Remembering Dolores O’Riordan

The world has lost yet another beloved star, but her light will keep shining among her family, friends and fans. The death of The Cranberries’ lead singer Dolores O’Riordan was announced on Monday the 15th of January 2018 and has left a dark cloud of devastation hanging over us all. At this time, the cause of her death is unknown and those closest to her have asked for people to respect their privacy and let them mourn in peace. A request that should be abided by all, but we can share in our grief through the beautiful music Dolores has left behind.

Dolores began her music career when she joined The Cranberries in 1990, an Irish rock band formed in Limerick a year prior. The band was initially formed by brothers Mike and Noel Hogan along with Fergal Lawler and Niall Quinn under the name The Cranberry Saw Us. However, the line up was simply not meant to be when Quinn left the band after only a year together. The remaining members began their search for a female singer to front their band and found all they were looking for in Dolores O’Riordan. Dolores came prepared to dazzle, writing her own lyrics and melodies but it was the early stages of the famous ‘Linger’ that got her the job. ‘Linger’ is a perfect summary of the band’s style and approach to music, as well as Dolores’s talent and uniqueness. Her sweet and soft voice still manages to project powerful emotions and capture the heart of anyone listening.

The band’s early EPs and demos caught the attention of many people in influential positions, putting them on the track for success from near day dot. In 1993, they released their debut single, ‘Dreams’, an upbeat song about new love laced with youthful innocence. The song entered the top 30 of the UK chart in 1994 and was one of the songs, alongside ‘Linger’, that featured on The Cranberries debut album, Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?. Although mainstream success was achieved early on, both ‘Dreams’ and ‘Linger’ were re-released at later dates to prove even more popular and quickly sending The Cranberries soaring through the charts.

One year after the release of their first album, the band came back with No Need To Argue, an album that completely outsold it’s earlier counterpart. The album contained the iconic song ‘Zombie’ and went triple platinum within a year of it’s circulation at the top of the charts. Apart from ‘Linger’, ‘Zombie’ is arguably the band’s most popular song to date and is a heavy showcase of their placement in the rock genre. Dolores’s vocal performance is as phenomenal as previous recordings but this time laced with an anger made poetic by her angelic tones. The song contains a powerful message concerning the political conflict surrounding Ireland at the time, filled with turmoil and harrowing lyrics.

No Need To Argue has proven to be the band’s most successful album as popularity barely ceased. Later albums, such as To The Faithful Departed, did not reach the same peak of success but kept the band’s place in the heart of their fans. The Cranberries continued to make music together throughout the years, producing numerous music videos and embarking on one of the most successful tours of their career. Rumours circulated about Dolores leaving the band to follow a solo career and in 2004 the band entered a hiatus. In 2007, Dolores released her first solo album, Are You Listening?, and sold over 300,000 copies worldwide. 2009 saw the reunion of the band – although it was not described as such at the time – where they went on a tour of both North America and Europe. The band played their old songs as well as Dolores’s solo music before then going on to release a brand-new album in 2011. In 2017, an acoustic album titled Something Else was released alongside the promise of tour dates. Unfortunately, the tour dates had to be cancelled due to issues arising with Dolores’s health.

The tragic news of Dolores O’Riordan’s death has left many people in a state of shock and mourning for the young artist. Her fellow band members have paid tribute to the singer via social media and it is obvious she was an admired and well-loved woman who will be missed by both those she touched with her music and in her personal life.

 

By Skye W. Winwood

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Re-discovering Paolo Nutini

Over the past few months, this blog has published posts discovering new artists. Musicians that are either new to the industry or those who have become lost among the fresh faces of today. Each artist has brought a new perspective to the way I listen to music. However sometimes, when on the search for another enlightening musical experience, it’s important to remember those artists who helped begin the journey. For me, Paolo Nutini is one of those artists, becoming one of the first musicians I listened to outside of the alternative genre. His music infuses a sense of nostalgia within me that stretches beyond his musical talent but I know he is an artist others will thoroughly enjoy. To anyone who has never even heard of him, prepare your ears for a swirling audio mosaic of pop rock, soul and folk music all fused into one.

