R.I.P Chester Bennington

Many posts and news articles have been written about Chester Bennington’s death but this won’t be one of them. I will acknowledge for any who had yet to know that the frontman for rock band Linkin Park passed away on July 20th 2017. The reason this post is being written a few weeks after his death is because I wanted it to be a remembrance post more than an announcement. So, if you’re here for the details of his death you will have to find another blog because the purpose of this post is to look back on the life of a musically talented man who was gone too soon.

Although I wouldn’t class myself as a hard-core Linkin Park fan their music is part of the soundtrack of my childhood that followed me into my adult life. To learn of Chester’s passing hit me with a personal pain as if I had lost a friend. Chester was also known for being the lead singer of both Dead by Sunrise and fronted Stone Temple Pilots from 2013 to 2015 but was, of course, most known for his music with Linkin Park. Chester’s career and recognition as a promising vocalist began with the band’s debut album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000, two of their most popular songs (‘One Step Closer’ and ‘In The End’) being from that album.

However Linkin Park was not his first band. Much like any young hopeful Chester first started testing his musical ability in 1993 when he released a three-track cassette named Sean Dowdell and Friends? after the band who recorded it. Later he moved onto form a new band, Grey Daze, and found larger success with the post-grunge band from Phoenix recording three albums (Demo, Wake/Me, …no sun today) from 1993 to 1997 until 1998 where Chester left to pursue something more. The road to Linkin Park nearly proved too much for Chester, almost pushing him to give up on music altogether. Until the vice president of A&R at Zomba Music in LA offered him an audition that would lead to the creation of classic and brilliant music we all associate Chester with today. Quitting his job and putting aside his own personal life Chester managed to record a song for the band (initially named Xero) in a single day. The band faced much rejection until the previous president of A&R at Zomba Music used his new vice president position and Warner Bros. to get the band sighed to their record label. With this helping hand the band were able to get off their feet and jump head first into a sea of success.

Linkin Park’s first album caused them to stand out in the alternative music world as something different that would refuse to fade into the background. Chester admitted in an interview in 2002 that some lyrics from particular songs on the album were personal to him allowing him to give such soulful performances during live shows. The album has proved to be one of the band’s most successful as Hybrid Theory has since been named the best modern classic of the last fifteen years in 2012. With Loudwire ranking it number 10 on its Best Hard Rock Albums list. The band exploded on the alternative music scene and continued to release numerous albums: Meteora (2003), Minutes to Midnight (2007), A Thousand Suns (2010), Living Things (2012), The Hunting Party (2014) and One More Light in May this year which the band were currently touring to support.

Chester’s insanely successful career as a music artist was not his only achievements in life however. On May 12th 1996, Chester welcomed his first child into the world with then-partner Elka Brand and adopting Brand’s other son in 2006. He had another son in 2002 with his first wife Samantha Marie Olit before divorcing in 2005 to lead to his second marriage in 2006 with Talinda Ann Bentley and had three more children. Chester was also a tattoo enthusiast which can been seen by pictures of his own body art and did work to promote with Club Tattoo, a tattoo parlour in Arizona.

Chester’s love of music began at an early age when he listened to bands like Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots and would later achieve his dream of becoming a member of the latter. In his early life Chester struggled with drug addiction but was able to overcome this and focus his energy into his musical career allowing him to soar high in the music wold. Throughout his career Chester was plagued with poor health, falling ill many times during touring leaving for some shows to be cancelled and others postponed. Still, Chester prevailed in his career and continued to provide us with the music we have all come to know and love.

My personal relationship with Linkin Park and Chester’s music will remain in my memories, immortalised as part of the reason my love for music has only continued to grow throughout my life. Out of respect for his family and friends details of his death will not be discussed but I feel I am able to say, along with an uncountable number of fans, that Chester will be greatly missed. The music world becoming just a little quieter without him. We have lost many music legends in recent time and Chester has now been added to the stars who will continue to shine.

 

By Skye W. Winwood

Prog-rock band Greta Van Fleet are bringing back classic rock

Over the years bands have been inspired by, recorded covers of and have managed near perfect imitations of classic rock bands. Greta Van Fleet are nothing like these bands. The hard rock sound of the band is nothing close to an imitation; any modern twists completely removed. Leaving it nearly impossible to believe they have only been a band since 2012.

