Eminem stands against Donald Trump in diss track ‘The Storm’

Rap artist Eminem is notorious for his controversial music from the topics of his songs to the kind of language used. The rapper received an insane combination of both hate and praise in his early years and, although some still don’t like his music, it is undeniable how the man himself has grown. Proving the years of wisdom and maturity he has gained by releasing ‘The Storm’ at the BET Hip Hop Awards. A four and a half minute track composed purely of hard hitting, honest lyrics against Donald Trump and his presidential campaign.

Listen to ‘The Storm’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LunHybOKIjU

Tensions leading up to the 2016 Presidential elections exploded on two sides when it was announced Donald J. Trump would be the 45th President of the United States. Winning on policies that have been proven to be discriminative, dangerous and overall damning of minorities across the USA. Since his inauguration into the White House people have risen as a collective to challenge Trump and push him out of office, including a multitude of celebrities that are using their status to make aware those who are ignorantly hiding in the dark. The personal respect I have for these celebrities is immeasurable and I can only express gratitude for people responsibly using the positions they have to address such distressing issues.

Eminem is one of these celebrities who will have my eternal respect after releasing his track ‘The Storm’ on Tuesday 10th October. The title alone speaks volumes toward the importance of the song as it promises the storm Eminem plans to bring down on Trump in the form of both the raining of lyrics in the track but also how he hopes the song will rally people to stand up against Trump. The freestyle track high lights the importance of the views contained in the lyrics by being supported by no music. Nothing to obscure or obstruct the important message Eminem is trying to get across to his fans as well as anyone willing to listen. The lyrics stand out in the sharp and cutting way Eminem has always preformed with a passionate style that can be heard even in the pauses.

The lyrics of the track criticise Trump’s policies and campaign promises as well as questioning his patriotism. Eminem calls Trump out by saying ‘he waits for sh** to quiet down, he’ll just gas up his plane and fly around till the bombing stops’ after making reference to the ‘nuclear holocaust’ Trump is at risk of causing. These lyrics bring to light the question on whether Trump will be an honourable captain and go down with the ship he is sinking, effectively calling him a coward and further questioning whether this is the man America wants as their president. The disturbing and striking imagery conjured up from ‘holocaust’ and ‘kamikaze’ is both shocking and powerful, emphasising the issues Trump’s campaign was built on. As well as making clear the magnitude at which this is an issue, that Trump’s campaign is being likened to devastating historical events.

The track also draws attention to Trump’s inconsistences by saying he is doing the ‘same sh** that he tormented Hillary for and he slandered/then does it more’, proving that the world is watching and there are people who see right through him. Eminem then tears down Trump by speaking about the military and how black soldiers ‘come home from Iraq/and is still told to go back to Africa/fork and dagger in this racist 94-year-old grandpa’. The simple lyrics ridicule Trump and strip him of his power, proving that his status as President does not excuse his racist and discriminative views. Going so far as to say his politics are made of nothing but ‘tricks’ and drawing attention to important recent events such as the shooting in Nevada that has not changed Trump’s policy on gun law in America. Eminem also pays tribute to Colin Kaepernick in the lyrics, ‘f*** that, this is for Colin, ball up a fist/and keep that shit balled like Donald the bitch’. Kaepernick was the first NFL player to protest standing during the national anthem. Eminem not only praises this protest but unites all of those who oppose Trump.

The track ends with Eminem both calling out and calling on his fans saying he is ‘drawing a line in the sand: you’re either for or against.’ Stating now is the time to choose a side and stop idly waiting by for things to blow over because they won’t. The last few lyrics are truly powerful: ‘the rest of American stand up/we love our military, and we love our country/but we f****** hate Trump.’ These lines are so important because they address the issue that if you do not support your President it means you are not truly an American and that you must hate America. Of course this is not the case and Eminem is taking one more step forward in the movement to waking up America.

To me the track speaks one simple message: storms may pass but the destruction they leave behind can be devastating.

