2013 – 10 Gigs, 10 Reviews

CParamore – Alternative rock/ Pop punk (Fueled by Ramen) – 27/09/13 Wembley Stadium – “Ginger Haley is hot and rocks better than most front men” Image

Tonight Alive- Pop punk (Fearless Records) 9/10/13 Electric Ballroom “Aussie pop-punks play cheesy rock loved by sweaty puberty monsters”

Jaguar MaPsychedelic/ Dance  (Mom+Pop) 14/10/13 Camden Barfly “Grim Monday pub-night turns colourful beats in faraway lands” Image

Ryan Keen – Guitarist singer/songwriter (Unsigned) 21/10/13 Scala, Kings Cross “Ed Sheeran comrade overshadowed by dreadlocks of Newton Faulkner’s appearance”

 Deaf Havana – Alternative Rock  (BMG) 25/10/13 The Round House, Chalk Farm “Batman pinches bottoms to soundtrack of sincere rock lyrics” Image

Wozzeck by Alban Berg 20th Century Expressionist Opera (Directed by Keith Warner) 5/11/13 Covent Garden Opera House- “Mad Soldier in white warbles dissonances before empty fish tanks”

Katie Tunstall Guitarist singer/ songwriter. Folk Pop and Alternative Rock  (Universal records/ Virgin EMI) 17/11/13 The Dury Lane Theatre – “Scots lass shows musical maturity without media approval in Ooompa-lumpaLand” Image

Depeche Mode New Wave/Synthpop (Columbia/Mute) 19/11/13 O2 Arena – “Dave Gann sweatily swoons drunk, nostalgic Forty-year olds having domestics”

Peace – Indie Rock-pop  (Columbia) 6/12/13 Shepherds Bush Empire – “Skinny Warhammer geeks rock a bright-indie sound to Hipsters”

Don Brocco – Alternative Rock/ Pop Rock (Sony Music Entertainment) 7/12/13 Camden Roundhouse – “Thug Workout’and friendlImagey moshing to        deceptively well written songs”

 

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Deaf Havana EXCLUSIVE Acoustic of ‘Mildred’

ImageThis band seem to be pulling all the pieces together, playing the game according to the music industries desires and they are looking good and musically are sounding great. Their, performed last October at the Camden Roundhouse, appearing extremely grateful, almost overwhelmed by the crowd that was hanging onto their every note and every speech of thanks that they gave to these fans that night. But this month their incredible show at the Clapham Grand, showed that they were pulling off a smarter image, and a tighter performance and didn’t need to be self-deprecating for their audience to engage with them.

Here their lead singer, James Veck-Gilodi, performs a stripped back acoustic version of their song, ‘Mildred’, meaning that we are getting to hear James voice, with every emotional aspect of his heart-felt lyrics and we are loving it. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecfHQol1Wig#t=32

 

Female Sexuality and “Attention grabbing Girls” in Pop-Music

 

ImagePornography and the music video’

How has female sexuality become such dominant topic in pop music? In recent years female pop musicians have become more sexual causing debate over whether Record companies are promoting misogyny and sexualising women and critical males are accused of being women haters. The best selling single of 2013, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines’ created scandal over how it promoted ‘rape culture’ and violence to women however arguably the lyrics were taken out of context. Singles by women only accounted for 2 of the bestselling singles in 2013, whereas the top 8 Music-Videos viewed on YouTube were by women or had ‘scantily-clad’ women featured in, whether it was Rihanna naked in a bath or Miley naked on a wrecking ball.  The music video is becoming the way to ensure a sexual image, which in the age of the internet and social media, where anyone can make show an opinion or make a comment means the open themselves up to any disapproving individual disgracing and ‘slut-shaming’ you.

Musicians as a brand

Musicians in the mainstream pop have become complete products, selling themselves and everything related to them due to the contracts they are bound under with their Record Labels such as 360 contracts or due to media expectations. Beneath an article from Perez Hilton’s blog on celebrity news on the latest ‘obscene’ photo or bisexual statement by Miley Cyrus is a ‘Make like Miley’ advert for Doc Martin’s boots that she is pictured wearing, which may just be to market a product but also advocates for her behaviour, if accidentally. This type of promotion objectifies women, treating them as if they are almost merely product or fictional objects of our amusement or desire.

