The Man Who Saved The World

Posted: May 4, 2016 in Features

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The death of a loved one is never easy, especially when it is someone who you looked up to, were inspired by or even learned from.

It continues to amaze me how one single person could influence your entire life, make you the person that you are today. The funny thing is, you aren’t completely aware of the impact that person has made until they’re gone. I was at a funeral today, my cousin John Francis Kennedy passed away on the 2nd of May of a heart attack. This name means nothing to my readers of course but to me and my family, it means everything. John has been sick for a very long time and he knew it yet he never once let that stop him. You could talk to him for hours on end and always be in tears with laughing so much. He touched the soul of everyone he met; which begs the question, who influenced his life, who made him the man he was. The answer? The same as millions of people around the world, Kurt Cobain.

Cobain has to be one of the most influential people not just in the music industry but society as well. Lead singer for Nirvana Cobain reached the hearts of millions. For generations, boys and girls had jumped on their beds, swinging tennis rackets around and pretending to be the rock stars they dreamed they’d become.

Cobain, though, always seemed like he never wanted that kind of fame or the attention. He was tormented by his own personal demons and memories or his abusive childhood. He poured his pain and anger into his work creating not only exceptionally song still famous today, but a gateway into metal health. Cobain was among the first musicians to openly speak about his mental health issues.

I didn’t struggle with many of the issues that Cobain did such as divorced parents, homelessness, chronic pain or even substance abuse. However, Nirvana’s music, and Cobain’s broiling passion and clear-eyed vision, made me feel connected to him. I wasn’t the only one who was inspired by him, without his music there wouldn’t be bands like The Beatles.

What made him so special was that he seemed like a regular guy who stumbled into rock stardom and then recoiled from it when he reached the heights that some people spend their every waking breath striving for. That is punk rock. Who knows what would’ve happened if he hadn’t killed himself on 5Th of May 1994 but what we do know, he changed the world. He changed the way the world looked at music and more importantly, the way we look at mental health, he made the world a better place because without him, thousands would’ve have the courage to speak up and ask for the help that they need.

So Kurt Cobain, I’d like to thank you for the influence you have had on us and for being John’s idol, without you he wouldn’t have been the fun loving man we loved.

 

-Michele Kennedy

Leanne Smith Interview: 10/01/14

Posted: February 11, 2014 in Interviews

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Leanne Smith is a twenty-year-old guitarist from Macduff who loves to sing and write songs.

Leanne studied music at Aberdeen College which proved to be a fantastic learning experience. She is currently based in Perth, Scotland, where she is continuing her studies in music at Perth College UHI.

She has supported Lucy Rose, John Smith, Fossil Collective, Sandi Thom, The Birthday Suit, The Darling Mundaring, Kate McGil, Cara Mitchell and various other artists and bands.

In an interview with Band Age, Smith tells us what life as an upcoming musician is really like and how she juggles her career and college at the same time.

 

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With the untimely departure of Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage, the internet became a plethora of rumours and hearsays.

Who was going to don the microphone and become the new front man of the masters of metal core?

The most likely candidate was Phil Labonte, the lead vocalist of All That Remains, who had already helped Killswitch finish their tour after Jones left. Until it was officially announced, Jesse Leach would be giving up his side project, Times of Grace and would return to claim his throne as the lead singer of Killswitch Engage.

With Jesse reunited with his former band members, Mike D’Antonio, Justin Foley, Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz both of the latter were also in Leach’s side project.

Their single, ‘In Due Time’, was released February 5th 2013. This single was the first release following Killswitch Engage’s previous self-titled album, which left a lot to be desired, and it was with this single the Killswitch rose as a phoenix from the ash.

Following the norm of Killswtch’s metalcore raison d’etre, Leach has incorporated his melodic vocals with gnarly growls and pitch perfect screaming. Unlike Leach’s debut album, ‘In Due Time’ has a much stronger integration of clean melodic vocals, which he has vastly improved and nigh perfected since his last album with Killswitch Engage.

Dutckiewicz, their lead guitarist, has seldom changed his form since the birth of Killswitch, and with good reason. The riffs are catchy and gather pace, pulling the growling vocals fluently through to the clean vocals. The well timed, excellently executed solo that Dutkewicz is better known for create a brilliant break in the track, adding  face-melting power cords and an awesome rhythmic ‘shredding’ to the progression of ‘In Due Time’.

Foley’s double bass drum adds a fearsome under beat so commonly associated within the realms of metalcore. The fast pace of the bass glues together the symphony of vocals and guitar, making for a well-crafted, well welded piece of metal music.

All in all, a beautiful hybrid of ‘Times of Grace’ and old ‘Killswitch Engage’, though I have to admit, I do miss some of Leach’s heavier gnarly growls that once added a brutal depth to their art. How do you feel about ‘In Due Time’?