Links:

https://twitter.com/Eminem

http://www.eminem.com/

https://www.facebook.com/eminem/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40452360

http://www.etonline.com/news/22255

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Advertisements

The NaveBlues self-titled album is a new generation of blues music

When it comes to music some artists focus on sound whilst others are meticulous about lyrics, The NaveBlues are a band who seem to have found the perfect balance of both. Standing at a crossroads of music and managing to take both paths, the four piece Norwegian blues band are bringing back classic blues music with their own personal twist to keep things interesting. Consisting of bass, guitar and drums as the basis of their sound The NaveBlues will both shock and impress you with their peace, love and harmonica approach to music.

The band’s new album, named after themselves The NaveBlues, has a beautifully unique selling point in the form of lead singer Nave Pundik’s insane harmonica playing. Their lead track ‘Possess You’ is a perfect example of Nave’s vocal and instrumental talent for an instrument that hasn’t seen the spotlight for some years.

Watch the music video for ‘Possess You’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c36gUUyVrLs

‘Possess You’ is a spine tingling track that resonates with a similar sound to rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival and evokes images of a desert sky moving rapidly from day to night. The track begins with a guitar riff that is not that unlike something from The Foo Fighters before plunging deep into the pool of blues music. The first two minutes are a showcase of Nave’s rock star level harmonica playing that seems to sing as passionately as any voice could. The vibrating continuous notes soar high and low with an inclination that speaks beautiful words without any sound passing Nave’s lips. The song could work as a completely lyrical-less piece but Nave’s singing at the mid-way point drives home the message of the song. Nave’s vocals compliment his harmonica playing with the same inflection and vocal style that can be compared to Kristofer Dommin of the band Dommin and evokes a similar sound to Type O Negative’s Peter Steele; Nave’s bluesy rock voice is a perfect finisher for the blues inspired track. The song also showcases The NaveBlues potential to slip into other genres such as space rock as ‘Possess You’ also has Muse hints hidden within the sound.

The NaveBlues have also challenged musical conventions by covering Led Zeppelin’s ‘Thank You’ that continues the hint of space rock with their human adapting to a lonely life on mars music video.

Watch the music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt9uzozpzGQ

The NaveBlues push musical boundaries by taking the simple, plaintive song and turning it into something both visually and musically fantastical. Through the band’s adaption the song becomes something more intense than the original and works perfectly for the angle they decided to put on it. The pure passion for music this band embodies is encapsulated in ‘Thank You’ through the unbelievable harmonica solos and Nave’s rustic vocals overlapping with those of a soft female voice. Covering ‘Thank You’ further proves how The NaveBlues cannot be pigeonholed and will fly with ease between different genres such as rock, soul, indie and still manage to hold all the conventions of blues music.

The NaveBlues, and their new album, are the band to listen to for anyone who is a fan of musical genius and insane instrumental talent.

Links:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4PjTCsYQH7Nu1dsSczZ5HK

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6KVhYc1E4ccnMPtpvzpCQw

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/naveblues

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

Website: http://thenaveblues.com/

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

New collaboration album from Michaela Polakova and Natalie Kocab

Composer Michaela Polakova and singer/songwriter Natalie Kocab have joined forces to create intricately dark music in the form of their new album Ellis Island. A contemporary musical experience that takes inspiration from the meticulous story telling of eras gone by such as the 70s and 80s. An out of this time album that is sure to lure you into a siren’s trance.

Artists such as Michaela and Natalie working together should lead to the inevitable condemning words in the music industry of ‘musical differences’. However the two have managed to transcend gene and cultural differences to create something utterly breath taking that otherwise could not exist. The overall incandescent darkness of Ellis Island is based on the sound of Michaela’s classical background with the piano and string quartet compositions. The effect sensually chilling to listen to when combined with Natalie’s vocals that create a sense of mystery you can’t help but be intrigued by. The sound of the album can be compared to the likes of Nick Cave with it’s explorations of both the mind and human spirit, the song ‘Underwater’ alone exposing the hardships of life some of us are ignorant to. Ellis Island is a dark, eye opening tale that could be akin to a musical awakening.