Call girls and Gaga’s replacement

Sex may not ‘sell’ these female products but it promotes them:  whether it is through the scandal they create, attraction or desire to be like them, society is fascinated by sexually attractive celebrities.  With the ‘consume and trash’ climate of pop-music these days, immediate publicity rather than lasting legacy seems more important to record companies meaning female musicians must get into the media in whatever way they can. Miley Cyrus, whose use of ‘Rachet’ culture, scandal and bisexuality as her own objectification created the most critically publicized marketing campaign of 2013.  Miley and her marketing team want her ‘brand’ to earn money immediately and shed her child star status and mature from Disney Star to mainstream pop, just like Britney Spears with her  video for ‘Baby one more time’, which would now appear tame in the sexual climate of today’s pop music.

Bisexual Brands

Let’s look at the previous holder of the ‘Shock Throne’ -Lady Gaga, who when she first emerged had a similar video to ‘We Can’t Stop’, with Just Dance’ depicting a party, with sexual acts, drugs and alcohol and statements suggesting a ‘bisexual’ background as well as bisexual acts in the music videos for ‘Love Game’ and ‘Paparazzi’. All this particularly helped with this idea of Gaga as sexually experimental, spreading her ‘scandal’ through the media, with the excuse of advocating for women’s rights and the gay community. Other musicians who have come out as bisexual includes Jessie J, Rihanna and now Miley Cyrus. There are criticisms of the Bisexual brand with Rihanna and Shakira’s Video for ‘Can’t Remember to Forget You’ being accused of making bisexuals seem attention seeking[1].

The muted Lesbians

Compare these ‘suggestively bi-curious’ females for publicity, to those who were more private about their personal lives.  Romy Madley Croft of the mysterious band ‘The XX’ kept her sexuality under a veil for the beginning of their career, only admitting to having a girlfriend on a friends blog. She said of the matter that it was “the same as everything about (the xx). We don’t want to make a big deal out of everything” [2]and this meant we know little about her private life, so her and the bands creative output is more important than the media portrayal of the “scandal” of her being gay.

Control

The recently successful 17 year old, Lorde from New Zealand, appears to be extremely well educated, with an interest in modern American Literature and to understand the nuances of feminism. In her videos she dresses more covered up than most of her female pop peers, and does not appear to flirt in songs or videos, calmly confronting the camera, as if addressing a lost youth to see through the crass of pop mainstream. She is being marketed at a young hipster audience, bored of sexuality and the ‘bling’ of American culture and this with her mature aura and the apparently self-run twitter account show an intelligent girl who appears to be is in charge of her own image and career. Yet Miley Cyrus is credited as an executive producer on her Bangerz album and talks as if every aspect of her current career is her own idea, so maybe this idea of control is way of marketing her, like she isn’t being exploited in anyway. However Lorde, won 2 Grammy’s and a Brit-Award this year without black girls ‘booty’s’ or swinging on a chain ball naked in her videos.

No one stays with a prostitute / Pretty woman isn’t real

On the scale of sexual shocks ‘Taylor Swift’ is fairly low, compared with former pal Cyrus. As a comparison between Album sales of female pop musicians in their first week ‘Red’ by Taylor swift sold 1.2 million albums in week in 2012, massive figures compared to Miley Cyrus, Katie Perry and Lady Gaga’s 2013 album releases which sat around the higher 200,000’s. Perhaps this proves maybe sex and popularity does not sell as well as whimsical girlishness and fairy-tale belief in love? Swifts image as the unpopular wallflower persona she appears in her songs coupled with her girl next door long legged blond beauty physical image is clearly working.  Her media presence sells her songs too as listeners not only identify with the songs she writes, but also try to work out which of the celebrity males she’s dated is lyrically discussed. Yet Taylor Swift’s image of purity and wholesome is viewed by feminists as “play(ing) right into how much the patriarchy fetishises virginity, loves purity, and celebrates women who know their place as delicate flowers”[3]. While people may be reading about and watching ‘Media shocking’ Miley Cyrus everywhere her Bangerangz tour has not sold out. It seems apart from eventually purchasing or importing one of her songs because you can’t get the infectious tunes out of your head that her ‘sex’ is not something we want to come back to for more and music that is good sells well with good marketing.

