OutsideIn Festival review 2015

Words by Margaret Tra.

As an avid hip hop lover, living in Australia can be quite frustrating. So when I originally saw the line-up for the OutsideIn Festival my heart skipped a beat. So many hip hop acts in one festival including Big K.R.I.T, Devin the Dude and Stormzy. I will admit that when Bilal was no longer on the list I cried a little inside, but hey we can’t have it all now can we?

With three stages, burgers and an endless amount of musical entertainment, the festival was a hit. Even the DJ’s I had never stumbled on before were fusing Aaliyah and Ginuine tracks into their house sounds. 

The first act that we caught was Devin the Dude on the main stage, a rapper so happy and humble that he’s smooth beats and timeless raps made his set unforgettable. He played his greatest hits ‘I’m just getting blowed’ and Doobie Ashtray, the only thing we missed out on was him playing with his drone on stage.

Next up was the grime legend that is Stormzy on the Red Bull stage, and well what can we say. When the set was over the last thing we wanted him to do was shut up. Grime brings something out of people and Stormzy delivered. The audience was hanging on each and every single one of his words, if I didn’t fear being squashed the death, I may have ventured to the front. Still from my view Stormzy killed it, and dare I say it won’t be long until we see him again. 

Lucky last we have Big K.R.I.T, Big comes out thrashing, ready to murder the stage. Rapping his classics and some of his new material with the crowd bobbing their heads up and down in unison. Devin the Dude also came on the stage blessing the audience with something they’ll never forget in their life.

Despite the rain OutsideIn pulled it together, with undercover areas and stages covered, a part from one of course but festival goers didn’t mind. It was a festival filled with people who had a passion and love for music which was seen through the audiences movements throughout the night and the way the festival was conducted by its team. We look forward to seeing it grow and to see what they have for us next year. Hip hop in Australia is alive, thanks to the team at OutsideIn.




Words by Bree Stewart.

I'm rollin all this doja in my sleep man…

Tre Redeau’s “Doja” clip Ft. Dizzy Wright and Blossom has got our eyeballs super pleased; not to mention two ears filled with absolute chill. The Portland based MC serves listeners who are fed up with their long shift under the man, shirt unbuttoned, collar popped, settling down into VEVO to some easy mellow rap dedicated to the great Mary Jane.

The production echoes experimental Cudi bred with some early People Under the Stairs. The best thing is, this is only a taster - hit up Tre’s soundcloud for more epic production from his latest project Kool-Aid Stand.



Leron Thomas - 'Cliquish' Album Review

Words by Harry Upton.
'Cliquish' is the latest full length release from NYC based Jazz, Funk and Soul artist Leron Thomas, due out on October 16th (via Heavenly Sweetness).
This next paragraph is usually where I would try and define the genre of this album for you, but Thomas has built a reputation over recent years as quite the improviser, something which becomes more apparent as I listen through the 12 tracks and 56 minutes of 'Cliquish'. I hear tastes of funk, jazz and rock, dashes of hip hop and R&B, and sometimes a blend of two or three genres within one track! 

Not originally a singer, Thomas was persuaded to take to the mic by his regular collaborator Bilal (who also features on this record). Lucky for us he did! His style is unique and the listener first gets introduced to his story telling during the title track after chants of "Im so glad… I'm not a part of your clique.”

More humorous story telling is found on the fun and funky "Snicka bar,” and this track along with the more mellow space funk of "Role Play" has me drawing comparisons with the godfather of funk, George Clinton. "Role Play" is certainly a stand out though, it is the type of track that would be equally at home blasting from festival size speakers or enjoyed through your own little boombox at a Sunday BBQ, it can be enjoyed on different levels.

Be careful where you play "Asako" however, as this number might just blow up your little boombox! The catch cry is "Ambitious ways and no sex today" and this track needs to be played loud. Hints of TV on the Radio and Saul Williams can be heard as the guitar drives and the drums crash. They are joined by electrified horns and Thomas' distinct vocal cries before the crescendo is reached. Including a somewhat unexpected jazz breakdown, this rock track ensures a nod to Thomas’ jazz roots. 

Soul tracks "Mandy Jo" and "Don't you Know" are the love ballads of the record and let Thomas really sing. Although they are by no means deadly serious lyrically, there is less of the humour of earlier tracks and this makes for definite highlights.
Overall this is an enjoyable album. Book ended by trumpet solo's (Thomas is a trumpet player by trade), there is no shortage of great horn hooks on this record. Though these are often accompanied by funk-style slap bass, some heavy drums and whining guitars. He certainly crams a lot into the hour of genre hopping, but nothing feels rushed! Fans of music in general, not any particular genre, should certainly give this record a spin.

4 stars.


For those in London you can catch Leron Thomas at his official Album Release Party on November 5 at The Jazz Cafe. He is also performing a string of European dates including the MAMA Festival in Paris on October 15.




Josue ‘Bad News’ EP Launch Review @ The Vanguard

There’s something special about seeing a local soul star rise, although many people in Australia may not know much about him, he’s managed to gather a lot of attention with international bloggers in Sweden, Japan, Poland and the states. 

As soon as Josue jumped onto the stage, he was already a force to be reckoned with. A star was born that night, not only due to his soulful voice, but also because of his crazy outfits and his amazing 10-piece band behind him. 

Not only did Josue have an outfit change, but the band also did. Starting with them all wearing black and then ending with them wearing white. The attention to detail in the costumes, his band and his music was shown throughout the night. 

My eyes were constantly busy that night, one minute I am watching Josue on the guitar, the next thing I know he’s doing a little solo set with the keys. The sheer amount of talent from this 23-year-old artist is unbelievable, until of course you get to see if on stage with your own eyes. 

Whilst he was serenading his audience on stage, there was no doubt you could see the resemblance of D’Angelo, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars. In fact I was blessed to see a show in London of D’Angelo and The Vanguards, and all I could think of that night was Josue is going to be doing the same thing one day on an international level.  


Louis Baker Self-Titled EP Review


New Zealander Louis Baker’s recent self-titled EP can only be described as being an EP for soul lovers only, an EP so hauntingly beautiful that it won’t be long until we start to claim him as one of our very own. 

The EP is 5 tracks deep and kicks off soothingly with ‘Back On My Feet.’ Straight away Baker’s vocals sends shivers down your spine, in  good way of course, a voice so angelic and timeless you find yourself taken away, floating and trailing off into a tranquil universe where he makes you feel as if he’s playing a special performance just for you. 

While instrumentals remain simplistic, it flows perfectly and effortlessly through-out his music. 

Baker has the ability to make time stand still. His lyrics are so heartbreakingly raw that it showcases him in the most honest and vulnerable way, a way that soul music should be. 

While most of his EP is pretty soulful, his track ‘Birds’ heads into the direction of something a little more upbeat and lifting, reminiscing of Ed Sheeran. It’s no wonder this EP gained Baker an endless list of accolades, including a finalist spot in the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll awards.

Baker may very well be what we've been searching for and we're very glad that we've finally proper fallen in love with him.