Beyond some initial thunderstorm sound effects from Wendy Carlos, the Frankie Knuckles house mix starts off strongly with the 6 star "Finally" by Kings of Tomorrow, a track that features a very tasty little bassline counterpointed by brief electric piano licks, all overlaid with some very fine soulful vocals from some anonymous house diva.
But that's about it as far as this collection is concerned. The next three tracks aren't anywhere near as melodically notable as that opener, though they do at least deploy the same instrumentation, thus maintaining a sense of seamless continuity to the mix by retaining its initial soft warm groove, rolling along in a very relaxed laidback manner In practice though, "Ain't No Running Away" 2 stars really just marks time for nearly 6 minutes without doing anything much, until "Let It Go" 4 stars arrives, which sees a return of those lead vocals, this time supported by a sweet-soul female backing languidly singing the songtitle over and over - fairly effective.
Such an approach doesn't work too well on the dancefloor, and is even less tolerable for sit-down listening - much of the mix is just highly repetitive filler that goes on and on and on as little more than dead air. Insofar as it's likewise very repetitive, the 4 star "The Word Is Love" is no less fillerish, but thanks to its chugging pace along with interesting bell-like effects and chanted vocals, it's more akin to Trance than House, and is mixed such that it can be looped indefinitely without hearing the join.
Beyond that, the mix loses its way completely, switching to what sounds like a fervent Gospel ensemble vigourously preachin' the word thankin' the Lord for lurve on a track called appropiately-enough "Hallelujah" - quite bizarre, and a surefire way to empty any club dancefloor in seconds.
And things continue in much the same fashion through to the end of the set, one that started strongly with that 6 star opener, but had pretty much fizzled out altogether by the halfway point, then stays that way. In my case, I wanted them to just mess it up. Do you protest? I was at a party the other night and this guy wanted to take a photograph, and he said, 'Come on, give me a B-boy stance!
I'm a great fan of rap, but I don't think I have it in me. I would strongly disagree with both statements. You should use anything you need to get across what you want to get across. I'm not a purist. That's why I'm not a fan of house or techno. To me, they seem to be very strict types of music. For the coffee tabic? I don't know.
He wrote Nixon a letter saying he thought he could help with the drug problem because of the special relationship he had with the youth of America. Elvis was a big fall of law enforcement. He even collected police badges.
Maybe readers could send me some suggestions. I need help with that. I've never seen them live, hut they've made some good records. There's one inch they did with a kind of horror movie picture on the front. That was great. Who gets the mm ration and who sucks ocean? Two of them, huh? But they'd probably have survived it anyway.
Yet at the same time, a tougher, almost electronic style has emerged. One which has more in common with the techno-jazz of Underground Resistance and Model than with the hardstep sound of the East End pirates. I was asked if my music was experimental, but I really don't think about that kind of thing. But I don't think anyone goes out of their way to be alternative or clever about it. He says their deliberately scratchy, hissy productions made him approach sound in a different way. So much so that, when he was sampling a string sound from a record lor the lead track on his forthcoming "Natural Born Killaz" EP, he first rubbed the disc on the carpet to obtain a more atmospheric, crackling sound.
I mean, I lake inspiration from Basic Channel, but. Originally brought up in St Albans, Rupert played tenor sax in a jazz band after leaving school. Peterson, the head honcho of Talkin' Loud, played tracks Photek had never heard before or since. It was when Rupert moved to Ipswich for an abortive spell at design college that the musical seeds sown by these disparate sources developed. The first Photek releases were garlanded with critical praise and now everyone wants a piece of his sound.
Even Sky TV asked for a tape. And, in a gesture of grass roots support, taking time out to help Source Direct and Odysee, two young producers from St Albans who went to school with his sister. No wonder he usually only gets around three hours sleep a night.
Yet he still finds the time to mull over life's complexities. Today, for example, he lalks about 4 Hero's fixation with Nostradamus and about the theory that the pyramids were built long before the Eygptians arrived by the Nile. Parkes will be an integral part of it. Welcome to tomorrow, people. The best DJs, the best club, the nicest people and the most memorable happenings. Manumission are Ibiza. Ahh, Ibiza, the memories just flood back.