 

Footnotes

1) My beef With Shakira and Rihanna? They’re making life harder for Bisexuals’ (The Guardian Online) Bella Qvist 7th February 2014 Address-  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/07/shakira-rihanna-making-life-harder-for-bisexuals . Last Accessed: 23/4/14

2) Rommy Madley-Croft is ‘The XX’s’ beating Gay Heart’(After Ellen) , 9th October 2012- Trish Bendix Address- http://www.afterellen.com/romy-madley-croft-is-the-xxs-beating-gay-heart/10/2012/. Last Accessed- 23/4/14

3) Why Taylor Swift is the Reigning Queen of Pop’ (Culture Vulture) by Jody Rosen. Address- http://www.vulture.com/2013/11/taylor-swift-reigning-queen-of-pop.html . Last Accessed: 23/4/14

 

Gavin James, the awkward support act who’s haunted me

Why to arrive on time for the support act (despite the overpriced beer)

gavinjames

When it comes to gigs what is the right time to arrive? You should not be the fan to arrive at the very beginning of the queue, making small talk with the security (unless it’s Beyonce you are seeing. People  go crazy, arriving right after booking tickets.)In this case you are looking very keen and soon freezing and as soon as you get in, “WHAT! You want me to pay £8 for a beer!” Arrive too late and you wrestle with the oldies and languid bores at the back with their coats on the floor, who wail if you nudge them immediately concerned for the safety of their beer. The evening of the 26th October at Scala, Kings Cross I learned not to miss the support act.

I stood at the bar sober while my gig companion has his second of 6 beers of the night (he knocks over the seventh). A beautiful, raw, pure vocal echoed down the stairs from the stage and my ears rush us back to be in front of this mysterious voice

Gavin James, from Dublin silences the room with his voice showing influences of Ray Lamontagne and Damien Rice but also with a jazz element a style he seems comfortable in when he sings a calmly intimate version of ‘At Last’ originally by Etta James. He has a voice of purity that only nature can have gifted him with because technical training could not have produced something that seems to flow not from the vocal cords but from the emotional soul, with such ease. As he sings ‘For You’ a song of letting go and heart break  I am not even aggravated as I normally would be  by the man in my peripheral vision bobbing his head like a demented monkey to this folky Ballad!? Huh? What is he listening to?

James is a paradox to his voice; in his early twenties, tall well-built awkward lad and the curse of all cool points – Ginger! His strong Irish accent means his stories of being on tour are not completely comprehensible but you ‘catch the gist’ of embarrassment: getting stuck in a gate and banging into doors in front of an audience of hundreds. This shy man does not appear to be the type who could be easily pursuing the ladies around pubs and bars in Dublin. Though here is his attraction: give him a guitar, he can make the stage, he’ll create the audience in whoever is in the surrounding area, and he does this tonight as he jumps down from the small stage (seeming spontaneous as he shouts to the sound guy,”can you put a light down over right of audience mate”) and comes out to sing to two lucky young girls. The audience create a ring around him as he swoons over this guitar, beautiful jazz vocals and subtle guitar. A guitar and falsetto of dreams, honest songs and anyone could have this magnetism!

To my horror I discover that Gavin James has been playing Dublin hotel lobbies for the majority of his early twenties. “It’s horrible because you’re wallpaper. I used to play for three hours, maybe a full room. Not one person would clap me’” he told a Dublin Newspaper.  The art of missing an artist when you are not provided the proper setting

I know what you are thinking – ‘a ginger-guitar playing singer-songwriter.’ Remind you of anyone?  Edd Sheeran is the opposite to a four leaf clover for any male singer songwriter in the music industry as they are continuously compared to him and his languid songs after Sheeran’s mainstream success.  Gavin has a lot that little Teddy does not. Predominantly a sublime voice, musically he is the glistening shiny Martin to Sheeran’s battered travel size Taylor guitar (“seriously he is earning so much these days from his debut album and Taylor Swift fans attention, can he not buy another guitar that’s not been used ?”). Teddy has lost something that this Irish man has: Charm because James is totally quaint and a shy awkwardly funny man when he speaks but mesmerising and vulnerable when he sings, its very alluring. As I trawl James’ twitter account later that evening I find he is convincing enough that he was paid for and taken to play at a wedding in Las Vegas.

