Product Launches

06 April 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Against Me! Review

 

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Taking to the stage first is Billy The Kid, a one woman act with just her voice and a guitar. With songs that reach out, grab you by the heart and reel you into the storytelling she’s crafted. Her voice is one that is so powerful, even away from the microphone you can hear her loud and clear. She hits, and holds, notes to die for. Although her guitar isn’t even plugged in for the first song, the audience seem to fall a little bit in love with her from the get go. Every track is heartfelt and beautiful, leaving the crowd spellbound.

With the crowd palpably excited for Against Me!, they really do live up to the hype. Laura Jane Grace is the frontwoman all other frontwomen should aspire to be – engaging, energetic and passionate. She smiles through every song, playing like her life depends on it. Looking around the venue, it becomes obvious that to most of the crowd this is more than just a gig, it’s somewhere they fit in. The world outside melts away until there is only now, this place, this moment. When Billy The Kid joins them onstage for ‘Borne On The FM Waves Of The Heart’ the energy increased tenfold. And ‘True Trans’ sounds more akin to a battle cry for everyone that’s ever felt lost in their own skin.

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31 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Top 5 Soundtracks from the National Film Award Nominees

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2015’s National Film Awards take place in London tonight with high-profile films, actors and actresses all up for nomination.  Sadly, there’s no soundtrack award, so we decided to pay homage to the shortlisted films’ great music scores with our top five soundtracks from the shortlisted movies.

The Fault in Our Stars

Big names such as Jake Bugg, Charlie XCX, Ed Sheeran all contributed to the soundtrack for this blockbuster. The album was put together by indie band Bright Eyes’s Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis. The lead single from the album Boom Clap by Charli XCX managed to get to number 6 in the UK top 40. Have a listen to the soundtrack here.

Guardians of the Galaxy

This movie soundtrack was the US’s second best-selling soundtrack album of 2014 (beaten only by Frozen, of course) and is full of previously released hits including music from David Bowie and the Jackson 5. Full track list can be found here.

Selma

Selma, a historical drama based on real life events, was nominated for a total of four Golden Globe nominations and won the award for best soundtrack. The song Glory by John Legend and Common (who also stars in the film) also won this year’s Oscar award for best original song. Listen to the track here.

Annie

A remake of the Broadway play and 1999 Disney film, this movie features a brand new, and surprisingly good, soundtrack. The album producer Gerg Krustin (who has worked with a number of successful artists such as Lilly Allen and Tegan and Sara) has collaborated with pop star Sia Furler to re-create three of the Broadway play’s songs as well as original ones. Listen here.

Beyond the Lights

The song Grateful from this soundtrack, performed by Rita Ora and written by Diane Warren, was nominated for an Oscar at the beginning of the year. The rest of the soundtrack consists of RnB and soul music and includes the songs performed by the fictional characters in the movie. The full soundtrack can be found here.

 

What’s been your favourite movie soundtrack this year? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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11 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Congratulations to Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon on taking home Best Digital Radio Programme at yesterday’s TRIC Awards

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The Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) Awards 2015, which was held at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, was attended by delegates from the radio and television industry along with some famous faces.

We were proud sponsors of the Best Digital Radio Show, won by the deserving duo, Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon on Capital Breakfast who fought off strong competition from 5 Live Breakfast and The Chris Evans Breakfast Show.

The host for the event, Sandi Toksvig OBE, did a fantastic job at entertaining the star studded audience.  Other winners on the day included, Chris Evans for Digital Radio Personality, A Question of Sport, Carol Kirkwood, Susanna Reid, Coronation Street, Celebrity Juice, Silent Witness, Goggle Box, Danny Dyer, Downton Abbey, Pointless and Strictly Come Dancing.

Why not catch the 95.8 Capital FM Breakfast show with Dave Berry & Lisa Snowdon Monday-Friday from 6am, and Saturday’s from 8am, they are the industry’s favourite after all.

 

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11 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

UK’s parent bloggers share music nostalgia for Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend (Sunday 15th) we thought it would be a nice idea to revisit the music that we remember sharing with our mums growing up.

