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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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7 Reasons Why ‘Making It’ is so Hard in the Music Industry

After exactly a year has passed since I graduated – and since we have more time on our hands than ever – I’d thought I would share with you all on why the industry may be hardest to ‘make it’ into. Especially for up and comers like we all are.

COVID – aside, of course, as we all know the devastating impact that has had on the industry.

1. The Industry Advice

Now, whether or not you are an avid musician, a wanna-be producer, or simply a DJ who likes pressing buttons, we’ve all received our fair share of advice and how-tos on ‘making it’ into the music industry either personally or online. What seems like an industry that actually doesn’t want you to make it with it’s continuous closed doors remaining shut, it all seems like the advice you receive is all make-believe, right?

Whether that is advice to purchase that equipment that you must buy – but can’t afford – or just to ‘remain patient and hold out,’ it seems that most of it is all smoke and mirrors.

Now, I’ve certainly got to be honest with you lot. For the majority of the time, I’ve been terrified. Ever since walking down this musical path with trepidation back in 2016, I’ve felt such a tremendous weight on my shoulders. Now, don’t get me wrong, family and friends are excited for you – but albeit hesitant that it will even resemble a career further down the line. Now, being in such a lucrative but creative space, I am aware that it will take just a bit longer than other more accessible career interests.

It’s certainly not as concrete if you venture down the path of business, say. That way, you get your concrete degree – maybe a masters too – you bag yourself a post-uni job, and there you are, you’re in the races.

But, with the music industry, with it’s horrendous use of its ‘volunteering’ tarnishing any reputation of having these post-uni opportunities, it seems to not offer any.

And so, from myself, I’ve loosely strung together what might the industry is probably not divided up into.

2. The Five Industry Sections (according to no-one but myself)

RECORDED MUSIC – this is where you’ve got your producers, sound engineers, session musicians and so on. Quite possibly the section where it is the most common for solo musicians to become session musicians, I’d say, right? Since anyone can hire out a studio for a day or two, you can always get the ball rolling with your name and away you go.

LIVE MUSIC – this is where you’ve got pretty much the whole shebang – the musicians, the roadies, the sound engineers, the technicians, the stage hands, the security, the planners, and of course the agents, or whatever they call themselves these days. Sad as it sounds, I’ve always wanted to be a roadie. Enjoying to be part of the live experience, but not feeling any of the goosebumps that go with it.

‘WRITING’ MUSIC – this is where I’ve used the term ‘written’ in its most loose sense. Here, you’ve got your music bloggers, journalists, photographers, the press, editors and publishers, all writing music rather than listening to it. I’ve got to be honest, this is a section where I’ve been striving to get into, ever since I realised music and writing can be put together in the same sentence.

MARKETING MUSIC – this is where you’ve got the whizz heads, the marketing strategists, the PR, the advertisers who are thinking of some outlandish scheme to get that artist on that billboard or that artist in your feed on Facebook. Another section that is quite fascinating but of course, like mentioned earlier, you’ve got the music part, what about the marketing part? Of course, I did some voluntary part-time work during my degree involving social media and marketing, but what about the academic skill of marketing? The tricks and tips that only graduates would know, surely?

ANYTHING GOES’ MUSIC – like most uni graduates, this is where I (and you, maybe) come in. The keen graduates hoping for anything that goes by our way. Whether that’s picking up the slack at a bar in live music venue, working on the phones in a music licensing company, or simply just sharing stuff in the hope that you out of the one other thousand followers are pushed into the spotlight.

. This section is basically where you think you have a foot in the door, but in actuality, it’s more like your stubby little toe, barely hanging in there before it’s closed again. Let’s be honest, you’re there simply because it has music involved in the job description, right? It’s the jobs where they are relying on the keen and avid musicians to pick them up, simply because it makes them look better as a business. Sad, but upon reflection – true.

3. Music Degree: The Passion Problem

But of course, I don’t want to sit here and rant like an old bitter man, simply because I am envious of those who have made it. No, no, no.

I’m simply ranting on how it’s impacted me personally. If anything, I’m enthralled and engrossed to the musicians that make it that bit closer to the end.

Taking a rather ‘loose‘ degree like Music, has made me realise that it doesn’t necessarily cover you for any section for what you wish to go in. You always have to have that bit extra. Music is the underlying foundation, basically informing you of your employees that you are passionate for it enough to take it as a degree.

