HITS x Berlin

We hosted our very first live gig in Berlin - and this is what it looked like.

Cover The HITS

Our latest video series - covers performed by our favourite acts, exclusively for us.

Kat Frankie

Photos of the mega talented Kat Frankie performing in Stuttgart.

Video Interview: Scenic Route To Alaska

Melting away in front of Stuttgart's castle, we had a chat about touring, band names, Toy Story and a lot more.

Find us on YouTube!

Visit us on the 'tubes for interviews, exclusive performances and outtakes.

Video Of The Day: "Half As Good As You" by Tom Odell (feat. Alice Merton)



Hey guys!

There are SO many iconic collaborations out there which have happened over time.

Whether that's Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" (it's iconic, okay?), Grease's "You're The One That I Want" performed by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta (a CLASSIC) or a more recent example - Eminem and Beyoncé's "Walk On Water" (controversial, but definitely a big one).

There's just something exciting about two artists combining their sounds and creating a united piece of art.
Maybe I'm just overly nerdy when it comes to that, but I really love listening to collaborations.

Lucky me, because I get to share one with you today and I'd love to know what you think!


- Video Of The Day -
"Half As Good As You" by Tom Odell featuring Alice Merton


When I heard about their duet, I immediately couldn't wait to hear how their voices would mix together.

Both, Tom Odell and Alice Merton, have very strong and very attention-grabbing voices, which is why I think this song is such a powerful one. It's not your average "voices blend together so smoothly" kind of duet (and hey, there's nothing wrong with those! At all!).

Instead, you have two powerful voices that both demand your attention.
They tell the story of feeling heartbroken over somebody who isn't part of your life anymore, while trying to find somebody just like them.

The way the voices duet with each other and the piano creates an absolutely enchanting and slightly dramatic dynamic.
Although the lyrics are sad, the song is an absolute delight to listen to.


Watch the video for "Half As Good As You" right here:




- buy and/or stream "Half As Good As You" -



Tom Odell online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram


Alice Merton online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram





Thank you for your visit!

















Credits // Words: Vanessa Jetwash | Image: Tom Odell

Album Review: "Dogviolet" by Laurel



Hey guys!

Debut albums are a beautiful thing.

They are an introduction to an artist's sound, a glimpse of their vision and an insight into their stories.
It's actually super exciting, being able to dive into a new sound world, figuring out meanings behind certain songs, finding tracks that you can relate to and taking a thing or two away from listening to a record.

I'm sure while you were reading this, you thought about an album that did exactly what I described.

Luckily I get to listen to a lot of debut albums all the time and lucky for you - I'm always happy to share them with you.

Today we're all going on an emotional journey together, so I hope you're ready to listen to Laurel.


Artist: Laurel
Title: Dogviolet
Genre: Alternative
Label: Counter Records
Release Date: 24th August 2018


Laurel is a solo artist from London, UK.

Her sound combines different elements from different genres, creating a vivid and unique sound which could settle down for the Alternative title.

After releasing her latest EP "Park" in 2016, we've been hearing multiple singles to shorten the wait for "Dogviolet", Laurel's debut album.

Every track on the album was written and recorded in Laurel's home studio in East London. Later it was taken to Gizzard Studios and now it's in our hands and our ears - ready to be heard.

Laurel says about the album "I wrote these songs at home often locking myself away for periods of time in order to capture the true mania that comes from love; although a beautiful feeling, it can often feel a lot uglier."


So let's check it out!


Tracklist:
1) Life Worth Living
2) All Star
3) Same Mistakes
4) South Coast
5) Hold Tight
6) Adored
7) Sun King
8) Crave
9) Lovesick
10) Take It Back
11) Empty Kisses
12) Recover


Opener "Life Worth Living" enters the arena with a mysterious and dark vibe to it, making a bold and well expressed entrance.
The verses are kept as simple as they could be kept; Laurel's hauntingly beautiful vocals duet with the raw sounding guitar, which is being strummed in an effortlessly cool way.
Although kept so simple, you can feel the combination of vocals and guitar build up into the big chorus. A chorus that's going to stay in your head- percussions, bass, backing vocals and more guitar flare have been added and immediately give the song more grip.
All of those elements stay part of the song without ever making it sound cluttered, leaving you excited to hear what else the album has to offer.

 Fourth track on the album, "South Coast", is as dreamy as the imagination of walking along the south coast. It's a calm and atmospheric track, one that allows you to breathe and just be in the moment.
The calm and softly plugged electric guitar compliments the very present bass and Laurel's hypnotizing vocals. It's the kind of song you could have on repeat for an hour without getting bored of it. It offers enough details for you to get lost in.