-Words by Ashley King-

 

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I think it’s fascinating when a band decides to evacuate the hometown and nest somewhere totally unexpected in a hope the result of such experimentations with location shall provide the greatest of rock’n’roll anthems. Specifically for the Arctic Monkeys, after two hugely successful albums, including an EP also, the location is LA, the Mohave Desert, along with a trail of tunes produced in New York. So, although the scenery is constructed differently to their beloved Sheffield UK, the songs on Humbug, all mysterious pinches of seductive psychoactive thrill, and nonsensical, poetic romances, the result is rather amazing.

Not deviating too much from Arctic Monkey’s capabilities to produce loud, abrasive, heavy riffs that immediately jump out of the speaker systems, ‘’My Propeller’’ and equally, ‘’Crying Lightning’’, signify a light hint of the more experimental and adventurous side to, ‘’Humbug’’. The guitar parts are complicated, itchy and drenched in a tidal wave of hazy echo that assumes they recorded THIS album whilst tripping on something. Mature in sound but equally daft and leaves the listener in a state of wonderment to just how Alex Turner manages to wrap his tongue around such, now trademark, lyrical twists. Beneath the fuzzy, dazzling shapes that create the new styles and themes expanded on as the album, continues to morph into an entire army of genres and gestures that both sedate and satisfy the listener beautifully.

The common British themes of: being in a taxi overcharging the fair and keeping the meter running has gone; no more talking of prostitutes selling their bodies to the suburban stalkers of wild English nightlife, and furthermore, being drunk with your mates come being crowned 18 years old unaware of what to do and who you are with, has also been eradicated from the subject matters that once dominated The Monkey’s messages of speaking to kids as spokespersons of their post-punk revivalist generation.

 ‘’Dangerous Animals’’ leaves a smooth handprint on the heart of the listener, ‘’pinned down to the dark’’ that only occasionally reveals glimpses of sharp light in a whirl of intense submarine sonar radar beeps. Soon to follow, taking a more paced approach, is, ‘’Secret Door’’, a dancehall anthem with a deeply heartfelt chorus, in a contrast to the playful positions of guitar spikes and tribal drumbeats and demonic melodies speeding up and slowing down in a quick flicker of magic. Next, ‘’Potion Approaching’’ truly exposes the new territory they have stumbled across in the United States, swinging into a jungle of primordial chaos and cartoonish canvases.

The resolution of the song full of hilarious imagery of, ‘’biting the time zone, embellishing the banks of our bloodstreams, shielding our eyes from the potion approaching.’’ Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age has his juggernaut hands firmly around the neck of this particular gem, ending with a plodding carnival of mesmerising vocal performances that pierce a hook through the lobe of the one’s ear, drags down slightly to take a look inside the mind it toys with to trance successfully. ‘’Fire and the Thud’’, full of tremolo ridden guitars that gently screech in the background, teetering features of acid washed inflections and narcotic fuelled musicality seesawing back and forth on the wave’s a tide stirred by the full-moon overlooking above. As, ‘’Cornerstone’’ soon swoons into place in a gentle cradling of the heart and soul, tame and reserved in a major key of A that accesses the secretive desires two people have sharing the distance between them. A slight dip of subverted impressions with, ‘’Dance Little Liar’’, that although in places does shine, gets rather boring and forced to the point a crack appears in its delicate composition.

Yet, soon returning with fire and ferocity in a hallucinatory manner is, ‘’Pretty Visitors’’, easily one of the best songs on the album, motivated by gibberish speech and a whirlpool of psychotic landscapes, dreamy resonances emerge through the headsets of the heart as cluttered drums pummel through to attack the attention parallel to the heartbeat of the audience themselves. To top the album off, ‘’The Jeweller’s Hand’s’’ makes similar stains on the new carpet of multicoloured keyboard sections and lush arrangements stringing the songs together.

It takes guts to set up camp in a new space, but in order to enter a new room in a house at the foundations of our supernatural compulsions; one must first win over the trust of the one you want to enter with. The first couple of albums sealed the deal with how much Arctic Monkey’s mean to its audience, thus earning their trust respectively, now they have the keys to experiment as much as they please after listening to this album that somehow makes Sheffield look like the desert in a spellbinding motion of fast, slow, futuristic, but also brilliantly retro.

The artwork, if wanting to match the otherworldly standards of the album itself, would overdo it slightly. Instead, a simplistic photograph tainted by double vision in a delicious purple backdrop, that packages the album nicely without losing any of that magic within.

