I feel as though since my last post I was expected to do a comeback and tear through the industry sneering and sniggering at “real journalists” for not understanding the true meaning of music. I am talking as if I have spent days in the desert learning the craft like no one before has. I plan to return to reviewing music. I plan to watch bands and acts this year. I plan to rule the world. I plan to end hate. I plan to bring peace. I plan to be Britain’s saviour, I plan to change how young people feel about life. It’s funny to look and observe young English people. Depression is high in them, sadness runs their life from birth until death at the fine old age of 28 when you realise that we secretly live under a glass ceiling.
Fuck the rich. Fuck the poor. Fuck your common beliefs. I have no excuse for the language but to me it makes me feel different. I think we are due a revolution and I’d happily lead it.
My 2017 was weird, I got into stuff that I never really thought i would like “Gucci Gang” sucked and I think we all knew that but before that dropped I don’t think people were really acknowledging the alternative side to hip hop and rap. I’m not claiming to know a lot but “Lil Pump” was signed to “88 Rising” who had a phenomenal year but they hold some fantastic artists in that genre of music with genuine talent who aren’t unheard of. That was a really long tangent on me trying to say I enjoy the work of some artists on that label from “Rich Brian” to “Joji” and even Korea’s own “Keith Ape” and i’ve even left off some pretty good names with that short list. What am I trying to say? I’m not particularly sure I suppose I’m saying I’ve evolved slightly, my love for alternative has shifted and now includes more genre’s. I don’t think anything will surpass “The Smiths” but I let them rest a lot this year. “Post Malone” took a big place in my heart this year but so did “Blaenavon” In fact they probably beat “Mac Demarco” in best live show, they didn’t do anything super special like Mac but they to me are the perfect young English band, they feel familiar, they feel life I do.
I always say I have good things in life and I still do but most other things still suck.
I will return to Half a Music Blog one day, I have to do it, if not I wont have any readers and I need readers to read this. Plus who cares anyway? ME
It’s been a while… A long while to be precise and to be honest a reason for my absence has totally vacated my mind. Music has still been quite a large part of my life since but I haven’t felt the need to write about it. Since we last conversed I visited a very soggy but wonderful Y Not, I oggled at the fireworks above Stereophonics and swayed rhythmically to Blaenavon (Who I am most excited to see in November). I spent a lot of time in the rave tent feeling very out of place, for a larger man I am still quite distant and unseen, as if people are unaware of my pure existence, never the less I rather enjoyed myself. Letting go of that shallow feeling and judgment. Letting go is the purest you can humanly feel. Drugs were abundant, I stayed as straight as ever with the stuff not touching a thing for a worry of death for I know not of drugs or their affects. It was another great experience, different from last year but still great.
Life is very slow currently for me, not bad, but not good. Certain aspects are great whilst others lag behind as if it were a yobo playing with a trolley behind the back of a run down Tesco, that kind of analogy perfectly sums it up. I feel particularly interested in the way people tick recently and with the current outrage at a very charming man I became very political for subsequent minute. My beloved Morrissey made a joke to which the British media and public made a joke out of themselves, their brash and bullish ways continue to astound me. Is this really the Britain I grew up admiring? Or is it it’s lost forgotten brother, wasting away, suffocating on it’s last breath? I feel shame and I see no light at the end of a privately owned tunnel. Can we blame the young? Can we blame the old? Can we blame anyone? They all scream, looking for a scapegoat. Bring me the head of “Jezza” Corbyn and Theresa May on a silver platter only then will the world settle, only then the British public will resolve it’s issues. Well we can hope can’t we?
A relatively new adventure for me this week, Prime a local band who has made name for itself touting the classic rock set but I’ve had the pleasure of having an early butchers at the new single “Bye Bye”.
To me this doesn’t remind much of american pop 90’s rock but more of the Britpop era, early Britpop before Oasis hit the scene shouting obscenities and making brilliant music you had the equally brilliant calm before the storm so to speak, the early “Inspiral Carpets” tracks give me the same vibe catchy lyrics filled with a lot of great musicians and again this is what I get from “Bye Bye”. Lee Heir’s strong catchy vocals mixed with an eclectic but decent track makes this feel like a perfect way to see out March and welcome spring.
