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Your Record of the Weekend: ‘New England’ – Kid Kapichi, Bob Vylan

Explosive exploits and fractured societies, New England is the new angsty social commentary piece on a country devoid of change – and simple change at that.

Amongst the hypocritical self-centred nature of the country (Come witness the greatness of Britain / Diving around in a German car / Stop for lunch in a sushi bar) to the habitants’ inability to discuss change (Social change, no I don’t want that/Just sitting eating crisps in my one-bed apartment) and finally dropping to the lows of the weakened democracy under our rule, (That’s why I keep voting for the rich and heartless/Bored of all these moaning artists/So I’ll cast my vote regardless) it is an emphatic, raucous wall of insatiable angry noise that depicts a country in need of mending.

Of course, both Kid Kapichi and the feature artist of Bob Vylan are no strangers to creating politically-inducing music. With both Working Man’s Town and England’s Ending trawling through the streets of a social discussion of corruption. New England is their first – and probably not the last – collaboration venting their frustrations through the power of raw, indignant vocals and the whiplashing of instrumentals to boot. Worth a listen.

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You’re such a fool, Britannia
Britannia fooled again
Britannia, you’re so vain
You’ve gone insane

‘Cause you’ve been fooled, Britannia
Britannia fooled again
Britannia, you’re so strange
You’ve gone insane

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Meatloaf: Bat out of Heaven

I’m sure you’ve all heard the news by now – but the much beloved bundle of joy and musical ingenuity of performer, Meatloaf has died at the age of 74. Unbeknown to the cause of the death (with many fingers pointing to heart strains), it comes as a huge crushing blow to the rock ‘n’ world that Meatloaf had a huge handful in. After selling more than 100 million of his album, Bat out of Hell, it has since become one of the biggest selling records of all time and simply placed Meatloaf on the map as a global icon and music superstar. It’s not just music where is prowess stops either. His outreach to the entertainment sector saw no bounds. Featuring “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Fight Club”, “Wayne’s World” and of course, Tenacious D’s Pick of Destiny, his character was as sublime and unique as the voice that he rocked with. Meatloaf, Marvin Lee Ady – keep on rockin’.

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Spector: ‘Now or Whenever’ – Album Review

With the 2022 train of new music not seemingly stopping for a breath, we take a look at no-holds-barred, straight-arrow Spector rock with ‘Now or Whenever’.

Popularised with their splashy singles of Chevy Thunder and All the Sad Young Men from respective albums Enjoy it While it Lasts and Moth Boys, the London boys themselves return after a year hiatus with feelings of mutual melancholy.

‘Now or Whenever’ – fourth studio album

Alas, despite this, with an album stripped back allowing personalities to shine, it sits uncomfortably in an array of song assortments, stuffed in the same bag all to find the cheapest – and easiest – method to the counter. The highlights come half hour into the album with No One Knows Better and D-Roy only bringing back reminiscence of the Spector we saw on their youthful debut. With this being the bands’ first live album, the ideas are certainly there creatively, but nothing holds true together as a full package with it coming across more as a jamming session than anything more meaningful.

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Whether or not it was simply for this reason or something just didn’t glue together after being offline for so many months, I think I’ll stick with Spector … driving confidently in the Chevy.

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Not the best thing to come out of 2022, but still a seemingly enjoyable straight-edged rock album nonetheless. With no striking elements to keep me coming back, I think this one will be shelved for now. Who knows, maybe the spruce needed is in a live setting? Here’s hoping.

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The Case to Define our Industry: Fighting for a Better Economy

You may have heard the news spreading regarding the fight for a more equitable music economy with a greater emphasis on the economy of music streaming to artists…

.. aaand another one has been added to the roster. A UK artist, who goes by the name of Kieran Hebden (artist alias of Four Tet) has instigated legal action against his record label, Domino Records for 20 years. Many contracts associated with music artists often precede streaming services and – more importantly, the power role they’ve come into the 21st Century.

According to Hebden’s 2001 contact agreements, Hebden is entitled to an 18% royalty rate from physical sales and a 50% cut from licensing income. However, the music streaming moguls of our Internet bonanza have become ambiguous and less considered to their artists whom they “provide” for and as such, has allowed record labels to apply the same 18% rate as their physical counterparts in sales. But, like many, artists simply don’t believe that physical sales and streaming are one and the same and should be placed in the licensing income bracket – worthy of a 50% cut.

While many other artists before Tet have brought forward the case of music moguls tearing the legalities of artistry independence – the likes of Ye and Taylor Swift to name a few – it may be the first discussion that brings it forward to a full public hearing, which is a huge development in changing the course of royalty revenue on streaming platforms.

As such, after Hebden’s litigation, Domino records have responded. The declaration of what he owes transpires to the albums that Domino own the rights to, which is another 50 years or so. With that in mind, the record label have simply removed three of his most popular albums from streaming services altogether thus giving him no royalties in streams .. and no leg to stand on. Their recent move has solidified what we already know about the monopoly of record label in our industry – callous and greedy.

But it has also widened the scope into the survival of the music industry and whether or we not we can simply do without these record labels with their outdated and out of touch legally-binding contracts: which do nothing but bind the artist to the industry devil.

Hopefully, we’ll hear more about this as news progresses into the Spring of 2022.

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New Year, New Music: What’s in Store for Music in 2022?

As we bypass the festivities of Christmas and chart a course to New Years, it is ample opportunity to think ahead into the new year of 2022 and see where we are at with music and our industry.

WITH NFTS AND TIKTOK ABOUND in amenities and rife pipelines for artist directory and workflow, live music will plan a course back to its 2019 numbers and regain momentum again as we ramp up to the summer season with festivals stretching far and wide across the UK.

With uncertainty among variants emerging in the winter months, time will tell if Glastonbury is going to be held this time at Worthy Farm. With Glastonbury emerging as a necessary funding asset to the funds of our industry and our artists – aswell as our worthy charities, many are hoping that the festivals alike will return next Summer.

As more and more licensing deals are made and more and more artists begin to sell their catalogues in one swift swoop, would you hedge a guess that they know something that us as the general public do not?

If it’s any year to take the plunge and strive forward with your music, it’s this one. With prevalent artists like Arctic Monkeys and Machine Gun Kelly confirming a return to form – but no date set – we look to those artists that should really be on your radar come the first quarter of 2022:

Audacious indie-rock trio of The Wombats return with their sickle album, Fix Yourself, Not The World in January. The likes of Band of Horses and Billy Talent follow shortly after with Things Are Great and Crisis of Faith respectively. Bastille bring up the rear leading the forefront of a electro-synth wave pop cacophony with Give Me The Future and Korn’s Requiem sees the hard metal eyeglass in February. For fans alike, Alt-J‘s The Dream and Frank Turner‘s FTHC sees excitement build as the three-year hiatus for both artists come to a wonderful end.

As we enter the Spring season of March, we see familiar favourites with The Stereophonics and Bryan Adams rekindling old flames and charting history into another year of music. April comes and go with Jack White’s Fear of the Dawn and Bloc Party’s Alpha Games, while we start to see the list become shorter and shorter as we near the start of Summer. Undecided and unannounced, there is certainly more to come that we’ve been waiting for from our favourites. Including Liam Gallagher’s third studio work with C’mon You Know in May.

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Let me know what you’re looking forward to most in 2022!