"Adored" easily stands out, marking the halftime point with grit and a lot of electricity.
We're getting to hear a more aggressive side of the album, a straight-forward and boldly expressed emotion takes over and lets us listerners get to know Laurel's sound to its full extend.
With a voice that's so attention grabbing, it's no surprise that the musician can lead a track with confidence and certainty.


To sum it up: Whether it's the vulnerable and honest lyrics, the detailed instrumentals or Laurel's controlling and breathtaking vocals - "Dogviolet" is filled with reasons why this is one of the finest debuts of the year.


You should listen to these tracks: Life Worth Living, South Coast, Adored, Crave





- buy and/or stream "Dogviolet" here -



Laurel online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram






Thank you for your visit! 












Credits // Words: Vanessa Jetwash | Image: Laurel

Release Of The Day: "Head Held High" by Kodaline




Hey guys!

There are artists and bands who just continuously release brilliant tracks.
You know the kind - those tracks that always seem relevant, let you feel understood and spark hope and excitement.

When I think of the list of musicians who fit that description, a lot come to mind - and one of them is Kodaline.

It's no secret that team HITS is always ready to hype up new releases the day they're out,
so today is no different.
We immediately fell in love with Kodaline's new track and we can't wait for you to hear it.

So let's check it out!


- Release Of The Day -
"Head Held High" by Kodaline


Kodaline are a four piece from Dublin, Ireland.

Their sound is ever-evolving, going with the times and discovering new dynamics all the time - but to genrefy it for you, we'd use the word Alternative.

Kodaline are:
Steve Garrigan
Mark Prendergast
Jason Boland
Vinny May 

2015 was a whirlwind for the band; they released their fantastic second record "Coming Up For Air", played tons of festivals, performed with Ed Sheeran and continued touring.

They then slowed down the touring side of things and started writing and recording new material.
Soon they released single "Brother" (and made everyone cry with it) and later on in 2017 they dropped their latest EP "I Wouldn't Be".

Since early 2018 the band has been sharing singles off of their upcoming album "Politics Of Living", which will be released on September 28th 2018.

So far the band has released:
EP: The Kodaline (2012)
EP: The High Hopes (2013)
LP: In A Perfect World (2013)
LP: Coming Up For Air (2015)
EP: I Wouldn't Be (2017)


And today we're get to listen another new track, "Head Held High".


The band recorded it on a rainy day in London - and we don't know how they did it considering the circumstances, but the song sounds like pure sunshine.

It doesn't take longer than 10 seconds for you to realise that the song is here to brighten your day and make you sing along. (Both goals will be achieved by the end of the track, you just wait!)

It's a song about the lows of life; granted not the lowest lows, but those moments that just frustrate you, bring you down and leave you feeling defeated. We all know those moments.
Sometimes "you wonder if you're gonna live or if you will survive at all" and sometimes we all love wallowing in self pity. It's human.

But there are those times in which we kind of want to pick ourselves up and get on with life.

And that's where Kodaline come into play - they've only gone and wrote a song to cheer us all up.
"Head Held High" is that ray of sunshine in mp3 format that we've all been looking for. Whether you are already in a good mood and just want to enjoy the upbeat track for what it is, or if you're actually feeling down and are looking for that one track to improve your mood, this song is the one.

The way the band has combined their signature sound with new elements shows that they go with the times while staying true to their sound.
When we think of Kodaline, we think of harmonies and songs that make us feel something. They've once again created exactly that, but added a few more elements to surprise us.


And well, we're holding our heads up high.


(Note unrelated to review: if you ever feel low, scared or confused - there is always someone to talk to. You can either reach out to your family, friends or to a help line - here's a list of international help lines for you to call.)


Listen to "Head Held High" right here:




- pre-order the album and download "Head Held High" instantly -



Kodaline online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram






Thank you for your visit!












Credits // Words: Vanessa Jetwash | Image: Kodaline

Album Review: "Stay Awake With Me" by Dan Owen




Hey guys!

One of the questions I get asked the most when people find out what my little part in the music industry is, is "So what kind of music do you write about?"

Over the years my answer has progressed from "Oh, a lot! Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk, actually the variety is pretty big." to "Music that feels passionate and refreshing."

To be fair, both answers are fairly vague - but come on, what else am I going to say?
HITS is a home for all the music the team loves, so there really isn't an answer that lets people know what to expect.

But I like it that way.

And I hope that I can always surprise you with the music I decide to share with you.

