A Time for Change: The Single Voice: Uniting All

A Time for Change:

 

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The Single Voice: Uniting All

 

 

ANOTHER day; another shooting in the U.S…

There’s almost a song lyric in that (steal it if you wish).  Seriously though, my opening line has almost become a cliché: every week there seems to be a new shooting; another chance to get angry.  It is all very well (President Obama) being disappointed- at how he cannot soften gun laws- but the fact remains: so long as the (irrelevant and seriously outdated) Constitution remains, the U.S. will always be strong-armed- never able to become truly civilised.  The news is dominated by violence and terrorism; horror and fear: we will never eradicate all of this misery.  With social media (and the Internet) growing and expanding, there is an opportunity being missed: a real chance to utilise it for genuine good, rather than self-promotion.

What the Charity Does.

I have mentioned The Single Voice in previous blog posts (probably bored everyone to tears) – I am really pumped about it.  Whereas charities focus on one issue/cause, The Single Voice brings them all together- and has its own agenda.  By uniting all charities, it is not only hoped that a) more money/awareness is raised for them, but b) each charity can help one another.  The Single Voice will have its own website- that would be eye-catching and unique- that is informative and easy to navigate.  There are links and ways for charities to interact; help one another and unite to raise funds.  The main points of The Single Voice are to make genuine changes and get everyone involved in charity.

The Charity’s Main Focus:

Mental health is a big issue: by addressing mental health issues, we can prevent so much tragedy from occurring.  A lot of gun violence and killing takes place, because (the perpetrator) has mental health issues- that are not being addressed.  The usual solution- when responding to terrorism and gun violence- is to shoot first; ask later.  It may seem pie-on-the-sky but actually talking about things; addressing issues before they occur is paramount.  In this country, there are limited resources: there is finite money/people available to tackle mental health issues.  By raising money- through mass online appeals and social media unification- we can generate funds; join mental health charities together- tackle those most vulnerable.

Another aim is to raise awareness of lesser-known charities: get their name into the forefront; compel people to do more for causes- and get involved in the community.  There are a lot of causes and concerns that get overlooked- go under the radar- that deserve wider acclaim.  From animal rights to equality for women, The Single Voice can help- by putting these charities up front.

The First Promotional Imitative- 2016

 

How it Raises Money.

The campaign is designed to bring together YouTube, Google, Apple and Microsoft: some of the most influential and important (companies on the planet).  I will go into more depth (below) but the way (the user) raises funds is through YouTube ‘views’: every time someone views a video (you have uploaded)- 15p is donated to your chosen charity (an additional 5p is donated for every ‘like’).  YouTube is the ‘hosting site’: it is their website that is the basis of the campaign.  Google will be the ones who are donating the money.  Each user/member- who chooses to take part- will register on the main site (see below) and through advertising and increased search results, Google will gain revenue- which in turn will be donated into The Single Voice.  Companies like Google and Apple generate enormous profits each year; they do great work but have a lot of profit coming in.  Finding a (legal and non-invasive way) for them to generate more funds- by advertising and getting more ‘business’- would allow them to channel this money into the campaign.  There is the potential (for an individual) to raise millions (possible tens of millions over the campaign) for a great cause- either something at a local level; or a national issue.

The Main Site.

The initiative will have a homepage: which will be where each person goes to register.  The campaign will be shared and spread to social media, but at the first point of contact, each person would start here.  Like Facebook and Twitter, registration is painless and quick: and a great way to connect with other users and like-minded people.  The homepage will be well-designed and eye-catching.  The top half will have various links: A-Z of Charities; Contact Details; Discussion Board; Events/Fundraisers; Latest Members; Links; Generated Profit (so far).  The bottom half will be fun and interactive.  It will depict a variety of locations: a comedy club; recording studio; film set; bar etc.  The sign will be the only constant- saying The Single Voice.  Whether attached to a studio (or comedy club) the figures (that interact will be from that world).  Musicians- past and present- will interact; comedy and film icons (too)- it will be constantly changing and moving.  Each figure will be animated- giving the homepage a great two-tone look/feel.  I shall expand more/give ‘the fully skinny’ in my next blog. (middle of June).

Registration.

Each person will be asked to register simple details: name, D.O.B., location; campaigns; total raised (and several others).  It will work a little like Facebook, where there is a profile page: it will be a simple process and contain plenty of information- although nothing too personal or revealing.  From the registration page, there are links to social media- where you can easily promote your page/share your success.  When all the personal details/key details are entered, then comes the ‘fun part’.  The Single Voice has the option of 25 different YouTube-based ‘initiatives’/ideas.    These will be split into categories: Film and T.V., comedy, music, miscellaneous.

Each new member is allowed to ‘sign-up’/choose five of the twenty options.  For each initiative you will be selecting a different charity (I will go into more depth later).  On the profile page will be your list of ‘initiatives’.  By each of your selections will be the total (money) you have raised; how many times your idea/entry has been shared (and how many times you have shared it).  This charity campaign will run for a year- from its launch date- and your selected charities will get donations each month (at the end of each month; however much you have raised will be donated to them).

The Initiatives.

There are twenty five different ideas- covering film, T.V., music and advertising.  As I have said, each person will be allowed to select five different ideas (from the list of twenty five).  Each person could be involved with the campaign for five years  When you register, it will ask you to select from the list- which idea/choice you want- and there will be a step-by-step guide.  It is very easy and simple to complete.  Before I explain how it is done; here is what you can choose from (among others):

Top-10 Songs.  Like Desert Island Discs and Tracks of My Years, each user gets to choose their 10 favourite/most important songs.  There is an option- on each entry- for a user to commentate/explain why they have chosen (what they have selected) but it is a great chance for the person to share their favourite songs.

New Music. This is an option that is a chance (for new music to be heard).  A person can give the world a chance to discover new music/musicians.  If a new band/act has posted to YouTube, then their music can be shared.  There is a chance to select your ten favourite songs (from new acts).

Music Videos. It is nice and simple: choose your favourite ten music videos.  Whether it is from a new band- or classic act- you get a chance to have a good think- what you consider to be the best of the breed.

Comedy. Whether it is a short clip- lasting a few seconds- or a full-length film/T.V. episode, this is comedy-orientated.  Whatever makes you laugh the most: get it uploaded!  I shall expand on this more- and what I would select- but you can choose a stand-up show; an episode of The Simpsons- or a comedic home-made video/prank.

Drama/film. Again, whether it is an episode of Breaking Bad- if they are allowed on YouTube- or a short film, this is the chance to get it shared.

Originals. This is the chance for a user to create something new- and upload to YouTube.  Not a chance for self-promotion, it is a chance to flex your creative muscles.  It can be anything you want: a mock advert; a new song; a comedy sketch- whatever you fancy.

Commercials/Misc. If you have favourite adverts then you can get them seen hear.  This option gives voice to other videos: those weird and wonderful videos- YouTube seems to proffer by the bucket-load.  Beauty blogs and ‘how-to’ videos; home-made videos can be selected.  The rules are simple: it can be anything (as long as it is not sexual, offensive, and violent- or violates YouTube’s rules).

There are- as I have mentioned- 25 different choices; appealing enough to everyone- that gives the user a chance- not only to think about their favourite music/films etc.- but discover new and exciting work.

Beyond Social Media.

Of course, the point of the campaign is not to share music/film- just for the sake of it.  The idea is to raise money and awareness of causes and charities.  On the home page, you get a chance to share your ideas and videos- and raise money (each time they get a ‘view).  When you select a charity- for each entry- there is an information button: this gives you huge information and links.  If you select Diabetes U.K., then you get to find out about the charity.  There are links to their website; how to get involved in the community; how to spot the signs (of diabetes); ways to further becoming involved with the charity- runs, fundraisers, volunteering etc.  This will be the case for every charity.  It means that, not only does the user get to learn more about their chosen charities (and causes); other people do too.  On the site’s main page, there is an A-Z of Charities: a full list of all charities; information, links and videos for each. In addition engaging people more with charities and causes; there is a hope it will lead to more community involvement.  There is a chance to ‘represent’/choose (to support) women’s rights, stamp out gun violence, support local communities and boroughs- causes not usually represented by the big fundraisers.  In addition to giving information about each, there are ways for you to get involved: get out onto the street and make a difference.  Raising money will be a huge and important part of the idea, but it is hoped that the government will take note- issues and campaigns will be highlighted; a chance to change law- change people’s lives and initiate social change. Not only does one get to learn more about charities and causes- the main objective of the campaign- there is a secondary bonus’.  Each time you compile a list; there is a chance to benefit others.  Say you have selected Top 10 Songs.  After you have selected each track, there will be a link on each video/selection.  Song and album information is provided; links to other (similar) acts; ways to record your own music/become a musician.  In terms of new music, there is a chance to help new musicians (links to campaigns; ways to share their music and causes); find great new acts; support local venues and festivals- ways to bring about equality and change for musicians.  The same goes for film and music videos: ways to become a director/actor; local schools and campaigns; links to similar films/videos; local schemes; ways to support other charities and causes etc. All of this video-selecting and information-finding is designed to be quick to share/promote.  With a click of the button you can share you entries/profile to social media; encouraging friends to get involved- taking this thing viral.  It is A fun, quick, and educational scheme; with the potential to raise a lot of money very fast

Before Then…

I hope to organising a charity gig towards November/December- to raise money for Mind.  It would unite my favourite new musicians and would be an all-day event; not only aimed to showcase new music but raise a lot of money.

The Single Voice: Using Creativity to Make Changes:

The charity would use music and the arts to pull in people: encourage creativity and artistic endeavour to raise money and awareness.  Like the first promotional initiative, the charity’s website encourages creativity: becoming involved in music/creating your own sounds; D.J. work and music writing; comedy and screenwriting etc.  Having its own social media site, The Single Voice encourages collaboration and joint ventures: getting users to unite on creative projects; use music and arts to raise charity funds- and raise awareness of great causes.

Setting Up and Going Forward:

At the moment, there are a lot of ideas on paper; schemes and plans coming together- the first steps need to happen (before we can run).  Hoping to establish the charity this year, I will need trustees- and people to support it.  The website is the important next step: not only establishing what the charity does/aims, but having everything in one place.  There will be a social media channel and links to charities; bespoke music and screenwriting sections; ways to become active in the community.

The main aim is to help eradicate big issues and ills: from gun violence and terrorism to social inequality, there are ways to make a change.  Rather than use violence and hatred, raising money and awareness- helping tackle mental health issues- are much more vital.  By joining with companies like Google and Microsoft- helping to promote them- there will be money available and a necessary platform- which means The Single Voice can thrive.

The Point of Doing All This:

Something needs to be done in the world: there is too much needless violence; stupidity and ignorance; a lot of people not doing their fair share- people need to do a lot more in this world.  The Single Voice, not only aims to raise a lot of money and solve issues- but get people more involved in community and charity- and less concerned with social media and needlessness.  Before the end of the year, I will set up the charity and produce a more thorough blog- it may seem a little sketchy at the moment.  I just get so annoyed by the state of the world: too much rudeness and selfish people; needless gun violence and terrorism- nobody seems capable of being able to solve things like a human.  Things can be done; changes can be made- it just takes the support of the people…

 

 

 

 

Track Review: Tiny Rhymes- Arrows

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Tiny Rhymes

 

Arrows

 

9.3/10.0

 

Arrows is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/tinyrhymes/arrows-1

RELEASED:
23rd June, 2015

GENRES:
Chamber-Pop; Indie-Folk

ORIGIN:

Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.