Born of parents from both Scottish and Italian descent, Nutini was destined to follow his father into their family fish and chip shop business. A place where his musical talent would have wasted away amiss the wafting smells of salt and vinegar. Fortunately, Nutini had an extremely supportive grandfather by the name of Giovanni “Jackie” Nutini who knew of his grandson’s talent before even he really did. With this encouragement pushing him forward, Nutini left school to work as a roadie for Scottish band Speedway. He then went on to have experience working in Glasgow’s Park Lane Studio where he was able to pick up valuable knowledge of the music industry. With this gained combination of experience both in the studio and on the road it was only a matter of time before Nutini released his first album.

After being signed up for his first live show in 2003, Nutini was discovered by business partners Brendan Moon and Mike Bawden – the latter still Nutini’s manager today. Shortly after his 18th birthday, Nutini created his first demo and was signed to Atlantic Records. Now with a music label behind him, he was able to release his first single, ‘These Streets’, as a free download in 2006. A song about a man and his guitar and the turbulent journey both have been on. The song was Nutini’s first appearance on the professional music scene and a beautiful introduction to his unique voice and music style.

Listen to ‘These Streets’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea3f5R3K96o

From here he continued to release chart topping music until his first album, also named These Streets, in 2006. Nutini worked alongside Ken Nelson on the creation of the album, a producer known for his work with Coldplay. Nutini’s first album had inspirations from his own personal experiences with unsuccessful relationships and offered a glimpse into the artist’s life. These Streets only opened the gates of opportunity further for Nutini as he began playing sell out concerts throughout the UK and supported The Rolling Stones in Vienna.

With the success his debut album brought him, Nutini was able to release Sunny Side Up – the album he is arguably most attributed to and the album where I discovered the Scottish singer/songwriter. Sunny Side Up was released in 2009 and proved to be an instant hit, skyrocketing all the way to number one in the UK charts. The album saw Nutini branching out and exploring himself more as a musician as the album is notably different in sound to These Streets. Although it received a mixed critical response, the success of the album is undeniable with a range of sweeping ballad’s and jaunty tunes to keep you elated in any mood. The album consists of cute coming-of-age songs like ‘Growing Up Beside You’ and always-look-on-the-bright-side pieces like ‘Simple Things.’ However the album also has swinging, jazz inspired songs like ‘Pencil Full Of Lead’ that is hilariously accompanied with a music video containing a dancing animated Nutini.

Watch the music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-xd3NuWQI0

The sound of These Streets still remains, however, in songs like ‘Candy.’ A folk rock track that comes across as being about fighting with a lover only to realise you were in the wrong. Containing heart tugging lyrics like ‘I’ll be there waiting for you’ repeated almost endlessly and made harrowing by Nutini’s soulful voice. The song has been said to draw personal experience from Nutini’s own life much like the music of These Streets.

Listen to ‘Candy’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3xYXGMRRYk

Another album was released in 2013 (Caustic Love) where Nutini brought more R&B elements into his music. Lead track ‘Scream (Funk My Life Up) receiving high praise and being likened back to the 70s heyday of soul. Even becoming iTunes Best Album in 2014 and further showcasing Nutini’s talent and how he cannot be pigeonholed into one genre.

Nutini is still active as a musician today and after listening to Sunny Side Up on repeat for the past few days I hope to hear more of his music soon. Whilst Nutini’s other two albums are infused with musical and lyrical beauty, Sunny Side Up will always be a personal favourite and I hope this post encourages more people to discover the joy of it.

Links:

Website: http://www.paolonutini.com/splash/1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaoloNutini/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/paolonutini?lang=en

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/paolonutini

 

By Skye W. Winwood

‘Golden Girl’ is only step one in Bryony Dunn’s Game of Phones Tour

No matter how successful music artists become or how many albums they sell, it is important they never forget where they came from. Bryony Dunn is acknowledging her origins in a unique and guaranteed sell out tour. With her new single ‘Golden Girl’ available for sale on November 17th, Bryony has the idea for a tour with some niche venues.

Listen to ‘Golden Girl’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWoNooIFDjs

Armed only with her sweet voice and guitar, Bryony took to the streets of Paris to film the narrative based music video for ‘Golden Girl.’ A song about ‘the theme of international celebrity’, as described by Bryony herself. The story of both the music video and song follow Bryony as a character as well as another nameless celebrity character, slowly revealing the struggles the latter has to face despite seeming to have the perfect life. The message of the song comes across as being about the age old warning ‘be careful what you wish for.’ Bryony asking, ‘Golden Girl, what’s your secret?’, seeking the trick to international fame only coming to realise it’s not all as glamorous as it appears. The theme of both the song and the music video echoes that of Evanescence’s ‘Everybody’s Fool’ but with a drastically different, Dodie Clark music style. Those of a more astute nature will notice how ‘Golden Girl’ fits as a reference to James Bond, the song even beginning with lyrics paying homage to this. Although the identity of the celebrity has not been disclosed an online poll has been created with Taylor Swift and Katy Perry leading as possibilities for the mysterious identity.

