LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL FT. PHIL AND LU, MATT TARKA, PHIL GAMMAGE, BLONDER & CAMERON AG!!!

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Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep the flag flying.

Here are streams of new music you should be listening to that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy!

Continue reading “LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL FT. PHIL AND LU, MATT TARKA, PHIL GAMMAGE, BLONDER & CAMERON AG!!!”

LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL FT. BENT KNEE, THE HARLOTS, THE BLACK BLACK, WONS PHREELY + THE HORSES & INNER OCEANS!!!

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Rock ‘n’ roll might not have the same commercial or cultural impact it used to have but we promise to keep the flag flying.

Here are streams of new music you should be listening to that expresses the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy!

Continue reading “LISTENING BOOTH – THE NEW ROCK N ROLL FT. BENT KNEE, THE HARLOTS, THE BLACK BLACK, WONS PHREELY + THE HORSES & INNER OCEANS!!!”

MARICELLE: ATLAS TOUR DIARY 180716 – LIGHTHOUSE MV

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Maricelle’s latest instalment comes with the bonus of new music!

Dear Kevin,

I’ve been away for awhile now, time and wifi are scarce on the road. I think I’ve seen a number of lighthouses on this trip, more than I can count, more than I’ve ever seen, and it’s an interesting thought to have seen so many different lighthouses. It seems to remind me that I’m not home anymore, but there’s something guiding me somewhere else, if that makes sense. The journey’s been rough, but good. Like the famous Gaga song, if it ain’t rough it isn’t love. 

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ALBUM REVIEW: METRONOMY – SUMMER 08

Metronomy, from left, Joseph Mount, Anna Prior, Gbenga Adelekan and Oscar Cash

Background
Metronomy are an indie-electronic music group formed by Joseph Mount in 1999. The current band consists of Mount (vocals, keyboards and guitar), Oscar Cash (saxophone, backing vocals, guitars and keyboards), Anna Prior (drums and vocals) and Gbenga Adelekan (bass guitar and vocals). Mount recorded Summer 08 over two weeks largely by himself. He said he named the album is named in honor of the last summer he had free.

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ALBUM REVIEW: NICOLAS GODIN – CONTREPOINT

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Background
Nicolas Godin is a French electronic musician best known for being half of the music duo Air. Contrepoint is Godin’s debut solo album and is said to be heavily influenced by the works of JS Bach. Intriguingly, Godin’s solo album comes close on the heels of the new release from Starwalker (which features Godin’s erstwhile Air partner, Jean-Benoit Dunckel)

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SINGLE REVIEW: BROTHERTIGER – WAKE

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The vocals may be dreamy and indistinct but the melodies and hooks are clear enough to make an impact. There is a smooth electro-organic pop vibe about “Wake” that bodes well for Brothertiger’s new album Out of Touch (released on 4th December).  Am digging the way he utilises the electronics to convey a sense of warmth and comfort – the backing vocals are lovingly layered to grant a rather 80s pop sheen. On repeat mode for sure!

 

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ALBUM REVIEW: OLD DISORDER IS THE KEY TO NEW ORDER INVIGORATION.

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Does life have to make sense? Does music need to feel complete? Or is it the inherent contradictions that make music the life-affirming force it can be?

Did anyone expect a new New Order album? Hooky out, Gillian back? In case you are not keeping score, Hooky (bassist Peter Hook) announced in 2007 that New Order was over and that he was leaving. Eight years later, Barney Summer and the rest of the gang (Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham & Tom Chapman) has somewhat taken up the challenge to prove Hooky wrong.

And whilst the end product is a sublime dance-rock album of the kind that the original New Order are considered the pioneers of, Music Complete is not really New Order, any more than Electronic or Bad Lieutenant were New Order. The name itself is meaningless – without Hooky’s bass, this is most definitely not New Order.

However, in the final analysis, it makes no fucking difference, does it? With all the electro-pop acts vying for attention in the modern rock wasteland, the old masters have come back from the dead to show the young upstarts how it’s done.

There’s no doubting Summer’s way with a melody (and dodgy lyrics) but it is in the rhythm and the beats that Music Complete excels – big beats, techno, house, disco all mashed up into a heady mixture. “Restless”, “Tutti Frutti” and “Stray Dog” (with Iggy Pop on vocals) all rise like cream to the top but it is in the final number “Superheated” that Music Complete well and truly soars with one of the finest New Order tracks since the glory days of the 80s. “Superheated” is five minutes of sheer electro-pop bliss. Close your eyes and it’s the mid-eighties again.

Gorgeous.

NO NEED TO PRETEND – GAYLE NERVA IS BUZZ-WORTHY TALENT YOU SHOULD NOT IGNORE!

