Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

Following, somewhat fortuitously from an article here a few weeks ago on protest music, I’ve had the opportunity to interview self-identified Protest Singer, Sam Draisey, to talk about music as protest, the difficulties of trying to make it as a musician, and about the general state of DIY music in the UK.

Sam, from Wolverhampton, has gained a big profile as a folk singer and especially as a live performer, also with three albums under his belt and a continuous array of performances drawing media attention. He tracks much of his experience on a blog here, which is a real gigging performer’s blog. His new album, As I Live and Breathe, is also available now. (more…)

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The sudden and untimely death of the Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O’Riordan made for another sad start to another year, with the loss of another great, iconic rock star of the last two decades.

Dolores, who was found deceased on January 15th in a London hotel room, was only 46.

As I noted at the deaths of both Chris Cornell and Scott Weiland, it has felt like many or even most of the best or most important musical voices from my personal favorite era of music have had short lives. (more…)

So this feels really weird now.
After Chris Cornell’s death back in May, I wrote one immediate article on the subject and then I consciously chose not to write anything more.

This was for the same reason that I chose not to get drawn into all the conspiracy theories and predictable ‘Illuminati ritual murder’ videos springing up on You Tube – I was too upset by the death of one of my genuine heroes and I didn’t want to complicate or infect my feelings any further by opening myself up to all those other things.

It’s much easier to take an objective, dispassionate overview of subjects or cases like this when you’re not emotionally invested in the individual person: but when it concerns someone you really care about or have a strong sense of connection to in your psyche, it is more difficult to stomach all the rabid theories and speculations or to assess the ‘evidence’ at all.

I still feel that way; and I am generally wary of the plethora of Illuminati-centered conspiracy theories/videos that immediately spring up every time anyone vaguely famous dies.

In some cases, there are genuine reasons a death needs to be looked at more closely, but in many cases it’s just people who dive blindly onto the conspiracy bandwagon for either click-bait or just ingrained (unhealthy) reflex.

I’m not someone who thinks every death is a conspiracy; and I still probably don’t think Chris Cornell was murdered. But the last couple of days have re-awoken niggling uncertainties.  (more…)

Sorry to anyone who is used to regular posts on this site – I’ve been having some difficulties and taking a break for a little bit.
But I wanted to make sure I put up something – anything – to pay tribute to Chris Cornell, who died on Wednesday night. The coroner’s initial report suggested it was suicide by hanging.

Which is a horrible, numbing end to one of the greatest singers, songwriters and lyricists who ever lived. And to one of my personal heroes for most of my life. He was 52 and had, in fact, just finished playing a sold-out show with Soundgarden, with further shows scheduled for the following days. He also had a wife who he appeared to be very much in love with and two young children.

His death – and the reported manner of it – is baffling and numbing to me; particularly as the official photographer for the Detroit show, who has been filming Soundgarden shows since the late 80s, reported that Cornell had seemed happier and in a more vibrant on-stage mood than he had ever seen him. (more…)

Pearl Jam’s induction into the Hall of Fame could probably have been regarded as inevitable: I’m glad to see it though.

2017 was the first year they were eligible, according to the HoF rules. In a year that saw the legendary Joan Baez also inducted, along with the late rapper Tupac Shakur among others, David Letterman attended to give the speech inducting the Seattle legends. (more…)

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It may have become a little cliched to wax lyrical about the late Amy Winehouse and her talent; I’ve done it once or twice here too.

But it was recently the ten-year anniversary of her monumental album, Back To Black, so this is more a reflection on that album than on Amy herself – though admittedly it it quite difficult to separate the two subjects, as so much of her popular identity is tied up in this particular piece of work.

I will say this: to my mind, Back To Black is arguably the greatest individual album released in the 21st century so far. I said arguably. (more…)

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The ‘turning down Amy Winehouse’ bit is admittedly a slightly misleading title.
What I mean to say is that one of my lingering regrets in life is that I once turned down the chance to see Amy live in Camden Town – at what would’ve been a tiny, intimate venue, and before she was famous.

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Every couple of months, in the last few years, it seems like we’re reminded that it’s the ’20th anniversary’ of some great, landmark album by some great band or artist.

It is a constant reminder, to me, of what was going on two decades ago: of how much interesting, quality or enduring music was being created by a number of incredibly talented artists. I’ve marked some of those anniversaries already on this site; and every time I do it makes me long for that era and it also inevitably makes me compare it to the era, musically, we’re currently living in – which makes for a stark and obvious contrast. (more…)

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I love PJ Harvey. I’ve always loved PJ Harvey.

Ever since, as a young, disheveled teen, I first saw her emerge as a potent, edgy singer/songwriter and purveyor of the most disarming, stripped down alternative music in the early nineties. (more…)