Now there are split opinions around the world in regards to pop icons One Direction and it is certainly a topic which I have noticed has sparked considerable debate as to whether to love or hate them. However, should we hate them just because they are huge global super-stars who reached where they are through a television programme which has also been a graveyard for musicians in the past and also produce (debatable) shitty mainstream music? Or, should we respect them for how they have played the beast that is the Music Industry and through an incredibly tactical and talented management team (amongst other factors) have become - what some would argue - is the modern day equivalent of the Beatles?

The teenager within me started to somersault when news reached my ears of You Me At Six’s brand new single, ‘Lived A Lie’. Yippeeee, I thought to myself, a chance rediscover pop-rock. Gravelly voices, fierce percussion and delicious, sweat-ridden gigs; all things that tingled the musical taste buds of my fifteen-year-old self.


Australian four-piece band, San Cisco, hit up Leeds Belgrave Music Hall as part of their UK tour this autumn in order to promote their début, self-titled album.

First and foremost, the venue is FAB. The Belgrave adds yet another #edgy venue to the Leeds music scene. Think ‘Nation of Shopkeepers’, but on three (yes, three) floors. Belgrave is a treasure trove of awesomeness; it boasts a pizza oven with a midnight curfew, a succulent selection of beers, a chilled roof terrace under the stars (and they say romance is dead), and they top it all off with the best fish & chips in town. Belgrave’s capacity of 200 allows it to retain a magical level of artist-audience intimacy, which is too readily lost in larger venues.

You can call me strange, but as venues go, the Cockpit in Leeds really excites me. Firstly, you’re inside a fucking railway bridge - that’s pretty awesome. Secondly, the venue’s shape not only allows for ace acoustics, but its size creates an incredible intimacy between the audience and the performing act. As expected, the atmosphere rippled with waves of anticipatory energy as a varied crowd waited to see what London Grammar had to offer. In the last year, singles ‘Hey Now’ and ‘Wasting My Young Years’ have launched their début album If You Wait into a seductive spotlight of success, so I was eager to see how the album would translate into a live performance.

Reflektor came out a few weeks back and I initially had worries about how Arcade Fire could create a better album than their previous fantastic array of albums. Critics have been split, some saying that Reflektor is an excellent renewal of their music and others finding it disappointing in comparison to past albums. Some have even voiced the opinion that Arcade Fire may have lost their musical genius; however, on first listen I knew I was pro-Reflektor. In my opinion, they managed to create an equally good album to everything they've produced - it’s just a bit different.

The X Factor: murdering music since 2004. James Arthur's self-titled début album is the debris of his winning success on the world's trashiest TV show. Arthur himself has been one of the first to admit that the winners contract doesn't always work in your favour, stating that working with multiple producers on the album has fucked up his creativity. James' decision to sell his artistic soul over to the corporate puppeteers came after his deflating struggle as a member of various unsigned bands. 

If you haven't heard of Linkin Park then you somehow have completely missed growing up. This band were, back in the day, one of the greatest nu-metal bands in the world, and I can guarantee that if you are, or have ever been into rock music, Linkin Park are one of the bands that got you into music of the heavier kind. The guys from California have produced countless hits, and in my eyes, are the proud owners of one the best albums ever recorded in the shape of Hybrid Theory. Now the band are on their 8th studio album, yes you saw that correct - their 8th! Now, before you go cry in the corner because of just how old that makes you feel, hear me out. If you like Linkin Park and are a die hard metal fan, you are simply going to hate this album - no doubt about it. But open your ears, stick on their newest album and look at Recharged as an album by a band you have never heard before, because this is seriously something new and exciting.

Avalon Landing have arrived from across the pond, and that's exactly how they sound - this album is as American as it gets. Think High School Musical, but perhaps a soundtrack to their college years. Okay, that's maybe an insulting comparison. Avalon Landing came together over a shared love for music and released their first record 'Demos, Dead Ends & Do Overs' in late 2011. The quartet originate from Las Vegas and have gained popularity through touring in support of Imagine Dragons. 

If you're yet to visit the place, Leeds City Varieties Music Hall is nestled in the heart of Leeds' city centre and serves as a charming little venue for music and theatre. It's rather fancy, especially in comparison to The Cockpit - so much so that it left Dan from The Feeling wishing he had brought his tap shoes! The Feeling formed in 1995 and scored their first chart topping success with Fill My Little World Right Up in 2005, before releasing their album of greatest hits a decade later. Irrespective of this, the band have been fairly worn out news. Until now. 

As soon as someone plants the seed of stardom in an aspiring performers head, X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and even Pop Idol are likely to burst into their brain. Many participants, supporters and viewers see these shows as the only shortcut to fame. But… are there any alternatives? The answer is...

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