Album Review: Mona ‘Mona’

Since appearing in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll, and winning the Brand New for 2011 title at the MTV Awards, the Nashville 4-piece Mona have gone from strength to strength. Their debut album, ‘Mona’ was released in May 2011 and was accompanied with the following blurb on their website:

“The only thing slick about Mona is their hair. The rest is arm-pumping, vein-throbbing, knee-jittering, raw-throated, singalong rock’n’roll.”

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Session Vocals at Stompbox Studios

I spent a fun evening at Stompbox Studios earlier this week recording a couple of songs for local songwriter Maggie Adams.

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Album Review: Aloe Blacc ‘Good Things’

Californian soul vocalist Aloe Blacc first began his career as a rapper in 1995, but quickly turned his back on that genre, saying that “Artists like 50 Cent made me stop rapping. I felt there was too much opulence, braggadocio and misogyny in hip-hop and I wanted to tell a different story. What happened is that the music got corporatised. Industry executives sacrificed art for what sells and mega-stars now saturate the market with the same tired lyrics.”

‘Good Things’, Blacc’s second album, was released in 2010. Mellow, relevant, and soulful, it’s surely the sophomore album John Legend wishes he had made.

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Album Review: Lady Gaga ‘Born This Way’

Born This Way is Lady Gaga’s 2nd official studio album, after 2008’s ‘The Fame’ was spun off in 2009, released as ‘The Fame Monster’ with 8 new tracks.

Since 2009, the Madonna comparisons have escalated, her online following has grown (Gaga now has a Twitter following of over 10 milion ‘little monsters’), and her extreme image has entered bizarre new heights. She was also recently named Time Magazine’s 5th most powerful person in the world. Not bad for a girl who started her career aged 14, playing clubs on New York’s lower east side.

In the run-up to the release, Gaga explained:

The album is my absolute greatest work I’ve ever done and I’m so excited about it. The message, the melodies, the direction, the meaning, what it will mean to my fans and what it will mean in my own life – it’s utter liberation.

Can the most-anticipated album of the 2011 live-up to this kind of hype?

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My New Website

I’m very proud to present my newly-designed website – www.markgilroymusic.com .

I hope you guys like my new photos and are able to find your way around the site OK. I’ve gone for a much cleaner look and added a special page for weddings. More to follow on that! I’ll be updating the videos/music page soon with new recordings and video clips. Watch this space.

I’m currently taking bookings and deposits for events in 2012. If you have any occasion in mind that you think I can add a bit of music too, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

– Mark

p.s. reviewing the new Lady Gaga album tomorrow….

“A flash of inspiration…”

Yesterday I had lots of fun working with Mark Pierce at his studio in North Yorkshire creating some brand new pictures for my website and blog.  Really looking forward to seeing what develops (excuse the pun). Now comes the difficult part- picking which, out of the 300+ pics that were shot, will make it onto the new website.

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My Top 5 Workout Songs

I’m currently in training for a 10K race, which is taking place in June (my justgiving page is here, if anyone’s feeling generous). An interesting (and unexpected) bonus to go alongside all the aching muscles and stiff joints is selecting a decent playlist to accompany a good run.

Here, then, are my top 5 workout songs:

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My Life So Far…In 7 Songs

 

After carefully crafting a new, space-saving digital library, I recently sold my CD collection. During the big sort out, I ended-up revisiting albums from my childhood, teenage years and university days. I’m constantly amazed by how evocative music can be. Even hearing the first few notes of a song can instantly transport you back in time to a memory of a place, a person or a joke.

 

So, without further ado – my life so far, in 7 songs:

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February & March – Weddings & Birthdays

I was over the moon when my friend Emma asked me to perform at her wedding last month. It was a lovely service followed by a gorgeous reception at Charlton House in Greenwich, the best-preserved Jacobean mansion in London.

A huge thanks to all who were there and came up to say that they enjoyed the music (especially to those who stuck around for country &  western ‘Pokerface’). Thanks of course too to Emma & Tom for inviting me to play, and for your recent email:

“I just wanted to drop you a little note to say thank you again for playing at the wedding – everyone said how great you were.”

Album Review: Elbow ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’

A full decade since the release of their debut album, Elbow follow-up 2008’s Mercury Award and Ivor-Novello-winning ‘Seldom Seen Kid’ with their latest effort.  Their previous album’s lead singles ‘Grounds For Divorce’ and ‘One Day Like This’ were so successful, Elbow were propelled into dizzy new heights, appearing at Glastonbury & Latitude festivals in 2008, and supporting the likes of Coldplay & U2 in 2009. In the space of one album, they went from performing at intimate one-off gigs to entire stadiums.

It’s safe to say then, that expectations for this album were high.

New fans wanted more of singer Guy Garvey’s heavily-accented choirboy vocals, but old fans feared a cop-out of Kings Of Leon-esque proportions, knowing that an album full of ‘One Day Like This‘ duplicates would never work. Perhaps the success had gone to their head and this new album will be filled with songs of touring and press attention?

I’m happy to report that ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ doesn’t disappoint.

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