Listen to the song ‘Highway Tune’ here: https://soundcloud.com/user-929091655/highway-tune-1

The band consist of brothers Josh Kiszka, Sam Kiszka, Jake Kiszka and friend Danny Wager (replacement for original drummer Kyle Hauk). The name of the band derived from a woman from Frankenmuth who gave her blessing for the boys to use her name. Boys being the operative word! The old school sound of the band does not fit with the fresh faced look of the four but proves that you should never judge a book by it’s cover.

The first time I heard ‘Highway Tune’ playing from another room on Planet Rock I found myself head banging away thinking it to be a Led Zeppelin song and was utterly shocked when the presenter explained who they were. The powerful and goose bump raising vocals of Josh Kiszka were so similar to Robert Plant it was eerie. As well as the drummer baring a distinctive resemblance in sound to John Bonham. Even after listening to more of the band’s music it’s still hard to believe classic rock genre musicians this talented exist in 2017. The band also have elements of both Wolfmother and Rush.

Since 2012 the band have recorded and released numerous songs such as ‘Highway Tune’, ‘Cloud Train’, ‘Standing On’, ‘By The Riverside’ and ‘Lover, Leaver, Taker, Believer’, just to name a few. Each song further solidifying their legends-in-the-making status. By February 2014 the band had a live EP recorded in one take and was released on June 7th of the same year. The song ‘Standing On’ later featuring in Chevy Equinox advertisements in the Detroit area. January this year ‘Highway Tune’ featured on the television show Shameless and then proceeded to be released on iTunes in March. By April 8th the music video was played exclusively on the online magazine Loudwire and their debut EP titled Black Smoke Rising was released April 21th. Since then the band have been named Apple Music’s new artist of the week and are currently touring to promote their music with English rock band The Struts.

Watch this acoustic live performance of ‘Black Smoke Rising’ to witness the ridiculous vocal range of Josh Kiszka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjgC7vkC8Co

Another incredible live performance of ‘Safari Song’, including an insane drum solo from Danny Wager: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXdM1rqSlSQ

Only being in their early twenties Greta Van Fleet have promising careers ahead of them in the alternative music world and will appeal to fans pining for the return of classic rock.

Links:

http://gretavanfleet.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gretavanfleet/

https://twitter.com/GretaVanFleet?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Have a drink with Albino and their new track ‘Belinda’

In 2017 the 60s are thriving as the decade seems to be making a comeback with the help of bands just like Albino. The four man folk rock band are about to release their new album Night At The Chemist which contains the retro track ‘Belinda.’

Listen to ‘Belinda’ here: https://soundcloud.com/al-bino-6/belinda

Fueled by whiskey and embodying a vintage rock sound Albino promote the iconic ‘flower-power’ that made bands like The Animals and The Doors unforgettable. The band themselves stating: ‘we may not change the world with our music but we’ll definitely leave a scar.’ Made up of Ben Tucker on guitar and vocals, Merv ‘Fuzzy’ Salole on bass, Gareth Morris also on guitar and Don Gibson on percussion, Albino have said their main aim is to entertain with their rambunctious and humours music. Two words perfect for describing the single ‘Belinda.’

The sound of the track alone reminds of an upbeat Johnny Cash with the lyrics telling the tale of a man in love with a woman who is too good for her lay about husband. The narrator of the song just asking ‘when ya finally gonna notice me, Belinda?’ The toe tapping tune contains comical and off-the-wall lyrics that will have you dancing and laughing hysterically at the same time. The music video for the song is both belly aching hilarious and simultaneously creative by using stop animation Lego pieces to form the narrative based video.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzNMThSkNBk

Ben, as the main songwriter, uses inspiration from his own life to come up with the simple but extremely catchy words. The rest of the album exploring topics from love and deviancy to distrust of priests and historical events. Much like ‘Belinda’ the songs seem to play almost like short stories that will no doubt keep listeners entertained for hours.

Since putting their drunken genius to work in 2005 Albino shifted through time and have grown as a band to the point where now they are confident enough to say they have found their own sound. Even if the sound is lost 50 years in the past! Although Albino’s multi-talented line up has changed over the years their unwavering commitment and electric energy has remained the same.

