Tag Archives: free music

Here Comes the Summer Playlist

Even if Summer has yet to really arrive in the UK this year, we can dream about it and while we’re doing that, we need a Summer playlist which is where I come in.  This summer, I’m teaming up with Angry Baby to share our Summer playlist; not only that, Angry Baby is also giving away lots of lovely free music for you to download, so keep reading all the way to the bottom to get your free music links*.

Thanks to Flo at Angry Baby for sharing her blogs with me here:

  • In Hoodies, She Got Caught:

When I first heard She Got Caught, I instantly fell in love with it, in fact this is probably one of my favourites of all of the songs I have given away on Angry Baby. Everything about the song makes it something I’d want to listen to all the time, as different aspects work well in different moods. The melody is quite relaxing and calm, but there is a certain quality to it that is more than that, and it adds another level to the music entirely. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but you can listen for yourself and see what I mean!

  • Jay Woodward, Blue Sky Blue:

At first what stood out to me about Jay’s music was the relaxing melody, but when I listened to the song a few times I noticed the meaningful lyrics. Jay’s songs are based on his real life experiences of death, bereavement and grief and so the words are very poetic and deep. His vocal style is distinctive – intimate with an overlay of blues on a backdrop of folk. I found myself leaning in to listen more, absorbed by the mood.


  • Albert Man, Cheap Suit

What comes first, the music or the words? – its one of those ‘chicken and egg’ questions, but Albert Man knows his answer:

Lyrics are so important to me. I always have a theme I want to write about first and try to get a title. I then write the lyrics before I start adding any music or melody. I will re-write the lyrics so many times too until I get something I’m happy with.

His new album, Cheap Suit doesn’t disappoint. A mix of quirkiness and pathos, it provides social commentary, viewed through the small stuff. Things that happen and thoughts that arise, unremarked and fleeting, are given a moment of deeper reflection, conjuring up a response of “ah yes!” and “me too!”

  • Danielle Lewis, I’ll Wait

Danielle’s voice has been compared with Karen Carpenter and, although her tone is lighter, the effortless emotion that merits this comparison is apparent in the second track of the EP I’ll Wait. In complete contrast to Anywhere is Home, this is a soulful ballad that exudes romance and demands to be heard in the arms of someone special. Lovers of female vocalists will applaud the purity and control that flows from phrase to phrase, supported by the simplest of strings.

  • Hugh Kelly, Give Me All Your Love

Britain’s blue-eyed soul scene has been in resurgence recently, thanks to artists like Adele, Sam Smith and Joss Stone. But wouldn’t you like to hear a voice with a more lived-in quality? Hugh Kelly leaps out of the speakers with a tone that growls with the gravitas of life experience, reminiscent of Leonard Cohen or the late Joe Cocker. If we believe what Harry Chapin told us, back in the 70s, maybe it’s the drinking he did on his last big gig that make his voice go low?  That’s not far off the mark. Hugh puts the strength of his voice down to time spent in pubs and bars, but as a singer, not a drinker. That, together with busking unamped in the streets of his native Edinburgh, built the power in his vocals so he could be heard above the crowd. Take a listen and I guess you’ll be as amazed as I was to find that Hugh isn’t some long-standing musician with a back catalogue stretching through generations of music making. No, he is a 21-year-old newcomer, doing it all by himself (with help from dad, Tom) and already receiving accolades from local music press and radio.

Thanks Flo for sharing some of your favourite new music with us, love the voices of Hugh Kelly and Albert Man especially!

In order to get your free music from Angry Baby, just click on the links below and start creating your Summer 2016 playlist!

In Hoodies – She Got Caught

Jay Woodward – Blue Sky Blue

Albert Man – Cheap Suit

Danielle Lewis – I’ll Wait

Hugh Kelly – Give Me All Your Love

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Free Music from Wakey Wakey

Last week I told you about a great new album from New York based indie band, Wakey Wakey.  The album is called Overreactivist and I loved it.  My favourite track has the best video too and it’s called Homeless Poets:

In honour of the album release on  26 February (that’s tomorrow, people!), Wakey Wakey are giving away a free track from Overreactivist – aren’t they lovely?

I’ve teamed up with Angry Baby Music to bring you this, so please click here to download the fabulous track, Adam and Eve.


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Wakey Wakey the Overreactivist

Spend half an hour in the company of Michael Grubbs, the creative force behind indie band Wakey Wakey and you’ll come out with a renewed enthusiasm for old school music making – and you’ll also laugh a lot.  I recently interviewed Grubbs and his producer and long time collaborator, Chris Cubeta, to talk about Wakey Wakey’s new album, Overreactivist and I remember laughing a lot but nowhere near as much as was evident when I listened back to the interview.  I can only wish that all interviews were so enjoyable.

Overreactivist is Wakey Wakey’s third album and a radical departure from the previous pop album, Salvation, in more ways than one.  In contrast to the first album which was full of youthful expression and captured the spirit of making music with no money and no expectation of success, Salvation was a collaborative experience with a team of writers, producers and musicians and the end result turned out to be even further from Grubbs’ first intention of making a pop album.  Whilst acknowledging it was an amazing team experience, Grubbs says this experience and way of making music made him feel “disconnected from myself as a musician” and as a result he returned to the ‘old days’ and decided the next step would be to write and record an indie rock EP.  The natural choice would be to use producer Cubeta’s studio which as it turned out was shortly to be demolished (it now no longer exists).  Happily, they managed to find enough studio time to record enough material for not just an EP but a whole album.