The song has the beauty and grace of Fleetwood Mac and Bon Iver. A track filled with an endearing enchantment that makes perfect sense when you know Bryony’s origin of inspiration. The singer-songwriter has cited none other than vintage phone boxes as her muse, describing them as both beautiful and wonderful. The enchantment infused into her music comes from the magical Narnia-style wooded area that surrounded Bryony’s local phone box. This muse became some of the inspiration for ‘Golden Girl’ and has bloomed into the ironic idea of beginning a tour of the red booths all around Britain. Bryony has explained that it doesn’t matter if her audience is just one or two people as long as the message of her music reaches them. Highly encouraging people to contact her via Facebook or Twitter if they have one of the phone booths in their area. Allowing Bryony to begin formulating her tour which will begin in the first part of 2018.

‘Golden Girl’ is scheduled to be released on November 17th and is a beautiful portrayal of modern day celebrities’ and rising artists’ fears and insecurities. As well as a song about the realisation that gaining fame is not the only recognition of talent.

Links:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWoNooIFDjs

Radio Edit of ‘Golden Girl’: https://m.soundcloud.com/dominicking/golden-girl-radio-edit

Original mix: https://soundcloud.com/dominicking/golden-girl-original-mix

‘Touch’ cover: https://soundcloud.com/dominic-roy-king/bryony-dunn-touch

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7KIRr9a9eDlx2Jxg51LidL

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bryony.dunn/

Twitter: @BryonyG_Dunn

Instagram: bryonydunn 

Website:  www.bryonydunn.co.uk

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Satan’s In Heaven, new EP from Cholesterol Jones

Song writing and film making are not always synonyms of one another but Cholesterol Jones is changing that with his latest video ‘Satan’s In Heaven’, from his new EP of the same name. An EP dedicated to paralysing paradoxes, justified juxtapositions and subtle satire surrounding the leader of the free world. Using imagery of the devil strutting around Heaven in an array of jaunty, gospel inspired songs.

Cholesterol Jones is a folk singer with a serious talent in the story telling department. Using all the tricks of the trade through vague imagery to somehow still manage to create vivid pictures in your head. Coupled with the animation style music video for ‘Satan’s In Heaven’, Cholesterol Jones addresses serious issues in a veil of light hearted humour. One that is slowly lifted higher and higher as the music video plays out until everything is laid bare. The simplistic art style of the music video first depicts stick figure-esque characters conveying how they could represent anyone. Almost as a uniting front, acknowledging that the subject of the song is something felt by many people. As well as this the figures are all on laptops throughout the whole video implying the power the internet and creators on the internet have, adding power to the message of the video. The simple and easy to follow lyrics are super catchy and will have you calling ‘Satan’s in heaven’ until the man himself hears you. Of course with the EP’s cover art, music video and not always so subtle lyrics we cannot ignore the elephant in the room. That being that ‘Satan’s In Heaven’ is a song with political themes and feelings towards Donald Trump’s position as President. The song and music video combined seem to be a parody of Trump’s position as well as addressing the serious issues this causes.

Watch the music video here: https://vimeo.com/237889231

Satan’s in Heaven has more than political songs however, such as ‘The River Styx’ that leans more toward the genre of country rock whilst still maintaining an essence of folk. A soaring song crafted with the same attention and talent applied to each track on the EP. The beautiful toe tapping tune is an example of Cholesterol Jones’ versatility in music but also how he can still manage to stick to his musical roots. Another example of this is ‘He Claimed The Tree Of Life’, an emotional exploration of the mediations on life. Filling Satan’s in Heaven with music that brings to mind the likes of Tom Lehrer and Jake Thackray as well as the un-conventionalism of They Might Be Giants.

Cholesterol Jones’s intellect in music is no surprise considering his background and experiences. Being born on a US army base in Bavaria before moving to Boston and after a twenty year stay in New York, now splitting his time between London, Boston and Cape Code has given the musician keen observations of the world that have only become broader as time goes on. After some time playing live venues such as LA’s Whiskey-A-Go-Go and Soho’s 12-Bar Club, Cholesterol Jones is now dedicating his time to music and film making. With Satan’s in Heaven being only the beginning and out now. Although the subject of Cholesterol Jones’ music stays more on the side of dealing with the problematic, each track is dressed in a sharp wit and musical intuitiveness to provide hours of listening entertainment.