Then, there is the other notion. You can perform live, produce sounds in the studio, develop managing events without the need for a certificate at the end of it. Of course, the only anomaly I can think of is if you wish to teach music.

While I am enviously trying to lift this blog idea off the ground, it seems all a moot point if I don’t have any academic accolades to my name surrounding writing, you know?

You would hope that the employee loves all that passionate ploy, and just disregards the fact that you’ve got no ‘professional‘ writing to your name either through journalistic routes or otherwise.

4. The ‘It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know‘ Saying

Of course, we have to mention this phrase when we talk bout the music industry and I think this industry is the most guilty – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

With this tandem in place, one does not need to be an expert to simply become an expert. With this being said, that position can be simply filled by the recommended rather than the right.

Of course, the music industry relies on good relationships for good results and the producer on the track will more likely opt for the session musician who is far less egotistical than the musician who is not, right?

If they go for the safe and familiar, how do the newbies stand a chance?

5. The Problem With Volunteering

Then there is the good old advice of ‘don’t do free shows.’ But, with that thinking, how do we expect to get ourselves out there if we don’t do the odd volunteering role here or there? For me, I don’t mean to sound like a bitter old man, but the volunteering roles I did – odd festival and single casual event help – did not really benefit.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not expecting a participation award of some kind, but rather you know, a saving of your contact perhaps for any future events that may happen? This will perhaps get your name out there a bit and really hone in on the “who you know’ etiquette.

https://manvmusic.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/slaves-of-entertainment-how-much-volunteering-is-too-much/

6. Industry Remains A Closed Door?

It is no wonder that the music industry has such a reputation for keeping those doors for opportunity shut. For some out there, volunteering in the industry is merely for them to make up the numbers, rather than actually providing worthy experience. For most, it would seem that an academic route is more viable for most musicians planning to make into the industry – whether that is a masters going down a tighter path of interest or taking advanced courses to boost the skillset, rather than turning up at a studio or a live gig hoping for them to return the favour. When it comes down to it though, it is just down to the luck of the draw, right?

Above all else though, what I’ve seen, been advised and informed to do is simply hold out, keep doing what you are doing, til something lucky comes your way. That may not be the best solution right now, granted, but certainly seems the best option without giving yourself false hope that you will be playing at Glastonbury during next summer.

But, whatever the advice given to us – be patient, be yourself, be confident, be assured. God’s honest truth, I think it’s best if we stick to just that, right?

https://manvmusic.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/nothing-but-fiction-the-industry-that-must-not-be-named/

7. Musician’s Attitude

Maybe it’s this attitude that is tarnishing the reason why the music industry is hard to get into. Amongst the usual things like lack of prospects and opportunities, lack of volunteering roles providing that opportunity, maybe it is just a case of getting your name out there more, staying in touch with local musicians and your local scene. Take every day as it comes for yourself, and enjoy the fact that music is music and you love it.

Creativity is not a competition after all, right? Then, it maybe, just maybe creep up on you and you land a role which you’ve always wanted to land. Maybe. Worth a shot, at least right?

The world is full of musicians who can play great, and you wouldn’t cross the road to see them. It’s the people who have this indefinable attitude that are the good ones.

Nick Lowe, musician, producer

I should stop ranting on this thing, pick up the sticks and get back on the drum kit and get working.

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Childhood Nostalgia | Black Eyed Peas

Critically acclaimed and un-rivaled among the rest in the industry at the time, from their savvy rap act, Black Eyed Peas became a record-breaking, chart topping, dominating mainstream phenomenon.

And if you don’t remember Monkey Business in 2005, you’ll certainly remember 2009’s The Energy Never Dies (The E.N.D).

For me growing up, this album was massive. The anthems on this album were unprecedented – colossal and took the charts by storm. I loved this album. Still do, come to think of it. Boom Boom Pow, Meet Me Halfway, I Gotta Feeling, Imma Be. These songs hit me right in the feels; right in the childhood. I was ten years old when this album came out. These songs were everywhere in the charts, you couldn’t escape them, even if you wanted to. Taking a more electronic dance sound to this album, altogether, their three number one singles topped the charts for half of the entire year in 2009.

