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Playlist Review: Hour of Power

A band that we’ve discussed a fair few times on here before – and rightly so – is the rock powerhouse of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Good news folks, they’ve made a playlist they listen to, right before they tear it up on stage.

It gleams with a horror show of borderline crazy, with emphatic tellings of hard rock throughout. And I can’t get enough of it.

Composing of a stellar line-up – IDLES, Squid, Never Not Nothing, slowthai and Demob Happy to name a few – it is a pulsating riff-heavy playlist worthy of the agape jawline you receive when you listen to it full throttle. Bang this on to get you out of the bed in the morning, for a thrill of a gym session or even when you’re making a stonkin’ meal in your kitchen, it is a playlist for every momentous – or angry – occasion.

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The Black Keys – ‘Delta Kream’ Album Review

As tough and brittle as a Rubber Factory, rock-blues natives from Ohio, The Black Keys are true realists when it comes to making the swampy work of blues-rock.

Known for spiting their differences about the music industry, The Black Keys – made up with Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney – they are a brutal force to be reckoned with as this same force goes to great depths to deliver truly raucous works of outrage, contemplation and delivery.

Their tenth studio album, Delta Kream is a swampy dredge of traditional blues-rock that harks the duo back to their collective roots of The Big Come Up in ’02 and Rubber Factory in ’04.

Despite the differences of seeing the brutish anthems of El Camino that saw the band receive commercial success from 2011, Delta Kream is a luxurious midnight-cruiser of an album that is worth every road trip in the mist of darkness.

The twelve-track listen is a stripped-back rendition of cover songs of blues artists that continue to inspire them, that ultimately remind them to never let go of the blues.

When all said and done, Delta Kream is a showing of the blues brothers-from-another-mother truly in their element. Take a trip down memory lane, because this album yearns for candlelight.

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LISTEN: What’s on My Repeat Playlist?

Ever wondered what songs are on repeat so much, I get sick of them?

As of Sunday today, have a venture into my ON REPEAT playlist and let me know your thoughts on it all.

Have a great rest of your weekend, folks. I’ll see you in the new week for more album reviews, music thoughts and discussions. I’ll be starting a new job in the week as a Live Music Advisor, and so I may not be as on it with replying to comments as I usually am – so I appreciate all the support and discussions we’ve had over the past months. Take care of yourselves.

Not a bad list, eh?

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Artist Spotlight: Strawberry Lace

Better watch out: those guitar hooks are set to reel you in, if you’re not careful.

Alternative 4-piece outfit tapping into the workshop of indie rock creativity, Strawberry Lace are creating music that is simply fun. This unmistakable blend of genres is a showing of that with their song-writing. How each song creates a different appealing side to a band who, through each song they deliver, comes many stories to their name, craft and songwriting work. They’ve been on my radar for a fair while and since they’ve released Wake Up recently, they’ve entered my peripherals yet again and have certainly stayed there.

Their sheer numbers gathered on streaming giants, Spotify, shows just how lovable their music has become within such a short time. The music is effortless at times, with the trailblazing drums setting such a fantastic tone throughout. Dipping their toes every so now and then with indie familiarities with SUGARTHIEF and The Night Cafe, Strawberry Lace are a band you’d not want to forget anytime soon. All of it is so so clever too – from the song structure, to the tone and tempo, they are on my HOTLIST! Question is, will they be on yours too?

Ever Be – Strawberry Lace
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Let’s Talk: What’s Your Favourite Song Right Now?

Let’s talk, folks. What’s your favourite song that you simply can’t get enough of. For me, it’s the most recent work of local East-Midlands metropolitans, Easy Life. Fantastic lo-fi stereo sounds, their music is compelling, satirically-clever and beautifully made. Simply poignant in one moment and a downright poise for hilarity in another, they are fan-favourites from fanatic football city, Leicester.

Easy Life’s debut album, Life’s a Beach, is out at the end of this month.

So, you’ve heard mine -. Come on then folks.

What’s your hottest track of the day for you?

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The Brit Awards 2021: What Happened?

Weak punchlines, awkward moments, chaotic introductions and female artists stealing the show, the Brit Awards 2021 had all types of funny and momentous occasions.

Despite popularity trumping musicality with these award shows, it’s still a good laugh and a watch from all things current in the music industry.

With the controversial work of Jack Whitehall returning to host the show again for the third year in a row, the show was flux with jokes that failed to hit the mark, jokes that trump a snort or chortle, or jokes that didn’t catch on at all. But despite the awkward moments with the socially distanced audiences, and flight-testing COVID-friendly live performances, the award show allowed us to delve a little deeper into what we should expect post-lockdown for our live music industry.

Lapping up the fame and notoriety of powerful women in the music industry, Dua Lipa, Little Mix, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and HAIM all made stellar appearances for Best British Group, Best British Album, Best International Group and International accolades that trifled a new domination, the Global Icon award, where previous winners have been Bowie and Elton John.

As they fed off male counterparts with the likes of The 1975 and Biffy Clyro, they made a point to prove for their cultural impact with their music – and rightly so.

Swift and Lipa also both discussed within their speeches, the power of stepping up and rising against resistance from those before them. The iconic moment captured, and taken aboard as every single woman up and down the country effortlessly echo and agree their words.

After the sham of The Grammys, Awards for the Brits wanted to get on the good side of chart-topping electro-pop maestro, The Weeknd as he collected his Best International Male Artist while singing in the rain with his song, Save Your Tears, pre-recorded due to the inability to fly outside the Green Zone into and out of the United States.

The rising scenes of drill music also made an appeareance with J Hus and Headie One making fantastic live show performances and appearances at the awards show, demonstrating just how unique and varied our music scene really is.

Fashion-favourite and pop-lovin’ soloist, Harry Styles swept up the surprises with him taking home the Best British Single with Watermelon Sugar, whilst my favourite artist from the year, Arlo Parks got the fantastic praise she deserves by winning Breakthrough Artist for the year.

My top wtf moments from this year has to be the incontrollable use of ITV’s decision to mute the audio on some explicable language – despite it being past the watermark hour of 9pm. Whitehall made them hit the button a fair few times with him celebrating the majority of the audience being made up of our key workers – and the “corporate wankers” to boot in the boxes too. Capaldi also was a favourite of the mute, as his off-the-cuff introduction speech was simply hilarious and ridiculous at the same time.

“Hello motherfuckers! Listen guys… I’m fucking sweating – it’s like a swamp down there, I’m telling you. Sweaty bollocks.”

In an attempt to follow the controversial steeds of Oasis before him, he certainly made it more entertaining to watch nearing the final strands of the 2-and-a-half runtime of the show.

All in all, it was somewhat of a showing of what British music has to offer and really shows just how iconic and varied our scenes really are. Despite the fact that there are thousands more artists who create more compelling music than those who won but … popularity trumps musicality with these awards shows.

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The Home for Heavy Rock Lovers: Music Playlist of May 2021

Welcome, my pivotal Pit-dwellers. Please venture into the list below about the newest and strongest heavy rock music in the month of May right now.

My Town (feat. Joe Talbot) – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes: Slow reproach from an otherwise chaotic sound … but new sound is fresh and promising.

The Chant – Gojira: The anthemic churns of Gojira with this song is befitting with a sense of euryopia. Raise your fists to this one.

He’s So Good – Trash Boat: Soaring choruses enthused with punk rock and post-hardcore – what’s not to love?

Dead Butterflies – Architects: Album review of this one pretty much sums up the new sounds from these lads. Greatness abound, worth every listen.

War – IDLES: Talbot and his crew joins the list a second time with their passionate, darkly intimidating work demonstrates the best in the UK scene of punk rock right now. Utterly damaging, it’s brilliant.

One+One – Death From Above 1979: Gritty configurations and dirty lyricisms, 1979’s new material is colossal and composes elements from Royal Blood’s new album, Typhoons.

NERVOUS – While She Sleeps, Simon Neil – Another cross-collaboration with Biffy’s frontman, Simon Neil, NERVOUS are redefining the works of modern metal. Cathartics matched with beauty.

Only Love Can Save Me Now – The Pretty Reckless – True classic hard rock empowered with an emphatic line-up. Matt Cameron, Kim Thayil, Taylor Momsen. Phwoar.

Whiplash – The Horrors – Electrifying horror-show by the Horrors. Hard rock at its best. See you in The Pit for this one in the summer soon.

THE PIT. THE PIT. THE PIT. THE PIT. THE PIT.

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Gerry Cinnamon: The True Story Teller of Music

Fiercely independent in any scenario is a difficult task to undertake and complete well. Being fiercely independent in the music industry without any financial backing from that of a record label? – An unequivocally difficult feat to do and do well, mind. A true musician who personifies in relatable story-telling is the man that goes by Gerry Cinnamon.

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A brutish, relatable and genuine in design, Cinnamon is a brutally honest with his portrayal as a music artist, as he is with his lyrics. Held deep within an industry that changes to the consumer, Gerard Crosbie has kept himself to himself – with keeping his local accent in tone with his brutally honest lyrics. It is a tribal fusion of rock and folk at its best.

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Fashioning a reputation as the world’s greatest independent music artists, he has championed and broken great records in his journey. His sing-along anthems are emphatically powerful, rich and simply modest. With just a man and his acoustic guitar, he has reached impressive heights that gives Ginger Ed a run for his money.

