instead of killing time by playing a silly iPhone game, why not feed your brain with a smattering of strange and interesting facts with which you can amuse, entertain and disgust your friends!
To read the published article, more about iPhone Apps or to purchase ‘OMG Facts’, click here.
Canny guests will arrive a little early to get first dibs on the best fancy dress; this could mean the difference between spending the evening as Robin Hood or Friar Tuck.
Ivory House, East Smithfield, London E1W 1BP
Buried deep in the dungeons next to the Tower of London lies a hidden palace of untold excesses; jesters juggle and knights battle in between four courses of Ye Olde Worlde cuisine. The Medieval Banquet has been running for almost 40 years, with actors portraying Henry VIII’s court, complete with serving wenches who serenade costumed guests while they enjoy their supper. The first course of vegetable broth is served with oven-baked bloomers that boast a crisped surface, giving way to a soft, doughy middle, perfect for tearing and sharing. The second course consists of mixed pâtés, salads and a selection of cheeses; then it’s on to the main course, where chicken drumsticks, roast potatoes and mixed vegetables are served in authentic cauldrons, before the dessert course of a chilled fruit tart. The food is intended for sharing, as are the jugs of ale and wine that flow freely throughout the meal, before the dungeon morphs into a medieval disco.
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t get a personal trainer. Leaving aside the rock-hard abs and toned biceps that would all be yours if only you could
By logging your progress as you go, iFitness can show you detailed graphs of workout data that are great reference points for moving forward. Also, each exercise comes with a video demonstration…your very own virtual trainer!
find the motivation to work for them, imagine having someone who is a professional fitness expert scrutinizing your body as you pound away on a sweaty treadmill, or texting you with a guilt trip message just before you head out for a boozy dinner to remind you that the chocolate torte that you have been craving all week will only be a moment on your lips, but a lifetime of podgy, confidence shattering ridicule and shame. Oh, and they cost about a million pounds per hour.
Well, with the iFitness App you can now enjoy all the benefits of a personal trainer without the constant pressure or the exorbitant price tag. iFitness is the ultimate exercise App, with a detailed list of exercises for each area of the body, complete with a detailed diagram of the human body to match your work out to whatever muscle group it is that you want to improve. It also offers a comprehensive list of routines and programs to match your targets; for example, the ‘Basketball Conditioning Routine’ shows the budding hoop star the best exercises to work on at certain points in the season to optimize their body for the courts. There are also more regular routines, such as the ‘Swimmer’, ‘Runner’ and Soccer Programs along with routines that will help you lose weight, build your abs or even define your glutes!
The routines can be done anywhere from training with free weights and aerobic exercises in the comfort of your own home, to which machines to use at the gym; there is even a ‘Business Travel Workout’ that uses office chairs as props for those of you who don’t want your workaholic lifestyle to prevent you from getting a polished set of guns to show off beneath your suit!
With a personalized log of all your workouts, as well as other extras such as a BMI Calculator and Weight Monitor, the iFitness App really is the future for anyone who is even slightly serious about healthy living and exercise…and if you do want that extra slice of dessert at dinner, then your iPhone won’t judge you.
To read the published article, or purchase ‘iFitness’, click here.
This is only one of many film and TV quote Apps; ‘Bond quotes’ is a necessary accessory to any geeky party, as is the highly popular ‘Alan Partridge’ App…“A-ha!”
We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at a friend’s dinner party drinking post-meal coffees and the discussion turns to films. Everybody is out to impress, so obviously the standard French and Japanese classics are churned out, along with ‘Schindler’s List’, ‘Raging Bull’ and that one about a young Che Guevara, yet you are just itching to shout out your favourite film of all time, but fear the ensuing ridicule at the mere mentioning of such a lowbrow film as ‘Anchorman’.
Well, here’s what to do. See which guest is most likely to be a kindred spirit in your adoration for one of the stupidest, funniest quotable film of all time and subtly slide your iPhone across the table, with a nod and a wink to test the water. They will undoubtedly press one of the many ‘quote buttons’ and the sound of Brian Fantana waxing lyrical about his ‘Sex Panther’ aftershave, “60% of the time, it works every time,” will slice through the pretentious waffle like a knife through cheese.
For those of you who haven’t seen ‘Anchorman’, this is a veritable ‘best of’, with a selection of the funniest quotes from the film; if it tickles you in away, then I suggest renting the movie so you can see what all the fuss is about. This App won’t change your life, but it will make future social gatherings a lot funnier, as you entertain and annoy your friends by giggling at the ‘Anchorman’ back catalogue; pretty soon you won’t even need to go to dinner parties, you can just stay in and click away with your new set of virtual friends!
For the price of a packet of crisps, you can have Brick Tamland invite you to a pants party, time and time again. Now that’s good value for money.
To read the published article, or purchase ‘Anchorman Soundboard’, click here.
There are some musicians who will never have to pick up a song book, or read a note of music, having been blessed with perfect pitch at birth and can
The ‘Random Tab’ button is an excellent way to try out songs that you would never usually consider learning. Also, the Auto Scroll function allows you to play the tabs continuously, without pausing to drag down the page.
therefore unleash a flawless rendition of any song within minutes of first hearing it. Then there are the other 99.999% of us, who actually have to learn our favourite songs the old-fashioned way. However, trawling through second-hand music books or deciphering the scribbles that your mate’s older brother jotted down for you isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, and let’s face it, hardly rock and roll.
Well, ‘Ultimate Guitar Tabs’ provides iPhone users with the chance to learn any song of their choosing, simply by logging on to their database and browsing the collection of guitar, bass and drum tablature as well as chords and lyrics for over 300,000 songs! You can use the Advanced Search tool to specify which instrument it is that you want to use, which part of the song it is that takes your fancy, as well as the difficulty level of the piece and its tuning.
Another cool feature is the Tab Pack option, which gives the user a set of pre-grouped tabs that come under a specific genre and skill level; so, if you want to be a punk rocker in the morning then you can whizz through The Ramones back catalogue, then chill out with some lazy blues in the afternoon before finishing the night off by shredding through a classic Metal Tab Pack.
Purists may scoff at the easy accessibility of it all and declare that unless you’re hunched over a gramophone, tortuously working the notes out one by one, then it ‘ain’t proper music’…feel free to silence them with a deafening display of your ever-growing repertoire before filling all of the spare time that you have saved learning songs the fun way with some good old rock and roll fun!
To read the published article, or purchase ‘Ultimate Guitar Tabs’, click here.