The E.P., A Kinder History, is available from:

http://tinyrhymes.bandcamp.com/releases

Arrows

Oh, Amaranta!

Gold Mountain

Home

Performed by:

Sharon Mok– vocals, guitar

Katie Weissman– cello, vocals

Kathryn Koch– violin, vocals

Dan Schwach– percussion, glockenspiel

Brad Lauchert– percussion

Zack Steinberg– bass

Peter Isaac– trombone

All songs written by Sharon Mok/ Tiny Rhymes

Recorded at GCR Audio (Buffalo, N.Y.)

Mixed/edited/produced by Brad Lauchert/ BadTone Productions (Buffalo, N.Y.).

Mastered by Adam Grover/ Georgetown Masters (Nashville, TN.).

Art by Nicholas Dowgwillo.

ONE of the worst things about music reviewing…

is that sense of predictability: reviewing the same sort of sounds; similar acts and artists- you get to the stage where music becomes stale and formulaic.  This sensation is something that has been present lately: that feeling that a lot of the music (that is coming my way) does not break too far from the mould: predictable parables that leave little to the imagination; really does not linger too long.  Gladly- and very much distinct from other acts- Tiny Rhymes arrive.  A lot of my reviews emanate from the same sort of areas- the U.K. or Canada- yet Tiny Rhymes hail from Buffalo, N.Y.: my second trip to New York (having reviewed Ariana & the Rose) and my first to Buffalo- located in Western New York, on the eastern shore of Lake Erie.  Buffalonians (the name given to native dwellers) are a diverse mixture- the population is divided between Hispanic, Black and White (with Asian and Native Americans among the mix).  Recovering from economic downturn, Buffalo is a thriving economy (now): technology and financial services are big business; healthcare too- the area is bustling, in spite of economic issues (across other parts of the U.S.).  Tiny Rhymes are not what you’d expect (from a band from Buffalo) and are exempt from cliché and stereotype: the group marry Chamber-Pop and Indie-Folk- a hypnotic pairing of dark tones and orchestral undertones.  Before I continue my point, a bit of background is needed (provided by lead Sharon Mok):

I’ve always played piano, but decided to pick up the guitar for this current batch of songs, and set out to create melodies influenced by my childhood experience with both Chinese opera and classical music.  While writing and recording in Buffalo, I met cellist Katie Weissman and we instantly hit it off. Weissman’s diverse technique and smooth, dark melodies added necessary dimension to the songs.”

I know there is a lot of music out there; a huge pool of multifarious sounds: the media (and social media) tends to bring us only a select few; there is a lot of compartmentalisation- so much quality goes rushing by.  Tiny Rhymes are a band that deserves wider acclaim: a group that dare to be different; break away from the mass of samey bands- their music cannot be ignore or overlooked.  Chamber-Pop is a genre (many are) unfamiliar with; maybe some will balk or shy away- unware of what the sounds entail; how good it can be.  Having listened to Tiny Rhymes- assessed their E.P. and its wonders- I am now a fan: I would urge everyone to take a sip of the Buffalo clan.  Mainstream tastes tend to via towards Pop and Indie: there is wiggle room, yet there is still a rigid leaning towards tried-and-tested sounds.  With the growth of Electro.-Pop and Indie music, tastes are starting to broaden: some long-forgotten sounds are resurfacing; great music is coming back to the fore.  Tiny Rhymes are not quirky and divisive: their sounds are a concoction of everyday emotion and delicacy; orchestral swathes and pin-sharp vocals- something that is a rarity in today’s scene.  I hope that more follow suit; start to learn from Tiny Rhymes: they are getting a lot of tongues wagging (in New York); spiking the public imagination- it cannot be too long before they arrive here.  In the U.K. we have some ‘fairly’ similar acts- the likes of Little Sparrow (a solo artist) spring to mind- yet nothing quite like Tiny Rhymes- their brand of song would be celebrated over here.  I do hope the group comes to London and play: there are clubs and venues that would house them without hesitation- the capital would love to see them.  The group’s E.P. has arrived; a four-track collection that demonstrates a wealth of treasure: stunning beauty and fragility; fantasy and reality- a stunning collection of songs (that linger long in the mind).

When it comes to comparing Tiny Rhymes’ work (with their previous cannon of songs) it is quite difficult- being so fresh from the blocks, the Buffalo group are a sapling sound.  The Cape– a single released last year- was replete with romanticism and yearning; jumping strings and crashing waves- a touching story with some stunning images.  Since then, the group has not varied their sound too much: they sound more confident and intuitive.  Tiny Rhymes started off strongly and impressive: over the course of this year they have cemented their sound; brought in new influence and elements- augmented their beauty and wonder.  It is hard to compare Tiny Rhymes to another; few other acts spring to mind- they are a rare breed indeed.  Chamber/Folk music does have its patrons, yet none do things like the Buffalonians: few acts are quite as original and ornate as the group.  Taking elements from bygone acts; a sprinkling of contemporary Chamber-Pop/Folk acts, Tiny Rhymes bring in their own voice and flair- not wanting to come across sounding like anyone else.  If you are new to their music, I would suggest investigating the (genres of music they play) and getting some background: even acts like The Staves and The Unthanks can be traced (to Tiny Rhymes) – there is that similar sense of beauty and tenderness.  What makes Chamber-Pop so beautiful is the mixture of instruments: yearning strings and low-high blends- orchestral grandeur and romantic delicacy.  If you’re a fan of other genres- and not usually tempted to the kind of music the band plays- I would advise experimentation: they are well worth your time; a valuable addition to anyone’s collection.

Arrows leads A Kinder History; it does so with some tremendous beauty.  The song’s initial notes pair plinking notes and tripping dance; a myriad of trickling cascade- a balletic version of a Disney score.  Merry and romantic; light and breezy, the listener is welcomed with a warm and intriguing heart- you are never sure quite what is coming next.  “If memory of you finds me sleeping…” open the track- the lyrics in the early stages are clever and oblique- where there is a sense of separation and remembrance.  Employing some deft wordplay, the subjects of dreams and memories are introduced: our heroine will (not forget her man) until she is dreaming- she wants to re-write a kinder history.  There seems to be some regret and lingering doubts: our lead wants her man to think of/remember her; not sure if he will.  As I stated, there is some obliqueness and ambiguity: your mind and heart converge down different roads; never 100% sure whether there is resentment or contentment- I guess there is a little of both (in every word).  After Dan Schwach’s dizzying glockenspiel; some terrific strings (from Katie Weissman and Kathryn Kock) it’s Mok’s vocal that steps into the spotlight- narrating her tale with stunning passion.  Mok’s female companions lend their voice, yet Mok stands out front: that blend of child-like innocence and womanly strength radiates and compels.  Superbly delivered- she delineates her words with a real sense for mood and pace- you are hooked in and seduced.  The song looks at the present and past: Arrows mixes the physical with metaphorical; exploring love and innocence- a rhapsody of heartfelt emotions.  Our heroine looks back at childhood- where she had all the time in the world- and the present- where she and her lover have none.  One is never sure whether the relationship is intact or broken; if there is a parting or doubts- the words leave room for interpretation.  To my mind, I envisaged two lovers split and fractured: maybe overcome by modern strains and the distance between them; there is that need to return to the past- where innocence and simplicity were so much more favourable.  You can sense that yearn and sigh; that need to restart things- make life less complicated and fraught.  Never overly-anxious and full-on, each line is delivered with softness and consideration (yet there is plenty of passion and conviction).  It is not just Sharon Mok’s show: her cohorts ably support her; adding symphonic lust and immense beauty.  In addition (to some mesmeric) backing vocals, each instrument adds huge weight- the strings lift the song to heavenly heights.  As the song progresses, the travelogue continue: each party seems to be bound in a different direction; their paths never crossing- perhaps they will meet by chance?  With our heroine moving and dreaming- her subject on her mind- maybe they will see one another; perhaps things have finished for good?  Friends and companions, that dislocation-cum-break-up mandate is a well-worn subject- yet Tiny Rhymes present it in a very personal and distinct way (never succumbing to lyrical cliché).  Before the 3:00 marker, our heroine makes a plea: “Don’t come back for me.”  There is that sense of succeeding; letting events take their turn- and giving up on a dream-like meeting.  With her voice starting to show its emotions, Mok reaches her impassioned peak- recollection and truth have caused their damage.  Wordless vocals enter the fray- as punctuation and sense of relief- and the listener is forced to reflect.  You find yourself emphasising with the heroine: wanting things to be different but knowing they never could.  Adding lightness to proceedings, Schwach’s glockenspiel comes back in- that candid hop and sweet-natured chime prevents the vocals from becoming too maudlin and weighed-down.  Supported by some superb production values- that makes the song sound like it is coming live from a cathedral/large room- you feel as though you are there; yet there is some intimacy to things.  The production makes the song vast and impressive yet mollifies too- at times, it sounds like this is a riparian lovers’ call (as though you are being serenaded by the riverside).  Quite an impressive and laudable step, it brings Arrows fully to life.  In the closing stages, unity comes through: each instrument and voice blends in; the wordlessness augments and swims; the band notch up the offensive- reaching spine-tingling levels.  Scene-closing and evocative, the final notes are beautifully escheated- and you find yourself seeking more; continue that superb and entrancing sound.

Applause should be meted out to each Tiny Rhymes member.  Mok’s lead voice- and her lyrical direction- are at the forefront.  Her soothing and delicious tones are the perfect clothing to an amazing body of work: a song that resonates with all, yet feels deeply personal and special.  Her narrative and wordplay is incredible and stunning; her voice constantly engaging and gorgeous- few other leads could achieve such a feat.  The strings-and-vocals combination of Weissman and Kock is to be commended: not only exceptional players, their tones fit perfectly (alongside Mok); adding beauty and weight- lifting words and lines to unbeatable realms.  Perfectly in-step, the trio work wonderfully off one another- there is a clear love and affection; a natural bond that ekes through in every note.  Glockenspiel and other notes are supremely delivered (by the rest of the band).  The glockenspiel incorporates delicate beauty and crystal-like fragility; one of the defining aspects of Arrows.  When the band unite and weave (in and out of one another) the biggest chills are elicited: the bond they all share makes the song such a thing to behold.  Arrows is the perfect lead-off track; a perfect starting-point for A Kinder History.  The song showcases the band’s core strengths: personal and relatable scenes; stunning vocals and harmonies- authentic and genuine Chamber-Pop majesty; gorgeous string and percussion.  If you need an escape; get your mind off of modern life- investigate this stunning track.  It will melt the woes and raise a smile: when it comes down to it, how many other songs do that?

