Total Pageviews

Made in Shoreditch

I also contribute a weekly column to Made in Shoreditch magazine called 'Old East End/New East End', where I look at the relationship between the East End of old and new, looking at the changes and the stalwarts in landscape, residents and culture, focussing on one street or district each week. You can find it here.

A very pissed off, skinny 'white guuuy' from England

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Right, I've just been watching this show with Jay-Z, Redman, Method Man, DMX and a few others on it. It's called Backstage with Jay-Z and it's attrocious. Jay-Z comes off as OK, but also as a man who is rather shrewd i.e. making a living off of giving record deals to twits who spout off racial stereotypes. Redman and Method Man come off as two off the dumbest little fuckwits going. When sober they look genuinely gormless and use the suffix "you know whaddi'msaain'" constantly. Stoned, they make their sober selves look like the kind of intellectual heavyweights that would be able to take on any given academic within his/her field. The show itself shows how 'RedandMeff' display complete degradation towards any human being who happens to not own a pair of bollocks and a cock and shows both of these wankers up for what they are: daft cunts who truly need to pull their bloody jeans up and learn a thing or two about women's equality and intergration into modern society as absolute equals!!!!!!!

Ja Rule appears and seems much like Jay-Z, a more sombre bloke who really doesn't believe in the shite he preaches, rather just sees a few million to be made. Fair play to 'Jay and Ja' I suppose, that's capitalism hey?

Anyway, this TV show does nothing to quash the thoughts of small minded bigots, but rather just gives them something to go on. This is a real shame as I love hip-hop as a genre and actually believe that Eminem, Jay-Z, 2Pac and Nas are among the greatest artists of the least 30 years. It's also a shame, or rather more-so a shame, as it portrays some of the leading young, black males in the U.S. as daft, weed-smoking idiots who aren't particularly articulate, which is completely fucking wrong and probably fuels dick-heads across the world to believe in their far-right fascist crap!

Come on guys, time to wise up and stop believing you have to behave like some sort of loser just because of your class background, skin colour or the financial turmoil from your youth!

MGMT: Congratulations - Reviewed

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

What a fantastic band MGMT are. With their first album, 2007's Oracular Spectacular, the band provided us with some absolutely wondrous pop songs such as Kids and Electric Feel whilst throwing in the odd psychedelic number like Of Moons, Birds and Monsters and singalongs such as The Handshake and The Youth.

Second album,Congratulations,released last month, is a different beast altogether. Whilst losing none of the appeal of the first album, Congratulations is a more Syd Barrett-esque take on things. Psychedelia is clearly an influence on the album (see Siberian Brakes ) but doesn't overrule the melodic nature. Brian Eno is a fantastically catchy track about the former Roxy Music knob twiddler/whatever he was doing man turned demi-God producer and friend to Bono and Chris Martin. It's this album's Time to Pretend. Lyrics such as "my whole foundation came unglued/when i tried to humanize by ambient light/dipping swords in metaphors/yeah but what does he know?/he's go the whole world behind him he's Brian Eno, Brian Eno!" have more than a hint of tongue-in-cheek qualities about them. Another fabulous look at how both we and an artist can believe their hype.

Congratulations is a complete success, if it's slightly less accessible than the first album, it's certainly no worse off for it. It's their White Album to Sgt. Pepper.

Eminem: Not Afraid (New Single) - Reviewed

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Being the most controversial, recognisable and gifted rapper of his generation means Eminem releases are always big news. With a new album, Recovery, set to come out in June, Not Afraid, the first single from said album is an interesting track.

With a kind of militant, choral chorus with a heavy amount of voice multiplication and verses which include an almost shouted vocal, this track is not half bad. Eminem has always been fantastic at bending the English language to fit into his sometimes remarkably intricate raps and this track is no exception.

