Pentatonix album review



For American acapella group Pentatonix, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind year.

Not only did they pick up a Grammy, they also managed to have two albums on the billboard 200 at the same time. Their newest release, ‘Pentatonix’, peaked at number one on the chart, and still currently sits in the Top 10.

This is the first time an acapella group has had this form of mainstream success in both the charts and with awards.

The five piece group consisting of lead singers, Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi and Kirsten Maldonando along with bass Avi Kaplan and beatboxer Kevin Olusola, have recently released their latest album, ‘Pentatonix’, and for the first time ever it is predominately original tracks, as previously the groups previous five releases have been mostly covers. But how is the new album?

Well the album sticks very strongly to what makes Pentatonix great and unique – the harmonies are still as tight as ever, often creating truly beautiful musical moments, and Kaplan’s bass and Olusola’s vocal precautions still add a dimension that no other modern artist can copy.

Unlike the cover albums which very heavily focused on showing fans what each member of the group could do with mind-blowing individual moments, the new album switches gears slightly, as the fan base they already have are all well aware of each member’s vocal capability. Instead this album focuses on creating an identity and sound to make Pentatonix really stand out and become artists in their own right.

They go for, in the most part, incredibly upbeat songs, bordering on almost eclectic, with a number of different styles and influences.

In large part the album shows off Scott Hoying’s powerful lead vocals, which are really brought out in songs like, Sing, Cracked and New year’s day all of which go back to Hoying’s RnB and Pop routes.

The album however does have diversity, ranging from the former mentioned songs, all the way to songs like, Light in the hallway and Take me home, which are more similar to ballads, focusing on beautiful tempo and harmonies as appose to pure power and range.

Overall the album really gives fans an insight into the artists that Pentatonix want to be all the while sticking to the vocal routes that helped them gain this popularity. For fans new and existing, this album is absolutely perfect and has something for everyone. Even if you don’t like acapella, you would struggle to not be impressed by at least one track on the album.

Overall rating: 9.5/10


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The International student experience at teesside university

The International Community at Teesside University is growing fast as more and more students  from all parts of the world come to study in Middlesbrough.

 Over 1,900 students  from Africa; Asia; Malaysia; China and India are now studying on Teesside.

 Tside Reporter Dalingtino Joseph spoke to a number of International students to find out what they like about Teesside.

  Click on the video below to find out more.

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Middlesbrough Council Proposes 2% Council Tax Rise


Picture: Middlesbrough Council Chamber

Middlesbrough Council has proposed a rise in council tax by 2% after  discussions were held about its budget for the next three years.

The council’s spending review was discussed at a recent  council meeting and  set out that council tax will rise by “2% per annum over the Medium Term Financial Plan period.”

In the wake of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, it is thought that many local authorities will use the permitted 2% increase to make up for national government cuts.

The policy known as the “social care precept” will permit the 2% rise, providing the extra funds are spent on adult social care.

Speaking about the policy, George Osborne said: “Many local authorities are not going to be able to meet growing social-care needs unless they have new sources of funding.”

The decision to make use of the 2% permitted rise in Teesside was met with anger by one Middlesbrough Council member.

Conservative Councillor Christine Hobson said  the decision gave little thought to local residents.

“I’m a bit disappointed about the 2% council tax rise,” She said.

“We actually have all these people being made redundant and here we are still trying to put the council tax up.

“I am sure that the new houses that are being built are bringing in council tax and also the New Homes Bonus that is not ring-fenced – we can spend that on whatever we wish.

“I am sure that would have offset putting the council tax up – we really must start to think about our residents.”

Picture: Industry in Middlesbrough

Picture: Industry in Middlesbrough

However, the proposed rise was defended by Middlesbrough’s Mayor Dave Budd.

He said:  “Yes, we must start thinking about our residents and I hope you will be writing to your government about that as well.”

“We will be waiting with some interest for your alternative budget.

“How many more times do we have to explain how the New Homes Bonus works?

“It is money taken away from us redistributed back to us in a smaller bag.

“This is a redistribution by a Conservative government that has been going on for such a long time and I really think you should understand that by now.”

Middlesbrough Council’s full Strategic Plan 2015-18 is available on the Middlesbrough Council website.