It is great to discover something genuinely wonderful: an act that comes out of nowhere; something unexpected- music you would never (have otherwise) heard.  Since reviewing Tiny Rhymes, I have looked into Buffalo’s music: the area fascinates me and I was keen to check out Tiny Rhymes’ colleagues and peers- who the movers and shakers were.  Few local acts resonate as hard (as Tiny Rhymes) yet Buffalo boasts some terrific music: from Goo Goo Dolls to Gym Class Heroes, there is a lot of fervent activity.  By and large, the music (coming out of Buffalo) sticks to the Rock-cum-Alternative territories- with some Metal and Folk peppered around the edges- so Tiny Rhymes are still quite unique.  In such a bustling and developing region, you’d expect some contrast.  Let’s hope more acts follow suit: we have too many bands that play it hard and heavy; tend to prefer something more forceful and to-the-point- Tiny Rhymes’ nuanced and uplifting beauty should not be overlooked.  Arrows is the perfect starting place- when investigating the group- and their E.P. (A Kinder History) is packed with stunning moments.  Oh, Amaranta! Is a tear-inducing sway; it begins with aching strings- the introduction then is overthrown with a beautiful and sighing vocal.  With its bare and natural production values, the song has a pastoral sound- a great live-sounding tone that makes each word more authentic and tangible.  Bubbling and rising, the song goes through waves and swells: rising like a phoenix, before demurring into the shadows.  Relentlessly touching, it is a song that gets under the skin: Mok’s lead vocal is entrancing and impassioned throughout.  Gold Mountain is similarly wistful and cooing: in the early stages it boasts similar traits to its predecessors.  Before long the group layer in; the sound becomes larger and more atmospheric: it is one of the most evocative takes of the E.P.  Putting your mind in the wide open; soaring across the sky, the track is stunningly sweeping; magisterial and graceful- a wonderful thing.  Home is the E.P.’s closer- and perhaps an appropriately-titled swansong- which sees Tiny Rhymes sign-off in style.  Tender and soft, trembling and honest, our heroine is focused on the door- looking to “run right out.”  There is a need for escape; get away from things and start again- find some sense of personal relief.  Overall, the E.P. has a consistent and loyal sound: the group do not stray too far from their signature feel; choosing to variate from track-to-track- never breaking away from that core of beauty and ethereal delight.  The four tracks are a testament to study and intelligence: a group that sound contemporary and classic; cultured and everyday- able to unite the mainstream with the underground.  Baroque-Pop is a genre that showcases many legends- from Belle and Sebastian to Florence and the Machine; Fiona Apple to The Decemberists- and is a very popular (and profitable) style of music.  Chamber-Pop manages to take in Baroque elements, whilst employing classical edges: Tiny Rhymes have a keen ear for Folk and Indie; never willing to become rigid and restrained.  I have a lot of genuine respect for Tiny Rhymes: in a music world of homogenization, they are separating themselves with distinction- the signs are all very positive.  With their E.P. gaining some heated praise, the U.S. newbies will take great solace and heart: hopefully it will not be too long before a second E.P. (or L.P.) is introduced.  As mentioned earlier, it would be great to see them (the band) in London: hear that stunning music up close and personal.  Arrows is a perfect song for the season: filled with sunshine and warmth, insight and mystery, make sure you do not let it pass by.  Having bogged-down in a sea of predictable acts, it is nice to regain some sense of focus and difference: it is my hope some similarly-ambitious acts come my way.  If you need a break from the heaviness of Rock and Indie; the staleness of Pop; the rank-and-file acts, then get involved with Tiny Rhymes: a soothing and medicinal balm that counteracts the stresses of modern life.  Brimming with talent and beauty; exceptional songwriting and exemplary performances- they are one of the most tight-knit and close groups I have ever heard.  Long may their success continue; they have overcome the first hurdle: their music is catching on and growing; their name promoted and celebrated- tiny steps, but vastly important ones.  It is wholly conceivable Tiny Rhymes will be playing internationally; creating another E.P. (and many more after); going on to great things.  In a music world packed and expanding…

FEW survive to see the day.

 

________________________________________________________________________________

Follow Tiny Rhymes:

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tinyrhymes?fref=ts

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/TinyRhymesMusic

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC38vthDSCRnSYiQHXZM0pIA

__________________________________________________________________________

Music:

https://soundcloud.com/tinyrhymes

Feature: Inspiring New Music- The Rise of Boileroom

Inspiring New Music:

 

 

The Rise of Boileroom

By Sam Liddicott

Newoneofme

Wednesday 29th July, 2015, 09:00

ONE of the bittersweet things about living around Surrey…

is the- not all, but a (worryingly) high amount of- people and attitudes (okay, technically two).  Buried among the sweet and lovely people (there are a fair few) is a much large malaise: a lot of rather ‘unlovable’ humans.  An aesthetic of insane/slow drivers, extinction of common manners (among a lot, but not all); unwarranted sense of self-entitlement (ditto).  The youth/young- again only a certain percentage- lack drive and any ambition; are demonstratively profane: Guildford is particularly culpable/to blame.  There are some horrible aspects to (certain parts of the county) but some rather good ones- firm among them is the terrific music.  It is the great people of the county who produce and support the music: make it an attractive place to visit (rather than stay in/live).  Unfortunately, there is a trend towards London- and something I am desperate to do very soon- because Surrey produces fewer chances (for new musicians/music-loving folk).  The coffee shops- a sanctuary where an adult should be able to unwind- are filled with wailing children (and their ‘parents’); the pubs either too crowded or too distracting (we’re there to drink, man).  When one wants to unwind/escape they look towards venues- a chance to hear great music in a terrific setting.  London still houses the most influential bases- including Roundhouse and Koko- yet Surrey (and areas like Guildford) is starting to forge real estate.

As jaded/purely fed-up (as I am with) a lot of Surrey people, there needs to be more foresight: recognise that- among the problems and social flaws- there is a demand for live music; music-lovers do not want to commute to the capital/further afield (every time they want to see their favourite act).  Having experienced issues with the A.C.M.- refusing to conduct a feature; being very ungrateful when I sent their students a gift (a big-ass pile of music no less, bitches!)- I turned to Boileroom: the best and most impressive venue in Surrey (in my opinion).  An undoubted salvation of Guildford, it is a venue with an immense amount of fight: a hot-spot that deserves a happy life- it does the town a lot of credit.  Being familiar with their work- and the acts they housed- I was keen to catch up; champion the work they do- introduce them to the wider world.  There are many acts I know- from Yorkshire, Scotland and afar- who would love to play here/are seeking somewhere great- I hope they finally get in touch (with Boileroom)…

The Intro.: About Boileroom

 

Founded in September 2006 by an independent collective dedicated to promoting the highest quality live music, creative arts and club events, the Boileroom has quickly garnered a reputation as one of the South East’s best live music venues. Now in its’ seventh year, Guildford’s most established and respected independent live music venue books an eclectic and varied programme of music and events.

The Boileroom has a national presence as a destination venue, and to date has played host to no less than 10 Mercury Music nominated artists, BBC 2 Folk Award Winners, MOBO Award Winners, Ivor Novello Award Winners, BBC Sound Of Artists, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees; booking emerging touring acts as well as well-established stalwarts like: Ed Sheeran, Foals, The Bronx, Marmozets, First Aid Kit, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Soweto Kinch, Fairport Convention, David ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan OBE, to name a few.

We have also had the pleasure of curating several different stages and events such as: Vintage Guildford at Guildford Cathedral; Lewis Watson at St Mary’s Church, Martin Carthy & David Swarbrick at Holy Trinity Church; curating stages at Magic Summer Live 2013, Redfest, Staycation Live, the Guildford Beer Festival; curating the stage and running a cafe at The Artist and Makers Festival; plus many more.

The Boileroom is the first port of call for music fans and creative minds to come and visit.

Boileroom is chief of the tribe- among the new music venues of Surrey- and is leading the revival: the creation of charming and inspiring houses (for musicians).  Having overcome adversity- I shall touch on later- the venue has managed to host some truly wonderful acts- including Wolf Alice and Ghostpoet.  Among Guildford’s streets and avenues sits Boileroom: if you were to drive past, you may whizz by without realising.  Whilst London music hotspots are pulling in the modern-day legends, Boileroom is not exactly a shrinking violet: huge names play there regularly (in-between festival dates to boot).  In addition to its proximity to London, Boileroom is a perfect venue: it has intimacy and character; it’s capacious and accommodating; there are great loyal crowds (who flock to see the latest acts).  Having an award-winning bar (and exceptional food), the reviews speak for themselves: patrons have provided numerous laudatory statements; italicized Boileroom’s multiple merits- word-of-mouth and reputation has cemented (the venue as an essential stop) for any act worth their salt.  That said, there is work to be done; renovations/improvements afoot- Boileroom is a venue that deserves a long (and prosperous) survival.

Verse 1: What Makes Boileroom Special?

Starting at staff-level; the people who work there have a clear passion: dedicating their time and lives (to the pursuit of) terrific music.  This passion and dedication spills over into the working day: Boileroom is maintained to a high standard; the food and drink is faultless; the service wonderful- ensuring that the consumer has the best possible experience.  In addition to the environment/team, Boileroom does not just stop at the music: multiple events are held/backed- ranging from activism and debate; vintage fairs to street parties.

What is your Activism?

 

http://www.theboileroom.net/events/29-jul-15-what-is-your-activism–the-boileroom/

A series of workshops discussing activism and personal politics…

Over the course of five workshops, participants will discuss their ideas of what activism is, what kind of activism they are personally involved / interested in and what their personal politics are – whether it’s simply buying organic food as and when they can or chaining themselves to railings at protests every weekend!

The sessions will involve group discussion, talks from guest activists and artists, arts and crafts workshops, a trip to a radical political zine archive and research into local political history, amongst other things.

As a group we will be thinking about collective work and action and what we can learn from each other.

There will be an introductory session on Wednesday 15th July; where we will discuss the issues that are most important to us. We will then programme the following sessions based on the interests of the group.

If you would like to attend, please drop lydia@theboileroom.net an email. If possible, please include some information on why you are interested in attending, and your particular areas of interest within activism.”

Vintage Guildford

 

VINTAGE GUILDFORD 2016

To get in touch about having a stall, running a workshop, or playing some music, use the following lines of communication below:

Email: toni@theboileroom.net or lydia@theboileroom.net

Call the office phone on 01483 440022 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

A bit more info about our Vintage Guildford events

Having successfully run our own Vintage as well as Artisan market at the venue for some years, we’re stepping it up a gear and moving to local landmark the Guildford Cathedral.

As Guildford’s Independent, Alternative Live Music venue, we pride ourselves on championing our local music and creative community. Which is why we are delighted to announce that we will be hosting Vintage Guildford: a fair that provides a platform for the finest local vintage sellers, designers and makers to exhibit what wonderful items of yesteryear are available right on their doorstep! There will be stalls selling vintage clothing, homewares, vinyl, and more!

