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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.

The Blame Files: Musicians to Blame for Many of the Dick Heads We Have to Encounter in the Modern World

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Pete Doherty - To blame for every 2 bit idiot who thinks that because you've read a bit of T.S. Eliot's verse and pretend to chase the dragon every weekend that you're suddenly cool.

Morrissey/Ian Curtis/Noel Gallagher - To blame for every sycophant in Manchester who thinks it is the only place on God's Earth that a few decent rock bands have come from.

Ian Curtis

Mike Skinner - To blame for every knob who thinks if you write a couple of lines about lager, football and cigarettes, then you're the modern day equivalent of Wordsworth.

Tinie Tempah - To blame for every twat who believes geek glasses are a cool accessory.

Tinie Tempah - Apparently Cool

Gerard Way - To blame for every whining middle class teenager that moans, gripes and believes that nobody could understand their pain. How bloody hard it must be to be 14, have no real pressure, be financially stable and have to endure having your own bedroom in your parents' house.

Great Songs: MGMT - Kids

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

One day in 2007 I listened to a track a friend advised me to listen to. There I was, in front of a video made by some user or other on Youtube, that blue screen that they seem to love on there comes up and the sound of children playing is the first thing that hits me. Next comes the damn catchiest synth riff I'd heard in years set against some nice, simple sequenced drums before a bit more textural synth and bass kicked in. I sat and listened to that whole bloody song and by the end of it I sat there, silently, for a second or two and thought: shit! That's brilliant!

That song was Kids by MGMT, the best recent pop song I can think of. Shortly after I was devouring the delights of Weekend Wars, Electric Feel and Time to Pretend by that same band and loved it all.

Kids - Sadly not the video mentioned in this post though

When MGMT came along in 2007 they were necessary. Far too many shitty indie bands with annoying "oh oh oh" sing-along crap as their main repertoire were in operation. MGMT literally showed them all up and showed them that yes, a song can be simple, it can be quite sing-along, yet it can still be sang instead nigh-on spoken on in affected English accents and it can still sound fresh and exciting and good.

Kids is one of those epiphany-inducing songs that gets a band real exposure. The simplicity of it is bloody audacious to be honest, but, the simplicity just makes it even more admirable.

From listening to MGMT I was also inspired when I heard the simlar-sounding Brooklyn gang Yeasayer and Kids was the root of me caring at all.

Tyler, the Creator

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Hip-hop has been in a rut over the past few years. The likes of Timbaland have given us soulless, lifeless, disposable music to listen to, maybe even dance to, then forget about. The genre as a whole has needed a kick up the arse, so to speak. Enter Tyler, the Creator.

At just 17 years old Tyler is making the kinds of waves in Hip-Hop it took the likes of Jay-Z a few years to make. At just 17 years old Tyler sounds as if he's a decade older than he really is with his gruff, deep vocal delivery. At just 17 years old Tyler knows more about how to create hype through controversial lyrics than any artist I can remember of his age. Tyler handles rape, devil worship and homicide with the kind of relish that Eminem once had for the darker sides of human behaviour.


New song Yonkers, currently quite the radio hit, is a wonderfully realised song which, much like a lot of his other stuff (see French and Bastard), gives credence to keeping hip-hop music simple and letting the verbal dexterity shine through. In a similar fashion to Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie, Tyler, the Creator manages to let the lyricism do the work and merely use simple music as a platform for his words.

The kind of excitement Tyler is generating is in part his own doing (he makes good songs), but also in part hip-hop's doing. By getting fat and lazy and pouring out big-budget, dancefloor and DJ obsessed crap over the last few years, hip-hop has been quite the turn off. Tyler, the Creator could be just what the genre needs at a time when the likes of Eminem's, Dr. Dre's and and 50 Cent's stars seem to be fading. Time for some new blood. Check him out.

Wow, What a Bank Holiday Weekend!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Where to begin? Firstly, I must scream from the rooftops as the mighty Queens Park Rangers have been promoted to the Premier League as champions of The Championship. Come on you R's.

The Royal Wedding was tosh. I couldn't care less if two free-loaders, lovely as they may be, get married at the British taxpayer's expense and whip up a frenzy. Why give us a day off if we cannot get into Central London without being faced with mental royalists?

Osama Bin Laden has been killed. This is not only the biggest news of the weekend, but, in fact, the biggest news of the year. The World's most wanted man is gone, 'buried at sea'. I do hope that the repercussions aren't more atrocities, but unfortunately I fear they may be.

Bin Laden - Gone

Donald Trump has been fucking mental! Excuse my French, but seriously, calling the Chinese motherfuckers and requesting Obama's Birth Certificate! Really? I feel this unfortunately shows up the racism that is still bubbling under the hardcore Republican ethos. Would he have asked for Bill Clinton's for instance? I think not.

Finally, Gadaffi claims his son has been killed. Many on the opposition do not believe him due to a similar incident where he claimed his daughter had been killed.

This has been a weekend to remember for many reasons. Who knows what will follow all of these events?