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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:
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:
  • 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: Or the studio version here:
  • 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: The only available recordings of this are relatively low quality, but the best one I could find is linked here:

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.