An Open Letter (Poem) to Alex Turner.

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The face I hope he pulls when reading this.

 

Dear Alex,

 

I feel as if Alex is appropriate,

I’ve known you since thirteen,

In a one way kind of relationship,

And probably over keen.

 

Though if I’m honest it’s starting to disintegrate,

Which could be kinda frightening,

For the success of your record sales,

But y’see, you’ve got me Crying Lightning.

 

When we first started it was all,

I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor,

Whereas now I’m feeling a bit hard done by,

You need to Snap Out of It for sure.

 

Stop telling these Fake Tales of San Francisco,

And reconsider how you come across,

Whatever happened to Red Lights Indicating Doors are Secured?

You’re making me rather cross.

 

You’ve gone from The Ritz to the Rubble,

But let’s reverse the way it sounds,

And you’ve forgotten that precious rubble,

And waste millions of pounds.

 

Which brings me to my next point,

It seems you’ve done The Bad Thing,

Tax avoidance isn’t rock and roll,

And stop pretending to be ‘The King’.

 

I saw you when you returned,

Back to 505,

Just a bunch of Pretty Visitors,

Postponing playing live.

 

So here’s the thing Mr Turner,

If I may call you that,

You’ve had your chance, I’ve defended you,

But now I smell a rat.

 

Your public image morphs consistently,

And I was never one to question,

But now I feel you’ve let us down,

I hope you’ve learned a lesson.

 

Your music is still fabulous, your lyrics a simple triumph,

But your personality has morphed into something less desired,

Ask me about a year ago and I’d have worshipped the ground you walked on,

But now I’d rather kick my own face than go where you’ve come from.

‘Do I Wanna Know?’ – Erm, Yes Please!

So, after a fair bit of waiting around for fans the Arctic Monkeys have finally released what I can only assume to be their next single, Do I Wanna Know? The answer to this for anyone who is as much of a fan as I am has to be yes.  Yes please Alex we all desperately want to know what it is you’re going to do next.

Since their release of RU Mine? following their slightly disappointing fourth album Suck It and See it seems I’ve been sitting around forever waiting for something as tantalising as their latest track. It is reflective of RU Mine? and continues to add the spark back into their music that Suck It and See seemed to really lack. The obvious highs of these new tracks are the return to the use of an exceptionally strong guitar riff which dominates the track with both bass and vocals tending to follow its lead. The impact of this just seems to be incredible.

There’s something about their new style of writing that makes you want to listen to the tracks over and over with no indication as to when it is they’ll become tiresome, in some ways it’s reminiscent of their early stuff just with a greater musical sophistication which is to be expected. I for one am hoping that they’re on the way to releasing a new album, which is rumoured to be coming out this year and the release of Do I Wanna Know? seems to affirm this idea. I’m also hoping for an album based on these strong almost classic seventies rock style guitar riffs in order to really drive it on. They need another exciting album, one in which every song is catchy and everyone knows the words. Their first album was exactly that but from Favourite Worst Nightmare onwards it seems to have gone slowly downhill.

Hopefully this is the start of something new. Or rather, something old, a return to the classic Arctic Monkeys I fell in love with and a return to classic riffs, driving bass and ridiculous drums. Their first album was full of dancey tracks and anthems and I’m sure they’ve still got it in them to write some more.

Do I Wanna Know? – The Arctic Monkeys

Eurovision’s Back and… it’s Not as Tacky as it Used to Be.

It was the evening Europe’s been waiting for, for what doesn’t actually feel like a year as of yet. Yes, it was the return of Eurovision this evening and god was that thrilling. For some reason it seems to come around quicker every single year and I don’t think anyone’s ever really prepared for it. I certainly wasn’t. For the first time in my life me and my family sat down with a takeaway and watched what turned out to be four hours of interesting expressions from Europe in true British fashion.

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I figure there must be only one reason as to why people watch this kind of thing and that must be for endless comic entertainment. No one can seriously watch it with the intention of being impressed. It’s renown for being tacky, and that’s what it should be.  Romania knew what they were doing, as did Finland; that was priceless. Otherwise it just felt like people were taking it far too seriously. There’s something sort of funny about this I suppose, we can laugh at the fact they believe they can make a career about this, but at the end of the day  it’s just not as entertaining as someone transforming into a mountain with lightning bolts projected all over them towards the end of the performance. Finland did really top it off though, that was amazingly weird. Their entry was insane, those men suddenly transformed in some form of costume change to female bridesmaids from male backing dancers. That my friends, is Eurovision.