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A place for All



Students  and staff across Teesside University have the opportunity to access pastoral care if they are having problems in their life; study or work.

The special chaplaincy sessions  are run by the Reverend Tessa Stephens and are held every Thursday in the Students’ Union.

The session are open to people of all faiths and aim specifically to help provide support to all staff and students who may be going through a difficult time.

Sever Kwaghbee, an MA student and one of the regular attendees, said: “It’s really encouraging and it keeps Christians going and other faiths as well.”

The Chaplaincy office is on the first floor of the Student Centre. Students can make an appointment Tuesdays to Thursdays either by calling the Chaplaincy office on 01642 342708 or sending an email to .

Tside Reporter Abbas Mokhtari went along to the event to find out more. Click on his report below.


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Linthorpe Road’s newest restaurant: Delicious and affordable

The newest restaurant to hit Linthorpe Road is already making a great impression on the locals.

The restaurant that aims to create Michelin star dishes at affordable  prices is definitely the hottest eaterie in Boro at the moment.

It has a very contemporary style and when its full of people, it has a lovely vibrant atmosphere.

STYLISH: Oven has created an ideal environment for diners.

STYLISH: Oven has created an ideal environment for diners.

Tarek Thoma is the man behind the new venture. He has conjured a hybrid menu that takes food from English, French, Mediterranean and Middle-eastern cuisine.

There is a great variety on the menu, including some delicious vegetarian options too.

Oven offer’s customers a lunch menu that runs from 12pm to 5:30pm, Monday to Saturday.

The menu has fantastic value too as you can eat three courses from just £14:95 – that’s good value anywhere you go.

Oven’s a la carte menu is also very reasonable, as three courses will cost just under £20.

I opted for the two course option choosing the deep fried tiger prawns in tempura batter with aioli for starter followed by the braised shin of beef, with black pepper cream sauce, onion rings and chunky chips.

The service wasn’t perfect but it is understandable for a place that has just started up.

The waiters were attentive and made sure me and my friends were happy and always had drinks.

The food came very quickly, considering how busy the restaurant was. It took about ten minutes for the starters to arrive, which I cannot complain about.

The food met my expectations, the prawns tasted fresh, the tempura batter was nice and crunchy and not greasy in anyway.

The main courses were out just as quick as the starters too, which is quite impressive seen as there were me and four of my friends all eating.

The shin of beef did not disappoint. It was just how I wanted it – cooked magnificently and melted in my mouth as I ate it. It really was the shining star of the dish.

DELICIOUS:  A few pictures of Oven's impressive food.

DELICIOUS: A few pictures of Oven’s impressive food.

The rest of my friends were all very impressed with the quality of the food that was being put out, as there were clean plates all round.

Overall, my experience at Oven was very pleasant. I would definitely recommend it for a small group of friends wanting a nice but inexpensive meal out.

It’s even reasonable for student’s, so go along and treat yourself.

Visit Oven’s website  here to check out the full lunch and dinner menu’s.





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Adele-toppling hip hop trio reveal future plans

WSTRN at the Official Charts After Party event

WSTRN at the Official Charts After Party event

New UK hip hop trio WSTRN have gained massive attention after their debut single ‘In2′ took the charts by storm.

Rappers Akelle Charles and Louis Rei, and songwriter Haile recently played at Teesside University. The new group from west London have gained a lot of publicity after knocking Adele from her number one spot in the midweek chart.

After being signed to Atlantic Records, who brought success to N-Dubz, they have released a new music video for their successful single, reaching over six million views on YouTube. The track has also been made available on iTunes for their fans to purchase.

Previously they released a different music video for their single which was then deleted and recreated after they were signed. Their new fun and upbeat video shows them cruising around London on motorbikes and quad bikes with friends.

They have also released a remixed version of their single, collaborating with Wretch 32, Chip and Geko.

Recently they toured around the UK for the Official Charts After Party in association with New Look and performed at Teesside University. They attended the Student Union to showcase their hit single, joined by Karen Harding and Melissa Steele who also performed on that night.

They have been listed as one of the acts for the Jingle Bell Ball and will be performing alongside Ariana Grande, Jason Derulo and Fluer East in
December at London’s O2 Arena.

Tside’s reporter, Amani Ibrahimi, interviewed WSTRN.