 

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/Albinomusic/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYeh0Lung8nhaCa1Zb5W8cw

http://www.albinomusic.com/index.php

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Artist of the Year 2017 Panic! At The Disco

Nearly thirteen years at the top and Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendon Urie shows no signs of slowing down. After releasing the band’s fifth album Death of a Bachelor, Urie has hit the ground running. Recently finishing up a worldwide tour and is now gracing the stage of Broadway in his role as Charlie Price in Kinky Boots (running until August 6th).

The AP Music Awards (Alternative Press) have recognised Urie’s achievements by naming the band Artist of the Year 2017. Out shining the other nominees such as fellow band Fall Out Boy – whose bassist discovered Panic back in 2004 – and Blink 182 – who the band would cover before writing their own music. Hosted by Black Veil Bride frontman, Andy Biersack, the event recognises the talents of artists belonging to the alternative side of music. Other bands such as Twenty One Pilots and The Pretty Reckless also going home with outstanding awards that were well deserved.

Now with five ground breaking albums in his musical arsenal as well as other multiple awards and recognition, Urie really earnt his place among the legends by writing, producing and recording the band’s most recent album Death of a Bachelor mostly solo. Released on January 15th 2016, on the label Fueled by Ramen, the entire album was written and recorded by multi-instrumentalist Brendon Urie and produced with the help of Jake Sinclair. It’s the band’s third album since the original line up (of Brendon Urie, Spencer Smith, Ryan Ross and Jon Walker) went their separate ways to leave the singer and drummer to write and release their third album Vices & Virtues. And the second album since the departure of drummer Spencer Smith, with bassist Dallon Weekes also having no contribution.

Death of a Bachelor hit number one on the US Billboard 200 after its debut earning the band its first number one album. It has since be nominated for a Grammy Award of Best Rock Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards but lost out to Tell Me I’m Pretty by Cage The Elephant. Apart from its musical achievement the album seems to show a personal growth for Urie as the songs don more maturity than those from Vegas party fuelled Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die. Expressing a nostalgia for the wild life he has lived with ‘Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time’ and ‘Golden Days’ as well as the excitement of leaving that past behind to pursue a new life with his wife, Sarah Urie, through ‘Death of a Bachelor.’

Singles from the album like ‘Victorious’ encompass the flamboyant genius of Queen whilst ‘Death of a Bachelor’ could have been written for Frank Sinatra. These comparisons are hardly surprising when Urie himself has been quoted crediting inspirations to the previously mentioned artists. The album also provided fans with some continuation from the previous one (Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die) through the music video for ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’. Seemingly a visual sequel to ‘This is Gospel’ the music video is an oddly twisted story that sees Urie transforming into a demon in jagged, stop animation-like editing. Continuing the reputation the band have for memorable music videos. Urie has since said that he hopes to bring his experience on the Broadway stage to the next album leaving fans to wonder how previous theatrics will be topped.

Death of a Bachelor continues the band’s notorious habit of trying to reinvent themselves every album and only one of the reasons the Artist of the Year Award could not have gone to anyone else.

Watch the winning moment here as well as Brendon’s ‘thank you’ video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=162&v=guTUHdVhq78

 

Links:

http://www.altpress.com/apmas2017_home

http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/panic_at_the_disco_artist_of_the_year_2017_apmas

http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/2017_apmas_winners_list

http://www.altpress.com/apmas2017_home

 

Review By Skye W. Winwood

Travel on a sonic odyssey with John Dylan and his new single ‘Get Beyond’

Music has proven to be something close to a religion for many musicians, going so far as to be deemed a form of free therapy. One artist this is true for is multi-instrumentalist John Dylan now coming out with his new single ‘Get Beyond’ from the to-be-released album Peripheral Drift Illusion. Album artwork being created by John Lennon’s band mate, Klaus Voormann, who designed the cover of The Beatles’ classic record Revolver.

Watch the psychedelic music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpy8NH6g228

John has been floating through the music world for some time being involved with underground math-rock band Mars Accelerator in the mid-90s, who played alongside Modest Mouse and released an album with the help of Steve Fisk – known for his work with Nirvana. With knowledge in producing John has broken from the genre-defying band Terrence to go solo and carry on blurring musical lines by pushing his talents as a songwriter. A tough task for any musician but John was born into music with his parents listening to the likes of Elvis Costello, Bob Marley and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Combined with John, himself, taking inspiration from bands like Nirvana and The Beatles it’s no wonder his music seems to transport the listener to another era.

