ALBUM REVIEW: Aiden Grimshaw “Misty Eye”

The X Factor has not really been the biggest launchpad for credible acts in the UK. With a stigma attached to winning, and a loser attached to the other contestants, it makes it difficult for an act to succeed in the follow-up. Where so many have failed, a few have forged ahead. One Direction are currently the most successful boyband in the world, Rebecca Ferguson and Cher Lloyd have followed suit and cracked America, while Olly Murs currently dominates the screen and music scene in the UK. So, what of Series 7 barely ran Aiden Grimshaw, whose shock early elimination shocked TV audiences, but may have bought him a genuine shot at the big time.

Two years have flown by since Grimshaw’s appearance on X Factor and he has bided his time wisely. Rather than rush releasing a feeble cash-in, he has kept his head to the ground, building up a following on the live circuit and ensured his material is worth its salt ahead of release. The result is easily the most credible, entertaining, engaging and intelligent debut release by an X Factor alumnus.

Grimshaw’s vocal is colourful and alarming. It sends shivers down the spine, yet appears effortlessly considered. Though there are some mishaps along the way, notably the messy “Be Myself”, which is strangely the least open and honest of the album’s thirteen song, Grimshaw presents a cohesive and original album.

While lead single “Is This Love” is without hesitation the album standout, Grimshaw should further explore his sensitive side, given that his rendition of Sia’s “Breathe Me” is blissfully tender.

There is little doubt that Aiden Grimshaw deserves to make it big. “Misty Eye” is not the debut album of an X Factor nearly ran, but rather the debut album of one of the UK’s most talented and innovative performers. We just have to hope his association with Simon Cowell’s talent pool does not blind side the British public.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

EP REVIEW: Young Kato “Young Kato”

It has been said that guitar pop is dead. It has also been said that the anthem is a thing of the past. However, Young Kato’s eponymous debut EP disproves both of the aforementioned status. Having been dubbed the indie One Direction, there is no denying that the young troupe are easy on the eye, but these boys can sure as heck compose riotously warm romps. Opening with lead single, the instant youth anthem “Drink, Dance, Play”, it is clear that these boys are social observers who know how to appeal to both the trendies and the pop kids.

While “Drink, Dance, Play” is easily the most instant and radio friendly of Young Kato’s debut offering, there is much more to the sextet than the single would imply. “Break Out” sees the boys head into an indie-folk terrain, with a stirring vocal that is reminiscent of Stornoway’s Brian Briggs. “Break Out” is musical bliss, from it’s whirling opening through to it’s sing-along climax. “Life’s Good” bridges the gap between the opening two numbers, and though not as instantly memorable, it grows with every listen and brews into the album standout.

Closing with The Editors meets The Killers, Young Kato deliver the brooding “Revolution”, a number which signifies everything that Young Kato symbolise. Young Kato are not following the trend, they make music that they love and they sound bloody good doing so. They may not fit in with the current mould, but then why should they? Good music was never about following the trend and it never will be. Young Kato are set to be massive. Just you wait and see.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