Links:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/cholesteroljones

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6k7mwh5t1p771vkWad10KY

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_FUIRHFOjIPFNoQbgeBv_Q?view_as=subscriber

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CholesterolJones

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CholesterolJone

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cholesteroljones/

Website: https://cholesteroljones.com/

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Halloween Playlist 2017

Boys and girls of every age, wouldn’t you like a funky and freaky Halloween playlist on this old Hallows Eve? To kick off the Halloween festivities as October comes to a close here are ten songs to start off your playlist for the perfect spooky night.

The Citizens Of Halloween Town – ‘This Is Halloween’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpvdAJYvofI

Beginning the playlist with a classic that it would be a crime not to include. ‘This Is Halloween’ is possibly the ultimate Halloween anthem celebrating everything scary and weird in a joyous chorus of monstrous voices. This quirky song was written and composed by Danny Elfman for Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, directed by Henry Sellick and released in 1993. Setting loose the weird and wonderful creatures inside Tim Burton’s mind to celebrate their loveable monstrosity to the tune of Danny Elfman’s musical genius. Change it up a bit by listening to Marilyn Mason’s awesome and even creepier cover or maybe that is just me trying to put the song on the playlist twice…

Donavon – ‘Season Of The Witch’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZLNQ_BriSc

A darkly sensual tune that will have you breaking out the cauldron and assembling the voodoo dolls, ‘Season Of The Witch’ is the only way to truly honour the spooky season. Released in 1966 and written by Donovan and Shawn Phillips, the track is a perfect example of psychedelic rock. Infused with warping tones and continuous haunting guitar, the song has been covered multiple times by the likes of Julie Driscoll and Brain Auger and the Trinity, Terry Reid and alternative rock band Luna. Leaving a plentiful harvest to choose from.

Panic! At The Disco – ‘It’s Almost Halloween’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iTFnNU3AYg

Back in 2008 Panic! At The Disco celebrated their love of Halloween by releasing the single ‘It’s Almost Halloween’ alongside a questionable but none the less hilarious music video. The Beatles-esque track is a head bobbing tune that will most likely be quite helpful when your head is swimming for those apples. A completely fun infused song with the underlying story of a Halloween one night stand, ‘It’s Almost Halloween’ takes you through the common rituals of Halloween and makes sure you get out the other end, even if you are a little worse for wear. Plus, the guys manage to create a simple but memorable dance you can spend the night doing with your friends!

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – ‘I Put A Spell On You’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwXai-sgM-s

Partying hard for Halloween even in 1956, Jay Hawkins released ‘I Put A Spell On You’ and we have all remained under his magical influence ever since. Ranked #313 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time, the rock blues tune has cast a spell over listeners and artists alike. Leading to more covers than can be counted but here are just a few: Annie Lennox, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bonnie Tyler and Nina Simone. The rough vocals of the original are enough to put anyone in a spooky mood and ready for some serious Samhain celebration.

Michael Jackson – ‘Thriller’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA

Not even a song exclusively for Halloween, ‘Thriller’ is possibly one of the most famous songs in the world with over 400,000,000 views on Youtube and a choreography all its own. The release of ‘Thriller’ in 1982 solidified Michael Jackson’s career as the King of Pop and immortalized him in his iconic red outfit. One I can guarantee you will see replicas of this Halloween, as is always the case every year. Creating a classic horror story with both music video and lyrics, ‘Thriller’ embodies everything old school about Halloween and cannot be ignored when creating a Halloween playlist. Time to brush off the old dance moves because ‘it’s thriller!’

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – ‘Time Warp’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-lF106Dgk8

It truly is astounding that ‘Time Warp’ is not part of more people’s everyday playlists, no matter Halloween! Coming into creation in 1975 with the release of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show, ‘Time Warp’ has everything you could ask for from a Halloween song. A cheesy 80s sound filled to the brim the nostalgia and an easy to follow dance you can’t help but preform when the lyrics demand. You’ll be doing the ‘Time Warp’ again and again, enough that maybe you won’t need the rest of this playlist…

Bobby Pickett – ‘Monster Mash’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tHyRQOdqf0

Rivalling ‘This Is Halloween’ for the title of Halloween Anthem, Bobby Pickett’s ‘Monster Mash’ is another classic spooky, kooky song combining all the monsters who thrive during October. A pliant, pleasant song celebrating the original beings of our childhood nightmares. Embodying everything that made music in the 60s, ‘Monster Mash’ is a milkshake melody with dark undertones.