Incredible clubs, incredibletimes. Down the beach in the morning. Downing sangria at sunset. You can take your best friend with you and choose exactly when you want to go. The prize also includes free entrance to Pacha, Es Paradis, Ku and Space throughout your stay on the island, the highlight of which will be a Monday night at Manumission, where you will receive the full VIP treatment.
To win this incredible prize, just answer this ridiculously simple question: What is the principal language of Ibiza? Don't forget to have your passport and holiday allowance sorted out. The competition closes on Friday, June In the event of your not being the winner, it's worth remembering that Avant Garde Travel offer the best deals for Ibiza and all other resorts this summer. Which And for more details of the wild exploits of Manumission this summer, you can join their mailing list by calling Muzik will be there in force.
Following on from their legendary Ibiza parties in , Manumission have established themselves as the top exponents of hedonistic and surrealistic clubbing, forging a new wave of club culture.
Just answer this unavoidably straightforward teaser: What is the title of The Orb's most recent album? It's that hot. We're kind of vacant that way sometimes. Just solve this unforgiveably dumb riddle: Which of the following is not a well-known Renegade Soundwave track? Stamford Street. The competition closes on Friday, July 7.
Please use a separate postcard for each competition entry. All winners will be drawn at random from the mailbag. So there! The would-be come-back kings, the has-beens trying to be the might-just-be-agains, the ones who have lapsed into endless revival sessions with scant disregard for their self-respect. Trading on reputations long since reduced to the occasional slot on "Golden Hour", hanging in there to milk every last penny from a spent career.
From the ritzy revue piss-takes of Gary Glitter to those truly hopeless Motown tours still carrying the big names The Temptations and Martha Et The Vandellas but in reality usually only featuring a couple of obscure session musicians and the one original member whose name nobody ever knew anyway. How can anyone still care after all this time?
How can they still be fooled? But hang on a minute. It's not just the world of rock 'n' roll which has been afflicted by this illness. Let's face it, nostalgia sells. After all, what's one of the most common phrases you hear every time you're out clubbing?
That's more than enough time to accumulate a serious pantheon of heroes and lost legends, of treasured moments and enduring classics. They want to take you back. But means tn id I nero o sc makin :k. TO prove the point, during the last year or so, Farley Jackmaster Funk and Marshall Jefferson have managed to inveigle their way back onto the club circuit. And they'd been gone so long that people were just pleased to welcome them once more whatever level of genuinely creative aesthetics they were operating at.
Look around, check through some of your old Trax compilations, and you'll find a few more names suddenly reappearing after years of failing to even make it into the "Where Are They Now" columns. There's Joe Smooth, currently working on his first album of the Nineties, and the mysterious Bam Bam, now signed to Tresor, the Germany techno haven. Then there are those who never really went away. DJ Pierre is still causing a ruckus with the wild pitch sound and Frankie Knuckles is still calling himself "The Grandfather of House".
Or something like that, anyway. Cast around the fringes and you'll even find old hats like Jamie Principle and Ralphie Rosario cropping up from time to time on obscure imports or minor-league remixes. And to top it all, it's a recent Friday night at the Ministry Of Sound and onstage is some band called Phuture , a version of Phuture, the outfit which invented acid house as we know it. The line-up contains only one of the original members, but still they're bashing out all the classics: "Slam", "Acid Trax" and "My Only Friend", to name but a few.
The tunes are faithful reproductions and the performance is sterling, but isn't it all just a bit George Foreman-esque? A shameless wallowing in the mudbath of history? Aren't these comebacks simply the last refuge of cash-sucking scoundrels?
I don't care how good rap or that stuff sells, house music is always going to be there. It might be in last place, it might be right at the bottom of the totem pole, but it's still always going to be there. No matter what he does, no matter how he makes his money, house music will always be his first love. Spanky was also responsible for putting together Phuture They have already finished an album for imminent release on Duke's Power Music label.
I'm getting older and my music is getting older right along with me. Working their way through two sets, they made you wonder how you ever thought acid house could lose its potency.
Bill it was at Chicago's legendary Warehouse club, where Knuckles DJed from until its closure in , that the foundations of house music were laid. He later moved back to his native New York, where he DJed at the Sound Factory and lorged an incredibly successful production and remix partnership with Dave Morales. On the down side, he's also Janet Jackson's favourite DJ. They find what they like and hang on to it.