The brilliance of this album did not happen overnight, however, but is a collective of hard work from a multitude of talented musicians. The project is of course the brainchild of Michaela and Natalie but even they realised something on this scale could not be accomplished with only the two of them. After meeting during the making of the album Hummingbirds in Iceland, which received outstanding reviews in Europe, the two recognised in one another what they themselves could be lacking. From here the album was created with the help of The Verve’s guitarist Nick McCabe as well as long-time bassist Fernando Saunders of Lou Reed. Initially the two recruited McCabe for a single track but after being moved by the sound of the album the guitarist took it to heart and ended up contributing to a total of eight tracks on the album. Saunders also showed his love for the work Michaela and Natalie were doing and both these praises are just as slice of the recognition Ellis Island deserves.

The album is infused with 90s indie music vibes and has a sound not unlike G Tom Mac’s ‘Cry Little Sister’ leading also to a distinctive 80s hint in the sound. Specifically the song ‘Underwater’ which is a beautifully dark composition that highlights physical and emotional struggle through the soaring notes and powerful vocals. The track is a spiralling roller-coaster of genuinely moving musical talent that can be described as nothing less than beautiful. This beauty, however, is one of a sinister nature once the electric guitar kicks in at the song’s crescendo that will leave you with an insatiable need to fill that strange hollowness it leaves in you with more of the album’s music.

Watch the video to “Underwater” here: https://youtu.be/omx-6V6hbk8

The song to fill this hollowness is ‘Social Affair’ with its dream like sound that will send you into a trance whilst still embodying the same dark, swelling emotion of ‘Underwater.’ ‘Social Affair’ seems to move forward in time to have a more 90s vibe to it, the repeating guitar riffs not unlike music from Love Spit Love but slightly softer. Something that you can put on, plug in your head phones and let the music consume you into a tranquil state. The repeating lyrics of ‘come find me’ in the opening set a good rhythmic tone for the rest of the song.

Yet if you want something more to pull at your music heartstrings like ‘Underwater’, the album also includes the orchestral piece ‘These Years.’ A combination of string instruments and piano keys that is harrowing and immensely creative at the same time; marrying both a heartfelt ballad and a musical score into one. The swaying sound is as hypnotic as the rest of Ellis Island as well as conveying the raw emotion behind the song in its own right.

Ellis Island is out now and available for digital download at https://wmcz.lnk.to/ellisisland and is an undeniable creative album that will sweep you away before pulling you in deep into the dark yet beautiful world Michaela and Natalie have created.

Links:

Soundcloud:  https://soundcloud.com/nataliekocabmichaelapolakova

Youtube:  https://youtu.be/QDOEQVGicqM

                   https://youtu.be/sT1g9fYFon0

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Ellisislandalbum/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Lawrence Preston has ‘Something For You’

Music has gone through transformations for both the better and the worst but as musical technology advances, artists seem to be forgetting that creating music is something more than a quick profit. Hiding behind auto-tune and getting lost in pigeon-hole conventions music is slowly becoming a hypodermic needle some consumers are willingly injecting because they know no different. Lawrence Preston is a welcome break from this mass production and stands as a reminder that there are genuine artists still out there. Creating soul music with real heart, the singer/songwriter has returned with his new single ‘Something For You.’

Watch the music video here: https://www.vevo.com/watch/lawrence-preston/something-for-you/TIVEV1725150

Emerging initially in the 90s, Lawrence recorded his first full length album in 1997 that contained the glowing wealth of experience he already had as a musician. Born into a musical family in San Francisco Lawrence was destined for musical greatness before he could even learn to speak, no matter sing! His parents formed a gospel group (The Sensational Travelers) at the local church where his grandfather was a pastor and it is undeniable this connection made it into Lawrence’s incredible voice. By the age of five he was a part of another family gospel group that was known locally as The Gospel Jackson Five but had the official name of Fantastic Four and was only the beginning of Lawrence’s lifelong commitment to music. This unwavering commitment turned Lawrence not only into a singer but also multi-instrumentalist as he is able to play the trombone and guitar but shows his true talent with the bass.

