Time Out of Mind: My Second Entry

The Equality State

 

Pilot episode

(29 minutes):

“Wyoming, London

(Why I’m In London)

Notes and ideas:

Because there have been so few- good or successful- U.K. animated comedies, it is high time there was an attempt.  At the moment, there are few comedies- from Britain- I watch- there is a bit of a dip at present.  I want to write something with a U.S. sensibility; inspired by the likes of The Simpsons, Family Guy and South Park, it will a very modern look to it- the same style of animation as The Simpsons (without the yellow people), and feature a great and varied cast.  I have an idea for the main cast- two boys, two girls- and hopefully they will be in.  The pilot will hopefully wet appetites for a full series.  With cliffhangers and plot twists, the idea is to leave people wanting more- both A-story arcs have huge longevity and potential for growth.  The series will see the girls with the power- transposing gender roles and making them the dominant duo.  Parodying and (with) affection referencing Breaking Bad, the girls go all across London- and the U.K.- and get in all sort of adventures and scrapes.  The boys go all across the world and bond; experiencing and achieving huge things.  The reality of home life and reality never is far from the door; each couple comes together and keeps their other lives separate.

In time, I hope to employ celebrity voices for episodes, but want to make sure the pilot gets made and received.  If there is not an animation company in the U.K., it may be a case of going to the U.S. – or raising a Kickstarter campaign and getting it made privately.

Desired Soundtrack:

Figure It Out- Royal Blood

The National Anthem- Radiohead

Metal & Dust- London Grammar

Synopsis:

The pilot focuses on two different couples in their 20s, who come together; during Hallowe’en of 2014.  Their coming together will have a huge effect on each other; that will change their lives and cause huge waves.

Alice Yorke is a Jehovah’s Witness; she is down on her luck and a mother-to-be.  She has just learned she is pregnant and tries to balance her daily life, coping with it.  She goes door-to-door in east London; trying to spread ‘the good word’.  The local citizens are not so accepting, and as she meets some weird and wonderful people, she starts to doubt herself.  As the sun rises over east London, Alice and her ‘colleagues’ try to change people’s minds; before a huge song-and-dance number- mixing Thriller and Billie Jean together with classic musical elements- breaks out: D.E.N.I.A.L.  As a hard morning drags on, Alice returns to her Canary Wharf apartment she shares with her boyfriend.

The boyfriend in question is a one Stefan Buckley.  He has recently been fired as a teacher, and spends his days obsessed with Radiohead; smoking, drinking and preparing for an upcoming court case: a harassment charge made by Thom Yorke.  The two sit down and discuss the future possibility of becoming parents; both knowing that they do not have the money or security- or stability- to be able to handle it.  They weight up their lives, and recollect how and why Stefan got fired: both aware that they need to change their lives.

Over in Camden, P.C. Natalie Mercury is on the beat- and on a crime scene.  She is a controversial and ‘bent’ police officer, and has been in trouble constantly.  From drag racing The Red Cross; wrongful arrests, parking in disabled spaces and tampering with murder scenes, her boss is fuming.  Natalie arrests some ‘freedom-hating terrorists'; lays down the law and not strictly playing by the rules- not realising they are Hasidic Jews.  When they complain, she tells them to ‘tell someone who cares'; as there is a smash cut to her Chief Inspector’s office; as a stack of complaints and written warnings are piled on the desk.  She is given one last chance, and told she is on very thin ice.  In her spare time, she models for Crimson Electric: a London model agency that is filled with the most disreputable opportunists and odd assignments you could imagine.

In a local hospital, her high-flying and dashing boyfriend Dan Bush is experiencing a typical day.  In the clinic he is dealing with some strange and depraved patients, whilst dealing with the advances of a gorgeous co-worker; as well as fending off a tyrannical boss- who is rather violent and angry.  In his spare time, he manages a successful band (Famous Atheists)- as well as looking after his sick and cantankerous parents (two 80 year olds).  After a rough month, he catches a quick break at his flat; located opposite a kebab shop in Camden- Madonna’s Kebabs (run by Madonna herself; although she tells everyone she is a look-alike).  He meets Natalie there, as the two discuss a recent event: Dan proposing the previous night.  With Natalie’s job at risk and pressures in Dan’s life; Dan starts to feel the strain; as Natalie makes lavish- and very unusual plans!  As they prepare for the evening’s Hallowe’en party, the day ticks on…

Alice deals with the effects of morning sickness; choosing inconvenient and embarrassing places to fall ill.  The day continues, and the four prepare for the evening.  As the guests arrive in various costumes, Alice’s niece is round as they have to babysit her.  She is a very ‘mature’ and strange 4-year-old and causes all ends of issues; not helped by Stefan teaching her how to smoke.  The party swings on, as each of the couples confide in each other; and their various doubts.

As the morning arrives, the four go separate ways.  Alice is left to clear up the mess and carnage of the night before; before having to go onto the streets, in a desperate attempt to bring the word of Jehovah to Elephant and Castle and Hackney.  Dan has a nightmare morning as his colleague makes a pass, and his fellow doctors tease him about settling down.  Natalie is fired for letting a drunk meth-head drive her home after the party- in a police car.  Natalie has her badge, car and clothes stolen, and is now out of a job, being pursued by angry criminals, with the Met. Police angrily demanding the return of the stolen assets.  Stefan spends his morning trying to invent the perfect hangover cure; looking for a new job, as well as being embroiled in a battle with a neighbour- with disastrous consequences.

The two boys meet up at a local bar- Homme’s; they discuss their situations and both feel trapped.  They are making plans for the future when Stefan gets a phone call with terrible news- he may only have 8 months to live.  The two girls meet at an Australian bar in Soho.  With Natalie fired and Alice dislocated and lost, they both feel a change is needed.  After both drinking a well-known cocktail; Natalie still has drugs- taken from a local gang.  After dropping them in the cocktail; she accidentally takes a sip.  The effects start to take a hold; leaving her sedate and ecstatic- a bizzare and brilliant animated sequence takes place (mixing Fantasia, stop motion, The Beatles and live action).  As the girls make their way home on the tube, they see the depression of London life; the inequality as well as the beauty and fascination.  As Alice finishes her day, arriving at the door of a chavy couple, Natalie calls.  Suddenly a master plan is struck, and the girls strike upon a way out of their problems.

Stefan and Dan have a heart-to-heart and asses the news.  Stefan decides that he has been a disappointment to Alice, and decides to make a list; a sort of Bucket List, where he will do as much as possible- as well as achieve as many goals as possible.  The girls realise that Natalie has stumbled upon an addictive and potent invention.  The two set up premises in the empty basement of the kebab shop (opposite Natalie and Dan’s flat), and come up with a name: The Equality State.  They recruit a group of followers who are all socially different.  It refers to the effect the cocktail has where everyone- rich or poor- is levelled and equaled: everyone feels the same.  It also refers to Wyoming, a U.S. state which is mountainous and sparsely-populated- the first state of America to give women the vote.  It seems like a metaphor for their business, and how they customers will blend into London life.

As the police close in on Natalie and Dan’s flat and the walls close in, Natalie still uses her pull and power as a police officer to round up customers and make money and connections.  Stefan and Dan begin a list of 30 ‘to-dos’ or tasks; starting with number 1- with the help of Dan’s band, Famous Atheists.  The two forget about work and life.  Dan does not mention that his colleague made a pass, as well as his doubts about the wedding; Stefan does not let Alice know about his illness.  Meanwhile neither girls mention their business venture, as well as Natalie’s firing, and Alice’s doubts about motherhood.

In the closing scenes, Alice and Stefan talk about the future, and possible abortion.  Outside an inappropriately-named abortion clinic, as the rain lashes; the two realises that they want to stay together and need a future to hold onto.  Knowing that each of their lives will be very different and turbulent, they continue as they are: making sure neither knows of each other’s fate.  Natalie and Dan spend the night together; neither revealing truths, but promising to stick together.  When the following night comes around, Natalie and Alice are in the basement, surrounded by acolytes.  In a homage to Fight Club, Alice gives a speech; the mantra of the club and society:

The vile men that take the head of the world,

Break the mind and kill our kind

The women who break the mould will never ask

For an even mind

In spite of light the sun goes down

The world’s true nature is revealed

The poor are blinder, the rich control

The average are crushed under foot

The right to vote, the equality state

Every human on a level plain

In the openness of the midnight hour

We are all the same

Whilst mere mortals tell us they see some

And only remember a few

We feel everything

When eyes of the fools are closed and their idle dreams dance

We will rule- and they will hear us call

As the conclusion plays out, the girls find that they are being pursued.  Alice has her colleagues, as well as some of her ‘faithful’ chasing her; angry at her betrayal and revaluation; as Natalie finds that her flat is taken over by the police; keen to find her, as some disgruntled criminals also close in.  Stefan has a court case; illness and fatherhood to think about, as Dan’s colleague announces her intentions- leaving each pair with much to ponder.  The screen splits as each of the couples go separate ways.  Stefan and Dan head to the U.S. to fulfill the next ‘task’- both trying to escape from life; unaware what ramifications could be in store.  They are involved in an epic fight and car chase; escaping with cuts, the duo pledge friendship and the promise of making things better.  Natalie and Alice have a huge queue of customers, as word spreads.  As the siren’s flash across the street and the flat is turned over, the girls both join hands and smile; realising that London will be changed, and that their lives will never be the same again.  Mirroring the first scene- in tribute of Memento- Stefan pulls his car outside a local tattoo parlour (just before heading to America).  There is mystery to why he is there; what is going to happen- setting up another cliffhanger, there is narration (from Stefan), as he delivers the line: “Now… where were we?” as there is an instant cut to the closing credits.

Time Out of Mind- Press Release

Time Out of Mind

 

Over the coming weeks and months, I want to raise awareness, money and attention for Mind- a charity that helps those affected by mental illness.  Being someone who is afflicted (by the illness), I am keen to raise focus and prominence- ensure depression and mental illness is not stigmatised and margalised.  Most of the people I know, know someone (who suffers mental illness)- a majority of the public do, too.  My proposal looks at changing attitudes and getting people involved- much in the same way the Ice Bucket Challenge (did for A.L.S.).  Unlike the Ice Bucket Challenge, there is a creative edge and proposal- the individual is encouraged to think of something unique and special- so no two people offer the same thing.  All I ask is (for each participant/nominee) to spend 15 minutes of out their day- and post it on social media.  It can be a video message or a poem; a recorded song or photo  (a good deed for someone; a walk in the park for instance)- I wrote a song from scratch!  Having launched the idea, I have had people contribute and get ‘the ball rolling’.  Below are videos from three of my Facebook friends- Diane Sherwood, Jen Armstong and Georgia Jakubiak:

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=960946843930864&set=vb.100000466725465&type=2&theater

http://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=1040669&rf=115256

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10154611985545207&set=vb.561780206&type=2&theater

This is what I am looking for: something fresh and fun; something personal and creative- all it takes is 15 minutes (or less).  Once this ‘entry’ has been posted, the person must nominate three people; they in turn have 48 hours to respond/complete the challenge- they in turn nominate three others etc.   I hope to take the idea globally (and turn it viral)- get it talked about and promoted.  The most important thing is to donate to Mind- everyone must ensure they do this.  This can be done in a number of ways:

By text

There are two ways to donate to Mind via text

  • Text SUPPORT to 70660 to give £3
  • Text GIVE to 82772 to give £5

By post

For one off gifts, please send a cheque, rather than cash, payable to Mind Fundraising, 15-19 Broadway, Stratford, London, E15 4BQ. Please download and complete the Mind donation form to send in with your donation.

If you’d like to set up a regular gift by post, please download and complete the direct debit form (PDF format) and post it to us.

By phone

Call us on 0300 999 1946 and make a donation with your debit or credit card. Calls charged at your normal rate. Mobile and other providers’ charges may vary.

 

Time Out of Mind is a fun and creative way to raise awareness for Mind and the issues of mental illness- something that can be done by everyone.  It only takes 15 minutes- and you!  Let us all work together and do everything we can- so many suffer the effects of mental illness; many do so alone.  I myself often feel lost, lonely and disconnected- in need of a helping hand and friendly voice.  With community togetherness; a common goal and focus- we can make a difference.  Thank you.

For further details please see The Problem: An Invisible Illness; A Way Through: Time Out of Mind:

http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/the-problem-an-invisible-illness-a-way-through-time-out-of-mind/

Time Out of Mind: My Entry

Time Out of Mind:

My Entry

_________________________________________

Following on from…

 http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/the-problem-an-invisible-illness-a-way-through-time-out-of-mind/

….I shall get the ball rolling…

______________________________________

Okay peeps.  If you have read my previous blog post- proposing an Ice Bucket Challenge-esque endeavor- then you may be thinking: what am I going to do?!  Well, in the spirit of getting things going, I am posting my ‘thing’- my Time Out of Mind entry- it took a staggering 14:31 to complete.  Disclaimer: I am counting the time publishing this blog as a business expense- no technicalities here!  The song itself took under 15 minutes to think of/type/complete- here are some more details.