Ray Parker Jr. – ‘Ghostbusters’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe93CLbHjxQ

Much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the 80s classic Ghostbusters would not be the same without its wicked soundtrack. A soundtrack containing the iconic ‘Ghostbusters’ theme tune recognisable from the first few tumbling notes before exploding into the song we could all sing in our sleep. Another one for fun and pure enjoyment, ‘Ghostbusters’ has been covered by the likes of Fall Out Boy and still remains one of the most loved songs of all time.

Avenged Sevenfold – ‘Nightmare’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94bGzWyHbu0

Taking a deep delve into darker territory, ‘Nightmare’ is a twisted tune guaranteed to liven up any Halloween party even if most of the residents resemble the dead. A tune of epic proportions and Avenged Sevenfold’s most famous song, it’s a Halloween song that wasn’t even written with Halloween in mind. Exploring the fragile state of the human mind, ‘Nightmare’ will drag you down to a depth of musical enjoyment you didn’t even knew existed as you party your night away. A beautiful combination of hard and soft rock that leaves an eerie edge and creates the perfect atmosphere.

Rihanna – ‘Disturbia’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1mU6h4Xdxc

Halloween is celebrated in different ways all over the world so it only makes sense for different genres of music to celebrate it as well. The last thing people would have expected from R&B princess Rihanna in 2007 was a down right disturbing song, rightfully named. But what wasn’t surprising was how the artist was able to take a genre of music she was not familiar with and combine it with one she is an expert in to create ‘Disturbia.’ A continuously thumping beat throughout the song echoes that of a heartbeat and this song will have yours racing faster and faster. The high pitch in vocals Rihanna uses combined with the dark and sometimes uncomfortable lyrics are enough to make ‘Disturbia’ a Halloween playlist must.

So, there are just a few songs to start off your Halloween playlist but if you’re still dying for more here are some you can explore on your own. Just remember to keep the lights turned on…

The Rocky Horror Picture Show – ‘Sweet Transvestite’

Duran, Duran – ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’

Lady Gaga – ‘Teeth’ and ‘Monster’

Florence and the Machine – ‘Seven Devils’

Panic! At The Disco – ‘Nearly Witches’

Five Finger Death Punch – ‘Jekyll and Hyde’

Iron Maiden – ‘The Number Of The Beast’

Evanescence – ‘Bring Me To Life’

Fleetwood Mac – ‘Black Magic Woman’

Eminem ft. Rihanna – ‘The Monster’

Stevie Wonder – ‘Superstitious’

Rockwell – ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’

Frank Sinatra – ‘Witchcraft’

Love Spit Love – ‘How Soon Is Now?’

David Bowie – ‘Scary Monsters’

Radiohead – ‘Creep’

The Cranberries – ‘Zombie’

Meatloaf – ‘Bat Out Of Hell’

Alice Cooper – ‘Poison’

Marilyn Mason – ‘Tainted Love’

 

Happy Halloween!

By Skye W.Winwood

JohnlikeJohn is laughing in the face of authority with new EP, Vegans Are Evil Too

Sometimes we need music to get us through those times when life just becomes too much. Those times when we need to be carried away on waves of pure sound that connect on a deep level. JohnlikeJohn has managed to encompass this kind of music in only five tracks. The EP, Vegans Are Evil Too, is a collection of songs that offer all sides of the human condition through theatrically diverse characters. Delving deep into the pools of depression and anxiety as well as championing the underdog. All done in a fashion that British songwriters have become famous for.

Simply from the title of the EP, JohnlikeJohn is leaving no issues left untouched and are already pushing the boundaries of social constructs no matter music. Tone akin to that of Tom Waits, JohnlikeJohn is offering thought provoking music track by track. Vegans Are Evil Too touches upon the cruelty of the world before plunging deep into that pain but resurfacing as survivors. The twisted and quirky style of JohnlikeJohn has led to the man himself describing his shows as featuring ‘a mime playing a flute, a goat playing the drums and being shot with a confetti cannon.’ This broad imagination and artistic talent allows JohnlikeJohn to explore the issues addressed in his music in a truly poetic way. Tracks like ‘Vegans Are Evil Too’ and ‘The Nihilism Cheer’ are simple but powerful songs that you will instantly connect to, with talented music and intelligent, relatable lyrics. Lead track ‘I Am Scared Too’ is a beautifully simple and harrowing song that is just a slice of the creative cake created by JohnlikeJohn.