Staycation 2015:

  

http://www.theboileroom.net/staycation-2015/

STAYCATION LIVE 2015
Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd August 2015
Midday – 7pm each day
Phillips Memorial Park, Godalming
Free entry – Donations going towards the Teenage Cancer Trust, and the running of the festival.
All Ages welcome

http://www.staycationlivefestival.co.uk/

Godalming’s community music, food, and arts festival is back for it’s fifth year. Held at Phillips memorial park in the heart of Godalming, over the first weekend in August; this free family-friendly event brings together some of the finest local food offerings, live music, and family-friendly activities.

The bandstand is transformed into the main stage for the weekend, and will see the likes of Americana blues legend Martin Harley Band headline on the Saturday, and folk-rockers Leatherat on the Sunday; alongside local electro-swing act Captain Flatcap, Stevie One Bloke One Mandolin, and many more besides!

The Boileroom stage is back for the second time. This year bigger and better than ever, with the help of the Music Works School in Milford. Expect to see some of Surrey’s rising musical stars perform in the Cloisters area of the park. There will also be 20 stalls of local Vintage sellers with a mixture of women’s and menswear, home-wares, accessories, and much more besides! Come and pull up a pew or browse the rails while listening to some tunes.

Staycation Live started off life as a pub gig, raising funds to support local and national charities, and despite it’s rapid growth as a community arts, music and food festival, it’s ethos remains the same. After joining forces with Godalming Town Council, TST Live have raised over £3000 for the likes of Disability Challengers, Shooting Star Chase Hospice, Rhythmix and Oxfam.

This year, Staycation Live will be in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT), with the help of local fundraisers Teens4Teens in Godalming & Surrey. The Teens4Teens choir will also be opening the main stage each day – get down early to bag a spot at the front, or buy a CD and support the cause!

For full line-up info, head over to the Staycation website: http://www.staycationlivefestival.co.uk/

BOILEROOM 2ND STAGE LINE-UP

SATURDAY
The Joshua Martin Band-Midday
The Joshua Martin Band is a unique sonic experience, performing in their own original and mind-blowingly groovy style.

The Keep Cats-12.30pm
The Keep Cats are brothers Jonah & Eden writing songs, twanging their guitars and beating some drum… & now introducing Fin, the ‘Axe’ & Louis, ‘Stix’!

Marcus Coyne-2pm
Acoustic singer-songwriter Marcus Coyne plays melodies inspired by the likes of Swoon-some Ben Howard, Bon Iver and Passenger.

Otis Mensah-3.30pm
Otis Mensah is a flipside alt-rap artist that has risen from a new wave; age and era which embraces a contemporary, experimental epidemic of nostalgic authenticity in rap music. The music he creates often captures a melancholic vibe & a mellow atmosphere however accompanied with lyrics which transcend to something much more prolific and poetic.

There will be Vintage clothing, jewellery, homewares and furniture from the lovely Vintage Mabels, take a look at their lovely wares here

http://www.vintagemabels.co.uk/

And some face-painting too!

SUNDAY

Risk-Midday
RISK is a 3 piece, modern british rock band. Alex Griffith on Bass/Vocals, Tom Ofield on Drums/ Vocals and Alex Frow on Guitar/Vocals.

Sophie Scott-12.30pm
Singer songwriter recently graduated from ACM, and currently gigging around the locality with her unique and original songs.

Beau Halford-1.45pm

Bourne Weird-2.45pm

One more TBA-3.30pm

All of the acts performing each day have come through our ongoing programme at The Boileroom named The Project; helping aspiring young musicians through showcase events, mentoring, workshops, Q&A panels, and more. For more information on The Project, email toni@theboileroom.net.

The Chorus: Question and Answer (Part One)

Having reached that stage in the feature/’song’, we come to the important part: the heart of Boileroom.  Determined, not only to put my thoughts on paper, I wanted to question the staff: see what life was like at Boileroom- and which acts have stuck in their mind.  Having done so much great work, it would be only be fair to give them a say: let the people who make the magic happen, speak.  Thanks to the staff at Boileroom- especially Lydia Stockbridge- for donating their time: giving an insight into ‘Boileroom Life’- and the year’s highlights.  Without further ado, here’s what (they) had to say…

Boileroom has overcome some difficult times- including a threat of closure- and overcome them all. How has the last year been (for the staff at Boileroom)?

It’s been quite an intense year and a half here!  From going through a challenging 2014 with the license review, and then coming out the other side and building bridges with our local community; to winning Best Bar None Awards (overall winner for our attention to detail with our policies and adhering to our licensing conditions) – the upstairs revamp courtesy of our Patreons, transforming the garden with plans to turn it into a community garden.  An amazing 2nd Independent Venue Week at the start of this year with our penultimate, amazing show with You Me At Six: it’s fair to say we hit the ground running in 2015, with no plans to stop anytime soon!

You have Patrons (people who donate to ensure the venue remains open and supported). How is that progressing? Is there still a long way to go?

This has been such a positive and encouraging process for us here.  The Patreon site is unique in crowdfunding – although we will be rewarding our Patrons when we reach our 275 target with a big party; our Patrons support what we do as a business as a whole financially, with their help we launched Originate Studios, and our community garden- it’s great to be able to reach out to our supporters directly.  As a small, independent venue we receive no funding, so for us to communicate in this way with our customers is a real game-changer for us; in helping us to push forward and actually put into progress all the changes and scope we have for the venue.

The venue is noted for its intimacy and character.  How would you say it stands out from other venues?

Thank you!  We put a lot of effort into creating a unique, alternative atmosphere for all of our events.  Attention to detail is key for us here – all of our artwork is done in-house, all our venue artwork was created by local artists in the area; even the labels of our Little Boileroom beer have been hand-designed by our illustrator friend Dan Bowden (he does some amazing gig poster designs for our venue Birthday party too).  We want it to be a memorable experience coming to an event here, I feel personally that shows at smaller venues are the most exciting ones – being able to get up close and personal to your favourite band or artist is always an unforgettable experience.

A lot of attention- when it comes to venues – tends to be focused in London.  Do you think the music scene is growing (in counties like Surrey)?

I think that tends to be because the focus of national press is aimed at cities, because they tend to be based in the capital.  However, I think regionally there has always been a scene – it’s just not talked about as loudly!   Online publication Noisey recently did a feature on regional scenes including Guildford, I also think we’re (comparatively) young as a venue- so it’s taken a bit of time to build up a rep too.  Surrey in itself has a rich cultural heritage – so many legendary acts have come from this county – The Jam, The Stranglers, Reuben, Hundred Reasons, Vex Red, and so many more – and also for hosting legendary shows:  Rolling Stones at The Wooden Bridge pub, David Bowie, AC/DC at University of Surrey, The Beat and The Selektor at Guildford Civic; Fleetwood Mac at the Gin Mill club in Godalming – the list goes on!

Vintage Guildford- held at Guildford Cathedral- is one of many Boileroom events.  Can you tell us a bit more about it (for those looking to come along)?

Sure thing: we run 4 Vintage Guildford events a year at the (Guildford) Cathedral and it’s great fun. A family-friendly event (under -5s go free!); with a vintage market of 35+ stallholders selling vintage clothing, homewares, furniture, records, accessories and vintage-inspired handmade bits and pieces too.  We also have a pop-up salon for vintage hair-do’s and nail art; craft workshops that are child and adult-friendly, a café selling tea and cakes, and live music too.  There’s a lot to pack in in a day!

When it comes to booking acts- and finding the best underground music- how does that work?  Is there an audition/interview process, or do you check out (the acts’) songs before booking?

We always keep an ear to the ground for local acts, attending other local shows when we can and reading local blogs.  We tend to check out people online, whether it’s a video or songs uploaded to Soundcloud or Spotify.  We also encourage people to get in touch with us, and our Youth Programme (The Project) is all about nurturing upcoming talent.

On that note:  who are you particularly looking forward to hosting over the coming weeks/months?

Ah, we have some great shows coming up:  Rat Boy, Hooton Tennis Club, Darwin Deez, Keston Cobbler’s Club, The Milk, Martin Carthy (and a few more we can’t tell anyone about yet)!

Verse 2: What the Supporters/Public Say


Working in the area (at The Stoke Pub and Pizzeria- just down the road from Boileroom) many regulars wax lyrical: expound the virtues of the venue.  The Smyths recently played Boileroom: a gig that is talked about in fond terms.  A particular couple I know (from my pub) are regulars at Boileroom (Dave and Jane)-  some of the venue’s most loyal clientele.  The Smyths were lauded for their fantastic performance and authenticity- a lot of cover bands are not overly exceptional; The Smyths were.  Keen to catch any act that plays, the people I speak with all agree on the same thing: not only are the acts (that play there) top drawer; the venue is both homely and grand- a rare mixture in this day and age.  Boileroom has that quality to it: it could easily nestle itself with central London; rub shoulders with the ‘big boys’- I could not imagine (the guys at Boileroom) would want to move there; what with the reputation and loyalty they have.  Having overcome a lot of adversity, it is word-of-mouth that does big business: the people who come time and time again keep it going- those with a huge passion for music.  What impresses me most (about Boileroom) is its diversity: you do not just get Rock/Pop acts; there is a staggering range- from Hardcore to Acoustic; Alternative to Indie-Rock; all in-between.  As stated earlier, it is not just sapling acts that play there: the big-hitters are keen to grace the venue.  It is this blend of brand-new treasures (and established acts) that seduce the public imagination- speaking with people- that is what compels them so.  With regards the aforementioned couple- I hope they don’t mind me name-dropping them- they want to see everything they can.  Their eclectic tastes- they love Wolf Alice and current sounds as much as anything- is well catered for- Boileroom is the perfect setting for them.  Outside of (Dave and Jane), the venue attracts a great young crowd: a few days back I saw a line of teenagers (to be honest they looked about 10) queuing for an act- they must have been dehydrated/knackered by the time doors opened.  That is the charm of Boileroom: you get a wide range of ages coming in.  The enthusiasm and professionalism the staff display (is oft commended); each person is dedicated and friendly.  Some venues exist/thrive simply by the names/acts they pull in: Boileroom manages to boost so much more; a combination that is hard to beat.

The Middle Eight: Upcoming Events/Dates at Boileroom

 

It is not just the music (Boileroom offers the people) but a vast array of events- from vintage fairs to family days.  Keen to draw in the whole community, Boileroom makes such they are always busy: nary has a week gone by without something colourful or compelling happening.  From social activism to fairs, the venue has a lot going on (no excuse not to get involved).

What’s On (Selected Highlights):

What Is Your Activism? Wednesday 29th July

What Is Your Activism? Wednesday 5th August

Little Comets Friday 7th August

Fox and the Law Saturday 8th August

Monuments Wednesday 12th August

What Is Your Activism? Thursday 13th August

Steve Conte NYC (New York Dolls) Tuesday 18th August

What Is Your Activism? Wednesday 19th August

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Friday 21st August

Hanshotfirst Album Launch Saturday 22nd August

Street Party! Sunday 30th August

Craft Club Monday 21st September

RAT BOY Monday 28th September

Barrence Whitfield & the Savages Thursday 8th October

Wheatus: 15th Anniversary Tour Friday 9th October

Vintage Guildford Saturday 10th October

The Chorus: Question and Answer (Part Two)

Recently, Boileroom has been hosting workshops- discussing activism and social issues.  What has the response been like?  Have you seen a lot of people turning out/getting involved?

It’s been great – we’re trying to grow the community events organically, our Craft Club has been running now for 3 years and we now get between 12-20 attendees.  We’re aiming to do the same for our new workshops, it’s been great fun meeting new people in the local community, and branching out into new areas.

What have been the proudest achievements for Boileroom- over the last couple of years?

Ah there’s a lot!  Overall winner of Best Bar None (this February) was a really proud moment; for myself and the team to have our hard work on all our policies recognised.  Being a flagship venue for Independent Venue Week and taking part in that has been a great success for us, and we’re very proud to be a part of it-and Music Venues Trust too- and fly the flag alongside other independent venues. Being the 100th venue to sign Attitude Is Everything charter- improving deaf and disabled people’s access to live music.  There’s been a lot over the years; I’m really looking forward to celebrating our 10th birthday next year.

I know a lot of people who are regulars at Boileroom- come in time and time again, impressed by the great music. What would you say keep people coming back?

I think it’s a combination of things – an eclectic programme, bringing in new, local, and renowned national and international talents, being as inclusive as we can, and also good customer service – being welcoming, friendly from the moment a customer comes in the doors to when they leave – manners cost nothing!

Boileroom has a particularly impressive and informative website- in addition to great social media channels.  Do you think it is vital to have up-to-date and full online presence?

Absolutely – we’re in a digital age, as well as the traditional routes of promoting in print, a lot of our customers use the internet and social networking, we try to reach as many people as we can.

Being a music reviewer/writer- and someone looking into music P.R./promotion- what advice would you offer; to anyone looking to go into music P.R./promotions?

Having a passion for music helps!  Keeping an open mind, exploring as many genres as you can, getting out there and meeting people, checking out shows, staying up to date with how bands and artists are promoting themselves.  Also being organised with your time and good communication; as well as always being friendly and polite – as I said before, manners cost nothing!

I know a lot of young upstarting bands/acts (who would thrive at the chance to play Boileroom):  is it easy to get under your radar/play the venue?

For sure!   All they have to do is drop Duncan@theboileroom.net or me on Lydia@theboileroom.net an email with a short blurb on the band; links to where we can take a listen to their music, and we’ll see what we can do!

Penultimate question:  are there big plans for the venue going forth- any developments and events?

Always – we don’t like to rest on our laurels here, we’ve got big plans for next summer and our upcoming 10th birthday – keep your eyes and ears peeled!

A long question, but one for all the staff (and one where I will put some music links/videos here)

Your favourite act from this year (who played at Boileroom)?

This year – it’s a tough one but I really enjoyed Loom last weekend – snarly garage-rock/post-punk noise.

The act you would recommend to readers (who have played Boileroom)?

Cosmo Sheldrake – such an awesome live show – really entertaining and talented performer

Your all-time favourite song?

Sabotage – Beastie Boys

Your all-time favourite album?

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell

Best new song of this year (can be any genre or artist)?

Shamir – On The Regular

The Guitar Solo: Supporting the Venue

 

With financial realities/strains; pressures of survival, Boileroom is looking for supporters (or ‘Patrons’).  If you would like to donate to Boileroom- and why the hell would you not?!- then visit: https://www.patreon.com/theboileroom?ty=h.  As Boileroom themselves say:

For 9 years, we have developed and thrived without financial aid; but due to many factors this has become increasingly difficult, and to ensure our survival we are reaching out to our local community.

We need your help to continue with this work and develop our new creative space, we love what we do with a passion that is limitless.

Please invest in us so that we can continue to invest in Guildford’s creative community.

Whereas major cities have the money- and the population to keep venues healthy- there are bigger issues in the home counties- there is simply not as much financial support.

For only a few pounds a month, you can make a big difference: ensure that Boileroom continues to operate; support great new music- make a real difference in the community.  The venue is undergoing some changes- some refurbishment and a new garden- and making some plans; looking to the future.  With so many great acts coming through- and some terrific artists like Wolf Alice doing well- Boileroom is a natural home.  A space where bands can feel welcome and comfortable, they are guaranteed fervent support- in a brilliant environment.  We all spend so much money on needless peripheries; junk we don’t need: few people take the time to donate to worthy causes/projects.  Look at reviews (about Boileroom); watch the videos on the official site- all the cool events/dates coming up.  For all this to take place- and keep going year after year- there needs to be backing from the public- do something wonderful with your money.

The Outro.: The Future…?

Barring any challenges and upheaval- let’s hope Boileroom’s struggles are at an end- the future looks promising.  Of course, there is a little way to go: great venues require constant finance and patronage; great music coming through the door- bums on seats (figuratively speaking).  Capricious as fortune is; fickle as the public can be, Boileroom is doing tremendously- its reputation is solidified; its popularity continues to grow.  As much (as I) posses an issue with Surrey’s people (the small number that causes needless obstacles and stress) there is a loyal core of music-lovers: people who want to see great acts play on their doorsteps.  There are other music bars/venues around Guildford/Surrey, yet none have the same status as Boileroom- just talking to people and it is evident what an effect it has.  Among the upcoming events- full listings at http://www.theboileroom.net/listings/- is the latest What Is Your Activism? (on July 29th); Street Party! (on August 30th).  Wheatus are stopping by on October 15th– as part of their 15th Anniversary Tour– it will be a date to remember (although a middle-aged band singing Teenage Dirtbag may be a bit too ironic).  Monuments- one of the best new Metal acts- play on August 12th (shall stop by and see that); there is a lot going on- definitely something for everyone!  Boileroom has had a tough upbringing; its infantile years have been staggered by challenges and pressures- there is still work to be done.  What makes the venue so special- aside from the great music- is the hard work that goes into it.  The staff does exemplary work- there are no rank-and-file members in the venue- with everyone showing dedicated passion and hard work.  It is only left for me to say a) thanks to the staff of Boileroom (especially to Lydia Stockbridge) for their support and time, and b) go visit the venue- and see some wonderful music.  In a world where digital media is taking over; London is stealing focus- it is essential (venues such as) Boileroom thrive.  Do something good…

AND support a wonderful venue.

All photos included are taken from Boileroom’s official website- http://www.theboileroom.net/ (and its social media pages)

_______________________________________________ 

Follow Boileroom:

 

Official:

http://www.theboileroom.net/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/theboileroom?fref=ts

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/BOILEROOM

Instagram:

https://instagram.com/boileroom/

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf4TuQQz7WRraTQ64ficvPw

 

The 350th: Foreplay is for Cowards- A Celebration of New Music

The 350th:

Espresso Shot

Foreplay is for Cowards-

 

A Celebration of New Music

 

 

 

AS I ‘celebrate’- well, wonder how the hell I did it- the 350th blog post, I decided to do something different…

and put together a playlist- that which celebrates the best of new music.  Having reviewed a lot of acts- from around the world; all different ages- it was great digging through SoundCloud- seeing which songs would fit in (hopefully my arranging/producing skills are passable).  It is not just celebrating new music; there is a charity component: users/listeners are encouraged to visit a JustGiving page- I have set up- and donate (to The British Red Cross).  In as much (as they do) terrific work- often in extreme and dangerous circumstances- they are desperately under-funded- and need support now.

Across the 21-track collection, there is a great mix of sounds: from the new Pop sound of Jen Armstrong to the upbeat Blues of Jonnythefirth- with lots of diversity in-between- there is something for everyone!  Take a listen to the playlist and enjoy!  I have called it Foreplay is for Cowards because (and not that I believe that statement) it a) sounds like a cool album title (my first two- if I get a band- would be Marriage: A Beautiful Revenge and American Genius) and b) it begged a simple- yet effective- ‘album cover’- something I whipped up for the project.  Not sure if I will make it to 500 blog posts- which is why this event may not be as arbitrary as it seems- and I want to highlight some of my favourite/hardest-working musicians- there are many more (I want to include).  Maybe on the 400th we will do it again; do something special- maybe get everyone together at a gig.

For now; enjoy the music and remember to donate- all the links and information is below.  Once you have done that, check out the acts included- these guys have tonnes of quality songs.  Thanks for reading and supporting the blog: here’s to the next 350 (you may be bored stiff of my by then)!

Peace X

Playlist link: https://soundcloud.com/samliddicott/sets/foreplay-is-for-cowards

JustGiving link: https://www.justgiving.com/Sam-Liddicott8/

E.P. Review: Los and the Deadlines- Perfect Holiday

E.P. REVIEW:

 

Los and the Deadlines

 

Perfect Holiday

 

9.5/10.0

 

Perfect Holiday is available at:

https://losandthedeadlines.bandcamp.com/

RELEASED:
13th July, 2015

GENRES:
Alternative, Rock, Grunge

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

U.K.

TRACK LISTING:

Feel at Ease9.6

It Could Be So Much Better9.5

The Youth’s Opinion9.6

Batshit Crazy9.5

Lust to Shop for Nothing9.5

DOWNLOAD:

Feel at Ease, The Youth’s Opinion, Lust to Shop for Nothing

STANDOUT TRACK:

The Youth’s Opinion

 

Lyrics by Alex Losardo

Music by Los and the Deadlines

Band:


Alex LoSardo –
lead vocals, guitar

Niels Bakx – guitar and backing vocals

Rotem Haguel – bass and backing vocals

Alberto Voglino – drums and backing vocals

Recorded and Mixed by Tobin Jones at The Park Studios

Produced by Tobin Jones and Los and the Deadlines

Mastered by Phil Joannides

Artwork by Alberto Voglino

WHEN you get to a certain point with an act…

you have to cut to the chase.  There is no need for a lot of background; a big build-up: Los and the Deadlines (have been on these pages) a number of times; almost like old friends- most of you will be aware of them.  Before I get down to business- via some biography and background information-  I will raise one point: longevity and modern-day bands.  Some of my favourite ‘underground’ bands- Crystal Seagulls, The Bedroom Hour etc. – have called time- bands in the mainstream have split up: it seems great music does not guarantee a long-term future.  In the case of the aforementioned bands, the issue lies deeper: aspects around management and relations; personal fulfillment and finance.  It is such a shame this has to happen: great acts (who make great music) forced to quit, in spite of their glorious sounds.  With so many new acts coming through; so much competition (for festival/gig spots), people are being forced out- only a select few go the distance.  I am all for bands/acts coming through; great musicians coming to attention: the more musicians we produce, the less likely we are to see consistency.  There is this trend towards brevity and short burst: bands come and succeed; they are then overcome by pressure/external factors; a new band comes along (and repeats the process).  Seldom do we see- in the realm of new music- acts that last a long time- several years; produce many albums and E.P.s.  Maybe I am over-simplifying, yet my point is valid: life expectancy is fairly short-lived; not too many people acts have a long career- it is quite upsetting to see.   Before I finish my point- with regards Los and the Deadlines- let me introduce them to you (using their own words):

“The seedy underbelly of any major city spawns some of the most depraved and morally reprehensible bastards that even the dregs of civilization look down upon. These cretins walk amongst us, they ask you for money, they serve you drinks, they file your taxes, and in this case; they formed a band. In their new EP, “Perfect Holiday”, the Deadlines have not only made the depiction of absurdities in modern-day’s western society their craft; they made it their mission. With their tongue-in-cheek lyrics, thrashing riffs and thumping rhythms, Los and the Deadlines are a prophet’s voice in a decaying civilisation. Much like the city that they hail from, the Deadlines are the establishment of anti-establishment. They make sound. They make noise.”