To do this, we’ve asked some of the UK’s favourite parenting bloggers to share their music memories, as well as the music that gets their little ones on their feet.

Why not share your musical memories with us, use the hashtag #mumsmusic

 Jo Middleton

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“I quite often think about what music my children are going to remember from their childhood. I don’t play loads of music just around the house but we do listen to more in the car. It’s the weird things though isn’t it that kids remember? For example, I once got sent a random CD in the post. It was a gift from a stranger, an album of Italian songs that they had found in a hire car! It had this track on it and for some reason we loved it and would drive around with the windows down playing it really loud” – http://slummysinglemummy.com/

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Hayley McClean

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“I always remember Living Doll by Cliff Richard being played when I was a kid and my dad used to say it was about me! *Cringe!* Because of those kinds of memories, I do like to make sure I play music a lot at home and encourage my son to enjoy music as much as I do. The song I play the most at home is actually Something Kinda Ooh by girls aloud – random I know, but when my son was a few months old, I was playing it and he started smiling, so I made up a little dance that he “did” to it and we never stopped doing it! Silly!” – http://www.sparklesandstretchmarks.com/

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Kerry

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“Although I don’t really listen to a lot of music myself, my partner is the music lover of the house. Waterfall by Stone Roses gets played very often and it just so happened to be the song playing on the radio when my daughter was being born. Most of the time though we are dancing to the Frozen soundtrack or Disney Junior. I always remember listing to Rotterdam by The Beautiful south growing up as a kid as my mum would always listen to it whilst doing the housework.” – http://www.ohsoamelia.com/

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Jen Walshaw

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“My mum always loved Del Shannon, Runaway.  She and my Dad did jive dancing and I have so many found memories of the two of the wowing the dance floor at family weddings, christenings etc.” – http://www.muminthemadhouse.com/

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08 March 2015 ~ 0 Comments

International Women’s Day – Women in Music who make a difference

To mark International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating female singers who use their status to make a difference.

Beyoncé

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Queen of pop Beyoncé’s dedication to charity is inspiring, with her greatest contribution being the Survivor Foundation, an organisation she founded with fellow Destiny’s Child member, Kelly Rowland, to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. The foundation’s accomplishments include the Music World Cares Christmas Carnival, which enabled over 300 low-income households to enjoy a day of food, entertainment, a visit from Santa, as well as some free toys. Beyoncé is also co-founder of Chime for Change, a platform designed to empower women and girls through education, health and justice. Beyoncé is known for being vocal about feminism, using her platform and her talent to empower women and encourage her fans to follow in her example to promote equal rights for women and better social attitudes. In January last year, she wrote an entire essay on the subject of gender equality on behalf of the Shriver Report’s findings

Annie Lennox

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As well as selling 80 million albums worldwide, singer Annie Lennox, has been internationally recognised for her contribution to charities and is set to receive a lifetime achievement prize at the Inspiration Awards for Women. In June, Lennox was appointed an OBE for her work fighting Aids and poverty in Africa. Known for her peace activism, Lennox also took on the role as UN Aids goodwill ambassador for Oxfam. She also founded the Sing campaign in 2007 to raise awareness of Aids in Africa.

 

Madonna

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When she’s not dodging accidents on stage or wardrobe malfunctions, Madonna uses her platform to support numerous AIDS foundations, most notably, the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR). While there has been a lot said in the media about how active she is in Africa, this unwanted attention hasn’t dissuaded her from pursuing issues she cares passionately about. Madonna actively campaigns for safe sex education in third world countries and donates to organisations such as the Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. In addition, Madonna founded her own charity, Raising Malawi, which supports community-based and non-government organisations in the impoverished country. Madonna – we salute you!

Pink

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When P!nk isn’t flying around as a trapeze artist during live shows, she’s zealously campaigning for animals rights, agreeing to becoming the face of Australia’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) campaign to encourage teenagers to be kinder to animals. She also bare all for PETA, in a campaign against fur. Combining activism and singing, Pink even headlined a concert in Cardiff, Wales on August 21, 2007, called PAW (Party for Animals Worldwide).