I'm not sure if you'll be surprised today, but you'll love the music - that's for sure.

So let's do this!


Artist: Dan Owen
Title: Stay Awake With Me
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Blues
Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: 17th August 2018


Dan Owen is a singer/songwriter from Shrewsbury, UK.

He is one of those artists who effortlessly blow you away. He mixes Acoustic with some of the finest Blues and Rock elements in the most intense, yet thoughtful way.

Dan has been performing in public ever since he was 13 years, accompanying his sister on the guitar.
At the age of 17, he discovered his love (and talent!) for singing and soon started to gig his way through the UK.
Dan Owen has mastered the craft of playing everywhere which led to him playing 150-200 gigs a year.

His talent didn't go unnoticed after one of his performances went viral on the internet- Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood himself invited Dan for dinner to chat to him about music and offer him advice.

In October 2016, Dan released his EP "Open Hands and Enemies" and has been touring intensely, also supporting Birdy on tour. (We managed to catch one of the shows, you can check out photos here.)

"Made To Love You", the first single off of "Stay Awake With Me" has amassed over 13 million streams on Spotify alone, giving away just how greatly appreciated Dan's talent is.
All of the following singles got radio support from Radio 1, Radio 2 and Virgin Radio.

And now it's time for us to jump right into the review.


So, let's check out Dan's debut album!


Tracklist:
1) What Is A Man
2) Icarus
3) Made To Love You
4) Fall Like A Feather
5) Hideaway
6) Hand That You Hold
7) Parachute
8) Stay Awake With Me
9) Call My Name
10) Splinter


Opener "What Is A Man" greets you in the friendliest and warmest way possible; brass instruments happily chirp their melodies into your ears and allow you to dive into the album headfirst. Dan's powerful and smokey voice soon joins the occasion and takes the lead.
Whilst duetting with the choir-esque backing vocals in the chorus, you can clearly hear the strength and urgency in Dan's voice.
With "What Is A Man" building up towards the last chorus and shining in the lights of a clever arrangement and a catchy melody, us listeners get a good idea of what is yet to come.

Once we've had our first encounter with the opener track, "Icarus" is here to ease us into the depths of the album, giving us time to adjust to the serious side of Dan's songs. With vocals this big and gripping, it's hard not to focus on the vocals and only the vocals on every track.
But, although his voice is one you'll remember, it would be a mistake to ignore the well arranged and produced instrumentals.
The variety of elements, textures and dynamics plays a huge part in making the album what it is, as well as showing what kind of songwriter you have come across - a detailed oriented and passionate one.


The half-time point, "Hideaway", is definitely one of the highlights on Dan's debut.
It's raw, it's huge, it's going to send shivers down your spine.
The smokey and heavy atmosphere soaks you in right from the very first note you hear.
In fact, there is no way to listen to this track without the song fully grabbing your attention and holding onto it for the entire song.
Dan's way of expressing emotions through vocals is on another level, making it obvious that he can make you feel the same emotions he's experienced - whether you are in the same state of mind or not.


To sum it up: "Stay Awake With Me" is the kind of album that makes you double check to see if it actually is a debut album.
Dan seems to have already found his sound, yet he doesn't shy away from trying out new elements and it works in his favour. Each song is carefully crafted and plays exactly the part it is supposed to. So ladies and gentlemen, grab your headphones and join Dan Owen's journey.



You should listen to these tracks: Icarus, Made To Love You, Hideaway, Call My Name





- buy and/or stream "Stay Awake With Me" here -



Dan Owen online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram







Thank you for your visit!











Credits // Words: Vanessa Jetwash | Image: Dan Owen via Wilful Publicity

Top 5: HITS interviews



Hey guys!

Today is quite a special day in the history of HITS.

(Okay, that sounded wayyy too dramatic, but let's just go with it.)

Exactly 5 years ago I taped my very first video interview.
If you remember that interview - wow, thank you! If you don't, that's totally cool - let me just tell you about it.
My first interviews (both written and video) were with a duo called Martin and James.
Fun fact: the blog is named after a line from their song "Wrong Directions".

I have been and still am a huge fan of their music, so being able to interview them was a big deal to me.
We filmed that interview on a sunny day in Cologne, which is about three hours away from my hometown. So I've had three hours to freak out in the car and worry about everything that could go wrong. Perfect.

If you have ever met Martin, James and their manager Ryan, you will know that they're some of the nicest people on the planet and they will even take a 17 year old seriously and let her interview them.

Having them be the first band I got to interview was the best case scenario and to this day I'm super glad this happened.
You can check out the interview here.
 