Sometimes, Belter, Canter, Where We’re Going, Ghost.

An acoustic extraordinaire and a simple marvel in creating empathetic work, he joins the ever-growing list of prolific Scots who are turning the industry upside down into a Northern nuisance of fantastic music.

Biffy Clyro, Twin Atlantic, Paolo Nutini, Lewis Capaldi, The Snuts, Gerry Cinnamon. These are just a few artists that come to mind in an industry littered with them.

If it’s one thing the Scots do right, it’s writing music.

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The Influence of: Pixies

we’re weird enough, and we’re catchy enough.

In a dramatic twist of every event listening to a new music artist or venturing into a wormhole of an unknown indie playlist, I always sit, listen and come to the conclusion: “hey, this band sounds like Pixies.” In fact, now that I mention it, they all do.

That’s because I wouldn’t doubt that every one of these indie rock bands who are either settling into their music – or are yet to find out their sound – have their influence pinned directly into the heart of Pixies.

Culturally emphatic and era-defining in more ways than music, Pixies redefined the imagery of alternative rock and decorated into a reformed sense of a Pixie trick of underground garage. Cold and heartless where necessary but oddly satisfying on some cherry-pickers, Pixies‘ collection since their debut in ’87 has been consistently reinventing the alternative wheel with their inventiveness and their vivid colours, especially with ’89s, Doolittle, an album that is formally known to perhaps everyone who ventured into the oddity of alternative music and underground garage music.

The lengthy numbers of Debaser, Hey, Wave of Mutilation and of course, Here Comes Your Man makes it the go-to soundtrack for the ravished ’90s.

This monkey’s gone to heaven‘: Dolittle album cover ’89.

Even their most recent album release a year ago in 2020, Beneath the Eyrie just shows that they’ve still got it. The perfect four-set combo of squealing guitars, broiled vocals and brutal drum-lines is aesthetically available here too, with Beneath the Eyrie. It’s almost like they’ve been writing music for over 40 years. Oh wait, they have.

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Black Pistol Fire: Look Alive

Shake Your Money Maker: Southern Rock and Blues-Rock Fashions into a RE-BRANDING

One particular release that you may have missed this year was the sixth release from Black Pistol Fire. Raucous with their fusion of southern rock, blues and garage punk, Look Alive is a stand-out album that is emphatic in its style aswell as its music production. Fused between the boisterous concoctions of The Black Keys, Cleopatrick and the quirky expertise of Queens of the Stone Age, comes a rock-child that joins the list of ever-growing duo rockers.

Accustomed with the stigma of charcoal black already in a rock deluge, Black Pistol Fire have a certain class and persona when it comes to their tastefulness of blues-rock, which goes farther than merely immersing in the black décor. The album comes out swinging with self-titled, Look Alive and Pick Your Poison, with both indulgent songs swinging a depth into the work of Cage The Elephant and among others. Rampant throughout, the album boasts and brags with such a large pair of cajones, as we’re dazzled through the bright funky lights of of Never Enough and spat out the other side with Level.

The album is not just an aggressive boaster though, it has passive – often contemplating – slow-burners like Hope in Hell and Always On My Mind that wouldn’t be a shock to see such songs escape the song-writing booths of Pixies.

A glorious reprise for a fusion of classics – southern rock, blues and dripped in garage punkLook Alive is a fanatic favourite to swoon and enjoy within your own time, and will no doubt become a classic in it’s own time.

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Why do we hate Coldplay?

We’ve been engrossed in Chris Martin’s charade of swell pop contemplation since 2000.

Running strong for over 20 years in the industry, they have become one of the biggest bands in pop phenomena history – charting unknown territory and raising to global stardom, all the raising critical acclaim for emphatic albums that hold beautiful pieces of music within them.

But what’s happened? Over the years, it seems we have grown tired of the same formula and the distastefulness of writing burnt-out pop – and Coldplay are next in line. It seems marginally unwarranted and frankly, undeserved for a class act of musicians who simply make music to make us happy.

Selling 75 million copies worldwide and selling sold-out arena shows and tours , they still have a hardened fan base that will simply love anything they produce. I mean, anything.

But, those lot who sneer at the prospect of Coldplay and their music – are they right?

I have seen them live and avidly love to see them doing so well, especially after growing up with the first three albums they made. But, it seems I have fallen off the radar with such a colossal band and instead, have turned to those who are simply new and upcoming. The news of new music from Coldplay doesn’t fill me with that eager excitement you’d want from a band you’re a fan of. For me, I don’t think they have their shine or edge they used to have during the 2010s. Their new album has a sense of pretentiousness about it and doesn’t have a majorly beautiful or uplifting song within the exhausting song-list. And frankly, it’s off-putting. After running for so long at the top of their game, are they set to be toppled? It wouldn’t be the first time – nor would it be a rare occasion for a huge, successful band to simply hang up their sticks and retire, satisfied with what they’ve achieved in such a hot-climate industry. The case of scraping the barrel really comes into play, right? Especially after the displays of Everyday Life. Or will they simply let the uncharted brand of the band carry them until they’re 70? It wouldn’t totally surprise me if a band like Coldplay would be next to simply shut up shop and sell their song-writing rights to a company for millions.

Now, whether you have been a fan of Coldplay or never were from the start, I’m intrigued into what you have to say about a band like Coldplay.

Has their reputation of “boring” and “stale” finally caught up with them? Or are these merely transfections from salty fans and artists who haven’t received the same acclaim as these boys have done?

Either way, let me know.

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UK Festivals issue “red alert”: insurance talks breakdown

In news that is not utterly shocking to anyone, UK festivals have issued a “red alert” after many festivals cancel, postpone and pull out plans for returning in the summer.

This comes after the talks with the Government break down regarding festival insurance, if they do happen to cancel again due to COVID, as the roadmap to return is ultimately delayed and does not place us where we expect to be.

Yet again, the UK festivals are facing unwarranted certainty and confirmation of anything set to go ahead this summer – not even the support and structure of cancellation insurance if things do not go ahead. Eeesh, we’re seeing a similar pattern as to what we saw last summer, too.

A projection from AIF (The Association of Independent Festivals) reveals that 76% of the remaining festivals left in July and August could cancel too, if no immediate action is taken to help protect these events. It seems there is simply no appetite or mere desire to save such events – despite providing countless streams of revenue each year, not just for the UK music industry, but for the country’s economy in general.

It certainly seems that the lack of action just resembles the Governments’ desire to act fast on such events and really demonstrates just how far down the list UK music festivals, gigs and local grass-root venues are.

There may have to be a rebellious act of courtesy or restriction in the streets again near Parliament, if these are to even be raised in the House. Time will tell if action is set to be taken or not, because if they don’t receive the much-needed insurance and cancel in the coming weeks, the sheer loss and weight of cancelling such events for another trading year, may not see some of our beloved festivals ever returning to our fields again.

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If Red Hot Chilli Peppers selling their catalogue doesn’t show how broken streaming is then …

Let’s Talk …

In the most recent news to filter out of the industry, one of the most prominent bands in the quirky rock category – who dominated the charts in the ’90s – have sold the publishing for all of their music catalogue for a proposed fee of £100 million to Hipgnosis.

Now, whether it’s a way to secure a stable future for friends and family, or merely demonstrates the situation of music streaming for artists, the Peppers have joined the long-list of eclectic artists who have also sold their songwriting formats, like Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac.

As drummer Chad Smith talks about the future of the band, by looking ahead to new music, it solidifies their position in an overwhelming industry as one of those bands that have been there, done that, and signed the t-shirt. Well, signed the deal, in fact.

Either way, let me know your thoughts on this one – will more international artists join the plethora already once momentum is picked up? What does this demonstrate to us artists who are up-and-coming and don’t have a collection worth selling for millions?

Is the industry ethos of selling, changing?

More importantly, if these artists are selling their work now while it’s hot, do these music artists know something we don’t?

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Song of the Day: Strabe’s Best Worst Year

No other song in the world will demonstrate the despair – and sporadic hope – we’ve been feeling this year from the last.

The true epitome of music for the summer, Strabe’s Best Worst Year is the only second release for the band, and it’s the one we’ve resonated with most.

For good reasons, too.

The pensive lyrical decisions, the funky guitar twangs throughout, and the ulta-electro beat that fashions it for the perfect bop, it is a titan of a track for summer anthems and requires your attention immediately.

A humble track from such a humble artist that is not been formally known or heard in the vines since 2019 – since this release actually.

The temptations of an amazing road trip is all too much, and you can be sure that this titan of a track will most certainly tip you over the edge. I’ll soon be hearing tales of how this song inspired a mass population to drop everything and arrive at the beach in one swoop.

Get those swimming shorts from the top shelf, because you’re going to be gone for awhile.

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Billie Eilish: A Blurry World

Growing up in music is never easy.

But growing up with 6 million dollars net worth at 18 in music is an incredulous feat that no one would ever dare to undertake.

Ellish’s sudden global rise to fame has been seeped over her music ever since she released Ocean Eyes at the age of 15.

Her music ultimately portrays such an intoxicating environment – with melancholic moments and agitated arks when it simply got too much.

