The River: Adam Hender exclusive: Rising star on his first UK tour

Adam Hender playing his gig at Londons Bush Hall

link to The River article:

If it were not for a change in schools, musician Adam Hender might never have launched his music career.The up-and-coming Welsh singer released several singles in 2019 which have gained nearly 200,000 streams on Spotify and has already been praised “as one to watch” by critics.

He said: “I think I’ve always been into music. I guess I started taking it seriously when I was in secondary school, around 13 or 14.

“I don’t think I went that far in music because I changed schools and that’s where I learnt guitar. Maybe if I hadn’t changed schools, I might not have gone into a music career.

“The music teacher there, Mr Ampleby, was absolutely amazing. I joined a band and did some local shows, and that’s where it really got going for me.”

Since launching his music career, he has played venues all around the UK and gained new fans after being played on Radio 1.

Hender said: “I got Best New Pop on Radio 1 not so long ago for my soft release Burn, so that was amazing.”

The singer uploaded his reaction to the news of his win on his Facebook page in January shortly after singer and DJ Mollie King announced it.

The 21-year-old said he was always around music as a child as his mum would play Motown in the house, and his four brothers could all sing.

He cites John Mayer as one of his biggest influences.

Hender said: “I got into John Mayer around the age of 13 because that was when I was learning guitar. I think I learnt his albums back to front, not only on guitar but singing, and I used to do those songs in my sets and on open mic nights.

“I grew up listening to quite a wide range of music from pop to rap, and I like all kinds of music.”






Hender went on his first UK tour in February where he opened in Manchester and finished in Glasgow.

He was most looking forward to playing London due to its iconic status, and sang nine songs at his gig, including his latest release I Don’t Mind.

He said: “I’m kind of living in each different moment. Every time something happens, I’m like ‘oh that’s so cool’. So, at the moment there are little milestones that I’m checking off.

“My first show back in North Wales was amazing. We sold out a beautiful little chapel – 250 people, I think it was.

Following the release of singles Don’t Wake Me Up, Burn, and Once Chance, Hender was excited to reveal some details about his upcoming album.

He said: “We have been working on a record for that album, but we have got singles in the pipeline. If all goes well and everything’s moving, then we’re hoping to drop the album at the end of the year… maybe?”

The River: Kingston graduate Harriet Kemsley becomes a comic star

Harriet Kemsley and Sean Lock on 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown

Link to The River article:

A Kingston graduate has become a rising top comedy star, appearing regularly as a guest on popular TV show 8 out of 10 Cats.
Comedian Harriet Kemsley, 32, first started Stand-Up in 2011 in Brighton soon after graduating with a degree in English literature.

Her appearances on the show prompted a lot of recognition online, and she soon appeared on their spinoff show, 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Critics praised Kemsley and said she “outshone” other panellists including regulars Rob Beckett and Katherine Ryan, as well as reality TV star Gemma Collins.

She said: “Ha, that is very kind of them but absolutely not true. It’s amazing to do these shows because you’re on with comics at the absolute top of their game so I am just very happy to be there.”

Kemsley was painfully shy during her time at Kingston and only pursued comedy after she graduated.

She was inspired to explore stand up by her parents, Fiona and Graeme, after they watched Live At The Apollo and believed their daughter should try it.

Kemsley said: “They were like ‘stupid embarrassing things always happen to you – maybe you could make a living out of that?’
“And then I did a gig, and that was that. And now they regret it every day.”

Kemsley has taken on numerous projects over the few, including podcasts and TV shows.

When she married comedian Bobby Mair in 2017, her wedding was commissioned by Viceland for a reality TV show titled Bobby and Harriet Get Married.

She loved making the series and said: “It was absolute chaos as we got the commission six weeks before we got married, so we were writing and filming, and poorly planning a wedding all at the same time.

“We learnt so much and just cast lots of our friends. It was such a collaborative project between my husband and our friend Stu Richards and this fantastic team of super talented, funny people.”

She bases her material on real-life incidents and deals with personal issues through her comedy sets.

She said: “The best thing about being a comedian is you get to lie in, and you’re surrounded by funny people. Also, when bad things happen if you can make them funny, then you can turn them into profit.”

Kemsley won several awards at the start of her career including Funny’s Funny Female Comedian of the Year 2011 and Brighton New Act of the Year 2012.