Before I go on, I have donated a tenner to Mind- put a little message in and mentioned what I am doing.  This song was written between 10:00-10:14 at a coffee shop in Guildford (all glamour me- you can keep Paris!).  Surrounded by screaming kids and babies (my least favourite sensation on earth), it perhaps inspired a lot of the process (in a good way too).  The track is influenced by the likes of Royal Blood- their fusions of Hip-Hop and classic Rock.  The song has that feel and draws in the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin (and Royal Blood themselves).  Most of the song is an assault of guitar/bass/drum riffs and signatures; with some exceptions…

The Classical Break will consist of two violins; cello; oboe and viola- it will be romantic and quite sweeping.  Containing some passion and tenderness it has some irony to it.  The verse that starts “Breathe out and suck it all up” is presented as an Electro-Swing passage.  Backed with skiffling and dancing electronics; some ‘20s and ‘30s sounds- it is a distinct and unique passage- the vocal will have that classic and almost ‘elegant’ sound.  The second Musical Break will see all the instruments come together in a flurry of fury and trippy diversions.  It is the most electrifying and swaggering part of the song.  By the end, the instruments die one by one to be left with guitar, bass and drum- each in turn dies to be left with a vocal snatch.  At the very end, there is a nod to Queens of the Stone Age- and their song Feelgood Hit of the Summer.  Whereas they listed a cocktail of drugs; I list one of illnesses and ailments.

I hope it makes sense and tracks to a point, but it took less than 15 minutes- go easy on me (and that is part of the challenge!).  I am very proud of it at least, and it will be the first song I record- the lead-off track from the album Marriage: The Beautiful Revenge (hopefully will drop in the next couple of years).  This endeavor has compelled me to get a band and lay this track down- I am excited by it, and by setting myself a limit, I have ended my writer’s block- it does work.  In order to get over and conquer stage fright, it has been good to focus on music- take a step for a great charity that means a lot to me.  Whether you connect with what they do in an edifying sense; or just want to do something different and fun (to help a lot of people)- hope come up with something yourselves!

 _______________________________________________

Black Majesty Blues (Citizen Arrest)  (8:27)

Intro.

Hard to be a gentleman when manners are bleeding

Throw away the atom bomb

And use your mouth instead

It you’re “sure-as-hell not listening”

You better know that I’m still speaking

Don’t let my bad mood let you down

_______________

I got the kind of face only a mother could love

And luckily she was yours

In the night we confused science and religion

With the ceiling and the floor

_______________

Hold open the door just to slam it in my face

Make an unwise statement on behalf of the human race

You don’t have to scream to make your voice heard

Take care of your health and don’t give a shit about anyone else

These Black Majesty Blues, yeah

Going to get to you

Going to get to you…soon

 ____________________

Stripped bare like an animal in the wilderness

I write my most romantic for the right to impress

You say that you’re in love, girl

But you kiss me with barbed wire

And don’t stick around to hear me weep

If they call that politeness then don’t hang around

I got the kind of body research science would love

And they’re researching a stone-cold gentleman

If my bones don’t make it right down to hell

My soul sure as hell will be heaven-sent

 _______________

Hold open the door just to slam it in my face

Make an unwise statement on behalf of the human race

You don’t have to scream to make your voice heard

Take care of your health and don’t give a shit about anyone else

These Black Majesty Blues, yeah

Going to get to you

Going to get to you…soon

_______________________

Vocal and Instrumental Break

________________________

Breathe out and suck it all up

Let go and don’t take it in

Push away and don’t pull your weight

Loose tongue to communicate

Stand up but don’t walk away

Drop the ball and never pick it up

I’m blind but I hear you’ve seen it all

Alone in crowds and pushed away

_______________________________

I walk through the city and the masses walk by

Technology more important than the look in my eye

When a poor men begs here you walk away and laugh

A drunken generation with a hurricane for a heart

You say I’ve got a face perfect for radio?

A radioactive missile to blow you away

Your songs buy you diamonds; mine earn me respect

Well I cried when I wrote this line

What the hell did you expect?!

 _______________________________

Classic Break

 __________________________________

You think you’re Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa in one

Stuck inside your vanity suckling on smoking guns

She was just Hey Nineteen

You know what I mean?

Would you rather be the fool in a love story?

Or a hero in the war?

I’d talk to God but he stopped believing in me

I’m no bigger than my sin so what’s a boy to do?

Sing a ring of roses and a pocket full of poses

You got nothing on me, that much is true

 ________________________________

Hold open the door just to slam it in my face

Make an unwise statement on behalf of the human race

You don’t have to scream to make your voice heard

Take care of your health and don’t give a shit about anyone else

These Black Majesty Blues, huh

Going to get to you

Going to get to you…soon (real soon, sugar)

 _____________________________________

Musical Break 2

 ____________________________________

How you feeling now?!

Pink eye, diabetes, hemorrhoids, syphilis, peptic ulcers, genocide

Pink eye, diabetes, hemorrhoids, syphilis, peptic ulcers, genocide

Oh…

Pink eye, diabetes, hemorrhoids, syphilis, peptic ulcers, genocide

S-s-s-s-syphilis.

Pink eye, diabetes, hemorrhoids, syphilis, peptic ulcers, genocide

Pink eye, diabetes, hemorrhoids, syphilis, peptic ulcers, genocide

Repeat to fade.

_____________________________

Whether it’s a song, a walk; a poem- maybe a short film or video message, the idea is to get involved and keep the word going.  Donating is the most important thing, so as long as that is done as well- hopefully we can raise a lot.  If you are in a similar boat to me, the process can be cathartic and releasing- I have had a much better day today (than I have for a long time) x

 ____________________________________________________

11:35

To: saml889@hotmail.com

Dear Sam 

Thank you for deciding to support Mind with your kind gift of £10.

Mental health problems can affect anyone – rich or poor, young or old, shattering the lives of those affected and the lives of people close to them. 

Your contribution will help us continue to offer vital services for those experiencing mental health problems as well as to their friends and family.

On behalf of all those whose lives your gift will help, thank you so much.

Thanks again for your support.

Mind

———————————————————–
Email: contact@mind.org.uk
Tel: 020 8519 2122
Web: http://www.mind.org.uk/
Address: Mind
15-19 Broadway, London
E15 4BQ

 

The Problem: An Invisible Illness; A Way Through: Time Out of Mind

The Problem:

 An Invisible Illness:

 

A Way Through:

Time Out of Mind.

 

I am not going to depress everyone too much- although I will be mentioning the ‘d-word’.  Over the last few days, human beings (and them being themselves) has made me put things into focus; consider life and people in general.  I have been thinking about manners and etiquette- gentlemanly behaviour and plain decency.  When I look around, I see very little hope for redemption- too many humans selfishly look at their own lives.  Just today, a rather embarrassing incident occurred- for a man; not me- where someone had an ‘accident’- I shall not fill in all the needless details.  Suffice it to say, a couple of men nearby snickered and made ‘jokes’.  Aside from the fact the person concerned had an unfortunate occurrence; the reaction (by the men) was wholly inappropriate and unnecessary.  Appalled by the lack of sympathy and humanity, I have been left feeling somewhat ashamed.  Over the course of today, I have gone about business in the usual manner- done my thing and been out.  Throughout my day, I have seen unacceptable lack of humanity and cohabitation- people being insular and rather detached.  I am not using this blog as a rant and platform for my own ideals- I am just quite shocked by how selfish people are.  I am not suggesting everyone needs to hold doors open all the time; give money to Big Issue sellers- it can be seen as overkill.  Maybe it is just where I am living (that has enforced this perception), but I am left astounded by how selfish and self-absorbed people can be.  I love being called ‘a gentleman’- the reception I receive when doing something as simple as letting someone get off a bus (before me)- it is these minor actions that makes me smile.  As much as those sort of interactions fulfil me, they also leave me angry and cold- too many humans negate the importance of looking out for others.  Friday was a particularly bad day for me- I shall touch on it more below- but I visited London.  The capital was pretty grey and dull (on that day), yet it was then I decided I would never live there- for years I have always yearned to be part of the London scene.  It is great going to London for the odd trip- the reality of living there is just too insane.  London is the epitome of closed-off and poor manners.  A wonderful and diverse city, it is one of my favourite places on earth- yet there is no human connection and interaction.  When walking down Oxford Street, I see thousands of people- maybe a tiny percentage of them will make eye contact or look up from the pavement.  Aside from the hordes of people who walk with their eyes glued to their phones- and expect people like me to get out of their way- people pass you by without acknowledging you.  On the tube, I saw an elderly couple struggle with a suitcase (trying to get it up the stairs at Leicester Square).  By the time I got there, they were at the top- suffice it to say, nobody bothered to help them or offer any assistance.  Too often, I walk past and see others struggle- maybe I am old-fashioned and expect too much.  The point of manners and etiquette is not my main point- it is a slight diversion from my main issue- but it does neatly lead into what I want to bring up.  Following on from the death of Robin Williams- which is still causing shock waves and heartache- I thought I would add my two cents to the agenda.

I am not the most elegant or intelligent person who will write about this subject, yet I want to share a very common human experience.  My blog has been provoked and inspired by people telling me to ‘get over it’; thinking my low mood is moodiness and pouting- if my limbs aren’t hanging off, then how can I be ill?  Statistically, I am not the most depressed person on earth- yet people always remind me how ‘there are people worse off than you’.  Aside from being the most catastrophically moronic and insulting thing you can say, I know that- it is an irrelevant detail that does not help matters.  Too many people are still too ignorant when it comes to depression.  Being someone who has been living with clinical depression for the past fourteen years, my day-to-day life is a tiring.  I have not felt truly awake for since I was 16; I have not been ‘happy’ since I was a child.  It is always awkward to tell folks I am not happy- not even close.  I am not going into graphic details- I have an actual point to make- yet want to fill in some blanks.  The worst part of depression is not the fatigue and constant fear- it is the loneliness.  Social media sites do not really help; a lot of the people I know on Facebook and Twitter I have never met- and probably never will.  To be honest, I can’t really say I have a ‘real’ friend at all- someone I see regularly.  I have a lot of colleagues and former colleagues; friends of friends, but to be truthful, it does not equate to friendship.  This reality is hard to swallow; the jealousy that comes with this is quite heartbreaking- seeing happy couples and happy people makes me feel incredibly hollow and sad.  The human connection- or lack thereof- is quite crippling.  Most people take love, sex and passion for granted- if you’re getting it, then why would you think about it?  Being someone whom developed depression quite severely (from a school age), my experiences have been limited- actually non-existence.  Rather than spell things out, a ticket to a monastery would not be out of the question- I am a newborn baby of sexual experiences.  I have not had a good night’s sleep for months; I am scared all the time; the physical symptoms of the illness are horrifying- that can range from migraines to barely being able to walk.  Throw in hallucinations and suicidality, and this is the reality of my life- yet people still say I should count my blessings and don’t seem that bad.  Surface appearances and book covers are depictive things- that you should never judge. I know I will go down in a lot of people’s estimations, yet I am not a closeted and home-bound bespectacled oddity- someone who probably defines what I am saying.  People’s preconceptions and judgments are almost as upsetting as the loneliness (of depression).  Robin Williams’ death was a wake-up call to the naïve and narrow-minded- it should not take a treasure like Williams for people to think.

Diseases and illnesses like cancer are understandably big concerns- charities that help to eradicate cancer are promoted and highlighted with regularity and huge importance.  Mental illness is a stigma and taboo that is still struggling underneath the rug- something that will never be truly recognised or understood.  Maybe people are scared by depression (and other mental illnesses) but a lot of it stems down to this- depression won’t kill you and you can cheer up, after all.  You know what?  Depression has almost killed my half a dozen times; it is not something that will ever go from my life.  When you wake up every day not sure if you will live to see the end of it, it is not something that should be ignored or diminished.  Social situations can lead to embarrassment.  Being a tall and not-too-bad-looking chap, I get smiles and furtive glances tossed my way- songwriters are sexy, after all!  The trouble is, I am almost physically incapable of reciprocating.  As attracted and touched I am by flirtatious attention, I have almost flat effect a masked appearance that is more commonly associated with Parkinson’s.  Maybe I have Parkinson’s- I fucking hope not- but I can come across as brooding and rude- when all I want to do is smile and be a human being.  That is what depression does to the individual- it isolates you from others and turns you numb.  Because of my fastidious work ethic and alpha male attitude, I am often (jokingly) called a ‘machine’- there is an upsetting truth to that.  Normal people can cry- it is a healthy thing to do.  I have not cried in seventeen years.  Everyone feels pain to an extent; physical hurt that slows you down- I do not really ever encounter that.  I am not going to list my patheticness and list of symptoms- there is dozens- but it is all leading to a point- awareness.