Reporters Amani Ibrahimi and Katie Andrews with WSTRN

Reporters Amani Ibrahimi and Katie Andrews with WSTRN at the Official Charts After Party

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Student by day … DJ by night

A STUDENT DJ is set to showcase his talents to his fellow scholars after getting the go ahead to host his first music night at Teesside University.

Tomiwa DJing at an event outside of the university.

TOMIWA DAVID: Biological Science student DJing at an event outside of the university.

Following multiple meetings with the student union event manager, Tomiwa David, 21, who is studying biological science, was delighted to hear that his event had been authorised.


ANOTHER EVENT: Tomiwa DJing at The Lobby Bar

‘Fusion’ is his first ever event at the student union which he planned and set up on his own, promoting it on Facebook and around campus.

Tomiwa, known as DJ Wizz Tee, has been trying to promote himself ever since he first came to Middlesbrough last year. He said: ”I have been a DJ for eight years now, since I started off on my laptop entertaining mostly family and friends.”

As a mobile DJ, he has worked at other venues around Middlesbrough such as the Lobby Bar and private parties. He has also showcased his talent at some venues in Ireland.

”I believe my first event at the SU was a success as I received good feedback from the students who attended, everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves. However it was difficult to persuade a good number of people to come which I needed in order for this show to go on.

”I love the feeling that comes with entertaining people and making them want to get up and dance,” he said.

‘Fusion’ consisted of mostly afrobeat and R&B music, along side some hip hop and grime tracks. The crowd engaged well with him as he allowed them to request their own songs.

He says he studies the crowd to figure out what it is they want to listen to and so song requests are a good way to understand his audience.

Tomiwa has more plans coming up for the future. ”Next time I might try out some new styles when I’m DJing again. I plan to hold another party at the Student Union next month, hopefully in December,” he added.

For any bookings, you can contact him at or call on 07341444939.

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Forget the media image. Middlesbrough is a “great place to live”

MIDDLESBROUGH ranks as one of the poorest areas in England with nearly half of the town considered to be deprived. But to what extent is this actually true?

The new figures published by the Government last month show the Teesside town to have the highest proportion of deprived neighbourhoods with nearly half of the 42 areas the 10% most deprived in England.

Deprivation deals with a wide spectrum of issues including those of housing, employment, education and health.

According to an Office of National Statistics report, this year the North East was found to have the highest unemployment rate in Britain with 8.5% and with the recent closure of SSI Steel works, that figure isn’t looking to get any better.

Speaking at a recent council meeting, the vice chair of economic regeneration and transport scrutiny panel, Councillor Jordan Blyth, said: “This is not the first time that industries in the North of England have been allowed to wither and die when they could needlessly have been saved.”

The official police crime map also shown a slight increase on crime with 6,150 crimes reported from August 2013 to the middle of 2014 and 7,253 from the middle of 2014 to August of this year.

However, with rejuvenation schemes sweeping the town including the state-of-the-art Middlesbrough Sports Village and a £30 million development of Teesside University, the traditional, industrial town has seen some big changes.

Adam Roberts, 21, owner and manager of local garage Auto Scan, said: “I think Middlesbrough has a serious problem with its image.

“It gets negatively portrayed in the media and I think it glorifies the issues the town has with drink, drugs and crime, which reflects on what people think of the town.

“People outside the town generally have quite negative opinions in the town when realistically it’s a great place to work and live in.

“My business is doing great it’s just a shame that a lot of industries that have been the fundamental identity to the North East are not here anymore.

“It’s hit the town and the people really badly. It’s a shame really because the town has so much potential it just gets let down by the government time and time again.”

Middlesbrough has a diverse community brimming with different cultures and values in their large population size of 150,000 people.

Mary Smith, 58, who has been a resident of Middlesbrough for the whole of her life, said: “For me, Middlesbrough is a great place to live.

“My family have all been born and raised up here and we all have a lot of happy memories here.

“The people are all lovely and there’s a real sense of community here.”