In honour of five years of interviews, I thought it would be nice to share five of my favourite interviews with you today. 



Before we dive into this list, I just want to say that I have enjoyed every single interview I've ever filmed and I get to learn so much along the way all the time.

Not only have I had the opportunity to sit down with some of my favourite artists, I've also found new favourites so very often.


That said, here are five of my favourite interviews:


1. Interview & Accent Challenge: Kodaline

Dare I say this is iconic? No, I don't.

But not only is this one of our most popular interviews, it's also one of the funniest interviews I've ever hosted.
I am not sure if I've ever told the story of how I came up with the idea for the accent challenge, so I'll do that now.
When I met Kodaline for the first interview back in September 2015, their tour manager Lewis pointed out the Scouse accent I had at that time. We all had a laugh and that was that.

Well, until the second interview came around and I decided to work the subject of accents in there by making Jason and Steve read their own lyrics in different accents.

The rest is available for you to view, so I hope you laugh as much as I did. And make sure to check out Kodaline if you haven't already, they for sure are in our good books.





2. Interview & Song Title Challenge: Jack Garratt

This was one of those interviews that I really wanted to have.

It took a few emails to arrange it and it meant travelling three hours to get to Munich.
Jack Garratt wrote one of my all time favourite songs, so being able to sit down with him for a chat and challenge was extremely great.

I admire his creativity and think he's one cool dude, so I felt like I could get away with throwing in a fun little challenge of reading odd song titles in there.
And it worked out beautifully.

And now everytime I eat vegetables, it makes me think of you.
(You'll get this if you watch the video. Or if you're a Ramones fan.)





3. Interview: Jamie Lawson

This is the third and most recent interview I filmed with Jamie Lawson.

We first met in 2014 for an interview and have filmed together every year ever since. He was the first artist I interviewed before I actually knew him. Before that I had mainly interviewed artists I had met before or knew in some way.

I know I haven't met the entire population of the world, but Jamie is honestly one of the nicest and loveliest people. This latest interview was a lot of fun for me, so of course it is part of this list.

This was also the first interview in which things got political and you'll get to see a lot more of that soon.





4. Interview: Scenic Route To Alaska

Could this carry the title "most underrated interview on HITS"? In my opinion, yes.

YouTube and algorithms can kick you right in the behind when you're trying to share your content, so sometimes the stuff you're proud of doesn't get seen.

This chat with Scenic Route To Alaska was a lot of fun and maybe I'm biased because they think Betty White is cool, but I think you'd actually enjoy watching it regardless.

That said - please check out the stuff that's posted by creators you enjoy, you'll help them immensely - and you'll probably find more music you'll end up loving.




5. Song Title Challenge: Rhys Lewis vs. Josh Savage

So, one thing I love about filming interviews is that they are always unpredictable.

Sometimes they end up being super deep and insightful and other times they're just fun and entertaining. And I love that on HITS we cover both ends of the spectrum.

Hosting this little challenge (the same one that Jack Garratt aced) with two of the finest songwriters was a lot of fun and I love that we made this little collab happen in London.

Now, check out the video to see whether "You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" is an actual song title or not. You'll be surprised for sure.




Which one is your favourite house in the sand interview?


I would absolutely love to see which one you pick - to refresh your memory, here's a list of all interviews.


Before we end this post here, I just wanted to thank every artist that has ever allowed me to ask them tons of questions and also to every tour manager, manager, PR and label - they all do such amazing work behind the scenes and allow people like me to live their dreams.
You're all wonderful!


Of course - the biggest thank you always goes to you - the audience.
Without you there wouldn't be a reason to record these interviews, so thank you for being a part of house in the sand.



And that's it for today!
Here's to the next 75 years of interviews.



Thank you for your visit!













Credits // Words & Image: Vanessa Jetwash

Gig Photos: Post Animal at The Empty Bottle in Chicago



Hey guys!

Happy Sunday!
Enjoy your day off (if you have one!) and just don't think about Monday.

If you are looking to spend your day online (I mean... don't we all?), maybe consider heading to our "creators we love" page and check out the brilliant blogs and YouTube channels for quality content aplenty.

Of course, we would love for you to check out our content as well, afterall that's why we are creating it.

Today we get to feature an exciting band for you to check out on this mighty fine day.

Our Washington based photographer Gabby was on the trip to Chicago and ended up taking a few photos at the Post Animal show.