Talking to Grubbs and Cubeta it is plain that the recording of Overreactivist was a form of therapy and respite for both of them from (Cubeta’s words) “an insane part of my life”.  Telling only a very small number of people that they were making a new album and taking the decision to only allow those people to hear it if they came to the studio meant that the two of them had complete creative control over the entire process.  Cubeta says that as a producer his job is “to find the essence of the artist at the core of the music and bring it out…to make them the best version of themselves. People connect to music that captures the artist at their core”.  Unknowingly, they did just that with the first Wakey Wakey album and in Overreactivist they have gone full circle in finding the core of the music they were making and then doing what felt right.  Happily, the urgent need to make this album quickly meant a perfect harmony in doing what was best for the song and makes for a tribute to a great collaborative partnership.

Listening to Overreactivist as a whole feels like a very personal album and indeed Grubbs confirms that this is his most personal album so far, even autobiographical.  To me, at least, the songs can be read in a number of ways with a strong political current throughout but when asked, Grubbs laughed and says that “although I am very political in my personal life…at home, I make an effort not to be on the right or the left publicly as I don’t want to spend my life justifying my position”.  Grubbs then goes on to talk about the “undeniable reality that people don’t pay for music anymore, people don’t pay to support artists in the way that they used to.  How did we get here?  How am I supposed to support myself as an artist?”  These are questions that are brought together in the stand out song of the album, Homeless Poets and in a previous interview Grubbs touched further on the ups and downs of braving the creative dream. I love the video so much I have to show it to you again (Buster the dog is a superstar in the making):

Leaving aside the political undertones for a moment, Overreactivist is an album that challenges the listener on many levels; there is an upbeat message and sound throughout although there is also a touch of  disilusionment  (Golden’s”if I believed all the things we said when we were young I’d be a broken man with a broken heart and broken dreams”) apparent too. Listening to the album left me with a strong emotional connection to the music, it hangs together very well as a whole and this is due in part to the arrangement and structure of the songs.  Grubbs wrote all the songs and proves to be an accomplished songwriter; his early musical influences of Billy Joel and Elton John are apparent with the piano driven melodies.  Having said that, the guitar playing of Chris Cubeta is one of the many joys of this album.

Wakey Wakey are lovely people and ahead of the release of Overreactivist on 26 February they have given me a free track to share with you – told you they were nice!  If you liked Homeless Poets click here to go over to the Angry Baby blog to get your free track, Adam and Eve (my second favourite track after Homeless Poets).

Overreactivist will be released on The End records on 26 February. Pre-order the album here:



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Headstrong Music from Robb Murphy

As you know, here on thoughtsofjustafan I like to bring you new music from time to time and this is one of those times!  This week, I featured an interview with former Jean Valjean Dan Koek as part of the Club 24601 series and as he’s a lovely bloke he kindly gave me a free track to share with my lovely readers (that’s you, in case you’re wondering!) so click here to get it before the offer goes away.

In order to bring you this free track I partnered with Angry Baby who alongside Dan, featured an up and coming artist on her blog this week.  I listened to his music and I liked it a lot so here is Angry Baby’s review of Robb Murphy:

A couple of weeks ago I found a message in my Angry Baby twitter account from Robb Murphy, inviting me to listen to his music. I clicked the link without any great expectations for what I would hear, but within a few seconds I was captivated by his sound. My little sister, who is not known for being particularly engaged with music, even began to fairy dance around the room, so I knew that this was an artist that I needed to hear more from and share with you.

I reached out to Robb, who told me a bit about his music and his influences.

Although Robb’s music has a traditional feel and rhythm to it that must come from his Irish heritage, he told me that he takes inspiration from “normal day to day life, the ups the downs we all go though, and always try to have a positive element in them”.

He went on to explain that he is influenced by nature and his surroundings, both his home in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. He was lucky enough to write much of his current album in a small town in Tuscany, which provides an opportunity to explore the contrast to those influences from album to album. Since Robb is an artist whose music is worth spending time with, I am looking forward to spotting where Ireland meets Italy in his music.

Here is a video of Robb’s new single Headstrong for you to listen to. Robb explained that Headstrong is taken from his current album, Sleep Tonight and describes the video:

“The video is a glimpse into my crazy head; people dressed in animal costumes who stage a break out from a zoo and are chased around by the zoo keeper getting up to mischief along the way.” Now that has to be worth taking a look at!

The song Headstrong is about keeping your focus, not getting distracted and sticking to your goals, so take a listen, and maybe try out your own fairy dance!

Robb’s musical influences are varied. He explained that “lyrics draw me in mostly, even more so if with an emotive melody. And I love a good upbeat pop song too. Bands like U2, REM, Del Ametri, Bon Iver, Counting Crows, and singer songwriters like Paddy Casey, Damien Rice, Ben Howard and Ryan Adams. I also love 60s and Motown and I am a vinyl collector!”

The reference to a preference for vinyl makes even more sense when you realise that Robb has a background as a producer and engineer, which may also explain the beautiful, melodic arrangements and attention to detail that shine through in his recordings.

Robb is currently touring in the Netherlands and returns to Northern Ireland for two scheduled performances early in November. I’ll certainly be keeping a look out for any more dates across the UK as he is an artist that I would love to hear ‘live’. I’ll keep you posted if I hear from him!

Finally, here is Robb’s advice for anyone who is just starting out with music:

Love what you do, create what you are proud of, don’t get too influenced by other current music, and write / play as much as you can. If your music happens to catch a few ears along the way that is great, but for me it is secondary. Music is a good way to express creativity and to meet like minded people so just keep at it and rewards will come!

If you like Robb’s music, Angry Baby has a FREE track available so don’t forget to click here to go through and claim your free track.  It’s fab!

Thank you to Flo at Angry Baby for allowing me to re-blog and share Robb’s music.