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I will be honest (when am I not?) – I first noticed Gayle Nerva in a tour video of I Hate This Place in Japan  sometime ago and was struck by her effervescent personality. Then, it was her lovely voice and then her heartfelt ballads that got my firm attention. I have always believe that given a chance, her music would appeal to a mainstream pop audience home and abroad.

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Well, glad to say that her new single “Pretend” is out – it’s a dark electro-pop number produced by Trick’s Marc Lian – and Gayle will be performing at the Esplanade Recital Studio on Saturday, September 5th. Tickets available from SISTIC. Check out the music video below.

Connect with Gayle at Facebook & Twitter.

… still there’s more … 

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL – CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?

15 Aug 1993 --- Rock Band Nirvana --- Image by © Jesse Frohman/CORBIS OUTLINE
© Jesse Frohman/CORBIS OUTLINE

Will we ever see a band like Nirvana again? It’s hard to believe that the Nevermind album – which changed the face of the music industry in the early 90s – is now 24 years old! And since the decline of rock ‘n’ roll music in the late 90s, no other rock band has come remotely close to replicating the impact of Nirvana. Yes, we have had successful rock bands since viz. Nickelback, The Strokes, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay et al BUT relatively speaking, these have been minor successes when compared to the seismic pop culture impact of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Beyonce and the like. Artistically as well, most of these aforementioned bands have failed to deliver.

Curiously enough, the last time critics declared the demise of rock ‘n’ roll was in the late 80s, when Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston ruled the roost, but as the wheel turned rock bands like R.E.M., Nirvana and the Seattle grunge scene ascended to the top of the charts. Well, it’s almost 25 years now and there appears to be no sign of rock ‘n’ roll ever returning to those levels of influence in the mainstream pop industry.

Still, that does not mean that good rock ‘n’ roll music (whether in the guise of pop-rock, indie pop, hard rock, electro-pop, blues rock, garage or punk) wasn’t being made in the last 15 odd years, it’s just that the environment of the music industry has been altered so drastically that it is virtually impossible for what happened in the early 90s to occur once again. The decline in record sales, the rise of singing contests (American Idol, X-Factor etc) and the ubiquity of Youtube, has meant that the major labels have had to hedge their bets and cynically control the musical output and fan appreciation thereof.

This has resulted in the most basic pop formulas viz. hip-hop/R&B accounting for the lion’s share of the chart action. These are 3 of the top 5 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 right now.

The one main thing connecting all three singles is a highly designed discipline to present the melody/rhythms as simplistically and repetitively as possible so that the hooks are very easy to remember. A deliberate lack of musical sophistication that dumbs down to the lowest common denominator creating an audience that is not able to appreciate anything that does not sound like what it hears on a non-stop basis on the radio. The perfect marketing tactic.

In fact, guitar rock is totally absent for the Top 20, with the nearest example being Maroon 5, and even though the music video for “Sugar” shows the band with guitars, it does not sound like there are any guitars on the song itself! In fact, it adheres greatly to the hip-hop/R&B formula with Adam Levine’s vocals heavily auto-tuned. Talk about soul-less! Going down the rest of the chart will depress any fan of rock ‘n’ roll with the genre’s utter lack of representation.

So, are the rumours true? Is rock ‘n’ roll dead? Well, not at the grass roots level of course, as both in the USA and the UK, there continues to be scores of bands who create great rock ‘n’ roll music, it’s just that even with the oft assumed ability of the internet to connect bands and fans, it’s the major labels leveraging on radio stations, streaming services and Youtube (again!) who will have the attention of mainstream music fans.

There’s the rub. If the major labels feel that the new rock ‘n’ roll have the fan base to make them sit up and notice, then they might feel the need to throw money that way. The question is — will the youth of today ever get tired of the formulaic pop stars being paraded before them? Will they ever hunger for something different enough to alter their listening habits? The signs have not been encouraging. The irony is that whilst the internet is always being trumpeted as the champion of free and alternative choices, the harsh reality is that the internet is still ultimately the tool of our corporate masters to dictate what food we should eat, what clothes we should wear and of course, what music we should listen to.

However, for those of us who are able to think critically for ourselves, the internet provides a means of escaping these corporate shackles and we can only do this by supporting the bands that do not conform to the grand masterplan of our overlords. Then, these bands might have the opportunity and liberty to create the kind of music we desire and love. So, is rock ‘n’ roll in a crisis? Not if rock ‘n’ roll fans continue to support the right bands and be evangelistic about the music they love.

Yes, PoP visitors, the ball is in YOUR court…

In the meantime, check out the Power of Pop playlist at Spotify highlighting 30-odd British guitar rock bands you should be supporting! Please FOLLOW!

… still there’s more …