Kemsley will be at the Edinburgh Festival in August and will then be touring a new show at the end of the year.

The River: Blossoms Continue to bloom with their latest album

Blossoms playing at NOS Alive credit: RexFeatures
Link to The River article:

4/5 stars

Known for their indie-pop style, Blossoms third album Foolish Loving Spaces sees them go down a different path as they experiment with groovy guitars, disco and electro-rock.

The five-piece from Stockport gained popularity in 2016 after releasing their colossal hit Charlemagne from their self-titled debut album.

Their newly released album showcases a joyous, gospel sound with lyrics exploring broken promises, therapy and ending relationships.

The first track, If You Think This Is Real Life, starts abruptly as frontman Tom Ogden sings over a synth piano.

Your Girlfriend is a groovy tune with soft moans of an electric guitar incorporated between verses.

The song is about the forbidden love of a friend’s girlfriend and ends with a slow drum beat and the lyrics: “I heard they got engaged today.”

Their third single, The Keeper, is piano-heavy with rhythmic yet subtle drums. It is an optimistic tune that gives a euphoric feeling when it gets to the chorus as Ogden explains he wants to “spend this life as one” with his lover.

My Swimming Brain has a cool, summer vibe to it, especially when paired with the harmonies of the backing vocals, even though the lyrics are about someone who cannot change.

For their latest project, Blossoms have delved into sounds similar to vintage alternative bands such as Talking Heads and Fleetwood Mac.

The band has previously dabbled into sounds of the 1980s by putting a fresh spin on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance at Reading Festival in 2019.

Sunday Was A Friend Of Mine emphasises that 1970s sound as it introduces a funky guitar, rhythmic bass and “ooh’s” which adds to the smooth lead vocals.

The funky vibes continue through to track six Oh No (I Think I’m In Love) as this dance-like pop number is cheesy yet catchy with a repetitive chorus that will get stuck in your head.

“Come back, Oh come back babe” is the first line in seventh track Romance, Eh? It is slower than some of the other songs, but they keep their signature guitar and indie-synth sound with soppy and pitiful lyrics.

My Vacant Days is similar to the calm and sombre My Favourite Room from their debut album. The guitar is the only instrument heard until the one-minute mark, where a piano is introduced, creating a beautiful, melodic tune.

Their ninth track Falling For Someone sounds like a soundtrack to a teen flick from the 1980s as it emphasises that dreamlike daze of being in love.

The female backing vocals add to this as they sing: “Here I lay, lost in a moment, when will I wake up?”

The last song, Like Gravity, is unlike anything Blossoms have ever done. This electro-rock track has a guitar reminiscent of noughties rock bands, and the chorus is quite similar to The Strokes 2001 song, Hard To Explain.

Overall, this is the most ambitious Blossoms have been as the band continue to grow with every album produced.

The River: Week 6 Love Island roundup: babies, declarations of love and meeting the family

Link to The River article:

The final week of love island has been and gone, and we have only got one show until we have to face our boring, mundane lives again.

What could possibly fill this void? Hopefully, we will not be waiting too long for the summer edition of our favourite trash reality show. Tribute to Caroline Flack

Monday’s episode started with a Voiceover from presenter Iain Stirling making a tribute to his friend and co-presenter Caroline Flack. He said some beautiful words as he spoke over the scenery of waves and mountains and the show started without the theme song.

Embedded video

The Just Eat adverts were also replaced by the Be Kind campaign inspired by the death of Flack. Noticeably missing from the episode was Stirling’s loud Scottish voice and sharp tongue as the crew paid their respects.

Baby challenge!

Once again, viewers were graced with the gift of watching the islanders try to take care of fake babies. This challenge is always entertaining, and we get an insight into what our islanders would be like as parents.

We discovered that Jamie, Ched and Callum are great single dads, Mike and Priscilla are the perfect parents and Luke T and Siânnise were robbed. How did they fail that challenge?

It’s the challenge we’ve all been waiting for… 🍼👶

Embedded video

Jamie was especially funny in this challenge as he failed to put the brakes on the pram, sending it hurtling into the pool, then later stated that the baby had no feelings “just like his mum” Natalia, who said she “doesn’t trust the baby”.

Double dumping 

After the baby challenge, couples had to vote on who they thought was the least compatible couple and unsurprisingly, every couple was voted for apart from audience favourites, Siânnise and Luke T, and Paige and Finn.

