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The Wombats: “Fix Yourself, Not The World” – Album Review

After finding renowned TikTok success, The Wombats find new form in their Talking Heads-esque style of modern music – without the album being “too pandemic-y.”

Reflecting modestly on the horrors of the past few years in regards to COVID-19, the trio of Matthew Murphy, Tord Øverland Knudsen, and Dan Haggis wanted to keep the bold and fun of Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life interloped with the fragile and fragmented of self-reflection … and the hopes of seeing those lights at the end of the dark, long tunnel.

Murph’s zany lyrics are here in their comfortable masses (“Don’t wanna be talking to myself in a supermarket/Watching myself sink into a carpet somewhere/Don’t wanna end up there”) and truly incorporate an expertly-built album that encompasses new sounds of highs and lows fitted into a Wombat wonder that we’ve all grown accustomed to over the years.

Ever since they shared their love of Joy Division and ultimately forgetting the irony over ten years ago, The Wombats have become a musical – and cultural – phenomenon to the world of indie and rock abound. In the time that an unknown remix of Greek Tragedy came one of those re-used songs used by millions on TikTok, their following and listens skyrocketed and resulted in a profound reflection on their chaotic journey to achieving international fame.

Their fifth instalment is a true telling of captivating songwriting, modest musical moments and a band that are well and truly in the element. With a pre-tour to boot with more to come in the Summer, it will be a year for the ages.

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Muse’s Return to the Realm of Simulating Black Holes: “Won’t Stand Down”

In a return after a 3-year hiatus from 2018’s Simulation Theory, Bellamy and co are back with dark and dominant passenger of Won’t Stand Down. Facing adversity with strength, it’s a call-to-arms against all the bullies in life and really sets the boundaries in the direction of where Muse are set to go with their ninth album – yet declared or confirmed as of yet. You can view it below:

Let me know your thoughts … !

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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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Living Room’s Lo-Fi Magic: ‘After The Rainbow’

Adorning a lo-fi portfolio for the ages, German sound engineer, DJ and producer Living Room is a rare musical delight for thos avid listeners of the low-down. Briefly described as a “soundsystem melting pot” he transcribes the work of classical in the fledgings of sultry jazz and rippled electronic music into flawless routines of work.

Whether it be multi-cultural soundscapes, sunny lounge music or an outer body experience, The Living Room is quintessential respite with that German proficiency and expertise to boot. If it’s one music trophy of his to explore, its his elusive 2021 album, After The Rainbow.

Stunning on the eyes and the ears, it features prominent singles of Oceansplash and Inspired by the Ocean. An emphatic turn-the-tide lo-fi compilation, it’s a perfect listen.

This is Living Room, and he is my Artist of the Week.

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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.