Now just turned 19, it seems Ellish has veered onto a new path.

With her second studio album, Happier Than Ever.

Is this a turn of the tides for the artist finally being happy and comfortable with who she is?

With the help of her producing brother, Finneas, Billie has had the eternal spotlight on her since she was 15, and is no stranger to enduring the ugly side of such an industry.

Certainly, starting so young in an industry will almost never result in a healthy life.

Billie Eilish has used her empowering status and power figure in the arts to cast light on important topics such as depression, body image, self-doubt and a certain sense of imposter syndrome.

Despite being having such a different childhood to many other esteemed teenagers, we have never felt connected more to a music artist than Billie Eilish.

With an overwhelming sense of dread with tours, press and the unbelievable amount of pressure that comes with it all, Eilish has been growing up with us since 2017 is truly an avid watch, and I would recommend to watch her documentary, The World’s a Little Blurry.

don’t smile at me, 2017

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Her acclaimed status started gaining momentum when the temptations of don’t smile at me appeared in 2017, with the cardinal feature of Ocean Eyes, which certainly made heads turn.

WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019

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After a few scary years up and down struggling with anxiety, depression and true identity all the while growing up as a teenager, her debut album, WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? in 2019. Although slightly more contemptuous in style compared to the likes of Ocean Eyes, it showed an insatiable side to the teenage artist we hadn’t seen before. The sheer humble beginnings of such a debut scored her one of the biggest North America debuts in North America, and solidified her colossal rise with 5 GRAMMYs.

She is now set on a new journey on her own truly reflecting where she feels with herself right now. With us already being indulged with the soothing tones of Your Power, I feel this album will allow us to see another chapter in this artists’ life. Going off the decision of such a title, let’s hope it’s a happier one …

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Vanity Fair Interview: One thing that is fascinating to witness and watch the simply intriguing journey this young artist has gone through to super pop stardom is to watch the Vanity Fair interview with Billie Eilish: Same Interview series. You can start the series via the link below:

“I want to know if it’s all worth it, because it’s tiring as heck.”

-Billie Eilish, 2017.

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“You forget that I’m literally 18, it’s funny to be expected to have found myself and stick with it, you know? I’m trying different things out, I’m different ways of living. I’m just trying it all out cause I’m a growing f*cking girl.”

-Billie Eilish, Same Interview, The Fourth Year: Nov 30, 2020

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“It’s not the industry that does it, it’s just the people around you. It’s just about knowing your people, knowing your boundaries and who you trust.”

-Billie Eilish, 2020

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Royal Blood – ‘Typhoons’ Album Review

Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher: Royal Blood

After a 4 year hiatus from their rampant, aptly-named follow-up of How Did We Get So Dark? and Mike’s rise from his struggle with the rock ‘n’ roll life of alcohol addiction … they blow off the cobwebs …let a little light in … and develop a fresh take on delectable dance-floor grooves with their highly anticipated third album, Typhoons.

Who said elements of Daft Punk would work so well with the sounds of Royal Blood, eh?

Although not featuring the same angst and bitter troubles we saw on the two albums prior, Typhoons brings a certain shine to their musical palette of still finding ways to create anthem-pleasers, but not having to always resort to the moods of their eponymous debut. While this may create some disappointment among fans as they wish for more of the same, Typhoons is a true tale of rising from your own self-destruction from “flying too close to the sun.”

An excess of redemption and solace, Typhoons packs the punch in another twisting tale for this Brighton band.

After the befalls of what a rock ‘n’ roll life bought him with alcohol, Mike started on the road to recovery – all to find his sense of purpose again in writing music.

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You made me believe I could change
That’s why you’re one in a million and one

Million and One

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Life is hard when you’re losing, nothing easy’s worth doing
Save yourself, don’t throw in the towel

-Hold On

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With it, comes a redeeming of a band once lost, a splash of all-important colour and and still, a rampant discography listing once again that will no doubt shake the timbers of the arenas they are planning on performing in the Spring of next year.

At first, I had my doubts and fears of a band possibly resorting to the comforts of their softer side. Especially how big the band had gotten with their elemental nature and their dark presence in the past – – but the album has a flair of creativity that honestly was not expected from me.

Mike’s tales of struggle are littered throughout this album with Oblivion discussing losing his way with “fire in his lungs” and the demons that bring with bad habits in Who Needs Friends. The noteworthy guitar/bass combo and the beautifully simplistic AC-DC-inspired drumming is still prominent and won’t ever dissipate, of course.

But, Typhoons shows us a side to the Brighton duo we haven’t really seen as of yet. Raucous where needed but still featuring those new twists of dance-floor grooves in Million in One and Mad Visions, it is the next strongest tale for the story of Royal Blood.

Wishing to learn more about Royal Blood?

Discover more:

TYPHOONS: The Evolution of Royal Blood

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Getting Back Together for Live Music

Evening folks. Another evening update for you all on here. We just had our first Zoom meeting as a band for the first time in about 8 months and it felt like we were finally getting back together for the love of live music. It honestly felt the most natural thing we’d ever done – like we’ve been doing it all our lives. It felt like a sign of things to come, normality returning and the strength of unity with live music and their corresponding bands. And I can’t wait for it.

We’ve also got some new music coming out tomorrow reading for the weekend ramblings, so I’ll be making sure to be placing my unworthy opinions on a lot of artists’ work over the weekend.

So, stay tuned for that. Not a lot from me today, folks. It’s been a busy week and we’ve got one day left before we’re free for the weekend. Let’s have a good one!

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The Return of Live: Summer Confirmed

Hey, folks. I just wanted to give you a little update on where we are right now with live music. With us firmly on the roadmap for return in the UK, we can confirm all those summer gigs and events will go ahead with the comforting prospect of us soon returning to some sense of normality within our daily lives. Especially after those Spanish concert-tests revealing as no new cases or issues concerning the disease, it all seems to be going accordingly to plan – touch wood.

Here’s to our SUMMER OF HOPE FOR LIVE MUSIC.

If you’re planning on braving it out there in the sun …

what’s first on your list?

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Let’s Talk: What’s your First Live Music Gig Memory … and who was playing?

Evening, folks! With live music firmly locked on the road map with plans in place for a summer of festivals, gigs and events rife with the beauties of music, let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

If you can remember that far back, I want to hear about your first live music memories at a gig, festival or event that either got you hooked forever or you found a new profound respect for the art. Either all, I’m fond to hear about you and your stories!

For me, it has to be the glorious state of local music festivals in a field. More specifically, the majesty of Glastonbudget in 2015.

Not heard of it? I’m not surprised.

Pitched in the centric fields of Leicestershire – and aptly named as the biggest tribute festival in the UK – it features a plethora of glorious bands who play classic covers of the classic bands they are attempting to pose as – and all this for more than half the price than its glorious counterpart in Somerset. Of course, you do lose half the glitz and glamour of course, but as a local festival, I have fond memories of playing for the first time in a music festival with the local band I was with. A class set of friends and family that seemed inseparable at the time. I also have fond memories of the weekend with romantics and inevitable heartbreak. This festival alone, and for what it stood for, made me who I am to this day, I’m sure of it. It shaped my vision in the music industry, altered my perception of working cohesively with one another in a band, and most importantly, gave me that much-needed advice on girls – and what girls to avoid.

I kid of course, with that last segment, but the majority is true, that much is certain.

So, with that said, what are your fond memories of your first live music experience? Bitter-sweet or emphatically disastrous … I’m intrigued to find out …

So, let’s talk.

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Thirty Seconds to Mars: The Majesty of ‘A Beautiful Lie’

Romp with frenetic energy, stellar line-up and an amazing concoction of noise, the band’s 2005 second album has become an instant cult classic.

Irrespective of the number of albums they sold (which stands at over 5 million) or how many emphatic tunes are within this album (which stands at 6 for the well-known), A Beautiful Lie is a nostalgic trip into creating a rock masterpiece for all the ages. The flaship of Thirty Seconds to Mars, ruled the rock roster from ’05 to at least 2011 across the western world.

With their collective reaching infamous heights such as, “The Kill”, “From Yesterday,” “Kings and Queens,” and “Closer to the Edge,” they are the flagship of breaking barriers and selling platinum in not only their home continent, but onto international soil, too.

However, I am also tempted to state the band in past-tense for their musical history, but believe or not – – they are a band that are still active and alive today in the industry.

Despite recent releases that don’t usually resemble the Thirty Seconds to Mars we witnessed back in ’05.

But, this is not new news for a band to change with the times, strip their chaotic rock anthems, and blossom into the ventures of pop to strike resemblance and relevance among an ever-growing listening audience – their rife trap-beat and achingly simple 2018 album, AMERICA showed us exactly that.

But, A Beautiful Lie was something else. Ripe with angst, passion and strong intentions, it ultimately set the precedence for the industry, swung opposing heads to the LA brothers, and allowed them to dominate the tempting top-position in the rock world.

Despite the rock teetering out to enter the plethora of mass culture, it still allowed them to achieve critical acclaim, notable accolades of awards and sell over 15 million albums worldwide – when we were still purchasing albums, that is.

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Embracing Change in Music

Do you ever feel like you go through the same old music catalogues, playlists and albums day-in and day-out?