I think the best thing about watching the actual performances was the fact that pressing the red button meant that the lyrics would appear on the bottom of your screen and you could actually read what they were singing. Some of it was utterly priceless, “now I’m standing on the road, looking into my heart and there is emptiness” being just some of the poetical genius to come out of the competition this year. I think most of the twenty six performances involved love lyrics and it’s really opened my eyes, I had literally no idea what most of them were going on about and its really encouraged me to start thinking seriously about my relationships, have I been getting it wrong all this time?

The choreography was a massive let down as well, like I said there was a severe lack of tat. They were definitely all taking themselves too seriously this year. I don’t want to watch awkward contemporary dancing which is attempting to fit in with popular culture, Eurovision doesn’t fit in with popular culture! I want rollerblading snowmen and fairies that are actually flying! Ireland did everyone proud in this department though I reckon. That’s what Eurovision’s about; pretty much naked men dancing seductively around another bloke. Oh and leather, don’t forget leather.

There were some decent acts though, Malta pulled out a lovely little number from a Doctor who can not only sing totally cute songs but also saves lives as his day job! And Greece, everything about Greece was utterly fabulous. But alas, not a lot for poor Bonnie. She didn’t come last though so it could have been worse but what’s to be expected? We never do too well over here in the UK. I reckon if she’d have sung ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ we’d have been fine. Everyone would have loved that, especially me. Plus she could have added some totally Eurovision friendly mental choreography.

All in all I didn’t like Denmark’s entry. It was dull, granted not as dull as some of the others but still irritating to say the least. It wasn’t tacky enough for me to think, “oh that’s annoying but because it’s cheap and nasty but kind of fun at the same time!” No, it just got on my nerves. Also, what’s wrong with wearing some shoes on stage? Also did anyone notice her texting all her mates on the way to the stage? I enjoyed that touch, it made me laugh, or maybe that was Graham Norton’s voice over?

Personally I think they should get David Mitchell in next year. That is a Eurovision I could watch and enjoy. Some of the comments he would come out with I reckon would be absolutely second to none, and make the whole thing a bit more ironic than we already think it is. And let’s not enter Bonnie Tyler again, she seems to be past it, and I’m not sure her voice can cope. But to be honest Britain needs to make sure it stays in the EU, just so we can continue to participate in Eurovision if nothing else.

New Musical Talent- Look and it Shall be Found!

There’s not much new talent to be found on the music scene nowadays, just chart infested rubbish, so when something exceptionally refreshing comes along I can only begin to smile. There’s one act I’m referring to in particular who is currently no more than a star among her friends and Facebook acquaintances and a minor feature on YouTube. This is a massive shame; she deserves a hell of a lot more recognition.

Her name is Mia Moon and she comes from the quiet suburban village of Romiley in Stockport. I admit this is still probably a little vague; this place is in the area better known as Greater Manchester. At sixteen years old she has created a style relatable to those of Laura Marling and Kate Walsh simply using her acoustic guitar and astonishing voice.

Having been writing music from the age of fourteen and single handily teaching herself to play guitar and manage her naturally expressive and beautiful voice she modestly posts her new songs on the internet expecting nothing more than a few overly enthusiastic comments from close friends and relatives.  They’re not overly enthusiastic though, any praise is extremely well deserved as the skills she possesses for someone of her age are second to none.

As well as original songs she is completely in control of covering other peoples and adding her own Mia Moon style (often eclectic and quirky) in order to further show off her fabulous voice. All in all this girl’s got skill and with the intention of studying music to the age of eighteen surely she can only get better. Quiet and modest she has recently started gigging in her home town, a massive joy to all who see and only time will tell how her future will pan out. But to be honest, I’d say get listening. Who knows if you’ve stumbled upon a spectacular secret just waiting to be unveiled?

But until then I will leave you with this astonishing Paramore cover from her earlier days in order to ease you in, enjoy!

P.S. After this I would totally recommend looking into some of her newer stuff and checking out her channel as a whole.

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Mia, May 2012

My Desert Island Discs.

Okay, maybe I’m getting old before my time, I don’t think you’re necessarily meant to reach the Radio 4 stage of your life until your mid to late thirties but it happens, and to be honest Desert Island Discs is probably one of the best things out there. (Providing the person’s life is interesting, or their music taste exceptional.)

So I thought it may be fun to create my own list of records which would essentially keep me going when stranded on a desert island.

So, in no particular order…

1. RU Mine? – The Arctic Monkeys.

I’d definitely have to have an Arctic Monkeys record with me; otherwise I think I’d go insane. This particular one is the one that I never get bored of. No matter how many times I listen to it, even if in a row, I still find that opening riff entirely captivating and uplifting.