Watch the video for ‘I Am Scared Too’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-_hb5gDnzo

The contrast from tune to lyrics is apparent before the song even begins with a short, screaming cry being the introduction. The painful frustration the lyrics embody are portrayed from the outset and prove how close to his music JohnlikeJohn is. Feeling every chord and word with his whole being as a musician and producing music that echoes this. The track features small snippets of laughter that make the song something so innocent and pure despite it’s subject content.

‘I Am Scared Too’ is a perfect example of JohnlikeJohn’s unique take on the British folk music style. The softly bouncing guitar and double bass picking is not only pleasing to the ear but almost tranquil when combined with the deep vocals that evoke a similar vocal style to a modern day British Johnny Cash. The blending of a fast and slow pace seems to connote how fast life can pass us meaning we should appreciate those moments that make it worth it. The coupling of male and female voices turns the song into something cute and overall about love; any kind of love we can experience. The lyrics of ‘I Am Scared Too’ are a combination of witty genius and humours quips such as ‘I’m an Aquarius but that’s bull/the last two years I’ve felt so small.’ The juxtaposition of humorous and heart-breaking lyrics are another representation of the many stages of life and the different sides of the human condition, highlighting both the light and dark. Easily comparable to the story telling talent of John Cooper Clark and Robert Wyatt. The whole song is a genuine, no smoke and mirrors representation of life and a reminder we are not alone in the way we feel. ‘Don’t you worry, I’m scared too’ manages to embody the message of the whole song through only one line.

Vegans Are Evil Too is available now and the only complaint I can muster is that it’s only five tracks long.

Links:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-576372009

Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2wX9uVE

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC90iBtQqhlTgWpz0NkdkwUQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnlikeJohn/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnlikej

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnlikejohn/?hl=en

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Homerik are bringing their self-titled album just in time for Halloween

As September draws to a close Samhain approaches, causing the veil between worlds to thin dramatically and allow creatures like Homerik to pass into our world. The New York trio are bringing their new album Homerik with them after three years of meticulous crafting and splicing to unleash their twisted sound upon the masses.

Ken Candelas, Andrew Petriske and Obed Gonzalez have combined to create something uniquely dark and in some tracks even on the side of disturbing. Most bands and artists on the road to success have been influenced by a plethora of sounds and Homerik are not that much different as they have their feet in progressive, orchestral metal bands. However Homerik are also inspired by the malevolent sounds of the world throughout history that they have combined with their music to create something unnervingly raw. Even more unconventionally the band’s want to challenge modern art ranges also comes from twisted video games like Gears of War. These influences have allowed Homerik to highlight the darker side of humanity and take you through the plague-infested pastures you would otherwise glance the other way from.

Whether you want to or not their addictive debut album Homerik will drag you from track to track until your protesting cries turn into screams for more. Beginning with ‘Curse of the Black Nile’, an epic monstrosity incorporating lines from one of the most disturbing Ancient Egyptian texts (The Cannibal Hymn). The track has a regal elegance that slowly descends into something more sinister the longer it plays. Crescendo-ing into a rapid heavy metal drum beat and combining with a mixture of soft and aggressive spitting of lyrics. The guttural vocals are a combing sound of the bands Rammstein and Slipknot with a guitar riff giving the band a slightly Avenged Sevenfold sound. However despite these similarities they are only slight as Homerik have created something new by combining sounds and genres other before them have not. The album then moves even further into the macabre with ‘Unforgotten Kin’, a furiously dark tale about brothers mourning their deceased sibling trapped in limbo. The whole of Homerik embodies a fully orchestral sound that delves even darker than the similar orchestral band Within Temptation and push so strongly against musical barriers they could be breaking through into new territory. The album combines three interweaving vocalists in their ranks as well as guest sopranos to create a chorus seemingly of hundreds eerily floating through each track.