Do you have that feeling of drought with your musical palette? Well, fret not, for I have a proposition.

Why not listen to something other than what you’re used to?

Be it a genre you’re not familiar with or an artist you dread, stick it on and delve into the plethora of the unknown. Even if it just for an hour and you come away with a little bit of knowledge about something you didn’t know an hour ago, that is equally fine.

For me, I’ve recently been diving into the classics of hip-hop, rap and more importantly, the mysteries with the likes of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.

Notorious in not just their alter-personas as international music artists, but notorious for their sounds they made and their power-house profile it brought to the scenes of East Coast hip-hop and “Gangsta rap”. Although they were taken from us by a scenario we’re all too familiar with, within the crevices of America, the sheer impact they had with us in the world paints us a picture how iconic these two were and are.

Of course, this led on to the mightiest who are still mighty in their corresponding leagues – Eminem, Jay-Z and Kanye.

So for today’s Sunday – where I usually request for you to take out your favourite Sunday chill playlist with your morning (or afternoon) coffee, instead, listen to something different and learn something new along the way.

Hope your week upcoming is just as prosperous, folks. Take care of yourselves.

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Today’s the Day …

Today is the day I return to the art of drumming in what seems like a year without playing. Due to the restrictions for rehearsal spaces during COVID, it’s been more about 6 months or so but still, I am allowed to exaggerate, especially after being away from the kit for so long.

I intend to lug all my drum pieces up to a local rehearsal space and blast the kit to my hearts’ content. I am awaiting the desperate attempts of staying hydrated, keeping healthy and not hitting instant exhaustion half hour in but I fear that may be the case, especially after not having the consistency of rigorous drum practice week-in and week-out.

But alas, I’ll push myself through it because I want to have that feeling again, I miss it. That feeling of having nothing left to give and feeling amazing for it from playing a musical instrument. There’s nothing else like it.

Time to dust the cobwebs off, folks and dive in head-first.

Blisters-abound I’m sure, I’ll see you on the other side.

Wish me luck!

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The Rock List: April 2021

Fancy a dabble in new rock? Take a gander at the list I’ve compiled below for the most recent rumblings of rock over the past weeks of April.

… The sheer number of female-fronted rock bands is a sight to behold in the music scene right now …

  1. SHY AWAY – TWENTY ONE PILOTS: Exciting eccentrics for the duos’ return.
  2. SMILE – WOLF ALICE: Dark exploits for the rock-indie favourites; another album to look out for this year from them.
  3. LA DI DIE – NESSA BARRETT, JXDN: Romantic-revenge anthem drawing on both rock and hip-hop.
  4. BOILERMAKER – ROYAL BLOOD: Thumping funk-rock from the Brighton duo, altering their course for another rumpus year in music.
  5. VERTIGO – ALICE MERTON: Mystery-abound new stuff after being so quiet for two years.
  6. ORDINARY – YONAKA: What we’re used to from these lot: loud and chaotic.
  7. WEAPON – AGAINST THE CURRENT: New emphatic returning from another female-front rock collective.
  8. BAD PLACE – THE HUNNA: One of the most consistent rock tribes right now; altering sounds to a down-tempo electronic style.
  9. NERVOUS – WHILE SHE SLEEPS: Recent album release in 2021, “SLEEPS SOCIETY” sees While She Sleeps make the top-ten list favourites this week with this hungry power-house of a song, featuring Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro.
  10. NUMB – WATERPARKS: Ambitious rock-pop workers of “Stupid For You” return this year for another album release in 2021 since their 2019, FANDOM.
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Let’s Talk: What’s Your Favourite Album?

Ah yes, a question that makes you think more than you would like to. With a question being equally challenging as, “what’s your favourite song,” give me to topical insights, fanatic favourites and delicious delights for me to delve into if I haven’t heard of them

Of course, the more obscure the better!

Favourite albums are our most treasured moments of music, whether it’s for the simple delights of the music, the artist or the emotional connections with such an album, we love them.

It can be seemingly harder than it looks, as when you start thinking about favourite albums, you tend to drift more to favourite singles from a single band – and less so on such an album that has to the same satisfaction all the way throughout. After all, we’re forgetting about those filler songs in an album selection, aren’t we?

Now, you may certainly be the same but I can’t simply just decide on ONE favourite album, it’s like Sophie’s choice – far too many options, that’s for sure.

I’d have to say one of my favourites would be an album I recently reviewed and explored here on Man v Music – What Went Down by Foals. An integral part of my rock-indie collection and avid interest in such a band, it is a rock-hungry powerhouse of an album that is so dirty in material; ..

I love it.

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THE JOURNEY OF FOALS: WHAT WENT DOWN

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Other cult favourites of mine feature the lengthy ideals of Led Zeppelin, Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala – simply for his musical themes – and a recent favourite of mine – the new punk prowess from Machine Gun Kelly. An unlikely contender, but there you are – music is certainly full of surprises. Enough surprises it seems, to surprise myself.

So let me know your own favourites and we’ll have a good ol’ chat about them.

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The Journey of Foals: What Went Down

A fierce album with all the heart, What Went Down is the Oxford Quintet’s fourth studio work.

But how did they end up where they are now?

With their collection topping up to five studio albums – and their enormous project of Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost fitting across a two-parter marathon in the late Spring of 2019 – Foals have been the frequent force behind the tales and triumphs of UK indie-rock music.

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With their jarring SPACE ROCK and TURBULENT ANTHEMS setting the pace, it made an unlikely formula to top the lot and break the charts.

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With five albums to choose from as an album to venture into (at least one first anyway) I had to seek out the storm of Foals‘ 2015 year with What Went Down.

DARK and DIRTY where it needs to be with Mountain at my Gates and Snake Oil, while being aware of itself enough to hold the gears back a bit with Birch Tree and London Thunder, it is such an impressive album – equally in production and music value – and for me, the far impressive to date.

Definitive in the band’s new approach to sound, it was also definitive in value too, with many music listeners returning to the music from Oxford quintet where they would once write them off for making music “too soft.”

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Foals: The Journey

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A band’s journey has never been so prevalent or distinguishable than these lot.

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Antidotes: 2008

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Starting with their pragmatic math-rock Antidotes in 2008, we saw the start of a band who were very much the fast and frantic in an ever-growing music scene. Old fan faves with Cassius and Balloons first gave us an idea of what kind of band we were dealing with …

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Total Life Forever: 2010

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… But when Total Life Forever came out two years later, we simply had to throw that out of the window. Far more lush and swell in the making, it really allowed Foals to flourish and really confirm, “right this is us, this is our sound.”

The fast, the funky and the off-balance with Antidotes was taken down a few pegs with Total Life Forever as a more sultry, considerate approach to taking life slower was picked. Rightly so, as this was the sound they eventually settled on.

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Holy Fire: 2013

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Much more brighter in complexity and contrast, came Holy Fire in 2013. Rolling with more tight-lipped writing, Holy Fire trail-blazed Foals’ distinguished sound and not only surpassed a mega indie anthem with My Number, but also hacked the charts overseas in America, too.

The album saw familiar favourites with airy Out of the Woods, critical rock additions with Inhaler aswell as fitting in the slow-burners with Late Night, that was so emphatically notable with the band from the prior release in 2010.

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What Went Down: 2015

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Simply picking up where they left off, What Went Down was a far more passionate desire to lay their stake in the ground – we are Foals and this is what we do.

Their now immense following were only thrilled to hear that more music was in the making.

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Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: 2019 (part I / part II)

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Despite somewhat of a project with B-list unreleased works, this would be the band’s most prestigious and busiest years in the industry – releasing two music albums in the space of the same year.

Envisioning creativity and new directions, their fifth and most recent saw them delve into sounds we hadn’t heard of before. An impossible feat to do at this stage, you’d think, but we were albeit pleasantly surprised with Syrups and Cafe D’Athens off the first part. If Part I was the palatable starter, then Part II is the tasty desert of dreams.

Far more angry and emphatic, Part II is a screechy sure-fire of the best of indie rock. The Runner Black Bull, Like Lightning. With this album, I could keep going – thump after thump.

2019: “at their creative peak.”

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In all my time listening to music and being a fan of all genres, call me dumb or merely narrow-minded, but I have never witnessed such a journey in not only creating such a diverse array of music but how they seem themselves as musicians and individuals in an industry that is already so overpopulated with pumped indie kicks.

It’s f*ckin great.

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Song of the Day: Quadeca’s Alone Together

Keeping on the hype of alternative lo-fi hip hop from Loyle Carner, comes another empowering trip into the scope of mental health and struggling with daily life.

Quadeca is another unlikely source of the grand and gorgeous in the world of music, especially with the young soloist coming from the lands of YouTube, but he joins the plethora of producing quite well and making snappy beats equally well, too.

One we picked today was Alone Together. Emphatically powerful and somewhat inspiring with its sombre-to-frantic lyrics, Alone Together was one of those songs that I really wanted to have on repeat when it was first released. The sheer simplicity and the emptiness of the chorus ultimately tells the origin of the song story, and the distraught outro really draws the song to a telling close.

Worthy of any avid fan of hip-hop or the alternative scene within the same genre who has some understanding of YouTube rappers. Even though the likes of Quadeca has no doubt surpassed this disconcerting label already.

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Song of the Day: Loyle Carner’s Loose Ends

An empowering vocal delivery matched with honest lyrics, Loyle Carner with Loose Ends is a creative MC like none another.

I first stumbled upon Loose Ends when creating a kind of ambient playlist I was going for. I was sifting through ideal artists and promising singles and I just had to stop. Stop in my tracks as this song played. It had certainly been a while for a song to keep me hooked in like that for so long. That should really tell you enough about this distinct alternative of hip-hop.

The angelic vocal partnership of Jorja Smith (same creator behind the similarly-soothing work of Addicted) makes it that more perfect with them both, creating an unlikely duo that intermingle with one another so well.

The soothing instrumentals behind it make a worthy listen for that casual Sunday where you need a song to hit that spot. Well, Loose Ends hits that spot pretty well.

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Jamie Cullum: Profession of Jazz

Upending the notions of jazz, Jamie Cullum is the splash of colour that redefined the world of melodic pop.

Surly vocals and elaborate chops on the keys, Cullum has achieved critical acclaim for his vibrant mix of originality. His depth of character is fully flourished in his music too, with his ability to swoon us with emphatic ballads to witty pop in a matter of song listings. Cullum first broke into the scene back in 2002 with Pointless Nostalgic and 2003’s Twentysomething. Dazzled with classic retellings of jazz classics and emotional originals that slotted beautifully within each, Twentysomething broke the foundations of the complexity of jazz and Cullum became a household name over night.

His complexion to intermingle within genres didn’t stop there though. Cullum subsequently released Catching Tales in 2005 and The Pursuit in 2009, which embraced his soft rock – pop progressive ballads and careened beautiful showings of his songwriting material with bold-and-brash Get Your Way, witty ramblings of Nothing I Do, and of course, sombre ballad retellings with Love Ain’t Gonna Let You Down.

For fans of both enjoyable soft pop work and the establishment of jazz with orchestral styles, Jamie Cullum is a singer-songwriter for the ages. His most recent release in 2o19, Taller, established Jamie’s talents and allowed him to break the top ten in record sales. My favourites from this record have to be the fancy-and-fast of Usher and the enchanting dazzle of Marlon Brando, that is seen to be on the B Side for this one.

Prolific in sound, voice and immense piano chops, Jamie Cullum is a redefining motion in the industry.

Cullum ultimately cements himself further as a music anomaly every new record he releases.

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Let’s Talk: Will we ever run out of music?

Liable lawsuits, copyright claims … and only so many notes to play with – will we ever run out of music?

It’s an important topic to discuss after all – as popular music confirms to the usual and sticks to a particular format of notes because it works, will we see more and more music take “inspiration” from those before them and ultimately wind up a disarray among other artists?

I always feel that there will come a time when – certainly for the popular genres – we will indeed run out of conformity and the comfortable. Here, we will more likely re-introduce old genres forgotten or venture into unknown terrority of writing music we’ve never heard of before. Even that will be a mighty feat to comprehend. After all, there is only so many notes, right?

It is still fairly respectable that these music artists and their corresponding songwriter teams, are still drudging up songs that do not formally slip into songs that have already been made. There is certainly an adaptation of the rules at play here. With so many popular songs within the same key, same note configuration and ideas, I’m surprised that this hasn’t happened already.

Either way, let me know your thoughts below on this one.

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Alt-J: The World of Experimental Sound

Subtle eccentrics of indie rock with complacent sound-experiments, bring Alt-J into the spotlight as critically acclaimed and award-winning.

An Awesome Wave

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Alt-J: a name raised from the delta symbol that is made when hitting Alt and J on a Mac keyboard, their smoothie blend of folky dub-pop became their signatory work and was first brought to attention in such singles, Matilda and Fitzpleasure in 2012.

Oddly arranged in structure and the ample choosing of percussion, we were pleasantly surprised to find out they had done a full-length debut album using those same sounds.

An Awesome Wave was released in the same year of 2012, and amassed a worthy following instantly –

including myself.

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Being one of the first to purchase the album via iTunes … trailing through the Earth’s atmosphere or merely jumping amongst cityscapes with your earbuds in … is how I would describe Alt-J’s music tellings.

Musically, it’s simple but it’s genuinely clever.

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Doing something that hadn’t really been done anything on this scale before – certainly not from an original quartet of artists – An Awesome Wave allowed them to earn their first prestigious Mercury Prize in the world of music – not to mention three nominations from the The Brit Awards.

With a 14-piece artwork that does not require a single skip – favourites including Something Good and Dissolve Me – it has soon become a staple of this pleasurable folk-indie vibe sort of music.

Its such a rarity to explore experimental sounds, odd in structure and percussion to deliver such an album that resonated with so many people. I think the sheer simplicity of it and the ever-so-present relaxing setting you get in there music has been there from day one. Wherever the band manages to end up on their next work, their art of morbid curiosity is a sight to behold.

This is All Yours

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Despite the temperament changing in the Alt-J camp after the bassist of Gwil Sainsbury’s departing in 2013, they remained true to their colours and followed up with their second, This is All Yours, in 2014.

Rhythm and space were their desired bread and butter – and that certainly didn’t change or deter at all with this follow-up.

Whilst This is All Yours did not share the same involvement concerning numbers or critical acclaim compared to that of the first, it just so happened to feature elements of extended beauty in songs that stretched for more minutes, which left the band to experiment more, without the worry of having to hold back to suit the status quo with the dreaded second album. It hinted at moments from their debut, with playful Left Hand Free and Every Other Freckle

… but also hinted at a changing landscape for the band, a maturity to their music, almost. Elluring two-parter, Arrival in Nara and Nara, which draws up a playing time of 9 minutes, allowed the band to create conceptual moments that translated well in a far deeper song structure. Overall, This is All Yours had an 8-minute longer playing time than An Awesome Wave, but you could say had a deeper meaning behind it.

Relaxer

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In early 2017, they soon departed ways with their vibrant colours and approached their third studio album with a somewhat darker presence, with the release of the trio 3WW, In Cold Blood and Adeline in 2017. Same year, in June? Enter, Relaxer.

Although short in a track listing of just eight, it certainly makes up for its playtime of 38 minutes. Although not doing as successful as the prior two, Relaxer is a diluted version of their sounds – but nonetheless equally ambitious. House of the Rising Sun and Deadcrush are beautiful moments that I will always wish were longer, despite them being long enough as they are.

It may also feature future sounds that we may expect to hear from their potential fourth studio album? Last Year and Pleader delves into far more traditional sounds of other orchestral instruments – including the uproar of a choir during the lasting moments in Pleaser – and even has a female vocalist adding elements into the fold that we hadn’t really heard of before.

Whatever they have in store for us in the coming year or so, I’m sure it’s set to be a delight for all of us.

Equally delightful in sound and presentation, Alt-J are a folk-inflected, indie-smooth topping that is perfect for any casual music listener.

Give their track-load a listen below.

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One Big Year: The Snuts

A ferocious year.

Record deals.

Ad campaigns.

International partnerships.

Released in April this year, their debut album reflects on humble beginnings, emotional dreams, and have since become one of the most exciting and vital bands of the new decade.

But after catching their big break; was it simply the luck of the draw? What makes them grab a number one at debut level as opposed to the thousand other artists who just … don’t?

Above all else, I think it majorly just falls down to the band being in the right place at the right time.

Their debut album, W.L, which was released on the 2nd of April this year, has elements of a perfect music fairytale. The album brings glossy, flourished and instantly catchy indie-rock hooks that resonate with the grandeur of UK music. Even future classics, Elephants and Juan Belomonte make you hesitate and think to yourself, “have I heard this before?,” with them being prominent in style and pizzazz. But for this story, it is more than likely you have listened to this before, yes.

After grabbing ad campaign success with beer powerhouses, Strongbow and titans of sports, Electronic Arts within the FIFA21 soundtrack, it is safe to say you’ve heard the sound of The Snuts before one way or another. Now, challenging the top spot with their debut, they’ve reached unfathomable heights in such a short span of time.

When a band skyrockets like they’ve done, it’s always important to think why. That way, once you get an understanding of how they’ve managed to grow so emphatically, our favourable bands and artists with similar music goals, can simply do the same.

Now, I know it’s easier said than doe per se, as the industry is as unpredictable as the UK weather, but it shows the precedent of how the music industry works and how us as consumers work. It makes me want to spit and squabble at the music industry with how it works internally because, there will be music artists who are just as talented, just as hard-working and dedicated to the cause, and they will not reach the same numbers as The Snuts would do in the span of the year they had. Hell, in the same in five years.

Truth be told, their music is delightfully fun, catchy and downright remarkable if you’re a fan of other indie-dwellers like Blossoms and The Amazons. But it’s not overly complicated or showing anything we haven’t heard of anything before, in fact – it’s quite simple. It’s just tapping into the right audiences, the right “holes” so to speak, and us as consumers will do the rest and play the music.

It’s simply sharing our love for an upcoming UK band among our friends because we’re proud of our music. A Scottish band, no doubt.

A popular trend-setting cause people can willingly get behind. #SNUTSFORNUMBERONE. The proof is in the pudding.

