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Let’s Talk: Are Record Labels Relevant Anymore?

With this question an important topic in our modern music manifesto, it seems it is a question that has been begging answers for years now.

With the work of singularity and independence coming into play in the music industry, less and less artists have had to rely on the demanding schedule and pay schemes of record labels. Whether it be independent or corporate, the feelings are mutual with record labels becoming less and less prevalent in our industry.

More so for financial support than anything else – and to merely shift the artists around on a spreadsheet to ultimately balance the books – record labels are not nearly as important for underground and bedroom music artists, who can distribute their own music themselves.

With artists fully in control of their music, their are fantastic sites out there that can allow artists to obtain 100% of all music royalties – without having to do unnecessary splits at the business table.

It is important to uncover that some record labels out there are sourced independently and the majority of them are musicians themselves. Keen, motivated and simply happy to be where they are, these more indie-sleuths of the corporate world are a far more dazzling prospect to keen up-starters and demonstrate a more creative side to the industry. Where investments, global value and profits are still important, these indie individuals like to take a back seat on such matters, and focus more so on the music.

Transgressive, Domino and Mind of a Genius Records are a few that do exactly that. But, with these still alive in our industry, many are far too hesitant with the prospect of incorporating contracts and verbal agreements into their music – when all they want to do is just play it.

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So, what’s your view? Are record labels a dying breed? Should we leave them behind as we get our music industry back on track from lockdown? Or do we need them know more than ever simply for financial stability?

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Sleep Token – “This Place Will Become Your Tomb”: Album Review

Ethereal and chaotic all swirled into one complex creation, the shrouded mystery of Sleep Token return with their second highly anticipated album, aptly named This Place Will Become Your Tomb.”

Although not nearly as prevalent in the castings of metal as their debut of Sundowning had in 2019, TPWBYT still harks back to the chaotic rage-inducing of Gods and Offering with Alkaline and Hypnosis in this second attempt of divinity.

Where it lacks in overall oomph for a metal/rock album, it makes up for its quality through experimentation and electronics. One thing I certainly love about bands is when they don’t exactly conform to their first sounds from their debut – and start to branch out to new avenues and new possibilities of drawing new fanatics.

Lead singer Vessel has a perfect gothic tone to his voice – streaked with a guttural voice and a deep monotone to make the ocean weep. With it, comes to the experimental value of Sleep Token – inclusive of creepy piano, programmed beats and delectably delicious guitar grooves – which personally, I love. It may take a listening to get the other metal-heads on board, but I don’t personally mind the new image and poetic enchantment they’re bringing to this work.

My favourites on-repeat are certainly pop-inducing Mine, heavy-herald of Distraction and pre-amble of The Love You Want.

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The other-worldly concept of this band is simply divine, and I can’t get enough of it.

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I may very well hark over to The Night Does Belong To God every once in a while, but damn does it get me more excited to see them live next year.

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Metallica: 20 Years On – The Black Album

After 20 years on from its initial release in 1991, Metallica’s The Black Album is seen as the prophecy to metal.

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With the record holding phenomenal magnitude and depth to the band’s creative journey, the Black Album has become an integral part of history in metal and rock music.

With anything deemed as a “classic” or a “phenomenal record”, I always think that the record at first release was shunned and dismissed. The Black Album was no different. But over time, the 1991 creation not only re-sparked those once lost in the plethora of otherworldly genres, but also revitalised the band themselves.

“Vulnerable” soft ballad Nothing Ever Matters is an intermittent metal classic that is now iconic in every way. The thicker and starker approach they took plundered those not into rock, eventually into rock.

To celebrate, some of the industry’s finest have come together in a collaborative feast of feats. In where restrictions are ultimately nullified, the album sees the likes of Elton John, Royal Blood, Sam Fender and Alessia Clare, record beautiful interpretations of the record collection.

The Metallica Blacklist can be listened to NOW.

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You’re so punk rock: IDLES

Both personal and universal, punk rock and punk music in general has a way of causing mass hysteria and worldwide followings throughout the industry. Known for his chaotic truths and political attacks …

punk music is a genre that anyone can get behind with (or without) their own beliefs.

Never trust a man with a ‘stache

This does not ring more true than with the darkly crowned breakthrough act of IDLES. Amongst a world of political correctness and safe correction, this passionate eclectic of the dirty and robust, are basically here to trample all over that.

Both debut, Brutalism in 2017 and Joy As An Act Of Resistance in 2018 saw the band rise to chart stardom and infamy among the punk’s world best. Talbot’s unique depravity in his voice drives this band to creating just fantastic music. Their third art piece of Ultra Mono is another quip of rock revelry that is a joy to listen to. I’m sure I turn into a little jumped up kid whenever I listened to these Bristol lads.

I recommend giving them a playthrough – start with Never Fight A Man With A Perm. I don’t think any other song will perfectly reflect the sounds and styles of IDLES. Enjoy, my friends.

You look like a walking thyroid
You’re not a man, you’re a gland
You’re one big neck with sausage hands
You are a Topshop tyrant
Even your haircut’s violent
You look like you’re from Love Island
He stood and the room went silent

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Song of the Day: The Lumineers – “BRIGHTSIDE”

The sorrowful beauty of indie folk lovers of The Lumineers are back in a new ambient space with their single, BRIGHTSIDE.

From their return from 2019’s III album, The Lumineers are back and heralded with their vibrancy once more. This comes off the back of their fourth album set to release next January in 2022 – and is sparkling excitement in the folklore of folk music.

Ever since their eclectic Hey Ho from their debut, they have gained emphatic status and recognition for the music efforts. Eclipsed by their 2016 album, Cleopatra, BRIGHTSIDE is the coming of age and their fourth instalment in the saga.

You can have a listen to the song below: