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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Angry Seed- Album Review


Unsigned punk-rock band, The Angry Seed’s self-titled album is their debut offering, available for free download at: http://soundcloud.com/theangryseed
 
Opening track, Sleeping with sharks, is a catchy affair with a style reminiscent of Alkaline Trio. The track features brutally honest and confessional lyrics: “You chewed me up and spat me out like your last beer.”

Packed with angst-driven lyrics about young love and a beat that could make the most miserable of critics feel the urge to dance, this track is easily going to appeal to The Angry Seed’s generation and go down a storm at gigs.

All the cool kids are dead is an upbeat anthem with a dark twist, touching on self harm, vampires and funerals to mention a few topics. 

Boldly declaring “See you in the cemetery” and “It’s getting light out, back to bed she goes, pull the blinds shut before you turn to stone.” The Angry Seed’s darker influences become apparent in the two and a half minute blood-thirsty anthem. 

Scars is the track that sounds out to me on this album. The intro reminds me of Teenage Kicks by The Undertones and this is where the band truly earns their punk-rock stripes. 

The pounding chorus certainly delivers on its heartfelt lyrics: “You and I run deep, deeper than the sea, farther than you’d believe,” are packed into a melody that’s perfect for the upcoming festival season.

Overall, The Angry Seed’s first offering is an honest, powerful and highly contagious album with an edge to it that only comes with independently produced records. The Angry Seed have an album packed with punk-pop anthems behind them that can’t fail to impress at live shows.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Five bands that rock for charity


Paramore's Hayley Williams.
  • My Chemical Romance- The five-piece New Jersey sensations, My Chemical Romance supported American Red Cross’ recovery efforts in Japan, following the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, with the re-release of single, Sing and the #SINGItForJapan campaign. Hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-CpQ_fJeK4
  • Paramore- The female-fronted pop-punk superstars endorse To Write Love On Her Arms, a charity supporting sufferers of addiction, depression and self-harm. Paramore proudly wear To Write Love On Her Arms merchandise for photo-shoots and gigs to spread the word.
  •  Linkin Park- The New-Metal gods founded the charitable organization, Music for Relief, originally founded in the wake of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, which provides relief for victims of natural disasters and raises awareness of global warming.
  • The Used- In 2005 The Used collaborated with My Chemical Romance to cover Queen and David Bowie’s hit song, ‘Under Pressure’ for tsunami relief as a part of their contribution to Music For Relief. Watch the live video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZev4cC7Qzg Or the studio version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adrjxbVOtXk
  • Green Day- The political kings of punk-rock paid tribute to the late artist, Amy Winehouse at a charity gig for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, where they performed their newly-penned song ‘Amy’. Directly naming the artist and comprising of touching lyrics such as “May I have this last dance, by chance if we should meet? Can you write me a lullaby? So we can sing you to sleep.” (Source: http://www.hotnewsonglyrics.com) The only available recordings of this are relatively low quality, but the best one I could find is linked here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRSqMNM2WE8

Friday, 2 March 2012

Going Out

“Want to go out tonight?”- It seems such a simple question, a good way to pass another boring evening. So you arrange the time, the meeting place, you go shopping for the pre-drinks and head upstairs to get ready. This is where things get complicated. 

From the moment you step out of the shower, the chaos breaks loose. You arrange every dress and blouse and skirt that you own over the bed, and commence the stare-down. At first it’s fun, trying on outfits and doing the runway struts up and down the length of your bedroom. 

Then the horror sets in. The terrifying realisation that you have NOTHING TO WEAR. That’s right, that vast array of clothes on your bed that could rival a branch of TK Maxx suddenly becomes completely unsuitable for any given occasion.

You weed out the dresses that are too long, too short, too baggy and too tight. You move on to the skirts that make your bum look big and the ones that just refuse to go with any blouse you own. 

Once you’ve eliminated your entire wardrobe, you know what you do? You settle. You settle for the very first dress you tried on. 

Now comes the makeup. If you’re anywhere near as clumsy as I am, you will understand why this is yet another traumatic portion of the evening. Here’s my take on this- I apply my foundation, fine. When it comes to eyeliner, I can never do both eyes evenly. Then the mascara smudges onto my eyelid so I basically look like I have two black eyes.

So after about half an hour of doing battle with what looks like the entire contents Boots’ makeup counter, you manage to mangle yourself into a vaguely acceptable state of appearance. Now you encounter what is potentially the most dangerous part of the evening- your hair.

Again, I know that not all women are clumsy like me but I’m sure even if you can’t relate, it will at least make you laugh at my misfortune. This is where you go face-to-face with the GHDs. 

Whether you’re straightening with them or curling with them, your GHDs will decide they have better things to be doing than styling your hair. Namely- burning your neck, scalp, face or any other part of your skin that dares to cross their path.

So there you have it- you’re ready to go out for the night, covered in GHD battle scars, wearing a dress you were never sure of in the first place and vaguely resembling a clown. It’s okay. Just look forward to being tagged in the Facebook photos tomorrow morning!

“Want to go out tonight?”- Maybe next time you’ll think twice…   

"Charity is good for my career"- Blake Wilkinson

Local music video producer, Blake Wilkinson.
I caught up with local music video producer, Blake Wilkinson, to hear about his take on rock music’s relationship with charity.

“I think that if bands did more charity promotion, it would be better for them, charity work really helps a band get noticed,” says Wilkinson. “But I think that any way a band can get themselves out there is useful, whether it be doing songs for charity or small pub gigs, I think bands should be out there as many nights of the week as they can.”

Wilkinson has seen a few bands rise to success as a result of their involvement in charity work. He is involved various charity music festivals, one of which saw the signing of one of its acts, Jake Bugg to Mercury Records. 

“I mainly work with unsigned bands,” Says Wilkinson. “We try to get them noticed. We did New Nottingham Music to get recognition for unsigned artists, through that there’s been Dog is Dead and they’ve signed a big record deal now.”

Blake added: “Charity gigs are a great way to get out because you’re exposing your band to new audiences who wouldn’t usually go to your gigs, who come along to support the charity.”

“It’s so good for the cause too,” says Wilkinson. “I think people are more likely to donate to charity if they’re going to get a show out of it.”

Wilkinson sees the benefit of charity work for his own career advancement too, as the videos he has shot for charity events have taken pride of place amongst his portfolio up there with the very best of his work.

“There’s so much of it in my show reel it’s unbelievable. Through doing the charity work we’ve also got to work on the Nottinghamshire music festival, Splendour, and we filmed the Scissor Sisters so that looks really good on the CV.”

Where some may see themselves as being generous pillars of the community for doing the level of charity work that someone like Blake Wilkinson does, he himself is very grounded and realistic with the other motives for his work. 

“I feel that it’s good for me and my career to do charity work, I know that it’s not a completely selfless act, but you get a good feeling from doing it.”

Whether the act of charity in rock music is selfless or not, it is surely relevant and hugely beneficial to all parties involved. So any aspiring musicians out there, if you want to get noticed, just go for it! You never know who might be watching at a charity gig.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Man on a Ledge Review

Released: 3rd February 2012

Starring:
Elizabeth Banks
Sam Worthington 
Jamie Bell
Genesis Rodriguez

Don’t let the title put you off. First things first, I cannot stress enough how much of a mistake was made by dubbing this film with such a ‘what it says on the tin’ title. By doing so they pigeon-holed the film up there with the likes of Snakes on a Plane, and we all know how that one ended up.

So with potential audiences (myself included) disregarding the film upon hearing the title, who knows how much better this film could have done with a more alluring title. Man on a Ledge offers so much more than the self-explanatory ‘suicidal New York man throwing himself from a building’ scenario.  

With intricate plot twists, about 20 minutes in it becomes apparent that all is not as it appears on the surface with jumper Nick Cassidy (Worthington) when he asks specifically to see police officer Lydia Mercer (Banks), a woman who he has never met before.

Nick Cassidy is a man obsessed with proving his innocence for a crime he claims he did not commit. Banks’ performance as the jumper’s negotiator is brilliant, seamlessly switching between the sympathetic shoulder-to-cry-on and the cynical cop throughout the film, until it emerges where her loyalties truly lie.

As far as police officer Mercer seems to have complete control of the situation (21 stories above Madison Avenue, New York City), Nick Cassidy is always a step ahead, with his own agenda being carried out for him just across the road by his brother, Joey (Bell) and his girlfriend, Angie (Rodriguez). The jumper stunt is serving as a very theatrical decoy for his brother’s shenanigans.

Overall, Man on a Ledge is well paced, full of action, and is backed up by an interesting and engaging plot. The film is packed with the suspense of whether or not Nick Cassidy will jump and carries a subtle social commentary. Society’s callous disregard for human life is highlighted in Man on a Ledge, as the onlookers in New York City jeer and call on Nick Cassidy to “jump already.”

Man on the ledge, more than what is says on the tin? Definitely, 7 out of 10.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Of The Night: 'We want to make you dance'

Adam- proudly wearing his Red Thread.
Five piece alternative rock band, Of The Night took the stage in Nottingham this January proving exactly why they will be the ones to watch in 2012.

Fresh from auditions for the Glastonbudget music festival (Leicester), local band Of The Night showcased fresh material at underground live music venue, The Maze (15/01/2012). 

Headlining this particular show, Of The Night opened with their new material, a currently untitled but catchy track. This was followed by an old favourite track of theirs called “Nightmares.”

Frontman Adam Richmond, 20, took time between songs to promote the Red Thread Movement, a charity that the band supports to raise awareness of and combat sex trafficking. The red charity bracelets were sold throughout the show.

One of the band’s older songs “100” revealed a unique brand of showmanship as Adam asked the crowd to all kneel down on the floor during the bridge of the song before getting them to “jump up and dance” when the chorus kicked in.

Guitarist, Emma Bladon Jones giving frontman 
Adam a break as she took lead vocals
for “Brick by Boring Brick.”
This infusion of energy into the audience kick-started chaos as the passionate frontman threw himself around the stage. He threw caution to the wind as he swung his microphone around (narrowly missing his own head).

Along with their own material, Of The Night also stirred up members of the audience who were not familiar with their material with some cover songs, including Paramore’s “Brick by boring brick” and Muse’s “Hysteria.”

The raw energy and talent on show tonight was not your average local band trying to make it big. This is a band that is determined, driven and talented. Although the individual musicians’ styles are hugely varied, this gives them the edge. 

Of The Night are not a band to be pinned down to one style, they are adaptable and most importantly unpredictable, and for this reason there will never be another band like them.  

Of The Night: set to record
their debut studio album in 2012.
They proved this whilst debuting new song “Lunar Sea” which was packed with original lyrics and a quirky yet amazingly catchy riff that even on first listen, had the audience dancing.

Drummer, Adam Baskill discussed the future of the band: “We’re focusing on our live performance, we want to make every crowd jump and dance until their feet are sore. We’re also excited to get into the studio this year to record our first album.” 

Friday, 9 December 2011

Lincoln Christmas Market opens

The Lincoln Christmas Market kicked off the festive season on Thursday evening, spreading the Christmas cheer to locals and visitors.

The event, first launched in 1982, has since grown from strength to strength and is now host to over 250 stalls – but was cancelled for the first time in 2010 after harsh weather.

The opening night of this year’s Christmas Market was crammed with families, tourists and shoppers as they made their way around the variety of stalls which offered a wide range of unique products. It was formally opened by the mayors of Lincoln and twinned city Neustadt at the Lincoln Cathedral, with festive music from the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Band.

The market is organised into a one-way system designed to keep the visitors moving and prevent overcrowding in the busiest areas, which proved effective as the market reached its peak times on the opening night.

Dean Dobbs, 19, said: “It’s deceitfully large but that was a welcome surprise, it had plenty of interesting stores.”

Tom Featherstone, a student from the University of Lincoln, said: “The city of Lincoln is the perfect setting for such a wonderful event.”

The Lincoln Christmas Market takes place in the cathedral quarters, running from 10am to 9:30pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 10am to 7pm on Sunday.