In the end, it was Natalia and Jamie (no surprise there) who were voted off first. Natalia made it painfully obvious that Jamie is not the one for her, so I doubt they will meet up on the outside.

Next to leave was Molly and Callum. This seemed to shake up the villa as Callum was one of two original male islanders left, but I am hopeful that this couple could make things work on the outside.

Final dates 

The final five couples then embarked on their final dates of the series. Each date was unique and romantic, and all couples spoke about their futures together as Mike and Priscilla became boyfriend and girlfriend, Paige and Finn spoke about moving in together, and Siânnise and Luke T dropped the L bomb.

Jess and Ched also became exclusive, and Demi and Luke M planned future dates and spoke about travelling together. They all seemed to become stronger after their dates, and you could definitely feel the love in the villa.

Our hearts could not help but melt at all these adorable couples, and this may be one of the first series where all the remaining couples can actually see a future together.

Talent show

Where do we even start with this… We saw dancing, guitar-playing, singing, drumming and quizzing but it was the choreographed jazzercise routine by Jess and Ched that won the talent show and ultimately- a night in the hideaway.

Personally, I thought Finn should have won.

The perfect man doesn’t exi–

Embedded video

Meet the parents

Another staple of Love Island, this episode is always highly emotional and sweet. It was lovely to see all the islanders parents come in and greet their children as well as meeting their kids other half. All the parents seemed to get on with the couples, and Luke T’s mum even said that she “loves” Siânnise!

Get you someone who looks at you the way Eve looks at Jess

View image on Twitter

Even Jess’s somewhat forgotten twin Eve turned up to have a catch up with her sister and meet Ched. It was unusual to see Jess back with her sister after weeks apart.

Unfortunately, not every couple can make it to the final, so one couple was booted out on Friday night. Priscilla and Mike were the latest couple to leave, but at least they are going together as boyfriend and girlfriend.

Final four

Jess & Ched – These two are lovable, funny and a great match. I am hopeful that this could work on the outside as they seem to bounce off each other, especially after they won the talent show.

Demi & Luke M –Perhaps the most smiley couple to ever grace the villa, these two cuties won over viewers after realising their feelings for each other. Their date was romantic, and they keep growing.

Paige & Finn –The longest-running couple in the villa, these two had an instant connection when hunky Finn entered the villa. They have had many ups and downs, but they are perfect for each other, and we expect them to last on the outside.

Siânnise & Luke T –Probably twitter’s favourite couple, these two bring joy, laughter and entertainment to the show. Like Paige and Finn, they have had their ups and downs, but they solidified their title of the best couple after THAT dance routine in the talent show.

What is in store for our last four couples? Who will leave with £50,000? Who will stay together when they get back to the UK? All I can say is that I will miss these gorgeous couples when the show finishes.

The River: Will this be unlucky no.13 for Green Day?

Green Day at EMA awards credit: RexFeatures


link to The River article:

Green Day have barely done any interviews since their 2016 album Revolution Radio and have been very secretive about their latest project, Father Of All….

The American punk-rockers 13th studio album is due for release, but will it live up to the hype?

The 10-track album stands at just 26 minutes long as lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong expressed his dislike for long songs. Three singles have been pre-released, and title track Father Of All… shows off distorted vocals that make Armstrong sound unrecognisable.

The catchy guitar riffs and a chaotic drumbeat is different from their older stuff but still very punk. This album looks into themes of depression, anxiety and money, and some of this is represented in Father Of All… as Armstrong yells “I got paranoia baby!”

Fire, Ready, Aim is less than two minutes long and introduces a low distorted guitar similar to their 2004 song Holiday.

Oh Yeah! was only released a couple of weeks ago and sounds different to the first two songs from the album. It has deep undertones and is lyrically raw as he sings: “I got my money, and I’m feeling kinda low.”

The chorus has repetitive and dreary backing vocals that softly sing “Oh Yeah” over and over again.

Green Day will embark on a world tour with pop-punk veterans Fall Out Boy and Weezer from March. The Hella Mega Tour will see the bands performing in stadiums across Asia, Europe and North America, and each group are releasing new songs.

It is hard to see what direction the band will go in. Could this be their biggest album since 2004’s American Idiot? Or will it become their biggest flop?

Father Of All… is out February 7.