As much as I rallied against the pointlessness of the dreaded Ice Bucket Challenge, I recognised my indifference and anger- so long as money is raised, then what is the harm?  The trouble is, when the fad and fundraising wave has passed, people forget about things- how many people have donated to A.L.S. since then?  If you are going to get angry with people who critisise pointless challenges and stunts, then you need to back it up- keep the awareness going for longer than a few weeks.  It is impossible to make people aware of every charity every day- too few get caught up in fads and only donate when Internet crazes and social media dominoes start rolling.  Seeing others suffer makes me want to get up and do something about it- the world is becoming more unsure and scary by the day.  Having got the ball rolling on a music fundraiser- that so many people have said ‘yes’ to- I need to get some money together.  It will cost upwards of five grand for one day/night’s worth of music- in addition to getting everything organised.  It is proving Herculean, yet I feel I must take up my own challenge- the fact that so many musicians will be playing (for so many charities) is compelling and motivating.  None of us choose our births; none of us choose what illnesses we are afflicted by- at some stage of life everyone will suffer some unpleasant illness.  Coming from a family line with a predisposition to cancer, I am quite nervous about my future- it seems unfair I am 31 and have to shoulder too much.  Things- in that respect- will not change at all- that is the way society and people are.  What I wanted to get across was the ignorance and blindness that afflicts so many.  The people who will read this- one or two- and my most loyal social media clan understand everything I am getting across- too many prefer to ignore issues and brush people aside.  There are people worse off than me- which in itself is upsetting- yet there are far too many that are better off (than me)- that take their lot for granted.  I will wrap things up with a couple of points…

If you are in a similar boat to me, then I share your pain and you have my sympathies.  Music has been a therapeutic and redemptive source of nourishment.  One of my greatest pains is stage fright and nerves.  I know how well I can sing- people won’t believe me but you better take my word for it- yet the voice/voices are stuck in my mind- when presented with a microphone, I dry and succumb to huge anxiety.  Few will appreciate how painful that is- for someone who writes and wants to record an album, I am genuinely terrified I will not make it happen.  Listening to music is one of the most affirming and uplifting parts of my life- an ergonomic and inanimate force that is as human and real as anything in the world.  If you have that emptiness and hardship; if you think about ending things and getting that low- turn to music in the first case.  It is not an S.R.I. or lifeline, yet it provides a huge escape and sense of relief.  Above all, let people know how you feel.  I am not talking about family and friends- they are not always as understanding as you would imagine- but a wider audience.  Too many people are too scared to voice things like depression- that should change.  Social media is synonymous with compartmentalization and selfishness to an extent- if people are unwilling to share great music, then what hope to people like me have?  The thing is, it only takes a small step to make big changes- get people raising money for a remarkable cause.  I am trying to think of a way for people to get involved with mental health charities- a singular action that will unite people.  Like an Ice Bucket Challenge but something a little more connective and long-lasting.  I will keep you abreast next week, but I wanted people to change their attitudes- depression and mental illness is as serious as any cancer or disease; every minute you are reading this, depression will claim another life.

I hope I have not depressed too many people.  It is true my sex life is a blank card; my daily existence is a struggle against my own instincts.  I fear my lifespan will not be that long, as I may never achieve what I want in life- a music career; marriage and a chance at happiness.  In spite of all of this, it is other people who keep me alive and sane- the need to help them and connect.  I circle back to my original point; the issue of manners and looking up.  Too many eyes are cast to the ground; too few let the elderly struggle with shopping- too many ignore minor needs (and chances to be a better person).  If you have a love life and happiness, you should be compelled to help others; if you do not, then there is a necessity to do so- nobody has an excuse to overlook those in need.  Perhaps this blog is a chance to vent and let things out- the last few days have been very hard and unforgiving for me.  I want to encourage anyone reading to do some small things; make tiny changes and become more conscious of others.  If departed and recent pioneers such as Stephen Sutton have taught us anything, it is that helping others can bring everyone together.  I know a few social media friends that go through depression; one or two date depressed people- asking me how to deal with it or telling me how hard it can be.  It is not something that is easy to answer and explain- if you do not go through it, it seems impossible to put things into words.   The point is, it can be scary to live with- if you on the outside looking in, the experience can be terrifying.

My heart goes out to anyone that struggles more than I do; my anger goes to those who do not give a crap- people like that do not deserve to be more fulfilled and happier than me.  Things need to change and get better.  I am not suggesting everyone needs to do anything physical- attitudes and perceptions need an overhaul.  If you do nothing else, then hold a door open for a woman; give your seat up on a train- ask someone how they are doing (and do not ignore the answer).  As I figure out a way to get more people talking, I want to offer a genuine hand to people.   I email and converse online with a lot of my social media peers- I shall never see most of them as long as I live.  If that is the case, then get in touch- if you need to talk; get ignored- let me (and everyone else) know.  Keeping things private augment the loneliness and sorrow- social media takes away the human connection and forces insularity and selfish behavior.  If this trend changes then so can people in general- only then can so-called ‘invisible’ illnesses be recognised and given their rightful attention.  Until things start to turn-about; narrowness starts to expand, remember the sane words of Radiohead (and the song Optimistic): “You can try the best you can/If you try the best you can…the best you can is good enough.”

To that end…

Words and sentiments can only go a certain distance.  Actions are the most important thing- when it comes to making a change.  I know I have developed into a bit of a charity bore- I hope it has not become too tiresome.  In addition to raising the money to stage the music fundraiser- it may take longer than expected- and doing my half-marathon events, it occurred to me: there is an easier and faster way of involving everyone to a common cause.  The Ice Bucket Challenge may have had its detractors and cynics, yet it seems to have captured the imagination- raised a lot of money in the process.  The problem with this proposition may be at the grass roots- getting the message and idea spread beyond my circles and spheres of influence.  In the same way the I.B.C. was shared and involved thousands of people; I would like to jettison a similar idea- raising awareness for Mind.  Called Time out of Mind- I hope Steely Dan do not sue for copyright infringement- it would work in much the same way.  Whereas the A.L.S. awareness was about getting soaked, I thought something more personal and meaningful is in order- hence the title.  There is no need to run the idea past the charity- of course they will be informed- but I do not want the momentum to die and fizzle- within a few days.  I can get things kicked off, but the concept is to take 15 minutes out of the day for Mind-  do something different; a new thing that has never been done.  It can either be writing a new song; telling someone how you feel about them; a personal challenge or stunt- it must not take longer than 15 minutes.  Whether a video is being posted- with a song, message or film piece- it can encourage artistic creativity.  It can be a photo or writing; a personal challenge- crossing something off of your Bucket List- or something you have always wanted to do.  Whatever the individual does, three things must occur: it must follow guidelines (no rudeness or anything inappropriate); you must nominate three other people to follow suit (who in turn must comply; then pass it along…) and most importantly: YOU MUST DONATE.  This final point is the most important; even if it is a one pound donation- there is no way you can shirk this hurdle.  There will be a text number for Mind- one where you can donate three pounds; one five- a link to the website- where you can donate a one-off payment; or set a monthly debit up.   Anything can be involved- with the challenge- from sharing a song through to coming up with a film idea- there are no limits.  The point is not only to raise awareness for a charity- and keep it in the mind- but to challenge and push the donator- not just get wet and leave it at that.  I do not intend for it to be a gimmicky and fad-driven craze- it is a way to get the masses involved and donating; do something creative and put some thought and time into an idea.  I am aware that the idea may not even start; if it does, it may only attract a few people- I want to make it bigger than that; get through the barriers of social media!

I hope it makes sense and makes good common sense- if it does, then get back to me.  I only have a smattering of friends across the social media channels, so I am going to need a helping hand- get the idea pushed as far and wide as possible.  Not looking to steal any A.L.S. thunder- or market myself as a Stephen Sutton figure- I could never be that tremendous a human; just feel it is a cool and involving way to highlight a silent disease- ensure that some funds and recognition goes to some very vulnerable and hard-off people.  If it does happen, then I hope it could be big.  I am not keen in recruiting a few people- I want to get across to thousands (possibly more).  Because the act- the thing that each person will do- is not the same, then there is potential to circulate the idea (for many months)- have people come back to it months down the line.  Perhaps not.  All I do know is there are thousands like me- many worse off- that go through a daily struggle; tired of having to wear scars- to let people know what is happening inside.  Nearly all of us have, or will, be affected by mental illness at some stage in our life- if you fall victim to cancer or any illness, you will be depressed.  In the order cognoscenti; the bigger picture- mental illness is the fastest-growing and most common affliction on the planet.  Money will not cure the problem fast; it will not necessarily cure a single person’s depression (or other mental illness)- it will help and make a difference.  Whereas cancer research is the most important step (to help beat cancer); mental illness relies on other avenues- shelters, housing, councilors and many other things.  Both causes are equally worthy- television and the media tends to overlook the mentally ill.  It doesn’t have to- people don’t have to.  I want to know what you think; whether anyone will come join in- essentially whether they can help make the idea a huge thing.  Pie-in-the-sky or whatever, I will not give up on it (and myself).  I only need to know this…

WHO’S with me?

E.P. Review: The Indos- 50 Shades of Blue

E.P. REVIEW:

The Indos

 

50 Shades of Blue

9.4/10.0

50 Shades of Blue is available from 3rd November, 2014

TRACK LISTING:

3 Sticks of Dynamite- 9.4/10.0

Falling In and Out of Space- 9.4

Lovin’ You Was Easy- 9.4

She Drives My Gun Insane- 9.5

STANDOUT CUT:

She Drives My Gun Insane

GENRES:

Alternative, Indie-Rock

_________________________________________________________________________

Scotland is producing some of new music’s finest acts.  The Indos are a band that do things differently; their music is that which lodges in the mind- and will not shift.  With upbeat melodies and everyman themes, 50 Shades of Blue has plenty of reflective heart- yet the abiding sense is of fun and hypnotic jams

 _________________________________________________________________________

I was going to steer away from my diatribes regarding bands and band music…

But then a certain act has drawn me back in.  I shall introduce them soon, yet have been compelled to dive back into modern music’s band market- investigate the hot and the not-so-hot of the moment.  Royal Blood (technically a duo rather than a band) have been leading a charge; a few newcomer Indie groups have been sneaking in- mainly it is the solo artists that have been making the biggest impressions.  I am not sure why it is- I have postulated many times- the solo acts tend to do better than bands; strike the hardest and provide the biggest range- and resonate longest in the memory.  This is true of the mainstream, particularly- if you survey the last few months, think of all the lone stars that have amazed.  Aside from one or two interesting-ish groups, there has been a huge discrepancy and unbalance- I am not sure why this is.  One settling and soothing thought comes when you look towards new music- there are no shortage of tremendous bands and fervent acts.  From all-girl Electro acts through to bearded Grunge warriors, there is not exactly a quality shortage- you can find exactly what you are looking for.  One of the fastest-growing genres is Indie-Rock- possibly the two most prevalent and synonymous words you can find in new music.  I am not sure what the overall percentage is- probably 50-60%- but a lot of new acts play in this particular field- the genre is one of the most elastic and least rigid in all of music.  The Indos have arrived at a particularly busy time.  In 2014, the world has been treated (or forced to witness) a huge raft of new Indie (and Indie-Rock) bands- all shapes and sizes have come through.  One of the most unsettling and disappointing things about the ascendency and proliferation (of Indie-Rock bands) is the lack of precise quality- most of the new breed are hardly world-beating.  There are a few reasons why my theory carries some weight: the sounds stick too rigidly to other bands (usually Arctic Monkeys) and lack personality; the range- across albums and E.P.s- is brief; other points comes to mind.  When I have investigated recent Indie-Rock bands, I am always left a little ambivalent- I would love one band to stick their hands down my trousers and give it a good rummage.  The likes of Royal Blood may be a tad derivative- too many Zeppelin/Queens of the Stones Age-esque riffs and moments- and a little overrated- you cannot deny how immediate, pummeling and gripping they are.  Too many fresh Indie bands are negating the importance of gravity and force- tending to come off as too weedy, sanitary and banal.  Before I continue on my point, let me introduce my featured act:

Born and bred in North Edinburgh, The Indos are an alternative rock band who take influence from the mod, pop and heavier rock that emerged from British rock bands of the 1960’s.  Mixing a blend of heavy guitar driven tracks with more melodic songs the Indos have created a unique sound.  The current line up came together in late 2013 and have gone on to cement a reputation as a quality band on the Edinburgh live music circuit in 2014.”

Greg Atkinson – Drums/Jamie Gilchrist – Guitar/Backing Vocals Treadfast Johnson – Bass Guitar/Michael Knowles – Guitar/Lead Vocals/Dando Myrillas – Guitar

I am not saying every Indie-Rock band needs to start copying Royal Blood- it would make a change from all of them parodying Arctic Monkeys- but they could learn some lessons.  Currently in the grip of a White Stripes, Supergrass and Muse listening frenzy, I have been hooked and addicted by one thing- that element of fun and electricity.  Whilst Jack White may not strike you as the most jovial and clownish leader in music- albums like Elephant are masterpieces of substance, style and sheer wonder.  Supergrass’ early career dynasty is rife with hypnotic and fun-time brilliance- similarly, Muse have summoned up their fair share of divine smashes.  Too many sapling Indie-Rock bands are overly concerned with being inventive and emotional- the latter only comes off if you have genuine talent; the latter is a risky avenue to walk too heavily.  I am all for balance and emotional levity in music, but I fear the spark, sex and swagger is fast fading- there are acts that are making sure the light does not extinguish for good.  The Indos are one of the bands that are keeping the sweat and tongue-poking adventurousness where it should be- firmly in the cheek(s).  Their debut offering has been stunning and seducing critics- over a month before its official release.  A band that gives few tells and insights- their social media output is still growing and developing- they are letting their music speak.  Having been conversing with their manager- a good friend of mine- I know what a wave the boys are creating- the good word is being proffered far and wide.  It is not hard to see why the lads are salivating slacked jaws- their slices of primal and gritty Rock marries seamlessly with their own brand of introverted and nuanced emotion.  Our heroes are not merely contended to lazily knock-off the in vogue acts- replicate some third-rate Arctic chill; they are a bona fide band of unique insight.  They may be starting out into the big bad music world, yet their early profferings indicate serious intent- that could well parlay into long-term glory.  Their ingeniously-titled debut E.P. contains over four dozen shades of blue- a colour that is deeply suited to the Scottish clan.  Not only can they pull off inner emotion and sensitive reflection; they can lace smut and sexual longing into wonderfully choreographed and realised jams- that mutate into Blues-Rock shades.  Although their quartet of songs has been enflaming and exciting reviewers and fans alike; they are a bit of an unknown quantity further south.  When new bands come along, it can be a tremendous task (making sure they get due recognition)- promotion, publicity and the like can be an exhausting endeavor.  While social media can help a lot- and local word-of-mouth is a useful tool- it is down to listeners and new fans to help get the word out.  I hope The Indos see their stock rise and explode- they are one of few new bands that are instilling and reintroducing the almost-forgotten flair of Rock.  Time will tell just how far the fellas will go- I am sure they will be festival headliners before you can blink.  There are not many musicians that come out of the blocks with as much fire, passion and distinction- ensure you become acquainted with a band that have no intention of remaining local and clandestine.