Back at the gig during his tender song ‘Nervous’ is where this disguised Gancanagh uses his vocal magic to spellbinding effect.  He sings with such sincerity of his past love like the lover he sings about is here and every note is edged but rawly perfect. The crowd silences and stops drinking and I am fixated and consumed by this man , how what he says me think about people and I am nervous too cause if anyone looks at me now and asks me, I’ll just reveal everything my entire deepest loves and regrets. But Gavin ‘oooo’s onstage the cries of his pained head and unconscious which assure us someone else feels and I do not want this moment to end. But every song ends and the moment I cling to ends, only for me to go home and listen to him in my room alone. Gavin James I am haunted by you.  The support act who stole the show… Who was the main act again?

Gavin James Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/gavinjamesofficial

Gavin James Website – http://gavinjamesmusic.com/

Collection of Rabbit songs and ‘High Bunnies’ for Easter Sunday #420

ImageA happy easter (#420) to all bloggers and readers of themusicmine.  To celebrate today we wanted to give you some songs to listen to but scrap the hymns and listen to these tunes as you do your easter egg hunts, eat your dinners of lamb and consume lindor chocolate bunnies

 

Firstly we remember Florence and the Machine – Rabbit Heart (raise it up) – these songs lyrics have some mystical illusion to alice and wonderland, while Florence Welch dances around in gowns of gold and flowers at a tea party. The perfect song as you cook amazing delights in the kitchen.

The cheeky little bunny in Counting Crows – Accidentally in love wins the hot girl who’s being sleeping while the boyfriend is finishing making her breakfast, they sneak out the window together. We love the bunny more than the bf though, with his little rasta style hair and goatie!

 

“One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small”, and we already know what Jefferson Airplane’s – White Rabbit is alluding to from this 1967 song. Grace Slick’s haunting vocals are heard over the crescendos and decrescendos of a hallucinogenic journey in this song.

Why are rabbits so naughty? Groove Armada’s video for ‘Get Down’ is an electronic synth-hop for these bunnies to wreck havoc to.

Robbie Williams climbed down the rabbit hole as well in 2009, looking almost cute as a bunny in a waist coat. You Know me is Robbie’s contribution to the end of the Easter Sunday celebratory day.

Lana’s “Young and Beautiful” dismissed for the very issues she sings about. OSCAR TRAGEDY

Who was vilely disappointed by ‘The Great Gatsby Film’ in 2013? It had all the fangazzled  gidgets and wizmos of a Baz Luhrmann film but it just did not work. There was something missing. The music he’d chosen had been too contemporary pop, with the use of ‘No Church in the Wild’ as the promo track/ song used in the trailer, but while this perhaps was to presents a social comment on how similar the society of greed and overtly selfish consumption presented in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is to our “Democratic Capitalist” , celebrity obsessed society of today it seemed like Luhrmann was trying to make the film seem more edgy and appeal to the younger audience.

As we see it the only good thing to come out of this film was Lana Del Rey’s song on the soundtrack – Young and Beautiful. This song has an atmospheric use of an orchestra, with rippling drums and vocal hums and use of lower strings at the beginning echoing an dark future, some sort of impending doom (which if you have seen the film you will know is exactly what Jay Gatesby’s fate is). The violins saw away at as we break into a chorus that seems to be a love song, as if Lana is working hard to keep her youthful energy at the moment, but the last line “will you still love me when I’m not young and beautiful” in this chorus every time shows us how she is actually asking in a uncertain way,worried as she knows that aesthetic beauty fades. The question of who she is addressing is the more sympathetic part to this song of longing for real love, is she speaking honestly with a lover in a mask of playful love or is she really asking her fans and the world of celebrity adoration if she will still be admired (or even noticed) when her beauty fades, and in the world of being an adored and famous; will this be all she has to hold on to?

While the song has beauty and it is clear from the scene in ‘The Great Gatsby’ that it plays during that Luhrmann and Del Rey worked closely to created the only magical moment in the whole movie. The tragedy of this songs story is that it was snubbed for a nomination for an oscar due to controversies and allegations surrounding it.  It looks like Lana has already lost love, but for looking “Young and Beautiful” from those in the more prestigious music industry and those more true to those they admire rather than the trend followers who will move on when the world is no longer “lit up as her stage”.