If the four lads from Whitburn pull this off, they will become the first Scottish band to deliver a number one debut album in 14 years. The last band that did that was The View in 2007 – and they haven’t been prevalent in the industry since 2015.

So far, they have topped the score with both vinyl sales and streaming since its release. The question is, they can maintain the speed and claim the top spot from Demi Lovato? Find out tonight.

Emphatic in style and breaking records, Scottish bands certainly don’t make music by halves. They’re certainly out to prove a point and they’re not doing a bad job going about it.

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podcasts you should listen to …

  1. George Ezra & Friends

Despite being unable to record and share delightful music stories during this year because of the pandemic, the tales they have sought on this podcast so far has been unmeasurable. A delightfully convulsive and insightful listen to the world of the music industry, it portrays amazing music stories (and ramblings, I should mention) of some of the music greats: Elton John, Tom Jones, Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi to name a few.

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I hope you find it as interesting and fun to listen to, as it was to make.

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Most recent:

2. Soundcheck

Showcasing themselves as the ultimate platform for fans of all music, Soundcheck is under new management, under new names and rigging up a highly attainable podcast that is worthy of a listen. Formulating interviews with past and present music artists, and keeping you up to date on all music news including festival line-ups, new album reviews and personal thoughts and ever-present industry standards that come out.

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Featuring interviews with your favourite artists, this is the place to hear it first.

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Most recent:

3. Load-In Podcast

From the unheard music tales and talks, the Load-In has the best works to date for being not the road in the music industry. Charming and rustic interviews within the music industry brings episodes every two weeks of the same greats and legends in the world of classic rock. Driven straight from the inspiration of using Zoom during lockdown, ambition has created a brand new podcasts for us to listen to on our commutes.

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From tales from the road to upcoming projects …

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Most recent:

4. Music and Life Podcast

After highly anticipated followings from the Music and Life blog, its original format and discussions are turning to the form of listening as opposed to reading. Enjoy insightful and topical discussions in the world of music from all aspects of industry genres. Drawing more so on particular concepts within African-American culture and communities and their music styles, Music and Life brings a fresh take on what’s beating on all things music.

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Remember the motto: Music IS Life!

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Most recent:

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Let’s Talk: Can ANYONE be a Musician?

The rise of musicality stature, record labels and music business organisations tell us no.

But, the transparency of social media, the number of bedroom artists rising to fame, the term of ‘music’ losing its meaning as each day passes, tells us a different story.

I believe that anyone can be a musician. Putting in the practice is the first step, your musicianship will then carry you the rest of the way there.

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If you have the perseverance and determination to succeed, you can be more than a musician but a businessman, too. But, I think being a musician takes more than picking up a guitar. It’s learning the ins and outs of the music industry, making sure you know you every loophole, every important name in the industry and making sure it’s who you know and what you know. That all too familiar catchphrase that is so present in creative sectors – and that is no different with the music industry.

I think it’s also more to do with your audience. The hardest thing about being a musician is having a decent audience. Playing an instrument or being able to rap and make a good beat is only the half of it. The ability to market and campaign yourself almost as if you’re running for office yourself is the difficult half. You could argue that if you’re good enough, then the audience comes to you. But that’s not strictly true at all, now is it? I know thousands of talented artists, singers and rappers who are making their way slowly to an audience – despite making amazing music. The audience is hard to achieve, especially within such an over-populated and over-saturated industry that is the music one.

For me, I’m a drummer. We’ll leave the drummer jokes at the foot of the door, thank you. But, it took me 10 years of practice to get to the skill and quality as a drummer where I am today. In no way to represent in numbers of my social media fanbase or a following on this blog, and so it’s important to know your achievements and success, I think.

For me, being a drummer is amazing, fun and downright beautiful. Anyone can be a musician if you have the energy and time for it. I wouldn’t say the talent for it, because I think everyone has talent. The right amount of practice and you’d be up there with the greats. After all, how do you think they got up there?

Anyways, I’ve rambled on enough about this topic – clearly a lot to say! Let me know your thoughts on this one below. And above all else … let’s talk. Because it’s good to talk.

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My Blogger Thoughts …

It’s been a hell of a week so far, and so instead of investing some time into a written discussion, I’ve decided to just share with you some of my thoughts today.

I’ve learned the hard way that running a blog upholding producing daily content is not easy work. Not only drawing up inspirational words of wisdom for blog ideas but also investing time in sharing it within your own community and fellow bloggers, it really takes it out of you and before you know it – the morning has gone, your coffee has gone cold and your stomach is rumbling for a sandwich at a 2 ‘o’ clock shadow.

I’ve tried unconditional ways of staying ahead of the game, raising audience awareness, running the numbers – all seem far too difficult to run it constantly for a month straight, say. I’ve even tried to write blogs a week in advance – but that majorly runs you dry with lack of original concepts and ideas for content; especially when I would like to stay within the confines of the music and its industry.

Whilst my writing has gotten quicker and my ideas are spent less time in my head per se, keeping up to date with a daily blog is still a pretty difficult challenge to uphold. I certainly wouldn’t want to reduce its quality for quantity over the day, that’s for sure.

Any perspective thoughts on your own on how to stay ahead of the game and prevent yourself being burnt out on constantly striving for new ideas and challenges, do let me know.

I’ve been thinking about taking a break, but that will break the one promise I made to myself. Go a full year, posting a blog update on every one of those 365 days in the year.

As soon as our lives return to normality and our busy schedules become busy again, it may seem I may have to break that promise to myself sooner than I would like to …

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MY Favourite Band is…

G’morning folks. I hope all is well – we have another conversation starter with you today – what’s your favourite band? The controversial, the favourites, or the questionable; it does not matter, no one is judging you here with your favourite music bands. Let me know!

For me, I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to just one band. I would have to say some of my favourites worthy in the collection would be St.Albans Alt-rockers Enter Shikari, artsy-jazzy Jamie Cullum and of course, it’s got to be the best rock band in the world – Queen. Tell me otherwise if you don’t agree …

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ISLAND: A New Tale in the Alternative

The Work of Island: Problems from an ever-changing line-up whilst working in dingy London studios …

… Comes a new tale in the alternative.

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From the fibres of the alternative rock scene – loosely translated as a much more tame beast as opposed to its distant relative of hard rockISLAND are a prestigious band gleaming with prospect.

Inspired from their distant adventures on the road, the band released their 2018 debut, Feels Like Air. Since then, they have kept themselves busy with European tours, stretching as far as the coast of North America, even. Whenever they have had time off the road, they’ve been knuckling down in the studio, creating joyous tales once more. In 2019, they released coveted EP, When We’re Still with Editors-inspired plateau, Just That Time of the Night.

Prior to all this however, it seemed that regardless of their reverent line-up, the name of ISLAND would prevail throughout as 2015 was the year when they such things to be true. With feelings of maturity and a hope filling the air, they released Girl in 2015. Who knew the beautiful simplicity of Stargazer would rise the band to new heights?

Bringing a completely new set of tools and brand to the wares of alternative music that seem simplistically beautiful in creation, they are bringing a fresh perspective to musical songwriting and ask for those to join the congregation.

Forged from the inspired thoughts due to their extensive time on the road, Feels Like Air, champions exactly that.

Music that is so effortless and seemingly made so emphatically, it is equally fair to listen every bit the same, too.

I’m sure those echoic guitars first thrilled the studio when they heard them.

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Feels Like Air

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Ride (a powerful album start-up)

Try (For fans of Grizfolk and Circa Waves)

The Day I Die (for fans of Editors and Radiohead)

Something Perfect

Interlude

Horizon (for fans of JAWS)

Moth

We Can Go Anywhere

God Forgive (empowering moments make it my favourite amongst the list)

Feels Like Air (self-titled makes it a close second)

Lilyflower (light acoustics settle the album to a close)

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I’M BACK! What have I missed?

Hey folks, I’m back to writing today. After the backlog of sifting through my most frequently written album reviews from Tame Impala and Ben Howard, I’m back today on Easter Sunday of all days writing up music tellings and musings for your visual pleasure.

So, what have I missed? Let me know any juicy gossip of your own ventures, stories or comments below.

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The Magic of Tame Impala: The Slow Rush

Flawless in creation, The Slow Rush is an episodic concept that draws on temporal themes of the unending cycle of life.

Similar to that of a slow rush in itself, we seemingly crash through our lifetimes – without actually having a sense of feeling about them at all.

I felt like I heard Tame Impala’s deep dive of The Slow Rush for the first time, in a fever dream. More so a surreal escapist than that of your generic music artist, it is no wonder his ravenous audience is lapping up every morsel Tame Impala (Kevin Parker) gives us to consume.

After all, we hadn’t spoken about Tame Impala (Kevin Parker) elusive acts of music since his commercial corner of Currents. That was back in 2015. 2020, and we have the return of said fever dream with The Slow Rush 5 years later.

Drawing on ideas witnessing your own lifetime whizzing by in a mere lightning bolt, The Slow Rush is a piece of work that praises the unending cycle of life. This unending – and simply unnatural feeling – is ever-present in its song names too, as it draws on elements of oxymorons with Instant Destiny, Tomorrow’s Dust and Lost in Yesterday, that as phrases, give you no feeling of resolve or – dare I say it – a formative ending. The album concept name itself Slow Rush, gives us an impression of these temporal themes, perceiving the problematic feeling of rushing our passage of time without actually feeling it at all.