Although Knuckles is as far from the cutting edge as you can get, his reputation and Virgin's mega-bucks mean he can put the pension plan on hold for the moment. Already a seasoned musician when house began, he recorded some of the most emotional electronic tracks ever committed to vinyl, including the silky "Can U Feel It? His chequered career later included a brief flirt with MCA, remixes for Lil' Louis, Electribe and Adamski, and long periods where everyone wondered where the hell he'd gone.
A low-key comeback in saw the release of two Heard albums - the commercial "Back To Love" and the acclaimed "Sceneries Not Songs Volume 1", a jazz-house smoothie. It's so restricting, it's ruining my life. I came from RUB, but I always get thrown in the trashcan because of house music. If it's not paying -a the bills, then something else has to be done. Assuming, that is, the great RftB conspiracy keeps restricting him to house music.
Currently working part-time, but "Sceneries Volume 2" is the subject of a label chase and "Volume 3" is almost finished. The sight will linger in the minds of those who witnessed it for a very long time. Although Marshall Jefferson claims a similarly pioneering role, that is another story entirely.
But while DJ Pierre's post-Phuture career has flourished since his move to New York in and his dedication to his enduring wild pitch sound from the seminal "Generate Power" to "Rise From Your Grave" to the recent "Atom Bomb" , Spanky's name has been seen far less frequently. Despite the fact that you'll actually find it on the Phuture releases on Strictly Rhythm, people have persisted in referring to Phuture as Pierre's project.
So when Spanky formed Phuture and signed up to Power - Strictly's main rivals - the whiff of controversy hung heavy over the whole affair. A quick phone call to Pierre soon sorts it out. People always think it was me, but that's a grave misunderstanding which has been going on forever. I hear are getting their own sound together, making it a bit faster and more experimental. Much power to them. Not so far. His own solo comeback single, "Welcome To My Domain" - a bad-dream take on the wild pitch sound, simultaneously mellow and dark - was as good a return to form as you could ask for.
The follow-up, "Da EP", and a new project in conjunction with Pierre for Strictly, further show that his skills haven't been blunted in the years he's been working as a full-time sales assistant in a designer clothes boutique just outside of Chicago.
He talks confidently of finally receiving the respect and devotion which so many of the first'generation of house artists were denied by the mainstream music industry in America.
And I guess that's what I did during that time when I wasn't putting anything out. Nobody was telling me that London was so into its house music. And, in the meantime, Roy Davis Jr's star remains firmly in the ascendant, while Professor Traxx has launched his solo career with the scorching "Snake Out" on Felix Da Housecat's Radikal Fear label and is promising more of the same.
It seems that this is one flashback gang with their gaze firmly fixed on the future. Sorry, Phuture. Or rather Phuture From there, he gradually switched to trax-style house, most notably with "Soul Revival Part 1". Now running his own, little-known Supadupa label and still fond of rap, Tyree is about to drop "Soul Revival Part 2" on Bicknell and Rashit's Cosmic imprint, with "Part 3" due to follow on Dance Mania.
So it died. Too long without any serious statements of intent to deserve the red carpet treatment. That said, the reputation of Cosmic will certainly help. He enjoyed a six-year stint at the Playtown club and has recorded under scores of names, but it was with "Love Can't Turn Around", featuring Darryl Pandy on vocals, that he shot to fame. He unsuccessfully ventured into rap and ROB in the late Eighties, but returned to house in Farley dismisses his recent unreleased album with Chip E and Adonis as "fucking crap" and now has solo deals with Radikal Fear, 4 Liberty and Strictly Rhythm, A character in every sense, 90 per cent of his stories of the early Chicago days are hysterically libellous.
Who else could be? All that talking shit about the old days. Me and Jesse Saunders were always at each others throats. Firmly re-established on the international guest DJ circuit and starting to hit the consistency button in the studio, but he could come unstuck with a planned move back into RFtB later this year. Although Smooth still runs the Warehouse, he's also currently working on a comeback album for Trax.
Insiders describe it as "contemporary gospel jazz with a bit of a Seventies vibe to it". A lot of people are getting more into vocals, to get more out of the music than just a mechanical feel.