‘Get Beyond’ at first can seem like an overwhelming combination of sounds before blending into dreamy vocals with a bouncing guitar riff drifting over a wah-fuelled bass line. The transition is a perfect example of how the song takes the listener on a sonic odyssey that makes a stop at many genre styles along the way. Due to this it would be criminal to confine John to one single band or artist in comparison even as it’s obvious where his inspiration shines from. Although considered a ‘rock artist’ John challenges the style as well as taking advantage of the alternative themes the genre provides, not pigeonholing himself to any single sound by using a completely digital workflow. For each single John is breaking out of the rock genre to explore hip-hop, dance and electronic by holding a ‘remix competition’ where aspiring DJs and electronic artists can sample and rework his songs with the chance to appear on the widely released version of the single.

John reacts to some remix works here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vIY83NTbOg

Pushing the boundaries of music is not the only challenge John faces as a musician as he has recently been diagnosed with a chronic anxiety disorder. However instead of letting this beat him he deals with his issues in his work as a songwriter, creating passionate music that has the ability to connect with many listeners. John has also been very open about his struggles in the past explaining how there are moments when he has to encourage himself to get out of bed and stop hiding from the world. Overcoming losing his job and house after being robbed John proves to truly be an inspirational musician and I personally look forward to his work in the future.

 

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/johndylanaudio/

https://twitter.com/johndylanaudio

https://www.instagram.com/johndylanaudio/

https://johndylanaudio.tumblr.com/

http://john.audio/

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

After 11 Years, ‘The Black Parade’ Marches On

2013 marked the end of My Chemical Romance as a band but fans refused to let them die and have revived the group by voting ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ MTV’s Music Video of the Century!

Watch the music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRKJiM9Njr8

Up against iconic music videos such as Beyoncé ‘Single Ladies’ and Rihanna ft. Jay-Z ‘Umbrella’, ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ has taken home the title of best music video in this millennium. The win is not surprising when taken into account it was directed by Samuel Bayer who has worked with the likes of Green Day and Nirvana. As well as having Oscar winning Colleen Atwood on board for costume. The single was available on Myspace on September 2nd 2006 from the band’s third studio album The Black Parade (released September 11th 2006).

The music video itself was released September 26th 2006 in the UK and was featured heavily on MTV. The mix of narrative and performance based visuals follow a character only known as ‘The Patient’ (portrayed by Lukas Haas, Mars Attacks!) as he is on his death bed where he transcends to join the “Black Parade.” The band are seen preforming on a float where they are followed by a group of masked people, the hidden identities conveying how they could represent anyone. The whole video takes place in a dystopian world with contradicting lyrics of ‘carrying on’ despite the inevitability of death. Rallying listeners that death is not the end and ‘the world will never take [your] heart’.

The main concept of the video follows the idea that death comes from your most powerful memory, as lead singer Gerard Way explained in an interview with MTV. In this case death manifests for ‘The Patient’ in the form of a parade he saw as a young boy, something that followed him through life and now he will follow it in death. The passionate and enthusiastic performance of the band gives an uplifting vibe to the otherwise seemingly depressing visuals and has become iconic no matter what genre of music you prefer.

The music video has proved truly timeless and though My Chemical Romance is dead and gone, believe me, their memory will carry on.

 

Links:

http://www.mtv.co.uk/mtv-music-1/news/mtvs-greatest-video-of-the-century-vote-now-information

http://www.mtv.co.uk/my-chemical-romance/news/my-chemical-romance-win-mtvs-greatest-video-of-the-century

 

Review by Skye Walshe-Winwood

Fall Out Boy are back with the madness in their new single ‘Champion’

Always supporting the underdog Fall Out Boy have literally released an anthem that would fit perfectly into any uplifting film montage.

Find out just how well it fits here: https://soundcloud.com/milkywayspaceteam/fall-out-boy-champion

‘Champion’ is the second single to be revealed from the punk rock band’s highly anticipated album Mania to be released September 15th. ‘Champion’ encapsulates the “never give up” attitude Fall Out Boy have always tried to put forth for their fans but this time with no apologies. Both front man Patrick Stump and main lyricist/bassist Pete Wentz have been honest in the media about their struggles with depression and the simple lyrics of ‘if I can live through this, I can do anything’ are an uplifting triumph they want to share with others. The constant repetition of the song’s title ‘Champion’ coupled with the slow building start breaking through into a heavy drum beat connotes the issues many fans of the band themselves may struggle with.

