Search

 


SYS RADIO


 

 

 

 

 

Events
Search
Interviews
Wednesday
Jun222016

REVIEW: ROAMING - LOVE AT FIRST SOUND

Written by Bree Stewart 

Amongst the overwhelming amount of moody R&B songs overtaking our cities and watering holes, it’s easy to feel disheartened with the usual OVO drops. Most of which are becoming increasingly accustomed between each release. 

Don’t let that same ‘PartyNextDoor’ hook dishearten you, the beautiful world of streaming has offered up a new breed of alternative R&B for your listening pleasure.

Four days ago Love At First Sound’s newest single, ‘Roaming,’ found its feet online offering listeners a chill outlook on life’s peaks, its epic troughs and the balancing act of love amongst life’s usual chaos.


“This can’t be my midlife crisis I ain't halfway through my life yet…”

A portion of Love’s poetry sets the tone in the single’s first verse. A mellow 4x4 beat married with a gentle synth perfect for a late night city stroll surges beneath a recorded voicemail from assumably Love’s female interest, “I wish I could see you, I wish we could go out to a bar…" the mysterious bae pleaded over the phone line. 

 

Besides the fact that this is the perfect night cap, the song also offers quantity along with quality. In fact most of Love’s Soundcloud singles are immensely lengthy, engaging the listeners in stories rather than just samples. 

Love at First Sound resides somewhere in America, he is a private AF dude whose instagram account that sits firmly locked. The man lets his music speak for him, enjoy the content, perhaps later on we will get to know the playmaker.

Check Love's Soundcloud here. 

Tuesday
Jun142016

Review: Isaiah B Brunt's A moment In Time Album 

Australian Blues artists Isaiah B Brunt's latest long player 'A Moment In Time' is due out early next month and we were lucky enough to listen to a sneak preview copy. Bringing together some of the finest blues players on the American scene (George Porter Jnr of the Meters among them), Isaiah and producer David Stocker are back with a little more funky and up tempo offering. 

Setting Brunt a big task, I put my headphones on and began listening as my megabus pulled out of London's Victoria station for a five hour trip. For those familiar with the joys of a megabus journey, it probably wasn't the best moment in time..

Good Blues always has a way of drawing you in though, and it wasn't long before I forgot my surroundings and got into the groove! As I listened I was reminded of a similar sensation years earlier when hearing some of my old man's favourite albums. There is just something about the blues that sucks you in.

When hearing the opening track 'Still waiting' I was struck by Brunt's distinct vocals and the Australian twang taking on a traditional New Orlean's Blues sound and song structure. Dropping Australian names and places as the album moves along it becomes obvious that Isaiah's lyrics could connect with the everyman back home, yet appeal to the masses in the states. For me, it is still a novelty to hear 'Melbourne' mentioned in this genre of music, which in itself can be seen as a failing by the Australian music scene (or perhaps my own misfortune sheltering away?)

The production throughout is very crisp with sleek breakdowns and burning instrumental breaks. None better than the horns and sax on highlight track 'Lost Jacket Blues'.  Brunt effortlessly intertwines dance floor grooves with more serious moments on more than one occassion, and takes it down a notch for half tempo jam 'Travel Back' before bringing the beat in for 'Party Late All Night' at which point I wish I was enjoying this live with a Whiskey or seven.

As an outside of the Blues scene, I enjoyed the album overall and can imagine fans of the genre will be pleased with the care with which this record was crafted. Hopefully the release will push for the un-earthing of more Australian Blues.

The album launch show will be held at BEDS in Glebe on the 14th July 2016.

Event Details

When: 14th July 2016
Where: BEDS, 36 Glebe Point Road, Glebe Time: 8pm

Links:

Website

Facebook

Written by Harry Upton.

Tuesday
Apr192016

Beardyman Review Live at The Electric Brixton, London

I was excited for this gig from the moment I first heard about it. The genius that is Beardyman was putting together a ‘super group’ of musicians and MC’s to record an album live, but even more impressively, the songs would be freestyled based on titles suggested by the audience. I couldn’t wait!

It had intrigued me as to just how this would work and what the end product would sound like. But on the 2nd of April I found myself walking into a packed out Electric Brixton about to find out.

This was my first time in the venue and like all of my favourite venues it was an old theatre converted for gigs – with a big stage, large LED screens as the backdrop and smaller ones dangling over the dance floor. The audience was very varied, but the vibe was great.

After grabbing a couple of drinks from the bar we took up our preferred viewing position a few rows in front of the sound desk and focused our attention on the stage. First up was some turntablism courtesy of 3 time UK DMC champion DJ JFB. His set included old school hip hop anthems and rock classics scratched and mashed like only a DMC champion can do.