By age nineteen, Lawrence already had a horde of musical talent and personal experience under his belt but just needed to catch one influential eye to showcase this. He caught that eye in the form of Freddie Stone who is the founder of Sly & The Family Stone who recommended him to Dorothy Morrison. Morrison recognised Lawrence’s bass talent and had him play for a significant amount of time in her gospel band in the 1980s. This professional experience lead to Lawrence’s album in the 90s and now he’s back with his new single ‘Something For You.’

‘Something For You’ is a soul infused track that perfectly marries Lawrence’s smooth vocals and his magnetic bass playing. From the first note the song draws you in and maintains a low burning rhythm of ultra-smooth funk that brings to mind the likes of Marcus Miller, Rustee Allen and Stanley Clarke. Lawrence’s velvet vocals make you feel as if he is singing directly to you and is almost a blessing beating upon your eardrum. Available now, ‘Something For You’ is exactly what it promises to be.

Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@law_preston

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lawrence.preston.37

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Meet AdzBrandMusic

Adam Bateson is yet another Youtube pioneer using the multimedia social networking site to promote his music. Originating from England Adam is better known by his online persona as AdzBrandMusic. An everyday guy hoping to achieve something greater by sharing his music across the platform, Adam has a refreshing music style and humour to engage his audience and keep them hooked.

Check out his Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC49fR3yXvssJXLCQXR6tRjw

Still only a small Youtube channel I first came across Adam through the blog site Tumblr when he promoted himself in quite a humorous way, explaining he didn’t want to seem ‘spammy’ but just wanted to put himself out there. An approach, as a writer, I can respect and after listening to his music I see no reason why he shouldn’t continue to promote himself in any way he can. Adam’s down to earth persona comes across well in his music, particularly in the song ‘A Better Time’; a song about growing up and the memories that come from that. Being a British native myself, it’s encouraging to see someone writing nostalgia for things American artists can’t relate to.

Listen to ‘A Better Time’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cea3yooFM0s

Adam cites his musical inspirations as the Artic Monkeys, The Shins, Brian Fallon and Urthboy; all musical styles that are evident in his own music so fans of these artists should be sure to check out Adam’s music. His soft vocals combine well with his guitar playing to create something both pleasing and entertaining to listen to like something from a modern 90s era. After a song like ‘Breaks’ you won’t be able to keep your feet still from tapping along to his chord playing.

Listen to ‘Breaks’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7_Nfi3mEac

Not only is Adam a talented musician but he also creates personal videos to connect with his audience such as ‘Things Panic! At The Disco Fans Say’ as well as the ‘F***boy Song’. The second a topical song about the kind of guys I’m sure we’ve all come across on the internet. Adam appears to have a true love for music and creates it for his target audience but more importantly for himself. Realising music with that slight personal touch will reach an audience better than something manufactured for the soul purpose of gaining fame. However this is not to say Adam doesn’t dream of one day making his hobby into his day job but until then he seems to sincerely appreciate any support people are able to offer him.

Only one man and his guitar for now, Adam has the potential to continue growing as an artist with the help and support from people who appreciate it’s not always easy to make it but putting yourself out there is half of the battle.

Links:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC49fR3yXvssJXLCQXR6tRjw

https://adzbrandmusic.tumblr.com/

https://www.instagram.com/adzbrandmusic/

 

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

 

Souli Roots Targets World Peace & Christmas Number One

Having grown up in Jamaica, it has been the UK that has most recently taken Souli Roots to their hearts: from her success at open mic nights across London; taking the stage at the Hackney Empire and eventually Wembley’s SSE Arena as part of 2013’s X Factor line-up, Souli now has a new target in her sights – World Peace.