You can learn more about Gabby here. Please also make sure to follow her online:
website | twitter | instagram


So let's learn more about Post Animal now!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Date: 4th August 2018
Venue: The Empty Bottle, Chicago (US)


Headliner: Post Animal


Post Animal are a band from Chicago, USA.
They describe their sound as Heavy Psych Pop - and honestly, they've nailed it - both, the description and the sound.

Even though they formed in 2014 and only started touring in 2017, the band convinces with confidence and dedication to their craft.
Post Animal was formed by childhood friends bassist Dalton Allison and guitarist Matt Williams when they met keyboardist and guitarist Jake Hirshland.
Over time three more members, drummer Wesley Toledo and guitarists Javi Reyes & Joe Keery completed the band.

They got their start playing DIY basements and small rock clubs and soon released their first EP, "Post Animal Perform The Most Curious Water Activities" in 2015.
Staying on top of the wave, they then put out a singles collection - "The Garden Series" - in 2016.

Their bio states: "Between their impressive early releases and their wild live shows which feature the band members sharing lead vocal duties, Post Animal have unquestionably solidified themselves as one of Chicago’s most exciting up-and-coming acts.
Having taken that intensity across the country, touring with bands like Twin Peaks, Wavves, White Reaper, and more, Post Animal have found they are happiest when playing to a room full of fellow music-lovers. As a result, they are road tested and stronger than ever."

On April 20th of 2018, Post Animal released their highly anticipated debut record, "When I Think Of You In A Castle" via Polyvinyl.

The album "is the product of six friends creating music they love, even if the circumstances weren’t always in their favor. “Before this album, we weren't sure what the future of the band was going to look like. I was considering moving to Los Angeles and Joe [Keery] was off filming Stranger Things. We didn't know where we were all going but we knew we wanted to make an album with all of us in the same room,” explains Toledo.
Being the first time all Post Animal members recorded together, the album’s collaborative spirit is more-than-evident throughout its 10 carefully curated tracks. Even Keery, who’s no longer an active touring member of the band due to his skyrocketing acting career, was integral to the album’s inception."

Now, we could give you an indepth review of the album - but we could also put it plain and simple, so that's what we'll do:

Post Animal put out one of the finest debuts we've heard in a while and "When I Think Of You In A Castle" makes us dance, sing and chill. Oh, and swoon over the brilliant arrangements.



Check out "Gelatin Mode" right here:




Post Animal online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram


















 

Alright guys - now it's your turn - let us know which Post Animal track is your favourite!




Thank you for your visit!








&






Credits // Words (except quotes): Vanessa Jetwash | Quotes via Post Animal on Facebook | Photography: Gabby Ames

Song Of The Day: "Summer Sound" by ROMES



Hey guys!

So, over here we've already had the hottest day of the year and I can honestly say that I'm not excited about such record.

I don't know about you guys, but it's making me want to sit in ice water all day.
But since that is pretty unrealistic, I've decided to take a different approach to the day - I'll try to be optimistic and enjoy the sunshine.
Luckily my inbox always seems to have my back and today it provided the perfect track for those overly sunny days.

So, let's forget about the sweat and let's just dance in the sun.
(Please hydrate though, babies.)


- Song Of The Day -
"Summer Sound" by ROMES


ROMES are a Canadian-Irish four piece based in Toronto, Canada.
Their sound sits somewhere on the lines of Pop and Alternative and always wins you over with its depth.

ROMES are:
Jacob Alexander (vocals)
Nicolas Amadeus (drums)
Andrew Keyes (bass)
James Tebbitt (guitar)

"Summer Sound" is the band's latest single off of their 2017 released self-titled album.

After releasing said album, the band has been busy touring with Mutemath (we caught their NYC show and it was brilliant) and they've kept on growing their loyal fanbase.

Their previous singles "Tryna Be",  "Believe" and "Spend The Night" have all been more than well received and their latest, "Summer Sound", now has the support from 130 stations in Britain which play it regularly.


And once you listen to "Summer Sound", you will know why.


The track is as lively, bouncy and catchy as it could possibly be.
It's practically impossible to sit still and/or have a bad mood when this song is one - it's got this electrifying and carefree vibe to it, which most likely is going to make you dance.

The usage of fun background chants gives the song such a summer-y feeling. Said feeling is supported by the beats and riffs and is carried by the expressive lead vocals.


So, ladies and gentlemen - instead of reading what we have to say, let's just dance to the track, yeah?
3, 2, 1 - go!




Watch the lyric video for "Summer Sound" right here and feel free to sing along:




- buy or stream "Summer Sound" here -



ROMES online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Instagram





Thank you for your visit!













Credits // Words: Vanessa Jetwash | Image: ROMES via Wilful Publicity