-Words by Ryan Walker-

Haim: ‘The wire’

Posted: January 7, 2014 in Record Reviews

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The three sisters from California, Haim, took the UK by storm this summer and rolled in 16th in Rolling Stones top 100 songs of 2013 with their single ‘ The wire’ from debut album ‘days are gone’ and was by far my favourite song of the year. The song starts with basic clap beats before Este Haim’s clever bass comes in and before you know it you’re tapping your feet and nodding your head to Danielle Haim’s soothing voice, the lyrics are catchy and make the song one you’ll be singing all day aloud, no matter how hard you try not to. Unlike the bands previous singles it’s less soaked in synth and it features all three of the sisters singing, giving it a less electro pop and more rock pop vibe. Ariel Rechtshaid, the producer behind the song, brings the bite with clever hooks and backing vocals that make you want to jam along as if you’re in a 70’s indie rock band especially when the screeches of guitar and crashing symbols come in at the end of the song to round off the perfect four minute ensemble of sheer talent.  The song brings back the alternative rock that has seemed to disappear in the last few years of music and it brings it back cooler than it’s ever been making the wire my favourite song of 2013.

-Words By Caitlin Fraser-

 

Right guys I’ve got exciting news, are you all sitting down? Good, Asking Alexandria are going on tour!

Yes I know I am excited too, their support acts have not yet been announced but I will keep you all posted.

Below are the dates and venues of the UK side of the tour…

Oct 23 Rock City Nottingham, United Kingdom
Oct 24 O2 Academy Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Oct 26 The Picture House Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Oct 27 Barrowland Glasgow, United Kingdom
Oct 28 Ulster Hall Ireland, United Kingdom
Oct 29 Olympia Dublin, Ireland
Oct 31 Academy Manchester, United Kingdom
Nov 01 O2 Academy Leeds, United Kingdom
Nov 02 Great Hall Cardiff, United Kingdom
Nov 04 O2 Academy Bristol, United Kingdom
Nov 05 O2 Guildhall Southampton, United Kingdom
Nov 06 Roundhouse London, United Kingdom
Nov 07 O2 Academy Birmingham, United Kingdom
Nov 09 Centre Brighton, United Kingdom

For those who live outside the UK, the following link will tell you where the nearest show is and when its on so you wont miss it! http://askingalexandria.com/tour

-Words By Michele Kennedy-

Ian Watkins reveals his sexual fetish for children’s music and the Bambi soundtrack in this chilling footage, which has emerged as he faces jail for child sex offences.

The disgraced Lostprophets frontman brags about having sex to the sound of young children singing and claims tunes from the Disney kids’ film are “the best”.

The Welsh rock band were asked what music turns them on in an interview for social network Yfly at Atomic Records in Los Angeles in 2006.

“But the best one is this. The Bambi soundtrack. That’s really good. You put that on and it just turns women into chocolate.” Watkins will be sentenced tomorrow after admitting 13 sex offences, including the attempted rape of an 11-month-old baby .

According to a poll carried out on this site, many people believe that all this press coverage about Lostprophets will infact boost sales of the band’s records. This has been proven to be true.

It was recently claimed that Watkins, 36, is set to rake in £100,000 in royalties from Lostprophets music that has been broadcast since his child sex scandal came to light .

Dozens of news channels in Britain and around the world have featured Lostprophets music in reporting Watkins’ horrific crimes.And since then the bands hits such as Last Train Home have been viewed millions of times on YouTube.

 -Ian Watkins has been sentenced to 35 years in prison following child sex abuse charges-

An Exclusive Matinee Performance’. That’s how the debut album launch by Glaswegian band Red Sands is announced. And it is quite exclusive indeed. They’re supported by The Wicked Whispers, a band I already listened to when I was still living in the Netherlands, the Desert Willows and the Little Illusions. Their self-titled album is released on Electone Records and consists of 10 tracks, each of which provide a great trip for the mind and ear.

A Sunday afternoon is quite a strange time to go to a gig, but when I set foot in the dark venue, filled with trippy oil wheel lights, the delusion of being teleported back to a west coast venue back in the Sixties hits me. And as soon as the band starts playing it hits me even harder.

But before Red Sands’ show, fellow label members The Wicked Whispers play a good and interesting acoustic set. The first few songs that front man Michael Murphy plays on his own, miss the atmosphere their songs usually have and the band doesn’t seem to enjoy the gig that much. But they do know how to draw back the attention when the drummer and organist join in for the second half of the gig.

Already during the Wicked Whisper’s gig, but even more after they finish, the people start coming in and soon the place is packed. Not only old people, as you might expect of a Sixties gig, but maybe even younger people. Most of them seem to be family and friends of the band and seem to know their songs. A girl is dancing and singing to their music as if she’s part of the band herself, and each song she seems to be getting into it even more. Not only is her, after each song the audience cheering louder and louder.

The first song, Lady of Spring, sets the scene by laying a dreamy curtain over the audience and with eyes closed, you can almost hear and feel waves rolling onto a sundrenched beach. And as the show continues these waves pull you into an everlasting high, that is, until you’re rudely woken up after the last song and come to the sad conclusion that there is no encore.