The song seems to be one of looking back with the first two lines being ‘I’m calling you from the future/to let you know we made a mistake’ but that they are still here and things will get better. As well as this the song holds the ideal that it is never too late by saying ‘I’m just young enough to still believe.’ Stump’s powerful vocals perfectly complement Wentz’s lyrics in a way that differs from any of their previous albums. After the release of ‘Young and Menace’ new and existing fans of the band were split on whether they were witnessing yet another beloved band changing their sound to fit pop culture conventions. ‘Champion’ has removed any doubt that the band are continuing to explore their creative genius through their music. The song embodying an echo of Fall Out Boy’s old sound as well as giving us promise of what they will provide in the future.

Watch Pete Wentz skateboarding with some Llamas in the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ub9su42mZo

 

Links:

https://falloutboy.com/

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

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

 

Debut Dark Electric Single ‘Caving’ by Ciqala

In a world conforming to generic pop conventions to stay on top, it’s hard to find artists willing to push the boundaries for the sake of art. One who is still willing to keeping fighting is Ciqala with her musical weapon in the form of her new single Caving.’

Listen to the track here: https://soundcloud.com/ciqala-815315369

Yafit Rahamim-Fleisher, otherwise known as Ciqala, has teamed up with producer Shai Pelled to create the hypnotically dark electro rock single ‘Caving.’ The feel of the song can be compared to the likes of Within Temptation with its oddly beautiful vocals and its ability to feel as if you have been transported into a twisted fairy-tale. This is not shocking as Ciqala is influenced by artists such as Depeche Mode and brit-pop acts Blur, Pulp and Suede. As well as being drawn to music composed by Danny Elfman to add to that fairy-tale persona of the song.

On the surface the theme of the song comes across as one of breaking free of confines or trying to decipher reality from illusion. This idea is not surprising as the concept Ciqala has created is one inspired by Native American culture with a focus on spiritualism and simplicity as well as the purity of nature. With these themes in mind the song ‘Caving’ conveys the idea that everything ‘is just an illusion’ because ‘as we grow older nothing remains’ and people shouldn’t be so attached to the materials of life. The idea that these things cannot be taken with us after we are gone but we are all guilty of giving into materialistic desires as Ciqala sings about ‘feel[ing] ashamed’. The single itself feels like a spiritual journey when listening to it through ethereal vocals, heavy drums, and an alluring electric beat that could be something directly from The Lost Boys.

‘Caving’ is perfect for people seeking that something other from their music taste but don’t want something invading or too heavy. Ciqala is no stranger to the music industry having previously performed under the pseudonym of Y-Fi where she began her journey and is one to look out for in the future.

Watch the video for ‘Caving’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4zTGcm3L7s

 

Links:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_PmXSSU1fIjx14fmbzvsdg 

http://www.yfi-music.com/ciqala

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

‘The Gathering’ by Psychopathic Romantics

If you like your rock music with a bit of a dark edge to it, laced with political awareness, then the new release ‘The Gathering’, from Italian/ American band, Psychopathic Romantics is certainly one for you.

‘The Gathering’ is originally taken from the band’s 2015 album, Bread and Circuses, but they have decided to release it as a single now due to its pertinence with what’s currently happening in the world, from a social perspective.

Tackling subjects as relevant as discrimination, inequality and social injustice, ‘The Gathering’ is more than just a song; it’s a call to arms to stand up and be counted.

Psychopathic Romantics pioneer a unique psych-folk-rock sound that favours alternative instrumentation, such as mandolins and bouzoukis instead of your typical guitar and piano. This is just one thing that sets the innovative band apart from the crowd, but their distinctly dark, ambient sound is quite incomparable. Jason Small, of the Small Music Review, even noted that ‘The Gathering stands out with an almost eerie melody that really sinks into the mind.’

 

Check out more on Psychopathic Romantics here:

https://soundcloud.com/psychopathicromantics/bread-and-circuses

https://www.facebook.com/Psychopathic-Romantics-17940677975

https://www.instagram.com/psycrom/

https://open.spotify.com/album/6XLGFGBC2woZkJly6FqSOh

https://itunes.apple.com/it/album/bread-and-circuses/id1223491806

https://www.amazon.it/Bread-Circuses-Psychopathic-Romantics/dp/B06Y3P5N28/

 

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