Here is a group that will overcome the odds: forge a long career and make a great show of things.  With their latest E.P. out- which I will review later- the band are growing in confidence: their music is getting stronger and they show no signs of slowing.  The relationships in the band are solid and brotherly; the boys have a clear respect for one another- this comes through in their music.  With regards other factors- finance and competition- the Los’ lads seem to be overcoming it: they are one (of few bands) who seem unlikely to split: I can see them playing on for many years; becoming headline regulars.  It is hard to pin-point the one reason behind this; why they seem so solid- the music itself is a key factor.  In a scene of over-familiarity and sameness, Los and the Deadlines do things differently: the band mix ‘90s Grunge with modern Rock; their lyrics mix modern life with politics; their anthems are unique and original- few other acts can be tied to them.  It is not just their originality that defines them: the sheer confidence they project is hard to refute; it makes every note so vital and urgent.  The combination of forces- the great relations and terrific music- marks the band out for greatness- expect to hear a lot more from them.  Perfect Holiday is their latest offering: to my mind, the finest work they have produced to date.

Barreling out the gates (like a horny rodeo bull), Feel at Ease is a demented and feral thing- a snarling track that wants to eat you alive- well, in the initial moments at least.  The song’s intro. mixes distortion with tease; jumping bass with rolling-rock percussion- a typically dizzying/head-f*** opening from Los and the Deadlines.  Taking your brain one way; your body the other; that bass twang lodges inside your brain- before our front-man steps up to the mic.  Having reviewed this track previously- back in April of this year- I knew what to expect: over the last three months, the song has revealed new beauty.  Looking at the central figure- someone who has a ‘big plan’ to make money and get on his feet- that mixture of despondency and hope is infectious.  We all can relate to that loser-in-the-face-of-the-odds struggle: someone who is desperate for a bit of money; convinces himself safety is just around the corner- a lyrical subject not too many bands touch upon it.  Tired (our hero is) of trying to achieve the dream, he is walking the streets- looking for a way out of his struggles.  Looking for a “quick fix”, our man is trying everything he can: that need to feel at ease is paramount.  Entrancing as the lyrics/vocals are- and the distinct Spoken Word-style LoSardo delivers them- the band joins the fray- delivering an impassioned and quirky composition.  The guitars chug and jive; the percussion hisses and teases- the bass twangs and strikes.  As our hero speculates and worries- paranoia grows; his ‘contact’/way out seems to have a dead phone; it seems like he has been screwed-over- the vocal gets anxious and sweaty (our hero needs a Plan-B).  Just as another parable is delivered, the band changes direction: the music becomes focused and hard, Grunge-like (Nirvana’s early work comes to mind) and pressing- although never too heavy or forceful.  The band’s twirls and spirals; solos and arpeggios add emotion and drama to proceedings- the song seems like a film score or tangible thing (their instruments represent heartbeats and anxiety; the emotions of the hero).  Additive and sing-along, Feel at Ease boasts a memorable chorus: the entire track whizzes by (actually it is 3:29 long) but you are left wanting more- entranced by its magic and mystique.

   It Could Be So Much Better begins with a punchy beat: soon joined by a leather jacket-clad guitar (sounding a bit like glory days AC/DC), it is a fantastic opening.  Controlled and confident; teasing and underplayed- the band tempt you in from the opening seconds.  As the title suggests, our hero wants things to be better: the song looks at the malaise of modern life; the boredom of the situation- that need for something else.  Our front-man is caught in a daze (On T.V., nothing ever changes. It’s getting boring/Open up my cupboard to look just for the right booze”); junk food and cigarettes are on his mind- almost as a way to medicate the realities of life.  The chorus is spoon-fed and teased; highlighting the importance of the words- and getting the listener invested in the song.  By the time the second verse appears, our man looks out at the world: the way humans can become better; the wat we can “start evolving.”  Typical of the band, the music speaks as loud as the lyrics: the composition fuses Grunge and Alternative; dark grumbles and static beats- to create something moody and angry; grumbling and concrete- underlining and emphasising the band’s messages.  Looking into modern life and the workplace, our front-man is bored: his boss is disgruntled; our man wants better from life- “Pretty sure I won’t be here tomorrow.”  Past the half-way mark, the band unleashes a twirling coda: guitar notes crackle and spark; the percussion spits and strikes; the bass guides and lunges- an epic soundscape begins to unfold.  Expanding and elongating- throwing in some new sounds and diversions- the band goes full frenzy: ramping things up and rushing for the heavens- before the chorus comes back to play.  With his voice more urgent and bold, our hero is wracked and determined- a man who knows things need to be improved.  A likely future-single- and a song that ha myriad music video options- would kill to direct the hell out of that puppy- it is a terrific sophomore number.  Once more touching on the everyday, the boys highlight a common issue: that need to break from the mundane; the frustration of the workplace- the desire to do something meaningful in life.  Completing a tremendous 1-2, Los and the Deadlines have rarely sounded more assured- It Could Be So Much Better is one of their finest (and most assured) number so far.

   The Youth’s Opinion is next off the blocks: it wastes no time in making its voice heard.  Feet-tapping and s***-kicking, it is an introduction that stumbles drunkenly.  The album works like a concept work: a central character that progresses (as the album does).  The opening number looked at desperation and scraping- relaying on half-arsed leads and dodgy deals.  The following track sees him in a mundane job; determined not to stick it out- looking to change the world.  By this stage, we see some development: this song is a musical job interview; that series (of inane questions and job requirements) – almost like our man is trying his luck again.  Whether speaking in the first-person- or documenting the events of a fictional character- it is another addictive and unique number.  The lyrics stand out here; the real-life/common quandaries are laid bare- again, we can all relate to what is being sung.  From the banalities/purposelessness of job interviews (Please provide at least two references/We’ll decide if they’re strong enough relationships”) there is a mix of world-weariness and sarcasm- that juvenile spit that shows distain (for such noxious logarithms and mathematics).  The chorus is a mixture of desperation-cum-submission; our man looks at the requirements of the job market (“I’ll do anything, anywhere, any given time/I’ll never ask what is fair, I will never whine”); backed as it is by cooing vocals- giving it a great mix of Pop and Rock; adding some light amidst the anxiety.  Complete with terrific vocals (including backing vocals) our hero mixes speaking and singing (excellent delivery when speaking; emotion and passion when singing) adding weight and emotion to the song- and emphasising Los and the Deadlines’ hallmarks.  The song itself could have a few meanings: in addition to the workplace it could look at the music industry itself (that desire to tick boxes in order to survive) or a relationship dilemma (“Take me now, take me here, promise not to leave/I need a chance, give me a chance, PLEASE”).  Building up the mystery, adding in some great delivery- a mixture of David Byrne and Bloc Party- the song whizzes and dances; trading vocals (inside one another)- you are captivated by its layers and details as they unfold.  The song’s title seems most prescient: that need to fit into what youth want; to fit into the 18-30 market- whether their opinions are inane and stupid (as they tend to be) or not.  Punctuating the song- and coming in around the half-way point again- the band provide some breathing room: a well-structured and strong compositional moment arrives; a wonderful bridge that provides a real sense of progress and development.  The final verse is fast-paced and angry- lines are separated by little bursts of guitar and punctuation- as our man ups the (sarcasm) ante (“Congratulations, we are willing to offer this permanent position with 20 days holiday per fiscal year, this will involve unsocial hours and you’ll need to provide a track-record of meeting targets, good writing skills, excellent face-to-face communication, savvy with social networking and really do value the youth’s opinions..”).  When these words are delivered it has me wondering: are the band speaking about the music industry itself; showing their dissatisfaction with ‘market goals’- making music that will satisfy social media needs/a sector that want things a particular way?  Roaring and rollicking, The Youth’s Opinion is a brilliant midpoint track- and shows how strong the band are (turning in one of their most compelling and tight performances).

The penultimate number is Batshit Crazy: a song, presumingly not about fine love or tender romance.  Starting with- an intro. that, strangely, mixes Reggae and Funk into the mix- the band do not go crazy in the initial phase- making sure the song begins with passion and kick; rather than fury and vengeance.  Echoing and spacey (the early guitar utterance’s vibrate and wail) the boys change direction again- never staying with a basic/predictable sound; making sure their songs sound different and distinct.  Looking at a disreputable scene- delivering his sermon with that blend of judgment and revulsion- our hero has seen some things- strip clubs and poles; a 16-year-old selling herself; his stomach turns as things unfold.  You can picture the lyrics; see what is going on- sympathise with our hero’s plight.  In an insane world, these types of occurrences are quite common.  If we go down two avenues- the concept album developing for one; a new social issue the other- it is a fascinating song.  Maybe our lead/character has reached a breaking-point: dissatisfied with the world, he needs to blow off steam- the way he is doing it has caused disgust and regret; maybe a necessary wakeup call.  In terms of a message/theme, the band looks at the seedy and dark underbelly: the dank corners of society that need to be eradicated and purified.  Alarmed by the city (“Her smoke is done, she rolls another/A man from the corner shouts he loves her!”) our hero is in disarray- the vocal is particular emotionally-fueled and tense.  Without change or innocent, the chorus seems pretty apt- and a good a way as any (to describe what is happening).  Marrying frenetic strings (with something taut and punchy) the band are on Red Alert- the composition is one of the most frantic on the E.P.

Taking Perfect Holiday to land, Lust to Shop for Nothing is a sensational closer: a track that makes its impressions instantaneously.  Melting howling and snarling strings with combustible drumming, the introduction is alive and flailing: one of the strongest opening statements on the record.  Consistently nervy and stressed, the vocal is gripping and tense: if we follow the story along, our man has reached a breaking-point.  The song looks at consumerism and wastage: blowing money on things we don’t need; dislocated from reality, we/the subject blows money on pointless objects- leaving little left for rent and necessities.  The dissatisfaction is almost palpable in the early phases- “Baby I’m broke, got nothing left/Had a bad month, just paid the rent/Here’s my credit card just spend a little less”- as our hero rallies against the insanity.  Essentially, we spend too much time behind the screen: shopping and frittering away the time; forgetting the importance of human touch and reality check- using money prudently and wisely.  Shades of Queens of the Stone Age come out in the song- the composition has elements of their Rated R-era work- with our front-man sounding a little (Josh) Homme-esque at times- whether the band are influenced by Q.O.T.S.A., I am not too sure.  Whereas previous numbers have expanded and evolved, Lust’ is more focused and linear- in order to get its message across effectively.  A cry to the masses, the band is completely in step: the composition is emphatic and filled with detail; the vocals combine and multiply- the energy and emotion involved is electrifying.  As you’d expect from the lads, the midpoint gives way to musical adventure: having delivering some truths, the band unveil a stunning statement.  Brash and pugnacious; syncopated and considered, the boys are in top form: at this point they unleash their tightest and most intriguing moment.  It is hard to ignore that sense of judgment and dissatisfaction: the ideal that online shopping and the Internet is replacing real life/human interaction- we are becoming slaves to the machine.  When the next verse starts to kick into life- “I had such a good time, what did you do?/Thank you so much, you’re too kind/I was at home looking for deals online/Let’s stay in tonight, see what we can find”- that combination of sarcasm and dissatisfaction comes into the spotlight.  Our man is caught in a relationship that offers boredom and the indoors; no romance or reality- just needless surfing and shopping.  Whilst the protagonist wastes time (shopping for nothing), our man has reached his limit- maybe he feels guilty he is not too dissimilar.  The closing notes give the E.P. a fitting send-off: the guitars ramp up and attack; the drum rolls and pummels; the bass leers and contorts- perfectly wrapping-up a terrific track.