There is a slight melancholic tone to the song, for me that helps it shows off the band’s true roots and it’s background being a mix of Notts and sheffield folk, both cities having the same problem, bleakness and being altogether boring but it helps Prime for me have soul which gives the music more meaning. Sheffield has clearly had a big impact on the band you only have to look at its bigger groups to see the trend from Arctic Monkeys to Human League, the lyrics run deep, poppy and catchy but deep all the same.
For me this is how i’d like Prime to stay for the foreseeable future I liked “To Be Or Not To Be” to a certain extent, something to play in the background but for me “Bye Bye” is a stronger track, a lot stronger and Lee’s vocals excel more here than they did then.
I really enjoyed Bye Bye. Prime are a strong band with a lot of talent, but for me I will have to hear more to really pass out my judgement on them.
It’s taken me a few days to get back here and since I last reviewed something i’ve had a great time, on the 8th of March I had the great pleasure of seeing Ashfields launch their Brand New EP “New Skin” into all our faces and ears.
Ashfields played a brilliant set of new and old tracks which had a packed crowd screaming every single lyric back at them and the best thing about the whole night was seeing the smiles and genuine delight on the bands face, they have worked so hard to get to this very point and it has totally paid off for them.
After hearing comparisons to Oasis and how they might be the next iteration of the Manchester rock and roll stars then it might be worth continuing to watch Ashfields and how they might continue to change and develop.
Catch Fire might be the brightest star for pop punk in Notts but Ashfields are definitely the brightest Indie star in the local area.
If I get to doing a review for “New Skin” then stay tuned
Photography by Montanna Rose Canning
(Bit of context this was written before the hiatus for One Direction and before Zayn left but to me the point is still relevant and they will get back together it’s just a matter of when)
(p.s. This was meant for sunday but it’s currently 23 minutes late)
We all know who both of these are The Beatles are one of the greatest creations to ever come out of the UK, next to Yorkshire puddings. However over the past few years a new group have appeared and become one of the biggest boy bands ever, in a short space of time and I have the pleasure of putting them up against each other, simply out of interest. It has become a cool thing to do “hating on” One Direction because they are just a bunch of “pretty boys” who make “easy pop music” but if you asked some of them “do you like The Beatles?” I’m sure some of them would say “Of course I do”. Now I don’t have any clear evidence for this but I know it’s probably true. However when you tell them that actually the early Beatles albums and tracks were simply pop music written and produced to entice girls into buying their records, so you can see where the similarities are starting to appear.
So from that we start to look at singles directly taking “I Want To Hold Your Hand” from The Beatles and “What Makes You Beautiful” from One Direction. “I wanna hold your hand” was a massive success for the group going number one in the UK knocking their own song off the top “she loves you” It was also one of the big reasons the “British invasion” even existed, bands such as “The Rolling Stones” and “The Kinks” can thank the four liverpudlians for that. Traveling forward in time all the way to 2011 One Direction made their single debut with “What makes you beautiful” going straight to number one in the UK and number four in the US making One Direction another group that can thank The Beatles for US success. Both singles are very similar when you look at them from a critical point of view, both about a girl of no name so that their audience can imagine it’s about them and both feature a group of young men harmonising with great voices. It’s a simple formula that goes back even further than The Beatles but it works and that’s what’s important.
Album wise it’s quite different, we’ve seen the end of The Beatles and we know there won’t be any more studio albums from them but with One Direction we still have years to come so we can’t fully judge them and how their music will evolve. So i’m going to go from pre “Revolver” as that’s when in my opinion The Beatles work started to become in the masterpiece end of the radar and they started to experiment with sounds and changed their style. So looking at albums like “Please Please Me” which is a great album is essentially a collection of well written pop songs, they knew who their audience were and they wrote for them. Looking at One Direction, they have upon writing this, written and produced four albums all essentially again well written pop music designed for a certain audience and have been extremely successful worldwide with each one causing what some would call a new “British invasion” on the rest of the world and let’s be honest they have represented us well on that front.