The Kaje talks establishing motives to Young Kato

Young Kato are a six-piece from Cheltenham who are set to become the band of their generation. Every so often the music scene needs shaking up, then a band springs up taking the lead from those that went before, but delivering it with their own style and swagger. Young Kato do exactly that. While their influences may be worn on their plush sleeves, they channel their creative spark into a new mould. Though they will be the recipients of comparisons to everyone from The Horrors to The Maccabees, The Arctic Monkeys to Pulp and Foals to The Smiths, we predict that Young Kato will be so big by the turn of 2013, that the need for comparison will fade by the time you finish listening to debut single “Drink, Dance, Play”. Luckily it appears that guitarist Jack Edwards has similar dreams and ambitions..
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So we know you are a six piece and you are from Cheltenham, but tell us a little bit more about how Young Kato came to be… How did you settle on the name Young Kato?
We didn’t! 2 of the 6 band members were totally against the name but after a week of brainstorming and only have one or two people liking the names being suggested, 4 out of 6 was quite good! I suppose being such a big band doesnt make it easy when it comes to things like that… So many of us to please!
Who brings what influences to the table?
We are all into bands such as Foals, The Maccabees, Friendly Fires, Dog is Dead, The Vaccines etc but then we all have other influences. For example, Tom (vocals) is into his 80s stuff… the likes of Duran Duran and The Smiths. Harry (keyboard) loves his jazz and often listens to Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman and Hiromi. I’m also into the slightly heavier side of the current Pop/Rock scene – Bands such as Twin Atlantic and Deaf Havana, so we get quite a wide spread of influence that probably comes through in our music.
As with all newcomers your sound is being compared to those that have gone before… What have been the best and worst comparisons you have heard?
The best comparision we’ve heard I think was “They’re like One Direction meets Arctic Monkeys, meets Morrisey”, another being “The Smiths with attitude” which was quite cool. Worst one would have to be “A cheap Two Door Cinema Club”, which was pretty bad.
If you had to draw your own comparisons-who would they be with and why?
I’d probably say The Killers with a hint of Morrisey and U2 because people have described our songs having “massive chorus’, and “lighters in the air” verses similar to that of an arena band sound. People also often comment on Tom’s Vocals saying “he sounds like Morrissey”.
You are about to release your debut EP-you have opted for the self-titled route.. Why?
Simply just an introduction to our music, we feel having the name directly alongside the music gets people knowing what we’re all about – we are Young Kato and this is our music.
Can you tell us a bit more about each of the four tracks…
Without giving too much away…
TRACK 1, ‘Drink, Dance, Play’ – A vibrant, youthful track showing off our bands energy. This song has always been the fan favourite with chants and stage invasions.
TRACK 2, ‘Break Out’ – Lyrically this is our strongest song as we co-wrote with Chelt born Ian Dench (EMF). Yet again a song with energy and a song that we connect to, as we sing/shout about breaking away from our daily routines of college/school/work.
TRACK 3, ‘Life’s Good’ – An upbeat love song that simply tells her that life is what you make of it, its time to stop moping around and get on with it.
TRACK, 4 ‘Revolution’ – Predominantly the bands favourtie song, another co-write – this time with Gordon Mills Jnr. A great bloke who works with lots of up and coming bands/artists including Ed Sheeran. The lyrics are strong, surreal and honest and rounds off our EP perfectly as we feel even though we wrote and recorded it in a day we feel we have found our sound.
How did you know which tracks were worthy of being on your introductory EP?
All four of the tracks have a big pop sound which is youthful and upbeat we felt the first release needed to be happy so that everyone can relate to them, not soleum and miserable like many songs around at present.
How did you select “Drink, Dance, Play” as the lead single?
There are so many “indie” guitar bands out there at the moment and we feel “Drink, Dance, Play” play has a completely different vibe to anything else. The combined factor of it’s uniqueness, the joyful vibe and the raw fact we are not ashamed to admit were making pop music the way it should be are the reasons we’ve chosen it as the single.
What hopes do you have for the single?
We’re not hoping to conquer the world for starters (even though that would be nice), after all it is our first release. We just hope it can raise awareness of the band and our name, then hopefully we can go from strength to strength after its release.
With the EP all set to be unleashed, are you looking forward to a life on the road?
Most definitely, the best part of being in a band is playing shows – what could be better than playing shows every night for weeks in a row, going to places
we’ve never been and meeting new people who all have a huge passion for live music? So yeah, really looking forward to it!
Where in the world would you most like to play?
I can’t speak for the whole band, but myself I’d love to play in Japan. I love how music acts as a worldwide language, it doesn’t even need to be literally translated for people to enjoy it or relate to it.
If you could define one ambition that you’d like to achieve by the turn of 2013, what would it be?
Have Album No.1 completed and ready to tour.
Lastly, complete this sentence Young Kato are set to be….
The new era of pop music.
Interview by Jeremy Williams

VIDEO: One Direction “Dreaming”

Here at The Kaje we decided to sit and wait a while before posting this touching beauty of a track. Having garnered more than a few headlines following a band-name dispute with Simon Cowell’s X Factor prodigies One Direction, the American quartet clearly take their lead from the soothing laptop pop of Owl City, which is no bad thing. If “Dreaming” is a showcase for what is to follow One Direction deserve to be as massive as their namesakes-after all, what is in a name but a piece of paper? As Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – so we suggest both sides put down the swords and keep making sweet sweet music.

LIVE REVIEW: Conor Maynard, o2 Academy 2 (Sheffield), 26.04.12

The excitement in the  o2 Academy 2 can barely been contained. With doors opening at 7pm, the nearly all female audience (with an average age of 15) are crammed against the railings screaming their hearts out at every utterance of ‘Britian’s Bieber’ Conor Maynard. With DJ Manny Norte on hand to whip up a frenzy, his excitable presence and Twitter interaction help control the growing hysteria.

Before the Brighton boy bounds on stage, four piece Rascals bounce on stage, effortlessly winning over the willing audience with their irrepressible energy and more than impressive tunes. Having first dabbled with fame back in 2007, the former trio (Big Shizz, Tempz and Merkz) have recruited a fourth member, Kay Willz, and upped their game. The time out has reaped the rewards, with the boys relaxed on stage and the girls eating their every word. If tonight’s show is anything to go by, Rascals could easily be the best new boyband on the block.

With almost three quarters of an hour between sets, the ecstatic girls barely move for fear of losing their space. Norte deals dutifully with requests, ensuring that the time flies by.

As soon as Maynard’s band takes their place, the camera phones are held high and screams are more than worthy of One Direction at the Motorpoint Arena. Maynard clearly relishes the attention and launches into his set without hesitation, bouncing off the audience’s energy and giving ten-fold back.

Maynard is no Bieber. He may be a teen star discovered on YouTube by a well-respected and established r’n’b star, but that is as far as the comparison goes. Far from a slick, over styled performer, Brighton’s finest offers an honest, humble, low key performance that oozes ability.

With a subtle cover of Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” kicking off a flurry of ballads mid set, Maynard is determined to prove there is more to him than boy next door good looks and well produced tracks. Emotional delivery and an impressive tone tug all the right strings, but the energy explodes as Maynard breaks back into Guetta-esque dance mode.

Closing with debut single, the slick, addictive “Can’t Say No”, Maynard leaves his audience wanting more, but fails to deliver an encore. Luckily his loyal fans are full of love and shrug off their disappointment as they head to the merch stand to spend their pennies on a T-Shirt or two to remember the night.

Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

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