The Indos boys are starting out in the music world- taking those first steps into the arena.  For that reason, it is hard to see how they have developed- look at their past work.  On YouTube, you can hear some rough demos and snippets- indications of evolution and progression.  If you have been fortunate enough to track the lads since their inception; witness them as they take their songs on the road- it is hard to see just how much they have improved.  From reading live reviews; fan comments and the like, it is evident The Indos have made some strides- grown in confidence and passion.  The songs- on 50 Shades of Blue- highlight just how intuitive and natural the boys are- their recorded cuts have a great live sound without coming off as bare and unprofessional.  It will be fascinating to see how the band grow and mutate- if they will launch an album; retreat maybe and hone their live sound.  From what I hear, they are a pretty reputable name on the road- deftly able to seduce and entrance all sorts of crowds.  What I would expect is for more music to be on their mind; they will be planning future singles- maybe an E.P. for some time next year.  Over the course of a quartet of songs, Edinburgh’s Indos are sure to get tongues wagging.  Even though their E.P. is not unveiled under November, I know there is a lot of demand- the early buzz has been positive and universally positive.  Personally, it would be great to see the band develop a full L.P.- expand their sound as much as they can.  At the moment, it is best to keep grounded and realistic- concentrate on the band’s current work.  Unlike a lot of their peers, our boys do not suffer from lack of invention and quality- they have enough potential to suggest some very endeavoring future movements.  It is clear 2015 will provide multitudinous possibilities and chances; the lads will be getting gig requests and some great demands- I am sure the group will be coming out of Scotland and taking their sound on the road.  One of the most frequent things I hear is from various acts and artists- claiming their fan base do not extend to the southerly regions (and cities like London).  This conundrum and aliment may be because (the acts in question) do not have a varied and popular sound; perhaps they are not putting themselves out there- London and the like are waiting to witness special and striking music.  I feel The Indos will not have to wait too long until they are called down here- the crowds of London are likely to eat up The Indos’ brand of stirring music.

The Indos themselves are pretty coy- when it comes to listing their influences.  Every band and act is compelled by others- some obviously so; other less.  The Scottish five-piece are pretty hard to tie with any others- nothing glaring presents itself.  There are embers of other acts here and there; shades of the odd familiar sound- by-and-large the boys keep things fresh and original.  What you find with the band is their need to distinguish themselves- come across as their own men.  Plenty of energy and innovation comes out in their music; muscle and energy is all evident.  Rather than lob other bands and artists their way; try and find out which acts make them tick- it is best to look at the components that go into their music.  The rampant and youthful sense of swagger has hallmarks of the current Indie-Rock explosion, in addition to hallmarks of the Britpop uprising- the bands and masters from that time have made an impact.  The Indos draw in elements and sounds of their local streets; the local bands to them- combining those sounds with some classic elements.  Energy and passion are as evident as nuance and consideration- the quintet have a keen ear and eye for balance and pace.  Their music does not stick rigidly to a particular sound or direction; it does not cling to predefined models and expectations- there is elasticity, surprise and huge mobility.  What The Indos’ E.P. offers forth is a brilliant mix of contemporary, classic and personal- few modern acts take the effort to blend these considerations.  The darlings and champions of the current scene lean too heavily on obvious avenues; narrow their ambitions and come across as too obvious and predictable- The Indos are not going to settle for any of that.  If you are looking around for similar acts and artists- that could have inspired the boys- then it is best to listen to the bands of Edinburgh- the young and established attists that dominate the hearts of the city.  While most contemporaries are inspired by the Artic Monkeys and Oasis’ of the world; our five-piece are less predictable and stifle- there is a concerted effort to stick in the imagination and present music that is hard to compare (with anything else).

3 Sticks of Dynamite begins less with a triple bang- but a slinking and sensual Blues lick.  A lascivious and too-cool-for-school swagger greets the track.  The riff is infectious and finger-clicking; bubbling and sizzling- remaining Blues-infused and ice-cool.  Joining the fray is percussion which crackles and snaps- the twin pillars give the opening moments a huge weight and glorious architecture.   In fact, the entire band combine wonderfully in the introduction- you can hear each player and element come together to create something rousing and uplifting.  When our hero walks to the microphone, his voice is firm and determined.  It would only take three sticks of dynamite to wish his life away- blow apart everything he is.  The lines and thoughts are not delivered with overt sadness and anger- there is a relaxed and matter-of-fact sound to the vocals.  Having lived a hellaciously busy and fun two decades- playing “broken records” and playing in a band- our man is going to end it all with a bang.  The song grips you from the off.  Not only can you detect a very clear accent come through- few Scottish bands actually sound Scottish; they tend to turn to England or the U.S. for vocal inspiration.  The other striking point is the words themselves- what they mean and what has inspired them.  It is clear our hero has worked hard and seen a lot- struggled and battled in the music world to make things happen.  There has been strain and repetition; some hardships and pains- you know just how much it all means (to him).  The dynamite fuses are lit- but burning low- and (old records are sounding the same)- there is some fatigue and dissatisfaction lurking in the midst.  Perhaps the past has seen our hero (and his band) not get their recognition- perhaps they have felt isolated and balkanised.  There is a determination to make things right; claim glory and change things up- get the just rewards (that he has been working hard to obtain).  The band combines seamlessly to summon up quite a mood; the festival of sound is entrancing.  Our hero is playing and not complaining- he needs to make some plans.  Life is going well; not quite as good as it could be- that essential bang is needed.  The frontman is putting an end to games and shenanigans; the dynamite is lined up and the potential is all there- this song is the declaration of what is to come.  As the song comes to its end, you start to sing along and become caught up- the chorus especially is addictive and highly memorable.  Although the track is a relatively short and concise one, it manages to pack in a lot of punch- without throwing too much into the composition.  The words and refrains are those everyone- in the music world- can relate to- that needs and desire to change things and follow dreams.  Following on from this empathic track is Falling In and Out of Space.  Twanging and low-down bass notes get the song underway- there is a slight Grunge sound to the initial notes (sounding a bit like Nirvana’s Stay Away).  From the opening track’s buoyant and compelling highs, here we have something more inward and dangerous- a sound that keeps the mind primed and ready.  Crackling percussion, spinning guitars; dizzying embers all combine (soon enough)- another stonewall gem is forthcoming.  Few bands manage to make their introductions stirring and memorable- The Indos have crafted a pretty awesome one here.  The boys tangle and merge to come up with something both melodic and hard-hitting- a line that gets inside your head and tantalises the senses.  Driving and pushing, our hero comes to the fore- alarm bells are ringing around his head.  Our man does not want to go to work; look at anyone’s face (you and me both)- that sense of fatigue and dissatisfaction are back.  From the opening salvo’s tales of ambition and musical imbalance; here we see that subject broach once more- the boredom of the humdrum; the need to do something more meaningful and passionate.  Like its predecessor, the track is sprite and catchy; it bubbles and dances- a sense of fun always shines.  When vocals are layered and combined, the atmosphere rises and swells- our hero is not coming to work; instead he is packing his bags- heading for a new land and place.  Running from the world, he is falling (in and out of space).  A song to move your feet, inspire the tongue- get the fists lifted- it is a compelling and seductive jam.  Sick of the same old routines and day-to-day, that unrest and annoyance is clear- who wants to be stuck in that rut?  Motivated and inspired by bigger ambitions, our hero is escaping his job; fleeing and hitting the road- you can hear that relief in the vocal performance.  The entire band are magnificent and magnanimous throughout- the playing is exemplary; the support just right.  No player wanders or hits too hard; there is a real sense of balance and unity- the composition is a busy and catchy diamond.  Cutting and slicing; upbeat and introspective, there are contradictions and mixed emotions- a full-bodied track that catches you off guard.  Not expecting such consistency and quality- from a new band- Falling In and Out of Space is one of the most true and relevant songs (the band has penned)- a track that resonates with almost all of us.  Past the half-way marker, Lovin’ You Was Easy promises something less work-focused- taking us into avenues of relations and love.  A typically impressive introduction kicks things off- that marries The Kinks’ You Really Got Me with embers of The Libertines.  Both light and sexualised, the guitar work is particularly impressive- when mixed with leading and driving bass, it is a stunning and exciting sound.  Displaying some sounds of ‘60s Pop, The Indos take their minds back to a better time (for music)- a song that is sure to draw in fans of this generation.  Our frontman recollects past times: when making plans and kissing (his girl); it seems that those times are still on his mind- the good times it seems.  In his dreams, our man adored his sweetheart- things have now changed.  The walls have caved in; the situation has changed- our man is imploring his girl to go; to get out of his thoughts.  Although it was easy loving his girlfriend- you can imagine why- there has been a fall-out and seismic shift- whether a rift has separated them (or boredom has set in)- you cannot relive the past.  Once more, the Scottish quintet keep the atmosphere tight and upbeat- the vocal performance is engaging and stunning- the composition mixes shades of ‘60s Pop, ‘00s Indie and modern-day Alternative sounds.  The band themselves sound like no one but themselves- you would be hard-pushed to think of other groups (when listening to the song).  Dragged under by the waves of pressure, our hero is fighting the tide- trying to get some freedom and emancipation- for good reason.  His girl made his laugh and happy- and turned-on it seems- but never provoked and spiked his mind.  Perhaps a rudimentary and one-dimensional love, our man needs something deeper and more complete- maybe music can provide the necessary heal.  A short and staggering burst, the band grows with confidence and meaning-as each track unfolds.  Once more, the bass leads from the front- She Drives My Gun Insane has a clambering and sweaty early promise- something tongue-licking and charged comes out.  Although the mood is quite levelled and composed- you know something dirtier and sexual is pressing (underneath).  With a ‘60s head, the song has all the charm and captivation of the Power-Pop revolution.  Our hero lets his voice calm and soothe- recalling his girl and her healing spirit.  Our frontman is on his knees; buckled and hooked by his seductive lover- someone who is causing him all sorts of pleasures.  With a chorus that is as gripping and memorable as any, the song is a lofty and heady brew- one of the most positive and uplifting tracks (the band has produced).  Gone are the regrets and anxieties of modern life- here is something more contrite and impassioned.  The vocal is particularly stunning to hear- instilled with ample passion and pure conviction.  The composition is urgent and pressing- the band is at their peak here.  Hooked and gripped by the mellifluousness and calm of the song- you cannot help but picture the heroine.  An alluring and Siren figure, she has caused quite a ripple- our hero seems to be lost in the thought of her.  A song that is sure to be a sing-along festival favourite- it is the perfect way to end the E.P.  Not only does the track capture the imagination- it leaves you wanting more.  The band manage to leave mouths wet and waiting- there will be huge demand for new music.  Across four brilliant tracks, you get a great assessment of a very unique and impressive band- boys that have a big future ahead.  Having mined a sound and vein of music- that few other acts have stumbled upon)- I cannot wait to hear more from there.  50 Shades of Blue is certainly one of the most immediate and fully-rounded E.P.s I have heard all year- a scintillating and staggering debut.