Jesse J

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It’s always inspiring when we see talent helping nurture young talent. When Jesse J isn’t working tirelessly on her next album or on tour, she’s working with Save the Music Foundation – a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the quality of education in America’s public schools by restoring music programs in cities across the country. Possibly the most dramatic statement the singer has made, and one that most will remember, is when she shaved her entire head for Red Nose Day back in 2013. Another organisation The Price Tag, singer works hard to support, is the Small Steps Project, a humanitarian organisation and UK registered charity dedicated to supporting children around the world who live on rubbish dumps and survive from scavenging. Small Steps Project aims to raise awareness, through filming of the unacceptable hardships that they face.

 

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21 February 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Is Radio One’s loss a gain for the music industry?

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Pure Insider takes a look at what Zane Lowe’s departure means for music

With Zane Lowe’s departure coming as a shock for many, what will the loss of this musical legend mean for radio in the UK? New Zealand born Lowe has become a favourite among music and radio fans – both in the UK and globally – but is this really a loss or are we seeing an undercurrent of something brilliant in the making?

 

Is streaming learning from radio?

Zane Lowe’s move to work with Beats has been shrouded in vague speculations about what this means for Apple’s streaming service, with Lowe himself claiming simply to “…want to be able to bring that human experience, that we all had growing up with record stores, but actually make it something you can listen to in a world where you’re left to your own devices”. It seems a logical move that Lowe would help to recreate that energy for raw talent and getting to the heart of authentic music for Apple Beats. Whether it’s in the form of creating podcasts or even streaming live interviews, Lowe has always driven conversation and hype around new talent, humanising music in a way which other mainstream shows have often struggled to grasp.

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Zane’s talent and his passion always came through fervently on the show, as did his ecliptic taste in music. While we associate him with alternative rock and hip hop, if you tune in to his show on Radio 1 you’re never quite sure what to expect.

As he says himself “I wouldn’t wanna work necessarily in a genre specific show – just a hip hop show or just an alternative rock show, whatever ‘cos it doesn’t really represent what I’m into and I really think that radio really has to be an honest representation of whoever’s driving it as much as whoever’s listening to it.” It’s this open minded approach to all music that has led Zane Lowe to act like a human conduit of new music, a talent he has used to reinforce radio as a form of music discovery.

Can radio keep up with streaming’s evolution?

It’s the added layer to music which Lowe brings to the table – his wealth of experience born from an innate passion for music and years working in the industry – from his first job at the Record and Tape Exchange in Notting Hill, to MTV News and MTV Brand:New, then later to his own show Gonzo and BBC Radio 1.

Lowe brings his avid followers from his show around the world touring as a superstar DJ and his prolific presence in the music scene interviewing everyone from up and coming indie bands to hop hop legends straight to the radio. It’s this added layer to radio which has served the station well – focusing on social media and maintaining Lowe’s profile in the music press. With podcasts and streaming services dominating the music industry online, for radio to survive it needs to reignite the human element to music. From live interviews with the hottest music artists, to keeping the conversation going with social media elements to live radio features, radio still has a lot to offer.

We’re pleased to hear that Annie Mac will be stepping into Lowe’s seat when he departs in March. Whether we’re tuning in to Annie Mac’s musical hot water bottle or getting in the mood for the weekend on a Friday night, Mac’s musical zeal is unarguably on par with Lowe’s and we’re excited to see what she has in store for listeners.

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As our own salute to this radio legend, we thought we’d share with you a clip of his pre-superstar DJ life in the lesser-known hip hop band, Urban Disturbance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF7XzCh-ReI

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29 January 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Why the selfie stick officially has no place at live music gigs

Selfie Stick image

Held high above crowds in London by tourists live blogging their trips as a 21st century souvenir, carefully positioned by groups of pouting girls, and behind every 10 year old who has already mastered the art of the selfie, is the infamous selfie stick. They’ve even found their way into family gatherings – taking the place of the traditional *position – timer – run back into place* family photo, which as we all know fails. Love them or hate them, the selfie stick has its uses. However, just like the rise of the selfie itself, the selfie stick has been equally controversial, dubbed by many as the “wand of narcissus”. But are they really that offensive that they should be banned from public places?