With the rest of the bands chosen within the Nostalgia Series, Black Eyed Peas will one of the influentials in the list. It will certainly be the artist that led me through my “RnB/Chart” phase as a child, and they will always define the ever-lasting genre of pop groups. Not as prevalent as they used to be, Black Eyed Peas now operate as their original trio. With new music harnessing the usual simplistically of catchy pop, it does not have a shade on their old 2000s music however that undoubtedly, cultivated their position and captured the hearts of thousands of fans – and kids – who had never heard of such music before.

Thanks Will, for the music and the memories.

What do you remember of the Black Eyed Peas?

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Let’s Talk: Why do you Listen to Music?

On this quite frankly, miserable Monday morning – – let’s talk.

Through everything, why do you listen to music? Is it to keep you from being alone? Does it give you nostalgic vibes from your childhood or .. does it simply make you happy? Is music your imperative drug to earn a living? Or is it simply a casual hobby every other weekend?

I think the more important question to ask, would be – why don’t you listen to music? Undesirable as it is – certainly for me – there are actually people who don’t actively listen to music, and merely listen to it because they have to; either via the car radio, in shops and restaurants. Here, it is merely used as background music, something to fill the silence. But we actively go out of our way to play and listen to music; how so?

For me, it is the ultimate community to get involved with. Regardless of your past, your present or what kind of person you are, you can always get along with people who share your same musical tastes. Conversations that are never-ending, music is the ultimate starter. It is also slightly addictive for me. Finding new artists, listening to new genres before the majority has and exploring the musicality of it all. For me, music is relaxing and un-relaxing at the same time.

But what about you? What makes you listen to music?

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MIKA (2007) | Childhood Nostalgia

MIKA’s Grace Kelly and my Guilty Pleasure

Considering how well my last one went, what better way to continue the saga with MIKA?

I think everyone and the next door’s cat grew up on some sort of MIKA, right? I can’t speak for everyone of course, but ever since his popular single, Grace Kelly graced our airwaves way back when in 2007, the magical multi-octave French singer went on to become my guilty pleasure.

Mika’s Life in Cartoon Motion (2007)

Introducing Myself to the Debut: Life in Cartoon Motion

With singles, Love Today, Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) and Stuck in the Middle, Mika’s 2007 debut of Life in Cartoon Motion was my first ever CD I bought from the local HMV. When CDs were formally the rage and evidently took up the majority of the chart sales – with no vinyl actually in sight throughout the shop, mind – I scanned under “M” for Mika and Grace Kelly, and stayed for its enjoyable cover design.

Soon after the introduction of popular music and MIKA, I went through a faze of listening to chart music on repeat and became the chart savvy among the household, and tuning intently every Sunday for BBC Radio 1’s Chart Show – even my older brother didn’t do that. Above all else though, this was the one thing that I had to listen before the week of school started the following Monday.

MIKA’S The Boy Who Knew Too Much (2009)

Coming Back For The Sequel: The Boy Who Knew Too Much

It was so good to me, in fact, that I stayed around for MIKA’s second attempt with, The Boy Who Knew Too Much two years later in 2009. A perfect pair, these two albums fitted so well with one another – lyrically and musically depicting the same flurry of MIKA magic.

Damn, does that mean that I listened to MIKA for a successive two years? All I know now, is that these two albums are amazing to me, my music taste and my childhood. I am not ashamed to play these now, blast out to some good ol’ teenage pop and have a boogie.

Now, this music not only has played a part in how I’ve grown up and has been ingrained into my adolescence, but has also allowed me to overcome some boy struggles too, such as betrayal and heartbreak. And for that, I’m truly grateful. There was no better therapy than belting out the words, “Ah, ah, ah, is there anybody home?
Who wants to have me just to love me?”
to 2007s Stuck in the Middle. Amazing.

Of course, his new material is a bit lost on me now as I haven’t tuned into for a while – ever since my music taste turned toward more alternative, radical flavours of the industry. But I hear he is doing just as well with collaboration hits with Ariana Grande in 2012, (Popular Song) and his most recent release, My Name is Michael Holbrook in 2019.

I’m sure I’m not the only one with a guilty pleasure – who’s was yours?

Check out the previous Childhood Nostalgia featuring Gorillaz – link below.