Across the four tracks of 50 Shades’, the boys of The Indos manage to pack in a hell of a lot of effort and memorability.  I mentioned how original the guys sound; how few other acts come to mind- there is a true and endless sense that they are indebted to nobody.  Of course, there are some tiny shimmers of other groups (in some moments) but it is the distinct and unique voice that (makes the E.P.) such a winner.  No two songs (on the E.P.) cover the same ground- not in an obvious way- so the listener is always treated to something new- the band manage to retain their core and key sound without compromising anything.  Whereas a lot of Indie and Rock bands possess limited flexibility and surprise, The Indos are relentlessly fresh and innovative.  Buoyancy, fun and energy goes into the E.P.  Each of the songs manages to get you up to your feet; there is danceable and merriment to be found- enough introspection and emotion nestles beneath the notes.  Before I recommend and congratulate the players (involved), it is worth summarizing 50 Shades of Blue.  It is an E.P. not quite as saucy as its title suggests; not as dark and depressed- there are ample shades of red, yellow and…well, every other colour you can think of.  Being a Scottish band, there is grit and fight to be heard; brave attacks and natural spirit- an incredible musicianship that never relents.  The songs have the potential to translate into the festival circuit; enflame and rouse legions of fans- there is a catchiness and addictiveness that never lets go.  Greg Atkinson leads a percussive assault that adds vibrancy and hard emotion.  Tuneful and composed the one moment; determined and swaggering the next- he adds an elementary and firm backbone.  Never allowing his performances to become too intense or needlessly reckless, the drumming is sturdy, impassioned and playful- matching whatever is being projected in the foreground.  When songs are fun and charming, Atkinson is up to the task- when more inward and angered, he is capable of summoning up the mood.  A lot of drummers- in other bands- tend to get pushed into the back; left to keep time and do their thing- never really allowed to shine and come up front.  The Indos have a democracy that means Atkinson is on a level par; he is given an equal vote and allowed to flourish.  Because of this, there is an effortless and breeziness- that results in some consistently stunning and powerful performances.  Jamie Gilchrist provides backing vocals and guitars- blending in perfectly and inputting an enormous amount of weight and authority.  His guitar work has all the sensibilities and trademarks the modern music listener demands: power and pace; surprise and unpredictability; unique ideas and ideals; passion and flair aplenty.  Hypnotic and gripping when required, the strings bleed and echo- when the emotions are more settled, it is tender and softer.  The entire band are tight and impressive throughout; Gilchrist is one of the most natural-sounding and assured guitarists on the scene- his inimitable vocals blend perfectly with the hero.  Treadfast Johnson is the bass king and guider- the one responsible for leading the songs and keeping everything focused and controlled.  Lyrical and melodic; fervent and spiraling- Johnson has his own personality and way of doing things.  A great percentage of bands are not noted for their bass work- it seems to be a minor facet that is overlooked.  If you look at all the great and most varied bass players- everyone from Kim Deal to Paul McCartney- they are synonymous with their personal approach and styles.  The Indos are lucky enough to have a player that does not put in the bare-minimum- he puts in a solid shift.  Possessing a lot of different shades, layers and approaches, Johnson is the consistent and reliable heartbeat of the band.  Dando Myrillas adds to the guitar army- leveeing in his strings and ensuring the force and majesty never drops.  A captivating and intuitive performer, Myrillas is responsible for a lot of the E.P.’s most uplifting and memorable moments.  50 Shades’ contains a great amount of spoil and tussle; the energy and swing never lets (its grip go)- the stunning and authoritative guitar work is synonymous and radiant.  Adept at conjoining with his cohorts, or else going out alone, the guitar work is endlessly nuanced and fascinating- retaining a unique voice and original intent.  Too many Indie and Pop/Rock bands throw guitars in the mix to make noise and commotion- there is little consideration toward rhythm, style and diversification.  The Indos’ sound is one built around movement and addictiveness; potency and pride- they are a band that have few equals.  Michael Knowles is the voice behind the songs- the man that gives life to the lyrics.  Playing guitar- as well as singing- the hero has a very particular voice- you can hear the native accent come out.  Not willing to Americanize the tones; mimic any other singer- Knowles retains his natural voice; making the sounds and sensations that extra bit special.  Filled with energy and passion; hard intent and sexuality- with every other emotion nestled in- he is one of the most mobile and wide-ranging singers about.  Never succumbing to overt wailing or whining, every note and vocal is assured and controlled.  Not a preening and copycat singer, Knowles puts his all into the performances- a leader that is led by his own instincts and ideas.  The lyrics (throughout the E.P.) do not keep their mind in one particular area- there is plenty for everyone.  Most bands- who play in the same genre- over-personalise things and tend to put too much of themselves into tracks- that revolves around broken love and fractious break-ups.  The Indos have a greater depth which means songs go to the streets; they go behind closed doors- there is story and filmic quality in their rhymes and couplets.  The abiding take-away (from the E.P. and band in general) is fun and catchiness- anthemic luster and glorious tunes.  The E.P. is going to be one that will see the boys in greater demand- there are plenty south of Scotland that would be clambering to hear The Indos.

I have probably expended and exhausted every adjective (to describe The Indos).  In the music scene, the avid- and short-sighted- listener is always looking for something new and fresh- damned by any samey and predictable act.  Music is about as gender-blind as any industry out there.  I am finding myself more impressed by female solo acts more than any (style and form of music/genre).  It is the invention, individuality and personality that compel me- that vocal balance of sweet and powerful.  Male bands are more widespread and common (than female ones) and as such, are in my thoughts- I find that too many bands are stale and lack necessary invention.  As I type, I am listening to Royal Blood’s south coast blend of primal riffs- there is something troubling about their rise to prominence.  Although I was one of the first reviewers to feature them, I think they have room for improvement.  From the opening riff of the lead-off track, there is a sense of disappointment.  Whereas some bands have a unique and distinct voice, Royal Blood seem too much a conglomeration of other acts.  The voice and riffs of Jack White come out; the anger and staccato beats/guitars of Rage Against the Machine are evident.  Throw in some Beastie Boys attitude, Artic Monkeys swagger; Queens of the Stone Age sensations- with a dash of Led Zeppelin into the mix- and that is Royal Blood.  It is impressive that they instill the memories of some of music’s greatest ever artists, but you have to wonder: how hard is it to do; where is the originality?  When their second album arrives, the public- and reviewers like me- will want to hear something that is THEIRS- sounds that break away from copycatting and mimicry.  Regardless, there is a desperate need for originality and difference- acts that possess huge quality, yet do so in their own inimitable style.  The mainstream throws up few worthy examples- new music is where the quality is being found.  The Indos are one of a small group of acts that manage to pack an immense amount of wallop (into their songs) and never really lose focus and momentum.  Their 50 Shades of Blue may be the first step (of many), but it is clear the boys are not in it for the short haul- you know that they want to be owning festival stages very soon.  Without succumbing to histrionics and over-exaggeration, I am confident the quintet has a great future ahead of them.  The debut cut is the most important (for any musician)- the early chance to see just how good they are.  Whereas a sizeable chunk of new music is dominated by vague and homogenized Indie artists, there are bands that want to be different- keep shades of the genre without coming across as just like everyone else.  Slippery, sensual, sexy and salacious; hard, hormonal, hectic and huge- the guys manage to put you in the mood.  Their sounds are not merely point-and-shoot toss-offs- they have a flair and sense of intelligence few of their peers possess.  Nuance and credibility comes through in every moment; there is ample melody and layering- enough solid musicianship to please the snootiest of fans.  What the band’s E.P. provides is a glimpse into a hungry and eager clan- what is currently going through their mind.  It will be great to see where they go from here; whether 2015 will see another E.P. developed- or an album.  What I do know is the five-piece will be embarking on touring and gigs- getting their sounds out to the masses.  Based rather far north of London, I hope the lads get themselves down here- their music will find masses of loyal ears down my way.  Employing some of the magic (of music’s finest acts), I have been left deeply impressed (by The Indos).  If the group comes play London I will be sure to come and see them- reviews suggest they are a formidable live proposition.  I will end the review with a final point- something that will always bother me.  With the mainstream producing mixed results and fly-by-night heroes, eyes are naturally cast towards the new- and underground—generation of musicians.  From the fire and fuel of expectation come some rather limp and lukewarm embers- artists that lack necessary attack, memorability and talent.  The flipside to this issue is the ability to locate the truly great acts- sift through masses of acts and discover the best out there.  Perhaps these quandaries will never been eradicated and resolved; there will always be discrepancy and problems- so long as bold and distinct acts come through, we need not worry (too much at least).  When 50 Shades of Blue drops- in November- ensure you investigate it in full; follow the band now- on Twitter and Facebook- and immerse yourself in their striking brand of sounds.  They may be taking their first small steps into the wide music world, but they will be making big strides too- expect to hear a lot more from the Edinburgh brotherhood.  Across a quartet of tight and stunning tracks, the band has laid down a marker- a challenge to their contemporaries and colleagues.  With originality and distinction fading from music, it is pleasing to see a band that owes little debt to others.  As was said- about Royal Blood’s debut- that debt can be written off when there is plenty of fun (to be found).  The Indos manage to keep the fun and frivolity afloat; they tussle and hustle with determination- catch you off your guard on several occasions.  If you want an anecdote to the endless parade of faceless acts; those new artists that provide little tantalisaton- check out The Indos.  Their best days may be in the future, yet all the evidence and potential is here.  Their train has left the station with furious speed and steam-spewing pace.  Make sure you do the smart thing and…

JUMP on board.

About the Author:

http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/about/

———————————————————————————————————–

Follow The Indos:

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/TheIndos

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/the_indos

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/the-indos

 ________________________________________________________________

The Indos’ videos available at:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUI5nTaecJ3NsEXtJyvD-eg

Album Review: Blackburn Hall- Self Titled

ALBUM REVIEW:

 

Blackburn Hall

 

Self Tilled

9.4/10.0

Self Titled is available via:

http://blackburnhall.bandcamp.com/

TRACK LISTING:

49- 9.4/10.0

Ghosts In The Walls- 9.2

Steel & Wire- 9.3

Echoes Beat Louder Than Drums- 9.3

Black’s Forest- 9.4

North American- 9.3

Stop Singing- 9.4

Common Man- 9.5

Highways- 9.4

The Attic- 9.4

Walk Into The Sun- 9.4

STANDOUT CUT:

Common Man

DOWNLOAD:

49, Black’s Forest, Stop Singing, Common Man, The Attic

Recorded at The Gas Station by Dale Morningstar
Additional Recording by Mitch Bowden and Graham Walsh
Mixed by Graham Walsh
Mastered by Andy Magoffin at The House Of Miracles

Pete Hall – Vocals, Guitars, Lap Steel, Keys, Banjo
Adam Melnick – Bass, Keys
Dan Empringham – Drums
Alex McMaster – Cello
Graham Walsh – Keys, Soundscapes
Julie Fader – Vocals
Terra Lightfoot – Vocals

RELEASED:

30 September 2014

GENRES:

Pop, Indie-Rock

___________________________________________________________________________

The Canadian trio have amazed critics and blown away listeners.  Drawing in different musicians and sounds, the band have produced a stunning Self Titled effort.  If you are not familiar with Ontario’s Blackburn Hall, be sure to pay a visit- and keep coming back for more

_________________________________________________________________________

IT is not going to be long until…

I give up reviewing and put it to bed.  It is not to say my featured artist is not fantastic- they very much are- it is the fact its interest and fascination has decreased.  It may seem like an odd thing to announce, but in the next month I will be closing the blog down- reviewing only from 2015; maybe doing the odd review here and then.  It is not down to the fact that the quality of music is decreasing- there are some less-than-impressive moments but it is the same as it ever was- the fact is that bigger things await.  Having recently announced a forthcoming charity fundraiser- I am starting to focus my attention outwards.  Not too much good can be achieved from certain endeavours; the only way you can do well is to think of others- less fortunate and make a stand.  Too few current acts look towards others and help the general community- there is a consensus towards inner ambition and personal campaigns.  My general point is that life is throwing things in front of my.  My home life can only be described as horrendous- stuck in an atmosphere I detest and drains every ounce of me.  Lack of finance and extreme fatigue is sapping the life from me- music and escapism is my only form of comfort and positivity.  Aside from my better and bigger plans; the movements away from day-to-day predictability- great new acts are still surprising me.  In spite of the fact some recent review subjects have not shared my work- something that makes walking away so much easier- the sounds and variations are deeply impressive.  One of the biggest woes- when looking at new music- is the homogenization and lack of originality.  With every new band or act, you can always predict what is coming; you are never blown away and the mind is rarely nurtured- when a great act does come along, it always makes the week more bearable.  Over the last few months, few artists have genuinely resonated in the imagination- the pressure really does seem to be on.  In the modern scene, you need to offer a lot more (than what you think); step aside from derivative tendencies and come up with something unique and fresh- so few musicians come across as different and striking.  For every wonderful and genuinely great act, there is a hopelessly tedious and banal band; a stunningly awful Pop artist- it is not the way to inspire the new generation of musicians.  Stepping away from the negatives of reality, there are some acts that get the point- know how important it is to stand out from the crowd; not just plod out the same woeful standards.  Luckily, my featured act has something about them; combinations and sounds that have entertained and compelled my mind.