Next up was Beardyman himself, taking to centre stage with only a sampling machine and a microphone. As he spoke to the crowd about the plans for the night he quickly transformed his welcome chatter into a full song, beatboxing, rapping, singing, talking and harmonising then looping it all together! We were in for a treat.

He was joined by Female World Beatboxing Champion, not to mention an amazing double bass player and personal favourite of mine Bellatrix who proved to us all just why she holds the beatboxing title with some freestyle beats. 

Drummer for the evening Emre Ramazanoglu also took to the stage and it wasn’t long before an impromptu beat battle between the three of them ensued – this was like nothing I have ever seen before, the skills in this line up!

Slowly but surely the rest of the ‘dream team’ took to the stage, including a horn section, keys, DJ JFB on the decks and Beardyman taking up his place behind a wall of music making technology. He really did look like a puppet master!

MC’s for the evening were Dizraeli and Leen who made their way to the (probably dreaded) Red Bucket and picked out the first song title for the night 30 Cheese Related Reasons! And that somehow becomes a funky electro opening track for the new album. And not just any album, an album I would actually buy and listen to, an album as real as one written over several years and recorded in a purpose built studio on a farm in the Californian hills. 

Respect to all of the members of the dream team, although unpredictable, the performances are near flawless all night! The MC’s were occasionally combining with Beardy himself, compliment each other perfectly. Dizraeli tends to bring a catchy hook with any title presented to him but also unleashes incredibly creative and relatable, topical verses. Leen is gifted with a flow that lends itself to any style of beat, sometimes tongue in cheek, funny but also political.

The next hour is astounding! Weird and wonderful titles keep coming from the bucket – Afraid of Clowns references the biggest clown of all Donald Trump, Kicking back with Che explores what Che Guevara did with his spare time and the current unfortunate fate some people face.

‘Work is a drug, but I need it,’ what a great title, and rightly so this chilled out number becomes a set highlight with Dizraeli taking aim at the rat race many Londoners find themselves in. But the crowd favourite has to be ‘I Should’ve Thought of This Yesterday,’ as the whole dream team builds this track into a genre-bending monster jam and fans have the opportunity to sing-a-long, yeah don’t forget, this was made up on the spot! And we all join in to chant ‘Yesterday.’

It wouldn’t be a live recording of an album without at least one technical difficulty, and this came, poignantly, during the track ‘A Hint of Catastrophe.’ No problems for these pro’s though, and Beardyman simply retakes his position at the front of the stage, picking up the sample pad used at the beginning of the night to keep the beat going and deliver one final number. ‘What would you do if you had 5 Minutes Left?’

Wow! Never have I witnessed anything like this! Sadly that is all for tonight and we start making our way to the exit. If that doesn’t excite you as a music fan, I don’t know what will. Make sure you put your name down for the next one!


Saturday
Apr022016

Charles Bradley Live at Rough Trade (29.03.2016)

My first introduction to Charles Bradley was when a housemate showed me a video of this incredible soul singer performing in a bicycle store as part of SXSW. 

Instantly the video made me a fan. That was near on 5 years ago and I have been lucky enough to see the man they call the Screaming Eagle live for myself three times since then! The most recent of which was an intimate gig at Rough Trade's East London store.

On a rainy Tuesday night we made our way to Brick Lane with a bottle of wine in tow - BYO being one of the benefits of an in-store gig at Rough Trade! Upon arrival, it was a little surprising that only around 20 others were there. But after browsing the vinyl offering for a few minutes the store began to fill up and a crowd of about 150 people gathered near the stage.  

We took up position front and center where we met a 63-year-old Jamaican woman who wanted to confirm that we would be dancing once the music started - of course we would be!

His band 'The Extraordinaires' warm up the room with some funky rolling soul beats before introducing Bradley to the stage to a roar of applause. Prior to being discovered and recording his own songs with Daptone records, Charles Bradley was a James Brown tribute act for several years, and you can't help feeling like he comes from another era. Sporting a black turtle neck sweater, flared pants and jacket it wasn't long before he unleashed the voice that rivals the greatest of all time! 

What followed was a mix of songs and emotions spanning all three albums, we were dancing, swaying and embracing. The title track from his new long player 'Changes' was a highlight - looking directly into the eyes of the crowd, including my own, Charles spoke of how hard this song was for him, but how he promised his mother before she passed away that he would always sing it and give his audiences 'his best'. Everyone in the room is holding back tears as he wails "I've lost the best friend I ever had".

Other highlights include the classic 'Loving you baby' and some news favourites from the latest album 'You think I don't Know (but I know) and the irresistibly funky 'Ain't It a Sin'. 

Extending the brief 30 minute set into 45 minutes, it is all over too soon. But Bradley truly bonds with each and every one of us ending his show by walking through the crowd hugging everyone.