The album even ends on Parker longing for One More Hour – despite seemingly wasting his time, as he originally requested a longer duration of time at the beginning of the album with One More Year. This emphatic illustration draws on us as humans to unduly ask for more and more time – despite already having it.

But, of course we come to the eventual realisation about it all with, Is it True and It Might Be Time – with Parker reciting, “something doesn’t feel right” when we do realise it is our time to eventually face the music.

With that said, Tame Impala’s ebbings and flowings of creating stills in music has been prevalent since his first experiment with InnerSpeaker in 2010. Giving the music project name of Tame Impala, insinuating that it is indeed a band behind the music, Parker’s approach to psychedelia, dystopia and surrealism has reached the breaking point of the genre we know it as, “psychedelic rock”, and ultimately smashed Parker’s music into a genre of its own.

Despite the disjointed efforts of Parker recording one half of the album in Los Angeles and his own home studio in Fremantle, Australia, the album concept is anything but. The Slow Rush just adds to the ever-existing beauty that fulfils Parker’s music already.

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Let’s Talk: When does good music turn bad?

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Let’s Talk: Discussing the Music

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This is a topical point of conversation that first came to me when I was listening to lostprophets. Again, I don’t know what caused me to fraternise with such music in relation to such a catastrophic individual that is Ian Watkins, but there I was. Listening to Rooftops and enjoying myself for a brief fleeting moment before I thought again about this band.

Another jarring thought comes to mind with this question when we essentially grow up. Telling sad truths has never been a thing I’ve wanted to do, but it’s true. When you turn 33, that is the age when you stop liking new music. An instant distaste crops up with all popular teen pop music. But, funnily enough, if you grew up with it in your own teen years, this music will more often, remain with you until your thirties. Whether we grow up, or merely grow out of music, you could essentially argue that the music your once loved and grew it up, will either be a bitter-sweet memory or music turned bad – depending on what is associated with that music.

So let’s talk … this is the question I propose to you – –

When does good music turn bad?

Is it hideous affiliations or rumours associated with the band?

Or is it just the music itself?

Do you have any proposing stories of music you once loved – but turned sour?

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If so, let me know!

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KSI: Breaking Boundaries

From FIFA to Forbes, KSI has become one of the most successful start-up stories throughout the music industry.

In an unexpected tradition of starting from YouTube, he has tarnished his shaky reputation he received in ’13 and has gone on to music stardom with the likes of Craig David, Rick Ross and Yungblud.

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Breaking boundaries since his pinnacle rise – and he’s only just getting started.

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Originally as an internet personality strife with making FIFA videos from the comfort of his own bedroom. He has ultimately broken his own comfort into becoming an international icon known for breaking the boundaries of countless genres, industries and expectations of a “YouTuber”and with the Internet star drawing up two top ten songs in the space of a couple of weeks, I think it’s time we give him his due credit, don’t you think?

Merely starting out with his own DIY EPs with Keep Up in 2016, and entertaining singles like Lamborghini the year prior, KSI (formally known as Olajide “JJ” Olatunji) soon shed the laughing stock off his back, took himself far more seriously and gained instant momentum in the music industry. Not only creating the incandescent flavours of UK grime and polished rap, but also unafraid to exploit the tropes of popular music, KSI has broken ground like none other. In a short span of 5 years or so, it is a success story for the ages. Literally casting the tropes of Drake’s “started from the bottom,” his music has ultimately become more confident, competent and mature in production and artistry.

Don’t Play, Lighter, Really Love, Patience. The list is ever-growing and he becomes more and more hungry for growth and opportunity. You could certainly argue that it is easier to break through the music industry with an already avid fan base from his YouTube entertainment, and it essentially allowed him to do half a job. But that other half is equally as important. JJ still required the drive and ambition to shed those stereotypes, that reputation of him and go on to do greater.

Whatever you think of him, his ambition in music, boxing and business is next-to-none and greatly inspiring to those that have similar humble beginnings to what he had.

His fanbase may have shifted, and his videos may not be what entertain me today, but I’ll always remain a fan of his, even if it is just for his journey.

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Ben Howard – ‘Collections from the Whiteout’ Album Review

Striking the distance between the strange and the curious, Collections from the Whiteout draws everlasting collaborations – but holds its own with Howard still prevalent as the inventive singer-songwriter.

If I told you that Aaron Dessner of The National had a major hand in producing and spinning his thoughts into Howard’s fourth successive album, you’d instantly understand it’s thought-process. A simply inventive piece of studio production, it merely avoids the dooming darkness that we saw on predecessors Noonday Dream and I Forget Where We Were, and brings a new intriguing oddity to his writing work.

Despite lacking its consistent catchy flings that we saw in amicable favourites Keep Your Head Up and Only Love, from his loveable debut, Every Kingdom back in 2011 – the elusive narratives, rustic thrills and heart-ache guitar pangs from Dessner make it an album worth writing about.

As he careens from his original path of the folk/vocal combo and instead diving into a distortion of electronics, it just tells us more about what kind of singer-songwriter Ben Howard is. Compelling, inventive and simply unafraid to embrace change.

With single stand-outs few and far between – as it’s best as a collectiveSorry Kid, Crowhurst’s Meme and Finders Keepers are some of my favourites from the 14-track album. With themes less thought-provoking but rather taken straight from snapshots of news articles, the album is rife with collaborations and inspiration from seven co-collaborators who all have a hand-in making Howard’s next masterpiece.

While it may veer away from Howard’s original sound and sometimes veer off too much, it still manages to keep itself grounded allowing Ben to still flourish in moments of bitter-sweet beauty. While it’s a saddening moment to not hear Howard again flex his own acoustic compassion and folky vibes from Every Kingdom, just the musical journey alone he is undertaking is good enough for me.

Other album reviews for this month:

Kings of Leon’s When You See Yourself

Aloe Blacc’s All Love Everything

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I made a playlist: Browsin’ the Blues

Back to popular demand, this time, I made a playlist is careening into the deep and dirty of swingin’ Blues ripened fresh and directly from the South.

Harmonica and twangy strings-abound, Browsin’ the Blues brings every Blues greats into one neatly reformed playlist package. For avid fans of the genre or merely fans who feel a sense of relaxing coming on, it is perfect for anyone.

An eclectic, swampy collection of the best of the swingin’ Blues, pulled deep from the origins of the South for your pleasure. Perfect for the sweetest soul … or the dirtiest.

Have a gander below:

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Aloe Blacc – ‘All Love Everything’ Album Review

Aloe Blacc resides in us with his album about familial love – ‘All Love Everything.’

Of course, Aloe Blacc is not a name we are unacquainted with in the world of music. We are all far too familiar with his beloved classics of I Need A Dollar, The Man and Wake Me Up, when he became an artist on the lips of music lovers with his album, Good Things back in 2010. But of course, the name of Aloe Blacc has not been seemingly present in the music spotlight for over a decade since.

With temporal shifts in consumer trends, industry chart-topping rules and an artist becoming less relevant from one day to the next, it seemed that Aloe Blacc has become a forgotten figure in an industry that forgets easily.

But of course, as with the case with familiar favourites, we fall back into their music. I myself, first fell back into Aloe Blacc’s music when he released, fun-happy bop, Brooklyn in the Summer back in 2018. With continual single records and candid attempts in film soundtracks, he has returned to album form with his 2021 work of All Love Everything.

Adding to his already heartfelt artistic palette, Blacc’s warm and generous offering feels like he never left.

Inspired with the prospect of fatherhood, this album embarks on a new journey for the Californian singer-songwriter as he delves into the challenging of turning such a journey into lyrics and melody.

While not advising to be pigeonholed into one set genre and being uncomfortable discussing himself as a pop or a folk artist, he tells us his songwriting genre is solely “thematic.” While his music draws anticipation on all genres from soul, folk and contemporary pop, Aloe feels that his music follows rather a theme, instead.

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“Rather than a genre, my music follows [a theme] I call A.I.M: affirmation, inspiration and motivation.”Aloe Blacc

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All Love Everything is the next installation within the A.I.M catalogue and fulfils Aloe’s ambition to express his gratitude for family on such songs, “Glory Days” and you guessed it … “Family” – as well as fitting in the time to showcase the importance of support with, “My Way” and “Corner.”

Soulful, powerful and trying to be exactly what it wants to be, Aloe Blacc’s return to the music industry is as fulfilling and triumphant as his voice is.

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What I’ve Been Listening to: March 2021

Morning, folks. I’m in the midst of celebration today. Today marks the 200th blog post on Man v Music.

Thanks to all who has had a look at one, commented on one or just brushed past one from their busy, scheduled lives. I appreciate all of you!

So in celebration, why not have a look into the best flavourings I delved into in the world of music across the month of March?

1. Stand Atlantic’s punk-pop: “bios suck dude.”

We start off with the majority of Stand Atlantic‘s music. I’ve recently ventured into this guilt trip a couple weeks back – and I can’t get enough of them. Originally harking from the prospects of the lands of bubblegum teenage-rock, they have acid hooks, addictive lyricism and chaotically edgy anthems that have been on repeat since I found them out from their recent release in 2020, Pink Elephant. Outlandish punk-pop brings unbridled joy. You can certainly get an idea what type of music they create from such an album name, too … Worth a visit.