Blackburn Hall is a Canadian collective that are a little sparse (at the moment).  In terms of social media output, it is a little lacking- In need of some proper biography and back story; a bit more flesh and body to their Internet spread.  It is hard to dig up too much information about the band; where they are heading- how they have come into existence.  Hopefully this will be rectified as soon as possible, because the Ontario band is one of the most distinct out there.  I have received hordes of review requests from Ontario musicians- no idea why the hell the rest of Canada is so quiet and dull; it seems this part of the country are awake and genuinely ambitious.  Blackburn Hall does not need to stress too much about their visibility and brevity- the reviews coming in (for their debut L.P.) have been hugely positive and impressive.  Peter Hall’s new crew has turned in an album filled with crunchy and hard riffs; compelling moments and diversions- consistency that is not to be overlooked.  Too many modern acts negate every necessary consideration- they do not produce solid albums; their sounds are not varied; they seem to lazily string together riffs and ideas.  Blackburn Hall has shown just how flawed pragmatism is- there is so much gold to be found in idealism and rebellion.  Their Self Titled (missing as it is a hyphen) cut is rife with packed and busy tunes; orchestral sways and grand moments- plenty of mesmeric riffs and dizzying choruses.  Canada is one of the most fervent and stunning musical nations of earth- producing some of the most brilliant and joyous bands of the moment.  It would be nice for acts outside of Ontario to get their arses in gear, but geographical stubbornness is outweighed by overall quality.  One of my biggest regrets- about my current predicament and tiredness- is the sacrifices I have to make.  As a musician and writer, I am limiting my ideas and output; having to put plans of the backburner.  As a campaigner and organiser, I find my time lacking and precious- real life tends to get in the way of everything.  It is great being a functional member of the workforce; having a regular job and earning money- reviewing has never earned me a penny.  The thing is, the daily commute is taking so much energy away from me- my great ideas and plans are being marginalised and reduced.  I guess that is the price you have to pay; there is never a good moment to get the best of both worlds- music is the outlet and sanctuary that everyone clings onto.  When new music is unsurprising and mediocre, the listener needs to look elsewhere- rely on the dependable charms of the best of music’s history vault.  When sapling acts get the blood rushing, then something great can happen- all those off-putting others seem less relevant and grating.  Blackburn Hall has taken the time to craft music that provides nuance and quality.  They are not the product of a marketing campaign and copycat instincts- the ensemble are among the most talented musicians about.  The former A Northern Soul pioneer has amassed a sturdy and scintillating conglomeration; a clutch of musicians that provide classical minimalism; Rock glory and multilayered variegation- sounds that you can never see coming or predict.  It will be great to imagine Blackburn Hall arriving in the U.K.; introducing their particular brand of song to our waiting ears- we have few comparable acts over here.  In a heaving sea of generic riffs and posing band pretenders, it is nice to hear a shake-up; unconventional wisdom that has maturity, youth and passion- embers and realities that far supersedes the watered-down soup of the majority of contemporaries.  I shall not rant and moan on, suffice it say, it is refreshing to hear an act that does not take the easy way out- there is craft and intelligence to their music; a mixture of simplicity and complexity.

When looking into previous work, it is hard to draw up too much backstory.  Blackburn Hall is a relatively new and fresh endeavour.  Hot off of the blocks, their current album is their most completed and fully-fledged work- the real chance for the public to witness an incredible and stunning band.  The tracks on offer- within the L.P. – are rife with difference and diversity.  It is hard to really pigeon-hole and label the music- putting it into genes- the best way we can look at Blackburn Hall is through the complete picture- the sort of sounds and songs that are being offered up.  Many reviewers and critics have pointed out how varied and different the work is; how many different strands and avenues are crammed together- without it sounding forced or scattershot.  What Blackburn Hall do is to convincingly master every genre they play- the experimentation and authority is hard to ignore.  When listening to their album, I was taken aback by how mesmerising it was.  With each new song comes new ground and fascination- it bodes well for the future.  It will be hard to see where the band will go from here- whether they produce another album; an E.P. or single- what they will choose to do.  I would love to hear another come forth; see if the guys stick with their varied sound- or hone it slightly.  What you can guarantee is that (whatever comes) it will be packed with huge quality and surprise.  Few bands have an overall sound that takes in so many different possibilities; that which can entertain and seduce a wide range of listeners- make everything sound completely natural and complete.  Blackburn Hall has plenty of ammunition and longevity appeal- they will be on the scene for a fair few years.  Most bands and acts start out quite timidity; lack bravery and instant charm- choosing to put out a single or E.P. to get things going.  If you do decide to pull together an L.P., you have dangers present- is it going to appeal to listeners that are encountering you for the first time?  Not only does it have to hold the attention- which is remarkably short today- but result in repeated demands and fevered praise.  Being a (music) market filled with disposability and short-term lust, it is harder than ever to make your mark.  Blackburn Hall has enough confidence to go in all guns blazing- put out an album that is going to leave everyone (that hears it) satisfied and won over.

When it comes to like-minded acts- one could compare with Blackburn Hall- there are few to choose from.  The band has such a distinct style, yet has been influenced by a few select bands and acts.  Death Cab for Cutie is an act that has had a bearing on the Canadian act.   If you look at an album like The Photo Album- the band’s 2001 work- it shows a lot of inspiration and drive.  The infectiousness of the music is only matched by the catchiness and sheer energy- the amazing range of moods and stories is enough to win over the steeliest of hearts.  Stream-of-consciousness vocals mix with confessional verses and aching performances- the vocals are heart-aching and uplifting throughout.  The melancholic piano and guitar moments are some of the most emotive and tender (of the time)- you can hear some of this come through in Blackburn Hall’s album.  The observational lyrics and cutting riffs add electricity and vibrancy to surroundings- something the Canadian collective have taken into their work.  Upward trajectories and optimism lurks alongside some downward arches and draining emotions- the mixture and balance is pretty perfect.  The Photo Album contained perfectly crafted songs and wonderful moments- it inspired new legions of fans and compelled contemporary acts to follow suit.  Daydreaming music was a soundtrack to pocket-size epics; slice-of-life dramas that hooked you and amazed the mind- the brains and emotions on display were of the highest caliber.  Listening to the album and you get a glimpse into a remarkable act- one that understands the importance of quality and keeping things fascinating.  Blackburn Hall have taken this to their chest and presented their own version of events- distilled all of their multiple charms and possibilities into a stunningly cohesive and nuanced record.  The Weakerthans are an act that many would not have heard of.  The Canadian Indie-Rock band may be well known in their native country- perhaps few of us here are aware of their work.   Left and Leaving remains one of their essential masterpieces; one of the greatest Canadian albums of all time.  From the striking and perfect album cover, what you get within is a political message in one- a statement that has its heart within political considerations; the brain and body with more melodic and traditional elements.  The staggering wordplay throughout caught many listeners agog- the literacy and intelligence throughout is of the highest order.  With stunning production values and atmospheric grandeur, the album is as true and distinct as any- a guiding light into another way of life; a way to live without having to apologise.  The truisms and insights have compelled a lot of current acts; including Blackburn Hall- there are similar and familiar edges within Self TitledAttack in Black is an act that has made a mark on Blackburn Hall.  A fellow Ontario Rock act that take in influences like Neil Young and The Ramones to create Folk-Punk gems.  Although Attack in Black pack in fewer instruments and sounds (than Blackburn Hall) the quality and wonder.  Attack’ has shown themselves as a tight and militaristic unit that has amazed critics and followers.  Albums like Marriage remain balanced and deep- merging ballads and soft numbers with upbeat stadium-sized themes and epics.  The band remains original and truly distinct.  Limiting themselves to traditional components- bass, guitars and drums- they manage to supersede expectation and hone songs that are sharp and stand-out- they have teeth as well as passion.  The final acts I want to bring in are Julie Fader, Huron and Terra Lightfoot.  On Facebook and social media, Blackburn Hall has called these acts influences- looked to them when creating their album.  Fader is a Canadian songstress that is a celebrated and adored artist.  Her album Outside In featured none other than Peter Hall- our hero and front man.  The gorgeous Canadian crafted an album of exquisite music; songs that touched the heart and enflamed the mind.  Whilst relatively quiet for the last few years, her 2009 L.P. remains a huge accomplishment- an L.P. that has compelled a lot of her country mates and musicians.  Although Blackburn Hall are a core trio, the musicians and sounds they bring in gives the impression of something larger and grander- they whip up huge atmosphere and epicness.  Huron and Terra Lightfoot represent two very different sides of the music world.  When thinking of Lightfoot, it is hard to overlook her beautiful talent and amazing appeal.  Not only a wonderful musician, she remains hugely influential and gripping.  These acts have all have an impact on Blackburn Hall- enforced their sound and inspired their direction.  Our intrepid trio has managed to push away from convention and write music that is very much their own- you are loathed to compare them with anyone else.  It is best to judge the boys on their own endeavours and what they have come up with- an album filled with treasure and stun.  In a placid and plastic music scene, it is great to hear an act that has their own voice and direction- they are not second-par and copycat pretenders.  Not only is Self Titled a brave and bold statement, it is a record that keeps on giving and offering- not easing from your brain for a very long time.  For any bands that are uninspired and stuck in a rut- they could do with taking a leaf from Blackburn Hall’s book and providing something unique.  Plenty of passion and Rock spars with tenderness and catchy riffs- a boiling pot of magic and variegated pleasures.  The band are shaping up to be one of my best discoveries from 2014.

49 begins hard and intently.  A catchy and passionate riff welcomes events in- the Rock feel is cemented straight away.  After an infectious coda, our hero steps up to the microphone.  As the story unfolds and images are laid in, that constant energy and impassioned mood keeps strong- little flecks and electricity jolts add and augment the layered sound.  Our hero keeps his voice levelled and firm- never allowing it to burst and explode at all.  Shotguns, stark characters and vivid landscapes are all laid in; the atmosphere builds and the scenic drive grows in expectation and meaning.  A central character is described and followed- someone who was never seen again.  With infectious and repeated codas, the track has that festival feel- the sort of song that could be chanted from the fields.  One of the biggest and most rounded compositions; it is a stunning way to kick the album off.  Our hero asks dera mothers to “hold on”- his voice straining and romanticised.  Without warning, the track builds and becomes jagged; stuttered and fragmented riffs blend with a fuzzed-out guitar sound; our man lets his voice pervade and campaign- imploring hearts to keep alive.  It is strange how quickly the song completes its assessments- it has such a relentless pace and quality, it seems to end before (the listener is ready).  Ghosts In The Wall begins with demented, contorted and snarling electronics; sounds that mesh and mingle- a car crash inside a nuclear holocaust.  With flavours of Muse and Queens of the Stone Age, it is another triumphant start that has the listener hooked in- quite a startling and stunning introduction.  Primal and galloping, the track shows its teeth- before opening up into something lighter and catchy.  The boys keep things tight and focused in the early stages; never allowing themselves to wander or lose attention.  The song’s subject is haunting and fearful; at night the secrets are lodged in the walls- spectral visions and weird scenes fill the mind.  Melodious and warm, there is a sense of comfort to the song.  As our frontman looks at small victories and tired ghosts, it is another vivid and original track- one where the words are almost as encapsulating as the music.  The band unite splendidly throughout; enver missing a step or beat, they summon a hugely impressive composition- one that has as much heart and pride as it does lust and barbed wire.  Echoed and wailing strings parabond with hard-hitting percussion and driving bass- the song never lets its grip go.  Switching between memorable and light-hearted verses and tight and edgy rhythms, the song has a terrific dynamic- one that is emotional and urgent.  Nobody can deny the charms and qualities of the song; it is an addictive song that is quotable and alive- energy and momentum lodge inside your brain.  As it comes to an end, you have heard two different sides to the band.  Hard to compare with any other acts, Steel & Wire is another new step- a song that starts off impressively.  Rambunctious and delirious, the swirl of electronics, percussions and keys is a terrific blend.  A soft and swaying song, our hero is at his most tender and passionate here.  The vocal performance is filled with life and intention- his words look at fevered babies and fires burning.  Trust and unity are subjects that are explored; darkness and lighter moments are investigated- it is a song that gets you thinking and imagining.  Chorused vocals and choral affects add beauty and serenity to the number; the steel and wire (of the lead figure) eyes is as sharp and striking as the song itself.  Possessing a distinct kick and constant movement, a huge and emphatic 1-2-3 is completed- few bands go in so hard and meaningful.  With a title like Echoes Beat Louder Than Drums, you might be expecting something epic and huge.  The opening moments have a calm and sense of demure.  Romantic and lush guitar edges blend with serene and smooth vocals- the cavalry is building and eyes are dead-set.  One of the album’s shorter numbers- it is still nearly three-and-a-half minutes- it is no slouch at all.  Whilst not as bombastic and memorable as the likes of 49, it is another track that showcases Blackburn Hall’s myriad sides and talents.  It is perhaps the vocal turn that impresses the most.  The band is certainly up to the task at hand- making sure the composition is as vital as possible.  Shivering and shimmering strings are set with wave-crash percussion work; the bass bounces and tumbles- the track certainly never relents when it comes to passion.  Behind windows, the echoes are speaking loudly- you can picture loneliness and frayed emotions; doubts and regrets.  The band never allows their lyrics to be dumbed-down and too direct.  There are oblique suggestions and open interpretations aplenty- on each number the listener can decide their own conclusions and meanings.  Black’s Forest starts with some echoed and ethereal build; aching and natural world strings that get to the heart- a perfect and still way to bring the song to life.  With Country and Indie tones, our hero’s voice is reflective- he looks back at his childhood and the forest.  Memories are recalled and brighter days brought in; the song’s subject is being looked at and investigated- ashes and dirt meet with mother and earth.  Looking at childhood pictures, the earliest recollections- you picture the story unfolding.  Farmhouses and infantile beginnings mix with current-day anxieties and concerns- it seems our hero has some burden on his shoulder.  Just as I was settling into some relaxed and nourishing waters of calm, North American takes your mind elsewhere- the opening notes are a cacophony of metal and mental.  Rampant and spiraling strings are backed up with punchy and determined drum beats- the bass guides the lads forward.  One of the most addictive and stand-out introductions, the song is a classic Indie-Rock example.  Few other bands capture you so quickly; there is intrigue and fascination from the opening moments.  Between the hard-hitting notes and smashes, there is plenty of calm and measure- the song has a great quiet-loud feel to it.  Like Pixies and Nirvana, Blackburn Hall are deftly able to go from tied-down and reflective to explosive and sky-scarping.  Jubilant and wordless vocals get inside your head; the ever-changing composition is one of the most impressive things here.  Buzzing and psychedelic rapture unites with smashing percussion- the band is hard to predict and anticipate.  With a drive-time feel and upbeat nature, it is a song that is perfect for warmer evenings and long drives- the kind of song you can become immersed in.  Stop Singing has some tip-toe and nervy beginnings; our hero looks at a heroine- the men she has been seen with and involved with.  Our man implores (his girl) to stop singing out loud; get a grip and focus.  Maybe the words hide different meanings; it is a song that contains multiple layers and possibilities- you are gripped by the grace and catchiness of proceedings.  Looking at song structure- and applying it to relations and life in general- it is a clever and original composition that could apply to contemporary bands or certain people.  The chorus is one of the most infectious and stunning on the album; a coda that cannot be helped but sung-along and chanted- again, it will translate well with regards festival crowds.  Common Man has anything but a common sound.  Although it has Indie flavours, it is a song that is hard to compare with any others- it is very much the work of Blackburn Hall.  An epic and grandstanding song, it is imbued with energy and utter conviction.  The decibel level raises as the band come together with force- trophy wives and good times are explored.  Looking at common people and real lives, you get the sense (the band is) rebelling against certain people- those that are not in touch with the everyday struggle.  With bills to pay, the common man is in the spotlight- the plight and life that is faced.  The emphasis on good times keep coming back; the servants are on their knees and the oppressed are kept down- it is a song with a social conscious as well as a feel for atmosphere and memorability.  A track that could well define their live sets, it is intended to get crowds singing and enflamed.  A busy and packed composition, there are no loose edges or missteps- you get that symphonic and orchestral feel to things.  Like Muse and their ilk, Blackburn Hall is able to crank up the drama without stepping into the realms of implausibility.  Highways is another soft and tender start.  Grace and passion unify emotion and intent- it is a gorgeous introduction.  Our hero looks at steady flows and engines turning- promises are also put under the microscope.  Our man never lets his voice do anything other than captivate and intrigue.  A philosophical and deep-thinking number, Hall is joined on vocals- ethereal contributions add to the majesty and sense of beauty.  The two voices- between Hall and his female cohort- blend perfectly; it is like a lover’s call.  Indefatigable lust and passion comes out; you cannot escape the purity and intent of the song; it is a wonderful example of Blackburn Hall’s calling card- that diversity and unpredictability.  The Attic gets things back on a springier footing; tumbling and hopping into view.  Our hero found a notebook in the attic; songs are contained- numbers that were never recorded.  Like a diary, our man looks back at his earlier work- Hall does not care for blue skies; preferring rain clouds instead.  Upbeat rather than melancholy, there is truth and honesty here- the best and most brilliant songs contain heartache.  Every love song has an element of negativity and doubt; each musician has had to face inner demons- that does not mean songs have to be morbid.  Here there is a celebratory and joyous mood; the band is at their most elliptical and joyous.  Combining their instruments, the trio ensures the song keeps packing in punches and surprises; the attention to detail is phenomenal.  Having begun Self Titled with a bang and sense of drama, our finale sees us Walk Into The Sun.  A bookend of sorts, we get events under way straight away- go in with the same force and grit as 49.  Here, the vocal is in straight away; the band do not spare time with an introduction.  The song has a familiar sound and presentation- sounding very much the work of the band- yet manages to distinguish itself from the herd.  Packed with plenty of emotion, detail and urgency, it is another incredible number- one that closes the album with a determination.  Not content to simply leave the listener satisfied and assured, the band manage to leave you wanting more- maybe squeeze is another track or two.  After witnessing having digested so many different and wonderful tracks, it is hard to pick a favourite- so many are close in terms of quality and consistence- and it is clear there are no weak or filler tracks.  I was left amazed at the professionalism, songwriting quality and amazing performances- after you have finished the album, you revisit particular moments and tracks.  An album that is sure to grace many people’s stereos and thoughts, Self Titled is one of the most assured and stunning debut albums by any new act.  It is clear the Canadians will make their name known much farther abroad- they have a sound that would be welcomes and adored in Europe and Australia.  I hope the trio make a date to come to the U.K.- it will be great to hear them in the live environment and see just how brilliant they are up close.

