Getting the ball rolling again: a Weekly Round-Up

Apologies for my radio silence as of late. This blog and music is hugely important to me…but sadly finding employment is even more so and i’ve had a lot of interviews to prepare for recently. So to get the ball rolling again, here’s what I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to this week:

 

Queens Of The Stone Age (one of my all time favourite bands) released a new video for the suave and sexy ‘Smooth Sailing’ this week. It epitomises the cool swagger of the ginger giant Josh Homme, and the song is probably my 2nd favourite off their most recent album.

Music videos are hugely important – they visualise the emotions and tone of your music, and adds an extra layer of depth to the messages in your music. For example, one of the layers I wasn’t expecting from this video was the chaos and madness as you move through the song. The story quickly escalates, and I hope you agree that everything about this is an absolute masterpiece.

(On a side note, some of you may know that I have recently become a writer for Drunken Werewolf magazine, and one of my next pieces will in fact be about the Big Man, Homme, himself. I’m looking forward to writing that one)

———————

Linked to my new contributing position at Drunken Werewolf, I have had the pleasure this week of listening to the latest album from alternative electro act Hundreds. I was first drawn in to them by their truly excellent single Circus, which is a Nu Folk-esque song, mixed with pop elements similar to that of Thea Gilmore. It’s a fantastically happy song, with great musical progression and strong female vocals. At times, I struggled to write my review of the album as it’s such a varied, and strange mix of styles; not a single song on the album sounding anything at all like the single that drew me in. The album has elements of dance, alternative electronica like Radiohead and Burial, and even moments of Enya in there, and so you can only imagine how hard it was to boil my thoughts down into 400-600 words. Suffice to say though, as strange as this album sounds, it is a brilliant piece of work that I recommend you listen to once it is released early next month. Have a listen to Circus below.

———————

Next, I’ve had the joy of watching the success of bands I’ve previously vouched for on this blog; namely Bad Suns and Little Matador. Indie rock act Bad Suns played a live set on the American chat show Conan only this week, which is a sure fire sign that these guys a progressing fairly rapidly. I’ve also been playing their EP quite a lot this week, so I recommend giving that a listen. Cardiac Arrest and Salt are amazing songs.

Then today, I saw Little Matador have earned a ‘Presenting’ slot on the famous music industry website Music Week (read the article here). Their latest single ‘Stitch Yourself Up’ seems to be the catalyst for their recent fame, and with their debut album being released in just over a week and a half’s time, I’m rather excited about them.

———————

Finally for all the musicians out there: Tom Robinson (radio aficionado and 6Music presenter) today posted an article on why bloggers cant/don’t write about everything they receive – which is definitely worth reading. He touches on why some music stands out, and how the others don’t, and there is some good general advice in there for bands who are feeling hard done by when they don’t get favourable reviews for their music. Trying to explain why something stands out or why it’s special is an impossible task really, but as Tom puts it:

“[It must have]Freshness. Focus. Energy – or maybe a better word is Intensity – because slow quiet songs can have it in spades just as much as fast, rowdy ones. Daring. Risk. Truth. Eloquence. Originality. Or maybe something well-worn that we’ve heard before, but reimagined in a new and unique way. Or a track so daft and off the wall it’s completely irresistible. Mostly though, it’s beyond words – something that within ten seconds makes you go “YES – this is the real deal!!!” without even thinking about any of the above.”

———————

Thanks for reading, and keep the new music coming through!

Advertisements

Red Bull release inspirational mini documentary “Cut Your Teeth”

It’s a tough ol’ world out there sometimes, and whether you’re writing songs, producing albums, reviewing music, or simply looking for a job: staying driven and inspired can be a difficult task.

Remembering why you do something, and have something to aspire to is perhaps THE most important thing to staying productive for me; and its films like this that make me want to write 1,000 words…write an EP…or simply rock the f**k out.

Documenting the lives of a few bands from conception to stardom, this mini film captures the passion of musicians who inspire countless people around the world. It’s heart pumping stuff (as Red Bull do so well)

I highly recommend everyone watches a film like this when they’re feeling low as there’s no better feeling than sensing a similarity between you, and the person on the screen. What makes them special? Perhaps it is skill…but often, it is simply the drive and determination to see something through.

Before watching “Cut Your Teeth”, I watched a full length documentary about the life of Pixar this morning, and that had much of the same effect as this one did. The love of your art. A never say die attitude. Thinking intelligently about a problem. Passion.

Listen to your peers. Heed their words. And chances are, you’ll come out a more enlightened person because of it.