Listen to World Peace Expression here: https://soundcloud.com/souliroots/world-peace-expression-available-now

Featuring ethic percussive sounds, atmospheric electronic swirls of textured background and Souli’s powerful vocals, there are echoes of Miriam Makeba’s indigenous African delivery as well as the more mainstream sound of Bob Marley and the Wailers political statement songs.

Soundcloud:  https://soundcloud.com/souliroots

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/search/results/world%20peace%20expression

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/souli.roots.1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/souliroots

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/souliroots34/

 

It was the summer of 2009…

Summer has officially come to an end. School, university and work are all creeping up on us to blow away the hot summer breeze and sweep our carefree days under the rug of Autumn. Leaving nothing but our memories and the echo of songs long forgotten.

A common reaction to the passing of time is to reminisce and as I get older I find myself doing it more and more. I’m not old enough to have been born during the golden era of the 60s, the psychedelic era of the 70s or experimental era of the 80s and I was too young to appreciate the 90s until the early 2000s. Therefore I’ve decided to create a playlist of ten songs for one of the most memorable summers of my childhood and hope some of you can relate to the nostalgia.

Lady Gaga ft. Colby O’Donis – ‘Just Dance’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Abk1jAONjw

The song that started my (and many others) obsession with the American singer/songwriter Lady Gaga. A classic party tune that would guarantee to have anyone within the vicinity up and dancing. The R&B influenced, synth-pop, dance-pop single kicked off Gaga’s career in 2008 from her debut studio album Fame and received a Grammy nomination in 2009 for Best Dance Recording but lost out to Daft Punk for their just as icon ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.’ Gaga has described the song as a happy one and wanted it to help people going through hard times such as losing their jobs or homes. ‘Just Dance’ was written in ten minutes and still remains Gaga’s most famous single that has the power to transport you back to wherever you were when you first heard it.

Black Eyed Peas – ‘I Gotta Feeling’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSD4vsh1zDA

The second single from their fifth album The E.N.D ‘I Gotta Feeling’ was produced by David Guetta and has become a part of music history for classic songs. Upon release of the upbeat dance pop song it hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chat only losing out on the number one spot to ‘Boom Boom Pow’ another song by the group. The song was nominated for Record of the Year at the 52nd Grammy Awards and won the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. It was also nominated Song of the Year at the 2009 World Music Awards and therefore deserves a top spot on this playlist. ‘I Gotta Feeling’ samples the song ‘Take A Dive’ by Bryan Pringle and is built upon a heavy use of auto tune and futuristic synthesizers that was a theme throughout the whole album.

Beyoncé – ‘Single Ladies’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m1EFMoRFvY

Through countless years Beyoncé has released phenomenal music that resonates with and drives her fans crazy. Nearly any song the American singer releases becomes an instant hit and ‘Single Ladies’ was no different. Creating also an iconic video that has provided us with both an artistic, dance infused visual and numerous parodies that can even reach the same calibre of professionalism. ‘Single Ladies’ won three Grammy Awards in 2010 including Song of the Year and has been considered the best song of both 2008 and the decade. It hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has been certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry of America.

All American Rejects – ‘Gives You Hell’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxUATkpMQ8A

A song on everyone’s lips in 2009, ‘Gives You Hell’ was the lead single from American rock band The All American Reject’s third studio album. Alongside ‘Dirty Little Secret’ it has been named the band’s most successful song to date and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as being certified platinum for four million shipments. The tongue in cheek song continues the band’s stereotypical ‘high school movie’ sound and contains drunken backing vocals so the chorus sounds like a ‘bunch of drunk assholes.’

Taylor Swift – ‘You Belong With Me’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuNIsY6JdUw

Back before the media started taking bites out of Taylor Swift’s career she was a sweet country singer/songwriter who released songs about unrequited high school love. No matter your opinion on her now it cannot be denied ‘You Belong With Me’ has become a classic everyone knows the words to even if they are not sure when they learnt them. Swift has said the song was inspired after overhearing a male friend of hers arguing with his girlfriend on the phone. The pop song won Favourite Song at the 2010 Kids’ Choice Awards and was nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards. The music video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video in 2009 and created the iconic Kanye West interruption during Swift’s acceptance speech.