2. I Spy – Pulp.

One of the most intricate and exciting Pulp tracks most definitely. Again, another record it’s difficult to get tired of. Lyrically and musically ingenious the performance in this song seems to make you forget where you are. Could be handy on a desert island.

3. Moonage Daydream – David Bowie.

Wherever I am there will always need to be a bit of Bowie. Well, actually preferably a lot but beggars can’t be choosers. There are so many incredible Bowie tracks that all mean different things to me but this particular one is cheerful. The lyrics are pretty much nonsense and the whole track is just uplifting, one I can dance around to.

4. How Soon is Now? – The Smiths.

I wouldn’t be able to last two minutes on a desert island if I wasn’t able to have at least a weekly intake of Morrissey and Marr. This is an absolute classic, and the first Smiths song I properly got in to, therefore creating pretty much my entire love for the band.

5. I am the Resurrection – The Stone Roses.

It’s a long song. Therefore I’m getting more listening time also; it’s got a fabulous instrumental to end. I think that’s enough said really.

6. With You – The Subways.

This is the cheesy one; it reminds me of my boyfriend. Also, it’s a good song. I imagine it would make me happy whilst stranded on my desert island.

7. Is This It? – The Strokes.

The fact that someone is singing the lines, ‘is this it’ whilst still integrated into functioning society might make me feel okay about questioning if this is all there is when stuck on a desert island.

8. To Sing for You – Donovan.

My final song, not necessarily something I listen to often, but when I do listen to it it’s normally for a reason. It’s a really lovely track, its simplicity is what makes it, and the lyrics are somewhat special. This reminds me of family.

So alongside this the rules state you can also have a book and a luxury:

  • The Book:

So, they give you the bible which would probably keep me busy considering I’ve never read it. However, if you were able to swap it that would be fabulous and I’d take The Great Gatsby instead. However, my one book would have to be Wuthering Heights. Ever since I first read it this book captivated me and each new read is just as magical and emotionally intense as the previous.

  • The Luxury Item:

This is really hard. As a smoker I’m thinking electronic cigarette but then given enough time on an island I probably wouldn’t notice, and quitting would be good for me. Then I’m swayed by my guitar but I don’t think that could keep me going for a substantial amount of time. Therefore my luxury item would have to be a pen and paper. Writing (as you may have guessed) is what I enjoy, and would also probably keep me a lot saner than anything else!

And then there’s the issue of if you could only take one record with you. Well that’s hard. I think I’d eventually end up picking number eight. If it arose I could only take one track I wouldn’t listen to it that often anyway, I’d save it as a treat. This particular song conveys much more emotion than any of the others and I think I’d like that every once in a while.

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Sentimental Sundays

Leeds Festival 2011. Sunday night. Pulp.

I feel those three sentences say it all if I’m honest, but then if you’re not as big a Pulp fan as I then maybe not. Today is sentimental Sunday. I got up this morning and accidentally tested my boyfriend’s patience for an hour and forty minutes as I watched the entirety of Pulp’s set from Reading 2011. No, I was not at this particular gig, but I was in Leeds the night after. And quite frankly I’m biased towards saying that one was far superior.

Their headline slot for Leeds was set for the Sunday, which became one  of the most spectacular Sundays of my life. There was a certain atmosphere this band is able to convey that I hadn’t, and still haven’t experienced with any other live act. I’ve come away from gigs excitedly chattering away before, but I don’t think I’ve ever truly been in awe of an artist in the way I was with Pulp and Jarvis Cocker- I was practically speechless.

Although it could be argued they’re no longer in their prime this didn’t stop them from absolutely pouring energy into all their songs and the crowd as well. Nothing was going to stop Jarvis from running backwards and forwards across the stage, barely stopping for air. Their performance was so exciting and this feeling was most definitely thrust upon the audience so you could not help but feel as if you were part of something amazing.

Anthems such as Sorted for E’s and Whizz, Disco 2000 and Common People are unavoidably fabulous  and, when playing a festival you can’t beat getting the crowd going with a good old Britpop classic in which everyone can sing along or songs including lines such as,

‘Oh, is this the way they say the future’s meant to feel?

Or just 20,000 people standing in a field.

And I don’t quite understand just what this feeling is.

But that’s okay ’cause we’re all sorted out for E’s & Whizz

which everyone there can instantly relate to. (The field bit I mean, obviously…)

Like I said, I’ve never been more excited, transfixed or inspired by a performance and when they ended their set there was an odd feeling that going back to reality seemed hopeless and this started me thinking. Why is it we idolise and worship these people, who we have never met and (unfortunately) probably never will.