The lead track from the album, ‘A Song of the Night Part 1’ is a fitting example of the way Homerik are infecting music and taking no prisoners. The track begins as a soaring, almost magical ascent into an ethereal sound before plummeting back to the core of Homerik after about three minutes. Giving a sense of false security that the track takes full advantage of. ‘A Song of the Night Part 1’ can be summarised as a spiralling nightmare you can’t help but have over and over as the track becomes stuck in your head. The single seven minute track is long enough and infused with enough musical ability that it could be separated into two but the way the band have combined the different sounds is gothically beautiful. The track is also a perfect example of the band’s video game influence as it sounds like something that would be played on a lute in a tavern with many patrons gathering around to listen. The combination of soft and hard vocals paints the image of the narrator not understanding who they are or what is going on around them, causing them to descend into this world of no control as portrayed by the almost manic playing of both drums and guitar. A swaying hypnotic track that will keep you on your toes with it’s constant tempo and instrument changes. The including of ‘Part 1’ in the title could imply how the band plan to add to this track as they progress to complete the fable like story they have begun.

Links

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1Ry0Y2JiVXjpidTHDpYVQx

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUcYLfk1tEX4vli_KWUzsBQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homerikofficial/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/homerikofficial/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/homerikofficial/

Website: https://www.homerik.org/

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Listen to the dark fairy tale of Julia Mascetti

Music is supposed to bring comfort, removing us from our own life and possible troubles for a track long reprise. So, how has Julia Mascetti managed to create something both disillusioned and beautiful with such a haunting sound it gives you goosebumps? Trending water amongst the sea of manufactured sound that has been bred for the sole purpose of profit, Julia is hypnotising many with her siren-like voice and mesmeric harp picking.

Before beginning work on her EP In Distance, Everything is Poetry, Julia was a music student at the University of Leeds. Upon graduating she moved from her home in the UK to broaden her horizons in Japan in August 2015. She began her time in Tokyo teaching English but after six months decided to start playing around with the harp for fun. Even before she began writing music Julia attracted the attention of Japanese audiences and was motivated by this interest to further explore herself as a musician. Julia started using blog posts to help her music reach a wider demographic and managed to also gain a large British following. She has since become a highly regarded blogger reporting on life for women living in Tokyo. Julia soon began preforming professionally at weddings and restaurants, constantly putting her more and more in demand to a point where she is now receiving invitations to tour with bands in a multitude of different genres.

With her Celtic folk roots in her Welsh ancestry, Julia used this fascination and combined it with her new experiences in Tokyo to create music that evokes a trance-inducing sound that will have you hooked from the first harp string. In Distance, Everything is Poetry is an ethereal and raw EP tinkling old magic and new music, combining to create a folk fairy tale that tells a story of loss, disillusion and memories. The lead track ‘In Bloom’ has the same eerie string picking as that of a composition by Danny Elfman but the Elvin like sound could belong in any Lord of the Rings soundtrack. ‘In Bloom’, much like the whole of In Distance, Everything is Poetry, is like a chapter directly out of the fairy tale Julia has created about a character confused as to what is and what isn’t real. The lyrics create simple but vivid imagery of the character’s feelings as to whether they are ‘remembering or dreaming’. Julia’s voice alone is soft but embodies an almost authoritative power that you cannot help but pay attention to when the song is playing. However in addition to her singing abilities Julia is a multi-instrumentalist with a six foot harp, smaller folk harp and small purple harp she used to play with metal bands.

Julia’s EP has a similar sound to both Kate Bush and Marian and the Diamonds and already has a rapidly building popularity that will no doubt help her make her mark in the music world with her unique approach to storytelling.

Links:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/juliamascetti

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliamascetti

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JuliaMascetti

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliamascetti

Website: https://tokyoharp.blog

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

 

Discovering The Decemberists

“On the lam from the law/On the steps of the capitol” were the first lyrics I ever heard by The Decemberists and I haven’t been able to stop listening to them since. The indie rock band quickly caught my attention with their unique and quirky take on music and once more I am surprised it has taken me nearly ten years to discover them. What makes The Decemberists so different from other bands is their niche way of creating a story through their music along the lines of folk stories. Some songs not even having a repeating chorus but a flowing story that is unlike any other narrative based song such as ‘My Mother Was A Chinese Trapeze Artist.’