A point of debate in the music industry was the announcement that major British venues, including the O2 Academy Brixton, London’s O2 Arena and the SSE Wembley, have all banned selfie sticks. The Academy Music Group, who owns the O2 Academy Brixton, simply explained this was part of their policy which prohibits any filming of performances on personal devices. Evidently there’s not much to debate there. It’s a logical update which doesn’t really change what giggers are already accustomed to at the venue. Other arenas however, according to NME’s report, explained that “while taking pictures is part of live music for audiences, anything that blocks the view of others is not welcome.” Ultimately then, it’s about preventing gadgets from disturbing other giggers from enjoying live performances. But is this a realistic demand?

Like it or not, the rise of the selfie is prolific and has been become so entrenched into pop culture that the word “selfie” even found its place in the Oxford English Dictionary. A gadget that made selfies easier was bound to be popular. Its success has usurped most expectations. Amazon UK stick sales rose by 301 per cent between September and November, and then another 65 per cent month-on-month in December, which it attributed to “people preparing to capture all the action of festive parties and family get-togethers”. There’s a stark contrast, however, to someone waving around a phone at a gig, to a long stick being propped in the air waiting to poke people in the eye.

While there are those who may claim these venues need to adapt to changing technology trends, it’s important that the technology always adds to the experience, not detracts from it. If you’re stuck in a large crowd and lacking height, this gadget can serve as a nifty solution, but there’s something about a selfie stick which doesn’t seem appropriate in a crowd of people enjoying live music, appreciating the moment.  Technology should always enrich a live music performance, not detract from it.

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27 January 2015 ~ 0 Comments

How to Keep Your Motivation Momentum this January

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We’re all familiar with the fitness boom that overcomes January. Suddenly, classes at your local gym are booked for months, ten minute waits for a treadmill are the norm and it’s impossible to get away from everyone’s #cleaneating Instagrams.

It isn’t until the third or final week in January when momentum starts to stumble. The cold, miserable weather makes that calorie packed take-away look all that more appealing and the thought of that fifteen minute walk to the gym seems unthinkable.

So how do we make sure we keep to our  New Year’s resolutions? It’s been scientifically proven that music provides the motivation we need to get moving and causes a positive attitude change whilst exercising . The body naturally wants to move and synchronise with music and it can also distract you from feelings of pain, physical exhaustion and boredom. The ideal music to work out to is anything between 125 and 140 BPM (beats per minute).

We’ve compiled a selection of upbeat, high-tempo tracks to keep your blood pumping and morale high, so if you’re feeling a little discouraged check out this playlist out a more productive work out.

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25 January 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Hosting the Perfect Burns Supper

Burns night, is the annual celebration of the life and work of famous Scots poet, Robert Burns (or Rabbie Burns to us Scots!). The celebration falls on the 25th January, the day of the poet’s birthday and usually involves what is known as a ‘Burns Supper’; an evening full of Scottish food and entertainment.

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Image: The Guardian

Today, I will be joining my friends in celebration. So whether you’re having a small informal gathering, or a fancy dinner party, I’ve put together a guide on how to host the perfect Burns Supper.

For fantastic and easy Burns night recipes check out these on BBC Good Food.

Piping in the Guests

It’s customary to welcome your guests with a flood of traditional music, but don’t worry if you haven’t got a piper on your guest list. One of these tracks will do nicely.

The Selkirk Grace

This is a short prayer that is read out as the food arrives:

Some hae meat and canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

And sae let the Lord be thankit.

This should of course be recited (or at least attempted) in old Scots.

Address to a Haggis

We like to welcome in the haggis (who is after all, the guest of honour) with not just more bagpipes, but everyone must stand as a toast is made in its honour. Address to a Haggis comes from a poem written by Robert Burns… if you don’t believe me listen on Pure Connect here.