I seemed to eventually end up spending my day watching Britpop documentaries (in all of which Pulp were majorly overlooked) and trying to learn as much as I possibly could about those who I consider to not only be marvellous musicians but exceptional lyricists, practically reaching poet status.

Throughout this sort of cyber pilgrimage to the roots of my favourite artists I began to understand that there was this desperate sense of yearning in order to understand these people, to truly know what they are about. I seemed to be awaiting clarification that yes, I do understand them, and the reasons I relate to them are perfectly valid and true. And I think this is part of the reason we end up idolising certain people, especially within music. You start to believe you truly can relate to everything that they speak of in their songs, and in a sense become isolated, as if they are talking to simply you.

However, there’s a bit of a problem. Not many of us ever meet our idols. We’re not able to check we’ve got it right, or know for sure what they’re talking about. We’re also never able to really let them know what we think, or tell them how much we really admire them. So therefore the process of idolisation as we know it today comes into play. We have posters, albums, memorabilia and so forth as a way of further connecting with these people. Having a Pulp poster in my room is like being one step closer to actually meeting them, I suppose.

However, I like not to think of the facts too often. When I’m transported back to that spectacular Sunday I like to remain in my fantasy world, where I enthuse excessively over the greatness of this particular band, and the ability to ignite such feelings of exhilaration within myself. I like to continue to believe I’m the only person to have ever experienced this sort of imagined enlightenment, via this assortment of intricate instrumentals and legendary lyrics that only a few bands like Pulp are able to truly convey.

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Justifying Jungle

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Drum and Bass is a term most of us hear daily, but how often do people recognise or acknowledge its precursor, the sound of Jungle. Without ‘Jungle Music’ Drum and Bass would surely not exist and therefore neither would many club nights, subcultures and artists in general.

Jungle first comes onto the scene in the early nineties, a mash up of exaggerated sub bass and distinctive, sped up drum breaks from old Funk records. (The ‘Amen Break’ is almost biblical.) This is the original jungle sound, which ‘Junglists’ all over refer to as ‘oldschool vibes’. It reaches its peak in around ‘94/’95 as an entire wave of ‘Junglists’ (or ‘Junglettes’ if you’re a lady) create a subculture around the music. With its fast 160- 170 beats per minute tempo, mashing together of breaks and off beat rhythms, an entire new way of listening to music, an entire new way of dancing to music and entire new way of relating to music is created.

And, why not? Jungle is often judged as “bloody noise” but it is pretty exciting. Those that are into it will tell you, unless it’s on a big sound system, you’re not listening to it properly. The bass should be making the windows shake and your heart pump. The erratic beats should be making your feet itch and the vocal samples should be transporting you back to its original roots.

This seemed to be the golden age of Jungle, where every other club could cater to your unique music taste.

However, towards the late nineties this original sound, with its ragga and dancehall influences began to decline as new DJs started to change the sound once again, leading to what is considered to be the emergence of Drum and Bass. It seemed that Jungle had died.

Maybe it hadn’t died, not completely anyway, it seemed to be turned into a variety of subgenres or variations. However, the original sound many craved did seem to have disappeared.

The history of Jungle, in the great scheme of music, isn’t really very long so perhaps it wasn’t really too great an amount of time until a handful started to revive the oldschool sound. However, in relation to Jungle, a good ten years at least had passed. However, it seemed this revival was inspiring as it encouraged a whole new generation of ‘Junglists’ to start producing what is now recognised as a tribute to the original sound.

Jungle seems to be making a comeback, admittedly it’s still mainly underground with independent parties organising club nights and releases of the latest Jungle tracks but this does not mean it isn’t reaching a reasonably extensive audience or recollecting a decent fan base.

However it also seems to be moving further into the mainstream, or is that just the concept? ‘Jungle Jam’ advertises itself as the “North’s biggest Jungle night” and attracts masses however many would disagree over its definition of Jungle. It would seem many dedicated Junglists don’t rate the night claiming it plays too much Drum and Bass and not enough of the founding fathers of their beloved genre.

It is those that are dedicated to the original sound who are beginning to adapt it into their own production. It’s not difficult to discover a whole section of Soundcloud packed with artists reshaping, yet not losing, the original sound in their work.

This younger generation of Junglists appear to have set the wheel in motion for the genre to resurface to  a reasonable extent in the future. Perhaps Jungle isn’t dead, perhaps the nineties wasn’t the only ‘Golden Age’ this genre is to experience.

It will take time to tell but for now, at least, a small handful seems to be keeping Jungle very much alive.