3OH!3 – ‘Don’t Trust Me’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdB3Oyd5HtU

Although now becoming a ‘where are they now?’ kind of group, 3OH!3 were hugely popular back at the end of the 2000s with ‘Don’t Trust Me’ probably being their most popular song. The pop single was certified gold by the Recording Industry of America in 2009 and reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as well as having huge mainstream success. The music video received a nomination in 2009 at the MTV Video Music Awards for Best New Artist but lost to Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face.’ 

Pink – ‘So What’

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

Released in 2008 from the American singer’s fifth studio album Funhouse, ‘So What’ has become nearly timeless in its popularity. The angry heartbreak lyrics are based on Pink’s separation from Carey Hart and infuse a musical fury that stays with you long after the track has ended. Although largely successful people were split on whether they thought it was an empowering single or just too childish to be taken seriously but critical acclaim won overall and has since been dubbed one of Pink’s most iconic songs. The song is a perfect performance marrying both Pink’s aggressive female empowerment as well as her silliness to not take herself too seriously. The song was nominated for a few awards and appropriately won Most Addictive Track at the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards.

Owl City – ‘Fireflies’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psuRGfAaju4

Making a recent re-emergence in the online community Owl City’s ‘Fireflies’ is arguably still as loved and hated as it was back in 2008 when it was released. Possibly the marmite of music even those who don’t like the ‘bleepy synthline’ song have to admit how addictively catchy both the tune and the lyrics are. It was the debut single from the American electronica project and was described by Adam Young as ‘a little song about bugs and not being able to fall asleep at night.’ The single managed worldwide success and is something pure and simple that evokes nostalgia no matter your personal opinion on the track.

The Veronicas – ‘Untouched’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykW4rtW2eu0

The Veronicas themselves are probably still quite unknown despite being active since 2006 but their debut single ‘Untouched’ is a tune nearly anyone will recognise. The electropop song has been compared to both Pink and Avril Lavigne by having a foot in both the alternative and pop music genres. The lyrics of the song relate to the Australian twins (Jessica and Lisa Origliasso) feelings about separation from loved ones more so than physical separation.

Boys Like Girls – ‘Love Drunk’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0c-kC8xZ-I

The last song on my Summer of 2009 playlist is the one that was probably played the most among myself and my friends, even to this day the opening causes a smile to break out across my face. ‘Love Drunk’ was the lead single from the album of the same name by rock/pop band Boys Like Girls in 2008 and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song received a mixed reception upon its release with some critics enjoying the pop/rock tune whilst others criticised it for its controversial similarity to The Killers ‘Somebody Told Me’ due to the choruses of both songs. The song became popular due also to the music video that featured singer/actress Ashely Tisdale from the first shot who makes all the boys in the video fall for her only to lead to a surprise ending.

Of course these are not all of the songs that made up the summer of 2009 so here are some honourable mentions:

Taylor Swift – ‘Love Story’

Jason Mraz – ‘I’m Yours’

Kanye West – ‘Heartless’

Soulja Boy Tell ’em feat. Sammie – ‘Kiss Me Thru The Phone’

Jay Sean feat. Lil Wayne – ‘Down’

T.I. feat. Rihanna – ‘Live Your Life’

Kelly Clarkson – ‘My Life Would Suck Without You’

Flo Rida – ‘Right Round’

Katy Perry – ‘Hot n Cold’

Shinedown – ‘Second Chance’

Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West – ‘Run This Town’

Britney Spears – ‘Circus’

Beyonce – ‘Sweet Dreams’

Sean Kingston  – ‘Fire Burning’

Lady Gaga – ‘Paparazzi’

Jason DeRulo – ‘Whatcha Say’

Iyaz – ‘Replay’

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys – ‘Empire State Of Mind’

Shakira – ‘She Wolf’

Rihanna – ‘Disturbia’

Green Day – ‘21 Guns’

Katy Perry – ‘Waking Up In Vegas’

 

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