I had always anticipated my response to the sounds of a metal album to be the sort that evoked physical pain, rather than emotional joy. I'm not referring to a headache here - more the pulsating migraine type that only a strong dose of Co-codamol could cure.

 

Rap and R&B are two genres that I don't normally listen to. No reason at all behind that choice - although I imagine it has something to do with growing up with an older brother who was into heavy metal. However, I do love a good underdog story - whether it be in films, books, sports, or just life in general. And that is the one and only reason that I decided to take an hour and a half out of my life to listen to Naughty Boy's début album 'Hotel Cabana'. I am wonderfully surprised by just how much of a solid and well-produced album it is. I am totally shocked by how good it is - I now like R&B! That is something I thought I would never see myself admitting to.

Music still sees a bitter, bitchy and unending feud between the musician and the manufactured star. Though one (the first) has more talent in a single strand of hair than their opponent, it is the latter that time and time again sells, sells, sells. However, amassing to present glory doesn’t always guarantee the eternal CRITICAL legacy of greats like Johnny Cash and David Bowie.

As festival season rolls around to a close, here is our guide to some of the more spectacular festivals that you may have never heard of (and that you should probably get on the early-planning list for next year!)..

If I was to say to you 'Henry Parker's music is as fantastically addictive as the likes of Page, Clapton and Dylan's, then you would probably roll back your eyes and say something along the lines of 'How dare you compare an artist to such un-touchable greats?!'. That is until I thrust his new single 'Red Fox' under your nose, where I would sit and watch you eat your words quicker than Usain Bolt running the 100m.

After winning NME’s 'Festival of the Year' award last year, there’s a certain pressure for Leeds and Reading 2013 to live up to previous success - no doubt about it. With some critics ostracising this year’s festival due to complaints that the line up is littered with ‘recycled bands’, coupled with an inability to sell out tickets and concerns about the strength of this year's line up, the future of the festival has been called into question.

Making a second album is always going to be tough. In my eyes it is probably the hardest thing a band has to do, as they have to keep their current fan base happy, while also trying to branch out and gain new fans at the same time. When you consider the fact that come April of this year this band didn't even have a lead vocalist, then the odds were seriously stacked against them. Yet, somehow, this five-piece band from California took the terrible situation they were in and turned it around as 'Fragile Figures' - an album which has become one of the best albums released this year. It isn't the best, but sweet Jesus it is up there with the big players. It is simply monstrous.

I want to make it clear from the get go: I love singer-songwriters. There is something about someone sitting down, writing their own tunes, and singing them with the passion and pride that the main stream music industry has been severely lacking in recent years. I also love YouTube. I spend a stupid amount of time each and every day watching and laughing at vloggers. Now, with Emma Blackery, you have combined two of my most adored things - a singer-songwriter/vlogger is something that doesn't happen very often. The good thing about it, is this: Blackery doesn't just let the fact that she is a 300,000+ subscribed to YouTuber go to her head. She is a talented songwriter with a utterly wonderful voice, and could really go the distance.

Do you sing in your car/shower/bedroom and think you have what it takes to make it as a Star? Well this will be right up your street! 

Open Mic UK is back for another year and promises to thrust another 'Soon to be Star' right down your lug'oles! 

 

If you are of the Indie wanker persuasion, like me, then feast your eyes (and ears) on these bad boys. All of those listed below have been around for quite some time. Yet, because – for some mysterious reason - society dictates ‘good music’ to consist of a hell of a lot of whining and auto tune, they’ve never really made it to number one.

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