Listen to the story here: https://soundcloud.com/thedecemberists/my-mother-was-a-chinese

Even though I have only recently begun listening to their music The Decemberists have been around since 2000 and are an American band from Portland, Oregon. Colin Meloy (lead vocals, guitar and main lead on song writing) left his band Tariko before moving to Oregon where he met Nate Query (bass) and was soon introduced to Jenny Conlee (keyboards, piano, organ and accordion). The three scored a silent film together which would set them up for a style of music heavy in creating a vivid picture inside the listeners mind of not only the story but also the characters created. By this time Meloy had already met Chris Funk (guitar and multi-instrumentalist) due to the fact Funk was a fan of Tariko but didn’t become an official member of The Decemberists until their third album. The band circulated through a number of drummers for their albums Castaways and Cutouts and Picaresque before finally inditing John Moen into the band for The Crane Wife.

The name ‘The Decemberists’ is a reference to the December revolt in Imperial Russia in 1825 and Meloy has always stated he wanted the name to evoke drama and melancholy. The name is completely fitting as the musical style of the band can range from upbeat pop to instrumental ballads but nearly all songs are an arrangement of whimsical, dark and political tales that can evoke events and themes from history such as ‘The Bagman’s Gambit.’

Listen to ‘The Bagman’s Gambit’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3oe4vlkoHE

From the years 2002-2010 the band were highly active and released six albums (Castaways and Cutouts, Her Majesty the Decemberists, Picaresque, The Crane Wife, The Hazards of Love and The King Is Dead). In 2003 the band changed labels from Hush Records to Kill Rock Stars and re-released their first album before moving onto their second. In 2004 ‘The Tain’ was released, an eighteen and a half minute single inspired by the Irish myth Tain Bo Cuailgne. The lyrics of the song do not directly quote the epic apart from ‘the mirror’s soft silver tain reflects our last and birthing hour.’ The song itself is haunting in an unexplainable way by its moments of upbeat tune and Funk’s guitar riffs combining with Meloy’s vocals to create something similar in sound to Love Spit Love. The music video created for the song is both mesmerising and unnerving in its shadow puppet-esque style.

Watch the music video for ‘The Tain’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOYZuaLg0J0

After self-producing ’16 Military Wives’ in 2005, the band’s equipment trailer was stolen but fan’s showed their unwavering support by contributing to a replacement fund along with the help of an organized fundraiser and other musicians such as Lee Kruger (The Shins) and The Dandy Warhols. Later that same year The Decemberists were singed to Capitol Records and were making plans to record their major debut with producers Tucker Martine and Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) the following year. 2006 saw the release of the band’s third album but first with Capitol, The Crane Wife, and opened up a whole new world of opportunities for the musicians. The release of the album was accompanied by an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and began touring on October 17th. The album was voted favourite album of the year by NPR (National Public Radio) listeners and still remains one of the band’s most critically acclaimed records.

In 2008 the band began releasing a series of singles called Always the Bridesmaid every month until the end of the year. They followed this with a limited tour and performed in support of presidential candidate Barack Obama at a rally at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Oregon. The following year The Hazards of Love was released under Red Light Management and was initially intended to be a staged musical. However after some thought it was deemed the story would not work in a stage format and instead was played from start to finish during live shows. The album was inspired by Meloy’s fascination with the British folk revival in the 1960s and after finding a copy of Anne Brigg’s 1966 EP of the same name. The Hazards of Love tells the mythical story of a woman and her shapeshifting love, his fey queen mother and a cold blooded rake. The album includes guests vocals from Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond), Shara Nova (My Brightest Diamond), Jim James and Robyn Hitchcock (My Morning Jacket) and Rebecca Gates (The Spinanes). The sound of the album is a range of accordion infused pieces to heavy mental thunder.

Listen to an example of both here:

‘Isn’t It A Lovely Night?’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBIA2j9Xh14

‘The Queen’s Rebuke/The Crossing’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeUHUYaT-WU

By 2011 the band had been nominated for Best Rock Song at the 54th Grammy Awards for their song ‘Down By The Water’ and had a No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with their 2010 album The King is Dead. After such a rise in so many years the band decided to take a hiatus during which time they featured on an episode of The Simpsons as hip new music teachers at Springfield Elementary. 2014 was the year of their return to The Decemberists and released What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World in 2015. Since their success and to celebrate the band’s return January 20th was officially declared ‘Decemberists Day’ in the band’s hometown by the mayor.

Still active, I eagerly wait for the band’s new music and encourage anyone with a taste for something just a little different to follow me down into the rabbit hole of The Decemberists.

Links:

http://www.decemberists.com/

https://twitter.com/thedecemberists?lang=en

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheDecemberists

https://www.facebook.com/thedecemberists/

 

By Skye W.Winwood

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