It’s quite surprising that they play the song ‘Too Short a Season’ so early in the set, since it’s the only song you can find on their Facebook page (apart from the 1,5 minute long Widow’s Walk). But it’s also something surprising, since it means that they must have even more up their sleeves. And they do. Each song, the room is filled with more harmonising vocals, delay and fuzz. The only negative thing about this wall of sound is that it pushes away the sound of the organ, which seems to play an important role when you listen to their songs on the album.

Listening back to the songs after their gig, their music is best described as psychedelic folk, deeply rooted in sixties rock. It sounds a bit like a combination of the contemporary artists Jacco Gardner and Wolf People and the influence of the latter is definitely present in the track The Lighthouse.

But even though they’re easily placed in a genre as psychedelic rock, it’s rather difficult to give a good description that covers all of their songs. There’s a lot of folk brought in the songs by Neil Donaldson’s angelic voice, accompanied by impressive harmonising backing vocals and Gerard Espie’s acoustic guitar. An example is the intro of Painted Red, until it grasps back to the early surfrock of Dick Dale, which adds a whole new dimension to the atmosphere of the song.

Red sands is one of the few bands that know how to preserve 60s nostalgia, without sounding ‘old‘or unoriginal. And I would recommend anyone to go and see and, mainly, experience them. I didn’t get the chance to buy their album at the gig, but I’ll definitely buy a copy as soon as possible.

 -Words By Thom Rondeel-

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Lapsus Linguae is a Glaswegian band, that (according to the information on their website) stopped touring a few years ago, when the members decided to start recording their songs and bringing out both an EP and an album (both brought out this year).

It’s hard to take four guys who named themselves Penelope Collegefriend, T-bon E the Magnificent, Megaloof Taylor and Raga Wu, serious. And even though it seems to fit the music and their band name, it seems a little bit pretentious.

The song I got sent to review is called ‘Flight of the Enola Gaye‘, a song about the aircraft that dropped the first atom bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Definitely an interesting subject to write a song about and the chaotic atmosphere of the song does provide the ideal setting for the story.

But even though this chaos matches the story, it is a bit too chaotic at moments. Especially in the louder parts of the song, there is just too much going on and it leaves the listener with quite an agitated feeling.

As the story seems to be a particular important part of the song, it is quite frustrating that the lyrics are barely audible. Even though the music speaks for itself when it comes to the eerie atmosphere, the aggressiveness in the vocals make it seem like there might be a bit more to the words than just the story about a bomber, as if there is a more subtle and personal meaning to the lyrics.

But there’s no denial in saying that the music is technically good. The use of complex rhythms, rather strange chord patterns and song structure aren’t something you hear on a daily basis and are quite impressive. The piano intro, the almost demonic sounding first verse and basically the whole song could have been the soundtrack of  ‘the nightmare before Christmas’. And although the singing in the quieter parts isn’t that interesting, the lead singer’s feeling for theatre adds plenty of drama to make up for that.

Lapsus Linguae manages to set the eerie scene that you can expect of a song about bombs causing lots of death and disaster. But to me, this song seems to be much longer than 5 minutes and if it was a bit more coherent and less chaotic it would be easier to listen to.

-Words By Thom Rondeel-

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Hunter & the Bear, a folk trio formed by Jimmy Hunter and Will Irvine, recently released their debut EP ‘Dusty Road. An EP that is full of melancholy and that brings you back to a dark pub on a rainy night, sitting next to a warm fire with a beer in front of you.

An impressive list of gigs (supporting Bruce Springsteen and Kasabian), even before they released their debut, does give them quite a head start when listening to their EP.

The opening track and single, Forest on the Hill, starts with an upbeat, mysterious sounding guitar, accompanied by mandolin, which immediately draws your attention. But when Hunter starts to sing I can’t help but compare them to Mumford & Sons, although Hunter & the Bear is more of a rough cousin than a twin. The violin and female backing vocal in the North bring up a melancholic desire to leave the city and to (like the song says) ‘Sail towards the sun. And that desire, which you can hear back in most of the songs, is what makes me want to listen to it again.

Maybe it is unfair to compare them to a band like Mumford & Sons, when that’s a comparison easily made when you hear a mandolin or banjo and harmonising vocals. The bluegrass/Americana influence does make it sound a bit different though and their vocals sound a lot tougher than those of their British colleagues.

But the first three songs are all quite predictable and even though the last song Taliesin, starts with a different and more poppy sounding intro, it gets quite predictable again afterwards.

Hunter sings a lot about ‘the road and other mysterious destinations, but maybe they should try to leave the main street, take a side-way and make the journey a bit more interesting.

Would I buy their EP? No, but don’t get me wrong, I liked their songs and I would definitely enjoy seeing them live. Listening to them did make me curious to see how they develop in the future and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them appear on a lot of festivals coming summer.

-Words by: Thom Rondeel-