As I was saying earlier we don’t know how One Direction will handle the next few years, there music is easy access now with the technology that we have so they can still sell a lot of records and singles but in terms of the music they produce from this point onwards, we simply cannot know. They might have a “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” up their sleeves and we could see them going against management and writing something quite risky and trying to break boundaries that they set for themselves just like The Beatles did, but I’m sure we can fully understand if they want to continue writing the music they do make. It really is something to think about.
(Bit of context – This is again another piece I wrote for the Chad this one made it on the site and I am still extremely proud of it, sorry for double posting today)
Nottingham’s brightest pop punk star shines again with Catch Fire’s latest release, after taking several hard listens to the song I can clarify that they have another brilliant track.
Catch Fire’s greatest element is the clear band chemistry that flows through them first beginning as Layby in 2013 they have continued to evolve and grow throughout the past year and months, going on a tour mid 2016 has enabled them to get a real taste of what I feel they can become. The track has the perfect example of melancholy lyrics with the emphasis on it’s fast paced tune that completes their usual oxymoron of bringing their pop punk music and bringing it hand in hand with a clear grunge mentality.
Catch Fire has a sense of pure originality and love for the music they create with the obvious and clear intentions to make a name for themselves, the nottinghamshire fivesome have clearly lived and breathed music and played with other musicians to finally come together and create something much greater.
This is a giant leap from the earlier EP “The Distance I Am From You” and even “Wild Things” and leaves me extremely excited for the new EP that is expected March 24th if any of the other tracks are anything close to this then you can be sure that it’ll be the hottest EP that Nottingham has seen in some time. “Guilty As Charged” is a perfect anthem that believe it or not for it’s genre is extremely catchy and you’ll be singing it without even noticing, the rawness of vocals gives a sense of fragility to the lyrics and helps the track be more accessible and enjoyable.
Overall this is a track that you need to listen too, Pop punk fans will love this but more importantly music lovers will love it, it’s the perfect example of a young band proving that they can make it in the industry by having a lot of talent and knowledge for the genre they most clearly love. Remember to keep your ear to the ground for the upcoming EP “A Love That I Still Miss” on March 24th
(Some context – I wrote this for my local newspaper “The Chad as my first published piece or so I thought, the Band sent off to receive a review and I was drafted to write it, I wrote it, sent it and it was “Lost” and I heard nothing about it so here is the review as I don’t think it’s fair they didn’t get any shout outs from “The Chad”)
After spending the last year playing pubs and clubs with cover songs, Derbyshire based band “Those Who Knew” are finally showing off their own sound with their debut single “Losing Touch”. It’s hard not to hear other bands in this song, from my very first listen I heard a touch of “Nickelback” which is something I thought I’d never have to say again. The band cites “Lower Than Atlantis” and “Paramore” as their biggest influences but I feel fans of the mid nineties alternative rock rise will be right at home here with a clear and definite sound of “Nickelback’s” “How You Remind Me” which to some might be a wonderful achievement but for others they might not want to hear something that sounds so similar.
For a fairly fresh faced band they have taken extreme care in honing their skills, the production value on the single is of chart quality and comes a long way from footage filmed on a phone in the back of the room, you really get to hear each individual’s talent shine throughout the track. Abandoning the genre is sometimes worthwhile doing for some Pop Punk bands when it comes to lyrics but here it feels almost forced to create a much more poppy sounding song, which confuses me as to who this is marketed towards, the lyrics are fairly straightforward and safe whilst the music is well grounded in its punk roots.
It’s an incredibly promising start from the young fivesome, this track will either go down as a great start for some or a minor miss for others, but still promising none the less and with a new EP on the horizon titled “Take It!” if you’re a fan of this genre it’s worthwhile finding out when they’re playing next in and around the Derbyshire area. The new single “Losing Touch” is available to buy on Itunes and stream on Spotify.