Across 11 multifarious numbers, the members of Blackburn Hall have created something stately, memorable and very distinct- an album that is very much true to their own inimitable talents and creations.  The Canadian band remind me of an outfit like Massive Attack or The Cinematic Orchestra.  There are core members and a tightly focus group at work- they allow other sounds and musicians add to their wonder and music.  Too many acts seem far too rigid when it comes to their creations; seemingly intent on allowing no external force have an effect.  If you can effectively wield guitar, bass and drums; make the best noise possible with them- good luck to you.  The trouble is, so few modern acts manage to achieve anything spectacular.  Modern artists like Royal Blood- having been nominated for a Mercury- have been gaining mixed review and some close scrutiny.  Although Blackburn Hall do not throw too many other instruments into their mix, the sounds and effects are stunning- there is enough depth and talent to suggest huge things.  Past bands like The Libertines and Supergrass could be heard (in certain moments); that youthfulness and abandon; at other times things are more restrained and focused- their album packs in so much difference and interest- few can ignore its potential and urgency.   Before I comment on the players, it is worth overviewing Self Titled.  I have highlighted at the additional musicians and collective feel of the band- there are not a huge amount of other players; the sound just feels orchestral and vast.  At the most intimate avenues, the band are able to summon up something quite grand and swaying.  The essential focus is on the three men themselves- the boys that make up the band.  Their efforts, contributions and personalities ooze out of every pore; mesmerise the senses and captivate the mind- they should have a big future ahead of them.  When new bands put out an album; go into the market with something full and complete- the results can often by underwhelming.  One of the biggest issues- when stamping an album- is filler tracks and the weaker moments.  Aside from some originality being lost- during L.P.s- there is that quality problem.  I can appreciate the necessity of making your voice heard- if that voice is not interesting or consistent, then it can damage a career irrevocably.  As I type I am listening to Supergrass’ sophomore album, In It for the Money.  Not only is it one of the most spectacular albums of any time period, it staggers me with its consistency and quality.  So much energy and pizazz crackles through; tenderness and romance is allowed- the songs are infectious and utterly delirious.  Few bands have managed to meet the benchmark of that phenomenal album- present something that has so many different colours, ideas and qualities.  In a way, the Blackburn Hall record seems to be a challenger- there are certainly some serious credentials at work.  Our hero and frontman has a distinct voice that laces each track with shades, contours and nuance.  Not just another boring and faceless singer, Hall is capable of injecting momentum, emotion and force into anything he sings- a captivating guider that gives the songs essence and vitality.  His guitar work moves in directions; it snakes and weaves; contorts and cries out- matching the diversification and possibilities thrown in.  There is never a lack of energy and meaning (by Hall)- throughout, he summons up passion and soul.  Few frontmen (and women) are as talented and original- often you get the impression they are not putting their all into music.  Hall is an artist that understands the importance of conviction and promise; the need to get inside the listeners’ heads- ingrain yourself into the consciousness.   Adam Melnick is the bass man with a huge personality and sense of self- his movements and contributions are stunning throughout.  Melody, rhythm and emotion is uttered forth- he is a musician that does not follow any other example.  When the bass work is strong and unique, it makes the songs all the stronger and more fascinating- that is certainly the case here.  Not allowing himself to slip into a comfort zone, the innovativeness and restlessness is hard to overlook- with each song comes a huge amount of effort and urgency.  Acting as a backbone and heartbeat, Melnick ensures the listener is aware of his presence- he never retreats to the background.  Splendidly combining with his brotherly duo, he whips up quite a sstorm- ranging from taut and tight muscle work to melodic and composed tenderness.  Dan Empringham allows his sticks to conjure up a festival of sound- pummel and determination spar with coolness and stunning rhythms.  Not overtly overpowering and forceful, the percussionist keeps time and composure; keeps the band in check- whilst making sure each song has a hell of a lot of vibrancy and determination.  Overall, the band combine effortless and naturally- the tight performances are what make the album such a treat.  As though they have been playing for decades, they are relaxed in each other’s company.  What you get from Self Titled is an exploration into their minds and thoughts; the personal insights and stories are there- plenty of mystery and mystique lingers.  Making sure no song comes across as minor and underdeveloped, the trio has clearly spent a long time perfecting their music.  The production values are exceptional throughout; crisp and clean- not too polished and needlessly gleaming.  An album that is sure to inspire a lot of new bands- not just in Canada- I hope the boys bring the 11 tracks over here- come and show London a real good time.  I could use them in my fundraiser- although the distance is going to be an issue; regardless, they are one of the most intent and memorable acts I have surveyed (for a long time).  Let us hope there is more music on the horizon- more chances to hear the trio do what they do best.

Music can be pretty capricious and unpredictable as a whole.  There are weeks and months where you get influxes of great music and different sounds- others it can be slim pickings indeed.  New music is much more vast and unfettered- there are no limits are restraints put in place.  For that reason, it can be incredibly difficult searching out the best and most fertile- getting past that inevitable wave of boring and below-par rubbish.  At the moment, there are few websites that limit the choices; tailor their site to reflect an individual’s tastes and discretions- maybe it is an impossible feat.  I have harked on about this a few times: wondering why there isn’t a music website like this.  Surely something can be put in place that unites ALL new music- something more interactive, descriptive and user-friendly than SoundCloud.  Sites like this are perfect if you know what you are looking for; if you want to uncover new wonder, they are not helpful or instructive at all.  I yearn for the day something arrives that dispels my stresses and woes- a website that has every new song and act on it.  From there, you could search by genre, style- a ‘sounds like’ section- and anything in-between.  That way, all listeners and music fans could go here and make it easier to proffer and celebrate the best out there- dispense with those that are pretenders and fakers.  One of the major problems with new music is that so much is buried deep and tucked away- a lot more is shoved in your face and gets in the way.  Regulations, order and organisation needs to be brought in- I fear a lot of wonderful acts are being lost amidst the clan of doubtful and meagre.  I shouldn’t focus too heavily on this particular point, because it may be an unsolvable conundrum- a situation that is irreversible and indelible.  What it all boils down to is whether acts like Blackburn Hall are getting their just rewards.  Assessing so many Canadian acts- mostly from Ontario- I can tell there is a huge amount of quality here; it is a region that is fostering some of music’s most exciting talent.  How many people know about this bedside me (and some native dwellers)?  It is not a known fact.  We all are aware of the likes of L.A. and New York; London and Manchester are obvious hotspots, too- how many of you are aware of the growing and vibrant Canadian music scene?  That may be another issue with the social media age- commentators, users and patrons rarely promote acts and nations beyond their own- they tend to keep their focus fairly local.  The media do not help too much- keen to keep their minds and pens trained on their own country.  There are a few blogs and sites that push beyond boundaries and go that extra mile- their combined influence is not enough to make a dent on the public consciousness.  How long can you yell in the dark before the lights are turned on?  Having waded through a sea of indeterminate music quality; sacrificed intellectual integrity (in order not to offend some acts)- I have been dreading reviewing lately.  Having decided to call it quits (pretty soon), I am glad there are some acts that genuinely do not disappoint.  Blackburn Hall have created a Self Titled album that may be a little short on grammatical correctness- it overcompensates with its musical innovativeness and wonderment.  The band is not really a band; they are a collective- a shared brotherhood and wonderful group of musicians.  The songs and sensations throughout the L.P. reflect a multitude of different genres, emotions and thoughts- they do not merely hone themselves and phone it in.  When guitar riffs come and play, they do so to maximum effect- not to plug holes and fill the air with noise.  When more romantic and symphonic segments are unfurled, they do so with mixes of grandeur and scintillation- never going on for longer than is needed.  There is that banquet of sounds and segments; something for every listener- an album that is packed to the seams with probability, motivation, style and substance.  The intriguing song titles only tell half of the story- dive inside the music and let it work its magic.  The variations and depth is there to entice, hook and seduce as many as possible- this is not niche music restricted to certain factions.  I shall leave you with another take on the issues of new music (and quality control) and getting the word out there.  One of my biggest regrets and angers is that I do not have more leverage and power- my influence is restricted to the walls and confines of my social media followers.  When reviews go out into the ether, they are often not shared and spread- if they are, few others take the trouble to get the word further.  That is one of the issues of our age- sites like Facebook and Twitter promote laziness and selfishness.  I have seen too many great musicians and bands stifled and defeated by the general public- the lack of benevolence and community is glaring.  They may not be solely responsible for the issues and problems within music- the people that use these sites are certainly not helping things.  There should be a way music like Blackburn Hall’s get appropriate love and following- I guess life is not as fair and just as it should be.  It may be the case there is no solution other than to keep trying- promoting as much as possible and hope that things starts to happen.  A lot of people in the U.K. are unaware of the massive bands and acts that dwell elsewhere- nations like Canada are proving particularly prosperous and scene-stealing.  If you do one thing this year, make sure you get off your bottoms and look further afield- take a risk and explore new lands and possibilities.  The best moments and situations arise when you step outside of your comfort zone- explore and take a leap.  When it comes to music, so many of us are sticking with the tried-and-tested- not willing to taste new cuisines and unexpected flavours.  Being a reviewer and songwriter, I actively seek out difference and geographical diversity- look for as much originality and newness as I can handle.  I do not expect everyone to be like me, but the point is you can unveil something wonderful- if you are willing to push yourself.  Of course Canada possess as many dodgy and unwieldy acts as we do here- the thing is, artists like Blackburn Hall show just what is out there.  With such a rife conviction, a sense of authority- something unique and engaging- they will find their demand go up and up.  If you have not dug their latest creation- make sure that you do.  Whether you like your music loud and impassioned; introspective and tender- classical and developed- then you will find what you are looking for.  I will be spinning Self Tiled- or S/T- one more time- investigating and picking apart its layers and elements.  I hope Blackburn Hall spread themselves a little further; get some more social media coverage sorted; make their name and voices heard loud- they should be developing and expanding as they make more music.  When they get a fully-fledged Twitter, YouTube, BandCamp, ReverbNation and Facebook assault sorted out- with some serious biography and photos- then they will get more listeners and fans into their camp.  They may have established a name in their native North America, yet Europe is a market that is a little underdeveloped and slight- it is territory they could conquer and own.  I shall do my best to get the word out, as a band like this are deserving of wider acclaim and appreciation.  Their new album has made me more relaxed and calmed; put woes and stressed on the back burner- it has made me less cynical and more appreciative…

THAT is what music can do.