Saturday
Oct172015

DMC WORLD DJ CHAMPIONSHIP LONDON 2015

Words by Harry Upton

I first heard about the DMC DJ Competition in the early 2000's, when The Beastie Boys were on high rotation in my multi-stacker CD player and the X-ecutioners were in the charts. Mixmaster Mike was a regular competitor in the early 90's and the event has hosted some of hip hop's best DJ's over it's 30 year history (Qbert, Apollo, Roc Raider and a 15 year old A-Trak!) My interest was heightened further after viewing online videos of DJ's scratching, cutting and beat juggling. This led to a brief obsession with scratching and the high school version of me spending all my pennies on turntables and vinyl. A hobby which was cut short far too early when my income had to be spent on real-world things like food and rent, rather than vinyl imports!

Fast forward 15 years and I find myself in London, home of the DMC World DJ Championship, the world's number 1 DJ competition. I've maintained an interest in the competition for several years now so could not pass up the opportunity to finally attend the event at The Forum in Kentish Town. 
After some pre-drinks in the sun at Camden's stable markets, we made our way over to Kentish Town in the early afternoon to make the most of the near-full day event. After getting patted down by the guards upon entry, we entered the massive theatre-style venue and watched the last of the DJ eliminations. Although winners from each country are flown over to London for the finals, only 9 DJ's made it through to the main event later this evening. Unfortunately Australia's DJ Broke didn't make the cut, so I jumped on the New Zealand bandwagon in support of DJ Spell.
This event, although there are no real rules, has been dominated by hip hop DJ's since the early years and the organisers have put a lot of effort into making this somewhat of a pilgrimage for fans of the genre. Mid afternoon was spent attending workshops in DJing, Beatboxing (not a natural) and Popping and Locking. It is really great the access general admit gets fans, rubbing shoulders with Popmaster Fabel of the Rock Steady Crew and official judge DJ Nelson.

 
Battle for Supremacy
First official business of the day was the Battle for Supremacy. A 'back to basics' style battle with competitors going head to head in 60 second and 90 second blocks, with no Serato or laptops allowed. A few of the main events competitors were also taking part in this battle. Erick Jay and DJ Precision gained the respect of the crowd and let their skills do the talking, rather than just dis-heavy samples like some of their rivals. These two DJ's progressed to the Supremacy final and in a very close final round it was DJ Precision who took the title.
The banter of the MC's was dragging a bit so with this being a full day activity, we popped out just before lock out (6pm) for some nearby fried chicken. Upon returning, there was a distinct change to the vibe, the venue was filling up and the crowd were ready to be entertained. Mr Switch was centre stage reminding everyone why he was the current crown holder with a blistering half hour set. 

 
Team Battles 
Next up was the team battles, and in an all new format for 2015 this saw the reigning champs of 2014 take on winners of an online DJ Team Comp with 6 minute sets each. The online team, Fresherthans, went first and although their set was technically good, you could kind of tell they had been practicing in their bedrooms more than performing on stage. Two-time winners of the team championship, 9 O'Clock, were just next level. The crowd and the judges quickly jumped on their side and they took it out 19 points to 14.

 
DJ Battle
Now we reach the real business end of the day, 9 of the world's best DJ's playing back to back 6 minute sets. The panel of judges includes former world champions, DJ Woody and the members of C2C - a French turntablist group who are closing out the event. I'm still backing the New Zealand representative, DJ Spell, who is up second. After the first 30 seconds, you just know this set is going to be good. The crowd is jumping, the judges can't contain their excitement and everyone is genuinely enjoying a near flawless display. A highlight of his set was a re-work of Steppenwolf's classic - Magic Carpet Ride
This will be hard to follow but the remaining DJ's give it a red hot crack! Another highlight was DJ Shota from Japan. Who blends hip hop, rock and even some dubstep into his set. I may have a new favourite.

 
The DJ's keep coming and although there is some impressive skills on display - did I mention one DJ played the slipmats? No vinyl required! I still think DJ Spell is in with a chance.

 
While the judges deliberate, the crowd is treated to a half hour set of crazy turntable skills and amazing lighting and video effects from four time champion team C2C. The ticket to this event could have been twice the price and still great value for money!

 
The final countdown
Finally, it is decision time. Third place is called and it’s DJ Precision, not a bad day at the office for him! Second place is DJ Spell! Congrats man, surely Shota has taken it out.

 
First place is called and it’s DJ Vekked (Canada), who is also the Online Champion for 2015! Ouch, there was a few boo's from the crowd and as I made my way out, lots of support for the New Zealander to be crowned champ.

 
So a bit of controversy to finish the night, but upon re-watching Vekked's set, the guy did scratch up some old video game sounds so props to that!