2. thepressreleasesNew York Romantic: Playlist Power

Next up – is the loveable, feel-good vibes of a playlist we all want to have. Adopted from the playlist pioneer on the Internet, thepressrelease, New York Romantic is the sweet, sultry aftertas

te of real-life romantics. With a collection nothing to hide, it features tropes from lo-fi with Samm Henshaw’s Broke, catchy playful pop of Put it to Bed from JHart and a palette that doesn’t fit to simply one genre, Aloe Blacc with this fitting single of Brooklyn in the Summer, that doubles my angst to visit New York ten-fold.

3. Soundscapes: The Backdrop for Gaming

Going for a bit of lazy one with this one – but again, it’s been on repeat ever since I’ve ventured into gaming whenever I’ve had an hour spare or two during the evening. Raised as a Spotify original, Soundscapes For Gaming depicts those atmospheric beats that make you saunter away with the music. Lush overtones and peaceful moments with Hammock’s Clarity, The Album Leaf’s See in You, Helios’ It Was Warmer Then and Sad Heart of Mine by Caspian. Whether you’re an avid gamer or merely an escapist with the music, this playlist is perfect for both.

Highly recommend amongst those lot.

4. X&Y: Coldplay Classics

After hearing the horrific news of Sarah Everard’s tragic murder here in the UK, and the events followed with many women hosting vigils and sharing their experiences to raise awareness against violence on women, it has made me feel rather sombre where we are and how our history has not progressed at all with women suffering. In fact, nothing has changed a dime since the first suffragette – which is a rather delicate thought to reflect.

This recent news has most certainly passed onto what I’ve been listening in the month of March and this example is no different. Although hailed as one of Coldplay’s album that lost the band’s progressive songwriting, X&Y is an album I am an avid fan of. Perhaps because it relates to a sombre part of my childhood, the album features moments of magic with What If, Talk and Speed of Sound. Instant classics, they certainly bring me back to the early 2000’s when I was just a boy. Worth a listen again, even if it’s a trip down memory lane for you.

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So there you are – a bit insight into what I’ve been listening so far in the month of March.

Have a gander and let me know what you think!

If you fancy a dabble at something different or unheard of, why not have a gander at some of my own playlists? Purely collaborative, and so I won’t be offended if you chop or change them to your style.

My Own Playlists

Previous Blogs …

Playlist Review: Hour of Power

A band that we’ve discussed a fair few times on here before – and rightly so – is the rock powerhouse of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Good news folks, they’ve made a playlist they listen to, right before they tear it up on stage. It gleams with a horror show of borderline crazy, with […]

The Black Keys – ‘Delta Kream’ Album Review

As tough and brittle as a Rubber Factory, rock-blues natives from Ohio, The Black Keys are true realists when it comes to making the swampy work of blues-rock. Known for spiting their differences about the music industry, The Black Keys – made up with Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney – they are a brutal force […]

LISTEN: What’s on My Repeat Playlist?

Ever wondered what songs are on repeat so much, I get sick of them? As of Sunday today, have a venture into my ON REPEAT playlist and let me know your thoughts on it all. Have a great rest of your weekend, folks. I’ll see you in the new week for more album reviews, music […]

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Let’s Talk: What’s your most treasured music memory?

Happy weekend, folks. With the first day of Spring finally upon us, I’d thought we’d all take a trip down to memory lane, and discuss our most treasured memories in the world of music.

Live or recording – what’s the best memory in music you hold? The one you hold dear – or simply just a fond tale of your past experience?

Let me know.

With me suffering hideously with hay fever today – so fittingly on the first day of Spring, too – let’s gloss over the fact that music and it’s beautiful moments won’t be til after Summer this year, and talk about what we miss about the most, and what we have loved along the way.

I’d have to say my most treasured music memory is witnessing the rock legends, Foo Fighters live at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes, UK. I remember as if it were yesterday – a year prior to when I was set to be whisked off to University in 2016, we spent one final piss-up with some lads from back home, paying a fitting tribute to Grohl and co, Royal Blood and naked-drunk music icon, Iggy Pop. Yet, this gig was simply one-of-a-kind, because we saw Grohl in a way that no one would ever see again.

After recovering from breaking his leg in Sweden earlier that year, Grohl was – rather fittingly – occupying a “rock throne,” marked up with guitar necks and luminous beauty. Despite not having the same energy and give Grohl would often given if he was his own two feet, it was still a sight to see – a moment that would be short-lived as he would recover just the year after.

Bellowing out rock classics amidst of crowd of thousands – with vivid detail of what those porta-loos looked like – whilst the sun in the shire of Buckingham settled down for the night, was and still is, one of those that will stay with me forever. It will stay with me too, especially since I saved the very ticket and wristband that got me into the gig in the first place.

Right, I think that’s me done. What about you lot?

Do let me know your most treasured moment of music in the comments below – I’d love to hear them!

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Loud & Clear: How much does Spotify pay Artists?

Spotify have finally answered this much-needed question with their bold and brash new website – Loud & Clear – a detailed guide to its royalty payment system.

But is it any good?

We Hear You

Loud & Clear.

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“Artists deserve clarity about the economics of music streaming. This site aims to increase transparency by sharing new data on the global streaming economy and breaking down the royalty system, the players, and the process.

Artists want the opportunity to make a living from their work. We want that, too: Although more artists than ever are finding success through streaming, we’re nowhere near done, and we’ll keep pushing to grow the industry.”

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In an attempt to shine the light on royalty payments that artists receive, Spotify have launched a website Loud & Clear to show us just that. Where the global streaming site would usually speak in code, and attempt vague responses to how artists are paid – does this finally tell us?

Here are some important facts and figures we have learned from venturing into the website just one day after it’s release.

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Over 13,000 artists are generating $50k a year.

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Impressive number, compared to what we’ve been told surrounding the stigma of Spotify and their royalty payments.

But while this is good, it is also important to remember that Spotify is home to around a third of all paid music streaming subscriptions – which suggests that artists could earn double or even treble their earnings if they take into account all the other music streaming services …

The Loud & Clear website also represents the number of artists who are achieving over 100k a year.

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The $100k-plus-per-year club counted 7,800 artists in 2020.

The $500k-plus-per-year club counted 1,820 artists in 2020.

And the $1 million-plus-per-year club counted 870 artists in 2020.

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There are over half a million tracks with over a million streams …

There are a whopping 2,710,000 tracks with over 100,000 plays!

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Whether its dialled in as a mere publicity stunt or these figures are actually true to the fact, the Loud & Clear website is showing us all – artists and consumers included – how far Spotify has come since the streaming service first launched and the rise in tenacity to fix their royalty payment issues. You can see their strength over the years by the total royalty payments made back in 2020 …

Spotify has paid $23 billion in royalties to music rights holders – including over $5billion in 2020 alone, up from $3.3 billion in 2017. Regarding the sheer volume of artists Spotify houses and the sheer popularity for consumer consumption – are these figures fair and considerate in the current climate? Or do they still not represent the music industry fairly?

MORE INFORMATION? CLICK HERE.
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Artist Spotlight: Chris Pidsley

Chris’s Socials

Quirky London music-making boy returns with yet another indie triumph

Luxurious indigo-indie with a eccentric reception to follow, London-based music-making boy Chris Pidsley is set to turn heads with his eclectic blend of sorrowful quips and tales that draws inspiration from Vance Joy and Kodaline with “Quirky”, “Cinnamon” and his most recent release, “Alex’s House” leading the way in Pidsley’s sound.

Whilst lockdown has been a difficult time for most musicians – especially with the lack of live music gigs and tours allowed to go ahead due to restrictions – Pidsley has been getting his thoughts to paper, marking himself in the musician head-space, as he adds six singles to his growing collection since the first lockdown in March.

His latest, Alex’s House, is a sincere triumph and truly sparkles Pidsley’s quirky flair and writing approach to making music in his bedroom. Perfect for any lazy Sunday playlist or for those scenic beachy walks with sand in between your feet, Pidsley’s music sits comfortably among the greats who Chris himself follows in admiration for ideas – for whom he will surely see himself in the same bracket in the future.

Simply easy-listening, it marks a venture into the world of catchy licks, outlandish quips and fast-paced beats –

a world Chris will surely circle back too.

Other Artist Spotlights:

Artist Spotlight: Michael Gallagher

Check out other artist reviews:

Recent Artist Reviews

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I made a playlist: Trainwreck Rock

You lovely lot wanted it, so here it is. In a new series I’m calling – I made a playlist – we go through each playlist drawn up, and best of all, make it a collaborative work space, so you can add your own personal vibes to it, too!

For the pissed-off playlist that will channel your rage, your inner rock demon – this playlist is for you.

A concoction of pent-up guitar trashing and manic drum-bashing, the playlist of Trainwreck is simply dressed here to impress. Some of my favourites in the rock, alternative rock, classical rock and metal world all blended in a cacophony of sheer panic and noise. What’s not to love, eh? Give it a listen below on one of your angry walks, a family dispute or when you simply don’t give a f*ck anymore.

As ever, get a feel for the playlist and do with it as you wish – add, chop or change? It’s all yours.