Tside reporter, Sophie Finnegan, explores what makes Middlesbrough such a great town to live in:

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Why Middlesbrough is the fifth riskiest place to drink in England

MIDDLESBROUGH has been ranked the fifth most dangerous place to drink in England.
A worrying 960 per 100,000 people in the town needed medical treatment for alcohol-related issues last year.
Joining Middlesbrough in the top ten were the three North-East neighbours – Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside.
Shockingly, fourteen of the twenty worst-hit areas were all in the North of England, according to the figures discovered by Labour MP Liam Byrne.

Across the country in 2013/14 there were 3,370 alcohol-provoked assaults with 1,230 of those being admitted to hospital aged 16-24.

Dorothy Newbury-Birch, Professor of Alcohol and Public Health Research at Teesside University, said: “I think the issue is people don’t know what risky drinking is and I think, especially for university students, they are getting into situations where they are risky drinking and making bad choices.

“We know that by drinking too much you can get yourself into situations such as having accidents, getting into fights and unsafe or regretted sex.

“There is a period of time between the ages of 16-24 where young people do drink more than they will as time goes on and they get older.

“A lot of young people will reduce their drinking after University, it’s a time where they are coming to a different place, making new friends and drinking seems to be part of that without the awareness of the risks that are associated with that.”

Last year, it was revealed in a Natwest survey that on average, students spend £9.80 a week on alcohol.

Professor Newbury-Birch said: “In terms of violence, one of the other things students need to be aware of is that if you get a criminal record it could have a real effect on your future career.

“Something that can seem so trivial, can have long term consequences.”

There were over one million alcohol-related hospital admissions in England in 2013/14 with 67,570 of them in the North East, shining light on the toxic relationship between alcohol and Britain.

MIDDLESBROUGH: Teesside University's Student Union

 Teesside University SU: Students feel “safe”.

Kevin Foh, who has been a security guard for two years, works on the frontline of Middlesbrough’s nightlife.

He said: “I’ve seen quite a lot of violence in my stint on the doors. It happens in seconds from out of nowhere; one remark or one glance at someone’s partner and it can all change from a jolly night out to bloodshed in a blink.

“The area has high unemployment and somewhat of a macho image from its steel making past, for example and many men feel like it’s a release for them to wind up in street fights when really all it does is land them in heaps of trouble.

“Most violence however is broke up and diffused by the good door staff in our licensed premises but occasionally the victims aren’t so lucky.

“People need to realise that one single mistake can cost all parties dearly by causing serious injury or even death.”

Shauni McMahon, a child development student, said: “I do believe Middlesbrough is a dangerous place to drink because of the amount of incidents that have happened and all the fights that you see.

“If you are in a big group you don’t feel as intimidated but if you are walking on your own I definitely wouldn’t feel safe.”

Young adults and alcohol

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It’s time for the Angels.

It’s that time of year again where Victoria’s Secret put on the world’s most dazzling show.

Victoria’s Secret was bought for one million dollars by Leslie Wexner and now has a revenue of 7.2 billion dollars per year. It currently stands as America’s largest retailer for women’s lingerie.

Each year the company put on a show-stopping catwalk, with this years alone costing $10 million.

The catwalk is graced with a $2 million fantasy bra each year and 2015 saw a fabulous 18k gold creation showered with topaz, quartz and sapphire gems.

Lily wearing the 2015 Fantasy bra.

Lily wearing the 2015 Fantasy bra.

Previous years have seen the likes of Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio and Miranda Kerr strut the catwalk in the pricey pieces.

Lily Aldridge, 29, stunned the New York stage with this year’s fire work inspired, star of the show, wrapped around her chest. The matching lingerie set took centre stage backed by a performance from The Weeknd.

The 15 official VS Angels walked side by side with the popular newbies such as Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. Kendall wearing a blue and red laced corset showed off her experience walking for the likes of Balmain and Chanel, a long parade of colour floating behind her.

Gigi opened her wings in a blue and black butterfly inspired piece having friend, Ellie Goulding, on stage to support her.


Selena Gomez joined the show, wearing a little less lingerie than the other females. Rocking a revealing punk outfit, silver studs and chains are definitely the way to stand out in a room full of angels.

The 20th anniversary show will be aired December 8th on CBS in America.

To keep your spirits up before you regret eating that last chocolate cookie and feel slightly more self-concious than before, take a look at ex VS Angel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s own lingerie range.

Don’t worry, it’s all priced under $2 million.


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