The entire band should be applauded and commended: they have really put in a lot of effort; come up with their strongest record to date.  Whereas Part One: Bank looked at financial issues and caffeine; consumer life and woes, here they tackle new themes: finance and consumerism are still in place; the job market and online issues are brought to the fore.  Whereas Part One’ looked at inane Facebook posts/’selfies; Perfect Holiday focuses on online shopping- the band are always brilliant at tapping into modern concerns/habits.  Throughout the five tracks, the boys look into woes of society- the stresses of pointless jobs; the way we throw away dreams and life- and funnel it into terrific anthems.  Forgoing love and break-up stresses, the band are original and more vital- why waste time saying the (same as anyone else) where there are important themes to be explored?  The performances are uniformly exceptional- the entire group is in perfect sync.  Alex LoSardo marks himself out as one of Rock’s most distinct singers: someone who pairs Spoken Word commentary with emotive vocals.  Most bands- who play similar music- sing everything in full voice: it is one-dimensional and predictable.  As Los and the Deadline’s lead, LoSardo does things differently- not content to let the lyrics do all the talking.  His lyrics filled with stunning commentary and witty moments; brilliant cut and oblique avenues- one of the most accomplished set of lyrics the band have crafted.  Most songwriters stick to tried waters- love and heartache; nothing too unique- yet LoSardo has a very special type of talent: he is someone who wants to make changes in the world; a person that wants to speak for his generation- and not just speak for himself.  Niels Bakx shreds it with passion- combing effortless with the front-man- and showcases his full range of emotions.  A spectacular guitarist- and one who has played with many other acts- mixes the theatrics of Matt Bellamy, the Rock grit of Page and Hendrix; the Grunge and Kurt Cobain and Kim Thayil- a multifarious and diverse guitar talent.  Adding so much passion and importance to proceedings, Bakx almost steals the show: his guitar work is exemplary and inspirational from start to finish.  Rotem Haguel- the band’s new recruit- provides bass and backing vocal.  The former is consistently guiding and authoritative: keeping each track controlled and focused; guiding the band through every moment- making sure it all ties together.  When combining his voice (with LoSardo) you get a great blend of tones: something that adds great weight to the songs (he sings on).  A fantastic addition, Haguel demonstrates himself to be a phenomenal player: one of the most expressive and instinctive bass talents in modern Rock.  Completing the line-up is Alberto Voglino: the band’s backbone and percussion king.  At once primal and animal-like; the next teasing and restrained, Voglino combines drumming gods- Grohl and Peart; Ulrich and Castillo (Queens of the Stone Age)- into his special blend- one of the biggest names to watch.  Together, the band is tight and mesmeric; nobody misses a beat- the entire effect is fantastic.  Backed by terrific production values, Perfect Holiday is a tremendous achievement: an E.P. that brims with TUNES and insight; modern relevance and riffs; fist-pump and demure- what more could you possibly want?


Perfect Holiday is Los and the Deadline’s most impassioned work: the band have come on leaps and bounds; created their mist solid work- the most vital statement of their music.  From the earliest notes, the listener has little time to rest: every hook, riff and vocal gets under the skin; the lyrics are quotable and stunning; the band performances consistently tight and inspired- the overall effect quite spellbinding.  Usually when a band unveils an E.P.- especially when there are four or five songs on it- there is a weak link: that one track that is not quite as special as the rest- the supermodel who breaks winds when nobody is looking.  When Los’ produced Part One: Bank (in January of 2014) that E.P. was great: I did feel that the opening two numbers could have been a little stronger; perfect a tad more urgent- to make sure you are gripped from the go.  Perfect Holiday suffers no such slight: Feel at Ease is a gripping and nuanced opener that reveals something new (with each listen).  The London-based clan has undergone a slight band change (a new-ish member in the fold); their lyrical focus has shifted a bit- whilst still retaining their cores of social commentary, relations and personal investigation- whilst their musicianship is stronger than ever- their current E.P. shows no weakness or surrender.  Even as you look at the E.P.’s cover- a dilapidated (and possibly bomb-destroyed) building- there is sarcasm, irony and juxtaposition: the boys have a keen sense of humour; political edges to their music- that destructiveness and anger; beauty and restraint.  Although their ‘Shows’ page- on their official band website- is blank, keep your eyes peeled: the boys will surely be taking to the road; playing around London for sure- promoting the E.P. with a vengeance.  If you can catch them live- and it is something I am yet to do- then I would recommend it: the band’s live reputation is legendary; the boys put on a hell of a show.  With Perfect Holiday fresh in the minds, it will be interesting to see what happens next- whether the band are going to rest or pound the tarmac instantly.  The lads deserve a rest: their E.P. is the summation of endless hard work and effort; fettling and perfecting- making sure it is the very best it can be.  Brimming with quality songs and memorable moments, the future looks very positive- and will be great to see what comes next.  Of course there will be (a lot more) music afoot: I am curious whether the boys will decide to record an L.P. – record a 10 or 11-track album and expand upon their sound.  It is great to see Los and the Deadlines again; I am always cheered when they release new material- their current effort is the perfect soundtrack to the summer.  Complete with epic riffs and stunning moments; cutting lyrics and anthemic performances, here’s a band that will go the distance- their music can be appreciated by all.  If you are looking for a new band- one that will keep coming back/last the distance- and a unique sound, then get on board with Los’- ignore them at your peril.  In (a music industry) where there are predictable evils- the rise and success of mediocre and horrendous Pop acts- and unpredictable moments- great bands splitting- Los and the Deadlines are calm waters- dip your toes in.  Sit back, relax and breathe: and let their music…

BLOW you away.

 

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Follow Los and the Deadlines:

Official:

 http://www.losandthedeadlines.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/losandthedeadlines

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/losdeadlines

Instagram:

https://instagram.com/losdeadlines/

 _____________________________________________________________________

Music:

 _________________________________________________________________________

 Video:

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

 

__________________________________________________________________________

Gigs:

http://www.losandthedeadlines.com/?page_id=577

 

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Track Review: Victory Kicks- Died a Patriot

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Victory Kicks

  

Died a Patriot

 

9.4/10.0

 

The album High Wires is available at:

https://victorykicks.bandcamp.com/album/high-wires-lp

TRACK LISTING:

Writers’ Strike- 9.2

No Great Shakes- 9.3

Concept Car 9.3

Died a Patriot9.4

High Wires- 9.4

Ended with Theft- 9.3

Spring Bulletin- 9.2

The North Fall- 9.4

Lancaster Gate 9.3

Wherever She Writes- 9.3

DOWNLOAD:

Died a Patriot, High Wires, The North Fall

STANDOUT TRACK:

Died a Patriot

RELEASED:
20th July, 2015

GENRES:
Alternative, Rock

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

U.K.

All songs written by John Sibley.
Recorded and Produced by John Sibley. London 2015

Unmanned Aerial Vinyl 2015. UAV-VKLP002

 

IT is always good revisiting an act…

that I have previously assessed- to see how they are progressing.  Music- or in this age at least- is defined by short-term lust: acts tend to come and go; there is a lot of transitory appeal; artists dissipate before you know it- before a new one comes along.  If you can remain and pervade- stick in the imagination and keep producing work- you are onto something.  It may be an over-simplification, but most new artists tend to not last too long- only a selected few last the distance.  I guess it is the nature of the beast: with the competition out there- and the amount of money needed to record music- it is inevitable in a sense.  That seems to be the impression I get (when looking at the new acts of the mainstream) yet new-new music- acts of the underground; away from the mainstream- do things a little differently- there is less pressure to succeed here.  Those starting out are building up their name; just beginning their careers: as a result, they are determined to produce music and keep stamping out songs- without the same huge pressures you get in the mainstream.  I have said it in previous pots- with regards pressures musicians face- some do fail; some acts and bands suffer dislocation and collapse- it is a sad reality of music.  However, there are a lot of great artists coming out: acts that are producing a lot of music; look ahead to the future- determined to stick around.  This brings me to Victory Kicks- the brainchild of John Silbley- whom I have reviewed before (their debut E.P. Emergency Noise was released in June of last year).  Since Emergency Noise, the band has released The Young Flood: their follow-up E.P. that was received with plaudits and praise.  Before I continue, let me give you some insight (into the four-piece) in their own words:

“Victory Kicks started life in early 2013 as a home recording project for songwriter and guitarist John Sibley. After writing a large number of songs and realizing that waiting around for a record deal would mean that most would inevitably be forgotten, John decided to start piecing a recording studio together at home. Old songs were finished off and new songs were written and often recorded the same day with John handling vocals, guitar, bass and drums as well as production duties and working out how to do the latter as he went. Early EP’s and singles containing short, lo-fi pop songs were recorded and shared amongst friends and family.
Victory Kicks then went from solo project to band with the addition of friends from other London based acts and established its own record label with the release of its first official EP, Rockets for Ghosts in July 2013. Comprising seven home recorded tracks of short, catchy indie rock, Rockets for Ghosts was a success for the band garnering favourable reviews and receiving airplay for the first time on stations in both the UK and the US. Ghosts was followed by the release of three singles, including the song Radio Saves which saw the band make its debut appearance on BBC radio playlists.

Taking the decision to record music at home would allow the band the flexibility to record new songs as and when they were written and since the release of its debut EP in 2013 Victory Kicks has built something of a reputation for prolificacy – 2014 has already seen a full length album called The Decibel Age as well as a seven track EP called Emergency Noise. A third record called The Young Flood will be released on November 17th. Today, Victory Kicks is a four piece band consisting of old friends making home recorded music whenever possible.”