About the Author:

http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/about/

 __________________________________________________________________

Follow Blackburn Hall:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blackburn-Hall/34134315167

 ____________________________________________________________________________

Blackburn Hall’s music available at:

https://soundcloud.com/blackburn-hall

Where Words Fail…: Getting the Bands (Duos and Solo Acts) Together

Where Words Fail…

 

Getting the Bands (Duos and Solo Acts) Together.

I’m not sure if this will be a pie-in-the-sky thing; whether I should like a demented bride planning her wedding- an idea occurred that I could not get over.  To distract my mind from the horrible stress and anger of my home life; the rising tide of financial uncertainty (this month)- a wealth of other oddities and annoyances- something occurred to me.  I am always being asked (by acts I have reviewed and keep in touch with) to come see them.  From the Scottish warriors Universal Thee, London lovelies like Lisa Marini and Los and the Deadlines; Lincoln folk The Moth Lantern- Yorkshire wonders such as ISSIMO.  I have a huge love and respect for all of them (and the acts yet to invite me up for a beer) and one thing always holds me back- exorbitant train fares.  Having roughly bugger-all to survive on (for the rest of the month), I am finding I am home-bound and limited- unable to come up and say ‘hi’ to my music darlings.  As I type this, another journalist has been beheaded- religion kills again, it seems.  The sheer evil and scariness of life continues to fart in the Devil’s face; the lice and rats of human society are being given air time- shown in newspaper headlines and seeing themselves as martyrs and heroes.  As cowardly and pathetic as they are, you cannot how unpleasant and awful the outside world is- the world is a horrible and nasty place.  I am not saying it as a fatalist or to throw in the towel- there seems to be meagre glimmers of light among hailstorms of fire.  Two of the constants- that have kept me ticking and busy- are music and charity.  The former has seen me consecrate and solidify my music writing; start to- finally- recruit a band; get things going.  I am taking on managing a new band- local to me- and looking into managing a second- keeping myself nice and busy.  In addition, I am still reviewing and keeping my hand in- you can imagine how wonderfully rich my social life is at the moment (he says, ironically).  Charity is something I have not often- in the past- spent a lot of time (and money) on- mainly because the ‘charity muggers’ where I live are the most irritating humans on the planet.  Following family tragedies and a need to take (some form of) action, I have been involving myself in half-marathons- planning on completing one every three months (for a new charity).  This sort of brings me to my main point…

There are a good 30 or 40 acts (I have reviewed) I would love to meet; see in the flesh and share a drink (with)- I have been getting requests through thick and fast.  Whilst it is not economical or realistic to get all of me to all of them- it may be doable to get them all to me.  I am pretty determined- nay, psychotically determined- to pull together a charity fundraiser/event.  I have a list of my review subjects in front of me- there are 36 different examples listed.  I wanted to get all of them together (several will be reading this right now) and put them under the same roof.  I am looking at February next year- the night(s) of the 14th (and possibly 15th- depending on feedback and recruitment).  The event will take place in London, and aim to get all the tremendous bands, duos and solo acts to the capital- for one night (or two) of charitable debauchery; music festivities and a Valentine’s Day massacre of sound.  From Yorkshire stunners like Jen Armstrong, Allusondrugs and ISSIMO; Scots Universal Thee, London/Surrey-ites Los and the Deadlines, Lisa Marini, Nina Schofield and Chess- I want to do this.  Let me explain a bit further…

The Name:

Where Words Fail…

Dates:

I had originally intended to have this set for Christmas time- or around the 23rd December.  It is still a possibility, but what with raising funds and booking the venue- it seems like a bit of stretch.  February seems to give me enough time to get those things sorted; send out the invites and plan the gig.  The aim of having it on Feb. 14th was to do something useful on Valentine’s Day- give love to people that are not used to it; bring lovers, sweethearts and new faces together for one big blind date.  I am sure my venue may be booked then (see below), but a boy can try, right?  If there is enough demand- and lots of people want to get involved- it may have to extend into a following night.

The Aim Behind the Gig:

The show(s) will be a chance for a lot of acts- who until now do not know one another; or only connect on social media- to play together.  A lot of acts will be unsigned and seeking representation.  The aim is not for a record label boss to come scout, but the possibility is all there- hopefully word-of-mouth can get can them in.  The main point is to raise funds for charity.  Each act would nominate their chosen charity- play on behalf of them- it can be local, national or international- there will be no profit to be had.  When the ticket sales are accrued and calculated, the total (that does not go to the venue) will be divided among the artists- they then would take that back to their nominated cause.  Having been appalled by events in other countries; the growing tensions of the world stage- a lot of concerns and issues are being neglected on our doorstep.  Working in a job where I get to read of some pretty serious cases- I work in adult social care- it is disheartening and painful to read of such woe and horror.  This is no cynical spur-of-the-moment thing; not a plan I will abandon- something that should happen and would do a lot of good.

The Venue:

At the moment, there is only one that stands in my mind: Under the Bridge.  The Chelsea-based music venue is situated under Stamford Bridge (hence the name)- it is one of the most reputable and wonderful venues in London.  Take a look at the website- http://underthebridge.co.uk/- and you can see how glorious it is.  Situated near Fulham and Broadway Tube- with easy public transport accessibility- it is in one of the most prosperous and nice parts of the capital.  The venue is renowned for its beauty, cleanliness; quality and atmosphere- there are few others that match it.  I understand there are bigger venues, yet U.T.B. holds 550 people- standing room only.  The state-of-the-art sound and lighting seems perfect; the décor and setting is immaculate- just the sort of place to host a musical repas du soir.  Acting as an impresario and organiser, I want to get all of my wonderful musical pals together- put them in this venue; let the capital see what they are capable of.  Under the Bridge seems just the place to host this.  Whether the cost of staging the event will be too exorbitant (I am not sure) – but I am going to enquire and get some quotes.

The Financing:

Unfortunately this is not the sort of endeavour that can be funded via a Kickstarter campaign- as it is a charity event.  I appreciate that it is going to cost a bit for the acts to get down- train fare; accommodation and the like- yet I will plan to make some allowances and try and organise something.  The idea is to pay the venue based on ticket sales- a certain percentage of the door will go to them.  I am hoping- provided we can get full capacity crowds on the night(s)- there will be plenty of money left over- ticket prices will run at about 15.00 GBP for the night.  As it is a 550 capacity venue, it seems likely there will be a healthy profit- meaning each act will have a fair amount for their charity.  It is hoped I can parlay this into a second night- meaning more money can be raised.  I am going to get quotes and ideas- from the venue- but hoping that bugaboo money does not stand in my way (as it is at the moment).

In the Lead-Up:

There is a long way to go, so it seems like a lot of things need to happen.  Near the bottom, I have listed acts I hope can make it; others can add their name and let me know.  It is important I get rough estimates of numbers- so I can go forward.  Towards the end of the year I hope to raise some finances- through other sources- make some plans and get everything sorted.

On the Night (and Before):

It is going to be important- assuming this thing happens- to get all the acts together prior- rather than shove them all on stage and expect it all to click.  There will need to be planning meetings, itinerary and rehearsals.  This first stage- the timetable- does not need all the acts to be together- I can do this via email and social media.  When it comes to run-throughs, this will need all of the acts- so they are attuned and confident on the night.  I will put together a rudimentary running order prior to the get-together, but it vital everything gels and runs smoothly- it will not be an arduous or elongated practice/rehearsal.  I am aiming for it to take a day to do; the acts get a chance to meet for the first time- and see each other perform.

What I Need From Each Act:

As (I hope) there will be a lot of ‘yes’ votes- it is unlikely each act will have a chance to play too many tracks.  The way I see it- depending on how many are in, each artist will play a 20-25 minutes set.  One of their songs will be an older/established number- the other will be a new song or cover.  I am hoping each act can bring a new song to the evening- give it its first airing.  That not only gives the audience something fresh, it is a chance for the acts in question to premiere their latest offering.  If there is a huge demand- and a second night is feasible, then it is likely a third song can be added- split things so half the acts play the first night; the second (half) the next night.  What I require in the short-term is some feedback and ideas- whether this is something anyone would be interested in doing.  I will have hugs, kisses, beer and pressies waiting for any acts that are in- ensure that it is a night(s) not to forget.  Being an Arsenal fan, I am skeptical heading Under the Bridge, yet it is a magical venue- there is no doubt people will get in.  The venue does not have a huge waiting list, so I am hoping my intended dates are free- they are fungible at this point.

Intended Acts:

Forgive me if I have missed out any acts- literally anyone else interested is going to be included.  I know so many U.S. and Canadian acts I want- I have excluded them assuming they will not be able to make it.  If there are any international acts- reading this- that can make it and get to London- hell, yeah!  Here is a rough list of peeps that I hope will throw their support my way:

ISSIMO

Allusondrugs

Gypsyfingers

Bianca Bazin

The Moth Lantern

Broken3ways

Chess

Boom Tales

Eloise Lovell Anderson

Marisa Rodriguez

Jingo

El Born

Jen Armstrong

Emily Kay

Alison Levi

The Bedroom Hour

Los and the Deadlines

The Verideals

Dana McKeon

Kobadelta

Sarah Collins

Calgaris

Lightknife

Ivy and Gold

Braver Than Fiction

Emma Nadine Stevens

The State of Georgia

Universal Thee

Lisa Marini

Sophie Sweet and Her November Criminals

Nina Schofield

Crystal Seagulls

Lydia Baylis

Little Violet

Chenai Zinyuku

Second Hand Poet

CryBabyCry

Play Record Erase

RKZUK

Steve Heron

Annie Drury

Sire

Rosie Bones (and band)

Shiftin’ Shade- with Adam Hume

Gorilla Punch Radio

Bi:Lingual

Little Sparrow

The Indigos

International:

Moons of Jupiter

The Updraft Imperative

Vanessa Soto

The Open Feel

Black Lady Soul

Quinn Archer

Ellene Masri

Little Dove

Surprises and Possibilities:

I know it is going to be a feat getting this all sorted; making sure everything is realistic and workable.  If it CAN happen, I am hoping to throw some surprise guests in there- if social media can spread it far enough, who knows who (the event) will attract?  I am not suggesting Paul McCartney will pop by to end the night with a rousing rendition of Hey Jude- it is not unreasonable to get a few fairly well-known acts to come by.  On my wish list, people like Gaz Coombes, Jessie Ware, Anna Calvi, Ben Howard, Plan B and Kate Tempest lurk; a boy can aim at least?  It is not out of the question- to rope in some big draws.  That will be a tertiary concern, but would certainly add some spice and surprise to a (hopefully wonderful) night.  Another surprise.  IF it can be put together I will put my procrastinated ideals to one side and perform- either solo or part of a band- yup!  To punctuate the music; hopefully something interactive can play- Under the Bridge is known for its interactivity and facilities.  Either a pre-recorded piece/comedy or snippets can play between acts.  This gives chance for my actor friends; me and others to formulate something cool- add another layer to proceedings.  I hope some of my actor, model and director friends can pitch in; do and provide something- make the event a fully-rounded and unforgettable thing.

So…

I have probably left something fundamental out; negated a key chunk and element- I hope not, at least!  I am pretty ambitious and can usually pull things together- I really do hope this is one of them.  The mystique, magic and mayhem come from the musicians- you guys listening and reading.  Initially I am keen to hear thoughts- whether this is something that appeals- and what the general consensus is.  Granted people reply, I will post updated and statuses to Facebook and Twitter- earmarking the next months and outlining the future steps.  Thanks for reading, get thinking and let me know.  If there is a weight of popularity and approval, I can get things moving.