The Supper (My favourite part)

Typically, a Burns Supper consists of haggis, neeps (mashed turnip) and tatties (mashed potato), not forgetting plenty of Scotch whisky. There are however variations and vegetarian haggis available for non-meat eaters.

Immortal Memory

This speech pays tribute to the life, poems and brazen nationalism of Robbie Burns. If you’re unfamiliar with his history, have a wee read here. After this speech everyone toasts to Burns, and the entertainment continues.

Toast to the Lassies

Perhaps one the most entertaining part of the evening, The Toast to the Lassies, is a speech given by one of the male guests, incorporating plenty of quotes from Burns himself. Traditionally, this was a toast to thank the women who prepared the dinner; however it’s now become a tongue in cheek speech often referencing the ladies present at supper.

Reply to the Laddies

This is the woman’s reply to the Toast to the Lassies, which is also supposed to be amusing. The lady giving the speech will comment on anything brought up in the previous toast, and her particular views on contemporary men.

Burns Poetry

This is a MUST for any Burns supper. Guests will recite the famous poems and songs of Burns. Have a listen to some of his most popular works here.

Closing

This is a finishing speech by the host, followed by everyone holding hands and singing Auld Lang Syne.

Burns Night truly is a special affair that’s fun for everyone. If you want to embrace the Scottish culture today but don’t want to go as far as hosting your own supper there should be plenty of events near you to celebrate. Alternatively, tune into ‘A Burn’s Supper’ on BBC Radio 4 today at 4:30pm to hear some famous Burns poetry. If music is more your thing, check out BBC Radio 6 ‘Lang May your Rum Reek’ for three hours of great Scottish music and artists, or check out this playlist full of Scottish favourites.

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13 January 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Our CES 2015 Highlights

Quality is King

As this year’s CES has closes its doors for another year, we reflect on the highlights of the show and give you an idea of how the future of consumer electronics is shaping up. With convenience usually driving the adoption of new technologies, there seems to be a shift towards quality and a focus on developing existing technologies to make them smarter, faster and more reliable.

That said there is certainly an abundance of innovation taking centre stage, from self-watering flower pots, huge developments in 3D printing, IoT, a surge in wearable technologies and in our eyes a revolution in high quality audio.

Below we share our three trends from the show as we saw it.

High Quality Audio

Hi-res audio is starting to gain some serious traction, with two major launches here at CES. First is the Walkman ZX2 portable music player designed specifically for Hi-Res Audio, and, more excitingly for us, Meridian Audio showcased its MQA technology. MQA was described as “the best product at CES so far” by Michael Brown, Editor of Techive.com and rightly so. It’s a major development in audio, which could potentially revolutionise the industry, the way in which vinyl and the CD once did.

4K Ultra HD

It’s not a new technology and has been on the horizon for a while as a premium TV resolution, but 4K is set to take over from Full HD. If what we’ve seen at CES 2015 is anything to go by, it won’t be long before manufacturers stop making 1080p televisions below 55-inches, opting for 4K Ultra HD TVs.

One TV that set itself aside from the competition is Sony’s new Bravia 4K Ultra HD TV. All three models feature an ultra-thin “floating” style creating a near-frameless shape that can be mounted right up against the wall.

Continuing the TV trends, curved TVs are still a main focus for manufacturers and CES is still the platform to launch them, though we don’t believe they will be around at next year’s CES nor will the average consumer be rushing out to buy them.

Wearables

It’s clear that people see a need for wearables to help them manage their health, track their fitness goals or use them in business meetings, and the number of launches at the show is a clear indication that the industry believes it is a trend set to stay. Wearables can offer a more personal experience, working in harmony with the human body; one smartwatch we saw claims to measure the amount of calories you consume in a day.Another monitored sleep patterns, while the majority of smartwatches measure the number of steps taken each day and fitness activities undertaken.

As our parent company, Imagination Technologies is one of the official launch partners of Android Wear, the operating system designed by Google for output wearables like smartwatches. We like to think we know what we’re talking about and it’s fair to say we are excited by the latest developments and look forward to seeing those that prosper.

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