Victory Kicks intrigue me for two reasons: they have a lo-fi, ‘90s-influenced sound; they have a low key presence among social media channels.  There are few bands that tend to portray a ‘lo-fi’ sound: music that is neither heavy and urgent or more gentle and sedate.  Victory Kicks have plenty of presence and force: they tend to concern themselves with mixing beauty and nuance; passion and thought-provoking sounds- without coming across too strongly.  The boys still retain their key ideals: recording music that sounds home-made made and honest; sparse and raw- free from the peripheries and baubles of modern studios.  Every track sounds intimate and homely: the quartet is one of the few bands that have an honest and vintage recording sound- giving inspiration and guidance to bedroom kings and queens.  Whereas at the beginning- Sibley was recording all the parts/components in his bedroom- he has the support of the band; yet Victory Kicks has lost none of its hallmarks and trademarks- that distinct sound is very much in place.  That mixture of ‘90s-cum-modern-day influence does wonders: sprinkling mid-‘90s Grandaddy with early-career Guided by Voices is an intriguing blend.  I hope the resulting months see the band expanding their social media pages: maybe stamping an official website; getting involved more on YouTube: exploiting and utilising what is on offer; given the fans a glimpse into their lives.  The band has produced plenty of music, yet remains borderline-anonymous: their Facebook page shows few photos (of Silbley and gang); no tour dates or gig information- just the music itself.  It is always important to focus on the music, yet I would like to know more about V.K.: where they will be playing next; a little bit more of the ‘personal’.


When you look at influences/other acts- that you can compare and tie to Victory Kicks- there are a few possibilities.  The shimmering and wistful sound of Grandaddy- and particularly albums like Sumday– has influenced Sibley: High Wires has that Grandaddy-esque pairing of rural calm and sympathy for lost souls (plus touching on modern themes like technology and its effect on society).  Grandaddy’s finest moment was The Sophtware Slump focused on technology and machinery: the detrimental effect on society; requiems that were sympathetic and cautionary- songs that saw humans being alienated and replaced (by technology).  Sibley has a similar voice and style: touching on modern concerns and social issues with a mixture of intelligence and passion; rich melodies and aching vocals.  When Wilco released Summerteeth (in 1999) it was lauded for its beauty and sparsity- that bellied the studio craftsmanship that helped spawn it.  Both lush and sweeping, intimate and lo-fi, the album was a commercial hit.  The pastoral themes and focused song-craft resonated throughout; the album is a symphony of beauty and alienation.  British Sea Power- a Brighton-based act formed in 2000- hit their stride around Open Season and Do You Like Rock Music?  The music is rough-hewn and honest; organic and vintage- music designed for the people (rather than a particular individual).  Victory Kicks have managed to borrow influences from the above acts, yet they are their band.

Died a Patriot begins with a charming and gripping rush: the introduction mixes chugging guitars and driving force; punchy percussion- marrying the ‘90s grace of Grandaddy and R.E.M. with Victory Kicks’ patented blends (that has been evident in their past work).  Not too forceful and overwrought, instead the listener is teased in; seduced and hooked- fascinated as to what (is to) come.  Initial lyrics look at new beliefs and clarity; one-track minds and mortality- our hero’s voice is packed with emotion and urgency.  There is some obliqueness and mystery to begin: it is not instantly clear what Sibley (is referring to).  You sense some political and personal strife; a mind that is clouded and confused- in need of, in his own words, “a new belief.”  The vocals have a breathy and light quality; Sibley aches and yearns- but never seems overwrought.  Mortality and death are looked at- never in a mordent or depressing way- with the hero wanting to “die a patriot”- “sometime/somewhere.”   One of the track’s great strength is its simplicity and format: it is largely an instrumental track to start.  From the introduction- to the closing moments- that propelling and gripping (instrumental coda) seems to ruminate hard- and win most focus.  Both breezy and light; jagged and sharp- it is a score that is addictive and memorable.  Sibley keeps his lyrics focused and sparse- the entire track contains fewer lines and lyrics than a lot of their previous tracks.  Themes of dislocation and questioning come around; mortality and meaning feature large- our hero looks for meaning and resolution.  Towards the half-way mark, there is this sense of loss: our hero needs a new belief; something meaningful and new- seemingly disaffected and adrift.  Caught between “high and low” you start to show sympathy (for our front-man); hope that he finds resolve and safety- his mind is confused and shadowed.  Either a personal plea- or a reflection of modern society- there is that search for meaning.  Sibley spends his days seeking stable ground: as life is, things need to improve.  Mixing in shades of Wilco and British Sea Power, Died a Patriot pairs reflective and pastoral sounds with sweeping emotions- grabbing the listener and demanding them to take notice.  The band takes great trouble when it comes to the composition and componence: the entire song sounds well-rehearsed and considered; expertly crafted.  Being Victory Kicks, that perfectionism comes with loose and live: the band make everything sound natural and live-sounding.  Part of your mind focused on the lyrics themselves: wondering about their true meaning; pining for the front-man’s plight.  The other part (of your mind) looks at the composition: that endlessly fascinating mix of bonhomie and stir; emotion and uplift.  Keeping his card close to his chest, Sibley’s words take on several meanings: on a personal level there is dislocation and loss; on a wider scale there is political and social unrest- something we can all relate to.  Died a Patriot is a typically assured slice of Victory Kicks authority: a song that perfectly sums High Wires up.  The stand-out from their album, it is a perfect introduction to the band- and what potential they have.

High Wires is as striking and memorable as its album art: an album that does not shout and scream; it does not just fade and fizzle- instead it slow-burns and compels; demands some repeated investigation (and hooks you with its minimalism and lo-fi charm).  Most of the ten tracks are short and tight; no song runs on and outstays its welcome: the entire album is defined by its economy and brevity- by the end you are left wanting more (the guys tease that out of you).  A lot of modern acts trend to put out too much; produce lengthy tracks (and long albums) – by the end you are somewhat bored and annoyed.  Victory Kicks are an intuitive and intelligent act: they know how to put out their message without needless showiness and loquaciousness- High Wires is a focuses and memorable album.  Sibley has developed and improved as a songwriter: the hooks and melodies are stronger (and more memorable); his lyrics are more compelling and gripping- the songs more diverse and multifarious.  The band’s core sound is in place, yet Sibley has managed to both sound more original- fewer nods to his heroes and influences- and bold: his vocals seem more confident and passionate; the production values are stronger and sharper- whilst coming across as live-sounding and bare.  I was a big fan of Emergency Noise- and saw The Young Flood as a noble effort- yet find High Wires (to be the band’s) finest work.  Emergency Noise seemed a little long- it was a seven-track E.P. – and has the odd filler; The Young Flood improved on this- as of now, the group has truly hit their stride.  It is not just the songs that have struck me, but the sound itself: how many other acts have that home-recorded sound and majesty, whilst producing songs that are festival-ready and anthemic?  Excelsior to Sibley, who has managed to craft quite a special album: one that hits you upon a cursory spin; reveals magic and layers upon further investigation- and keeps on providing little insights.  I love a lot of the current crops- Everything Everything’s latest L.P. is filled with technoclour passion and rushing sonics; lyrics that are more downbeat and introspective- yet it is great to promote the underground: great artists that are working hard and pressing on.  It is only a matter of time before Victory Kicks are infiltrating the festival scene: playing alongside some of the best acts of the moment.  The fact that they not only keep getting better yet show no signs of slowing is encouraging- I predict the band will be making music for many years to come.  Sibley and co. has a natural and unique voice that is hard to fault: music designed for the masses without pretention or fakery.  High Wires’ strongest moments- Died a Patriot and the title track- occurs in the middle of the L.P.; Writers’ Strike is a perfect opener- Whenever She Writes a graceful and memorable swansong.  With no filler or weak moment, what you have is a consistent and studied effort- each track has a very Victory Kicks feel; nothing is forced or disingenuous.  Originality and consistency are what makes the band: although each song sounds fairly similar (in the sense there is no great sonic or lyrical leap) that works in their favour- you never feel the band is betraying itself or trying to please too hard.  Sibley is a natural songwriter with a keen ear (and sharp pen) which comes across throughout the album.  What comes next is anyone’s guess: maybe there will be some tour dates or bookings; perhaps an E.P. or follow-up album?  Being a lo-fi, low key band, we will find out in time; for now, just enjoy their latest offering: an album that is rife with standout moments and stunning songs.  In a music industry that is not overflowing with tremendous acts (and albums), the likes of Victory Kicks..

DESERVE a huge amount of support.

 

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Follow Victory Kicks:

 

Official:

http://victorykicks.bandcamp.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/VictoryKicks?fref=ts

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/victory_kicks

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Music:

https://soundcloud.com/victorykicks

Interview: Elena Ramona

Interview:

 

Elena Ramona

 

I have been looking forward to catching up with Elena Ramona: an artist making moves; putting new sounds together.  This week, I will be focusing on music talent; writing my own stuff too: many of my music contacts/friends are doing great things- which is always a pleasure to see.  After releasing Happy Song (online), Elena Ramona is not stopping there.  I was keen to see what she has in store; what she thinks of the (modern music) industry- and when we can expect some new music.

 

Hi Elena. You have had an interesting 2015: what have been your best moments?

There have been so many great moments this year, but the moment I will treasure forever happened earlier this summer.  I had an acoustic set in a local pub and unfortunately on the day my guitarist couldn’t make the event; I had to get some backing tracks together and make sure the show went on a planned.  All my friends turned up and cheered me on I felt so grateful, it showed me that not everything works out, but with great support and some hope it all can still work.  I love this journey I am on and times like that just make it all the more worth it.

Over the past few years you have played some great gigs; developed as an artist. Has it been tough making waves/progress in the music industry?

In a musical town and world it will always be tough; I have learnt through my experiences to stay focused on my own work.

In addition to music, you work in retail. Do you feel modern musicians need to work part time just to be able (to afford to make) music?

It is good to have a stable income.  Having a part-time job in retail has helped me hugely better my social skills and I enjoy it (as I meet all walks of life during the day on the shop floor).

You have recently released Happy Song. Does this mean a new E.P. is on the horizon?

I believe a new E.P. is on the horizon yes- after my fourth single and fourth music video- which is yet to be released.

In terms of opportunities- venues and labels- are cities such as London vital? Can you ever see yourself moving there?

For now I am very happy in Guildford: it is very central and only a train ride from the capital.  Having an Internet presence means I can reach anyone anywhere with the click of a button- I don’t know what the future holds if I got a dream job in songwriting I would move closer to its location.

Growing up, who were your main music idols/influences?

My main musical influences growing up where the Beatles and Elkie Brooks.  My main idols where Pink Floyd and The Spice Girls.

Your songwriting is pretty varied and diverse. What sort of themes and topics inspire you the most?

I am inspired by life experiences, and I aim to write songs that people can relate to.

As a young woman, do you find the music industry favours male acts? Have you faced any barriers/discrimination because of your gender?

Absolutely not: there is enough room for both men and women to do what they love in the music industry.

There are a lot of musicians coming through- many quite scared of what’s to come. What advice would you offer to them?

Keep doing what you do write about what is in your heart and do not take constructive criticism badly.  Grow as a musician and person, (lastly) enjoy the journey.

Of all the new music coming through, who/what would you recommend?

Lucas is a London-based artist, he has a great stage presence and an amazing soulful voice check out his latest track Far Away.  https://soundcloud.com/soulshaker/soulshaker-ft-lucas-far-away-radio-edit-mp3cutnet

Finally- and because I like to offer interviewees a song- choose a track of your choice…

Big Girls Cry -Sia

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Follow Elena Ramona:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elena-Ramona/323928237668916?fref=ts

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/elenaramona90