The song has a feeling of complete determination about it. Defiant lyrics, littered with the profanities we have come to expect from Detroit's finest export since a certain label ruled the world (Jack White's not too shabby either though, I suppose), Not Afraid, I imagine, is destined to be a worldwide hit, or at least a trans-Atlantic one.

The boy's done good once more!

The Black Keys: Brothers - Reviewed!

Monday, 24 May 2010

The first thing that struck me about this album was the cover sleeve. Sounds a rather obvious statement as this is generally one's first impression when looking at an album. The striking design, however shows exactly what I mean.

The message is rather simple and a kind of geek's approach to humorous album design.

The musical content is rather typical Black Keys territory. Mainly blues based rock with catchy riffs, rasping, blue-note, passionate vocals worked into some fine tunes. Opening track Every Lasting Light is a perfect example of this. Next girl is similar in style and by the end of that I was hoping for something slightly different. Tighten Up, the third track gives a bit of respite. A fantastic riff, breaks in style throughout and a more spacey feel on production give the track a unique and cool identity.

The group have made a good album here, it has to be said. Obvious comparison with the work of Jack White can be drawn, but this is no bad thing. She's Long Gone conjures up Led Zeppelin images and also of what Robert Johnson may have sounded like in today's world.

One of the best albums I've heard this year so far and a credit to the band.

The Big News of the Past Month

Friday, 21 May 2010

So... Cameron and Clegg are in, Chelsea are Champions of England (though it pains me to say it), The Libertines will reform for Reading/Leeds, some bloke called Paul McCartney is headlining Isle of Wight and yet again The Mail on Sunday has proven its worth (or rather lack of) by damaging our chances of landing the 2018 World Cup! What to make of it all?

Well, to be honest, I thought that Cameron would win outright so a Co-allition isn't the worst news, but certainly not the best either. Much the same with Chelsea who I thought would walk it, so to at least see their nerves jangle was good.

The Libertines reformation: quite exciting I suppose. Just wonder how long they can rehearse together for before deciding that they can't stand each other now!

Paul McCartney playing Isle of Wight: a few quid for the famously minted old codger. Wouldn't mind seeing him but don't fancy the outrageous price for IoW to sit and sweat and not shower.

Mail Group: Wankers!

In other news I watched the South Park facebook and Lake Tardicaca episodes the other day, watch them! They are fantastic!

Cobain Dies... Britpop Thrives

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Kurt Cobain’s death was a tragic and shocking event in Popular Music history and affected his fans, his wife and his child. Cobain was a mercurial figure during his brief stint at the top of the rock music pile who became a kind of Messianic figure to some after his death. After Kurt Cobain came Britpop.

The Piscean embodiment of sensitivity died and along came the mid-‘90s, excess loving hit-makers from the U.K. Had Cobain not died in 1994, Britpop may well have still been hugely successful. My argument, however, is one that I stand by. Britpop was successful beyond what it may have achieved had Cobain lived. Due to his death, Grunge ceased to have mainstream popularity in Britain, had he not died, the Britpop camp may well have still set themselves up as an opposition to Grunge, but we then would have seen two camps: Britpop and Grunge. As it was, there was one: Britpop. Within that there was the Oasis camp and the Blur camp, but as a genre it managed to dominate. Had Cobain still been around and had he not grown so tired and disillusioned with fame, I believe that Britpop’s dominance would have only been coupled with that of Grunge, if at all.

After the success and excess of Britpop came a new bunch. People who took the anthemic formula of, say, Hey Jude by The Beatles, just as Oasis did and made a series of songs that at the time were seen as ‘classics’. You know the songs I mean: Coldplay’s Yellow, Travis’ Why Does It Always Rain on Me and so on and so forth. Oasis was merely the beginning of this: the excessively big, late nineties/early noughties chorus. Blur reverted to experimentalism, world music and, dare I say it, two minutes of the most joyously anarchic, power-chord infused Grunge Rock with Song 2 and broke the U.S. sales market. One does wonder what Kurt Cobain would have thought of it all.