Early indications are that his forthcoming album will tend towards the Knuckles end of pop-soul and, without major backing, he could be struggling. After two late Eighties classics, "Where's Your Child? He is then said to have made a tidy packet in real estate. Bam Barn's return to the music business has so far been limited to one single, the forgettable "Space Track Year ", but an album, "Only The Strong Survive", follows soon on the Tresor label.
He is also recording for Kickin' as Rude Boy. I just stopped getting paid. An unknown quantity, back on the reputation of just two singles, but the Tresor and Kickin' connections indicate a potential for serious floor- burning still exists. Suddenly, everybody pointed to this city as the most happening hot-bed of underground creativity in Europe since the Berlin of the early Nineties at the height of Tresor.
And the influence is still rising. After four days of non-stop partying, cruising, shopping, chilling, talking and listening, you can't help wondering why Vienna?
And why now? Who could forget them? Thereby did Midge Lire not only prove he couldn't hold his notes, but that he'd probably never even been to Vienna.
Not the Vienna of the mid-Nineties, anyway. There are countless names, buildings and icons ingrained in the brain in association with Vienna, the capital of Austria: Mozart and "The Blue Danube", Sigmund Freud and the white horses of the Spanish Riding School, painters such as Schiele and Klimt and Kokoschka, Kurt Waldheim and Falco - Austria's only pop star and then only for a fleeting moment. Which is how it might have stayed, were it not for the numerous waistrels, jokers, technicians, dub- funkers, swing-time freeloaders and manic musicians now busting out of the city like an open-all-hours kickback at Headz or the Electronic Lounge.
For most outside Austria, it was Patrick Pulsinger and his crazy Cheap Records gang who first made us sit up and take notice. Prior to Pulsinger, Vienna's most famous techno export was Electric Indigo, the shaven- headed female DJ and former girlfriend of DJ Hell, but she took her box of tricks to Berlin and stayed. No sooner had we woken up to the freestyle electronic situationism of Cheap and their parent label, Abuse Industries, than Kruder Et Dorfmeister had raided Simon a Garfunkel's "Book Ends" for the cover of their "G-Stone" debut excursion into deeply stoned grooves, and Memory Foundation gave Robert Hood's M-Plant imprint their strongest release yet.
Hip hop producers Uptight were to be found working with Stereo MCs and remixing Gravediggaz, labels like Pomelo, Mego and Loriz offered names from the Vienna school of incongruous net-surfing. Hi-tech and street-style together as one - a combination which comes up again and again during our time here. It may only be the start of summer, but a clammy heat-haze is already smothering the city.
Head for the tiny Eissalong Callovi for a much- appreciated mango ice-cream or lunch on a Mozzarella toastie outdoors at Panino's, and you'll sit with crookster promoters, posey fashion victims, mewling kids and grumpy grandmas. We are told that these are big pick-up places. People-watching at its very finest, we reckon. The breakdown of cultural barriers also makes Black Market one of the best record stores around.
Passing through a Slam City-style clothes shop which reveals Stussy, Dready and Vans to be just as popular here , you find yourself in a huge space with a cafe on one side and vast racks of vinyl and CDs on the other. From techno to rare groove, it's all here, including old Mark f The 45 King breaks albums to die for. Around the corner is another local hang- out, a basketball court where expat Afro-Americans and local black kids banter in New York slang. Everywhere you go, you are literally bombarded by imperial splendour and palatial residences the legacy of the Habsburg dynasty, which controlled much of Europe for years.
There are giant, porcelain- coloured mansions, regally overbearing galleries, neo- classical arches, statues and seraphim, all bordering tree-lined boulevards custom-built for those 1 8th century victory processions. There are opera houses, museums and awe-inspiring Gothic cathedrals like St Stephens.
Palaces, palaces and more palaces. Step into Cafe Stein, however, and modern life quickly arrives in the shape of an enormous video screen over the entrance. Internet terminals are dotted around the chic interior, but this is no dweeb dumping ground. Soaking up the students from the nearby university and pitching them in with designers, artists and liggers, Stein is cosmopolitan Europe at its jealousy- inducing coolest.
This is clearly somewhere you want to be seen. Vienna THE language is German, but Austrian people take great lengths to ensure they are not lumped in with their neighbours as dour, damp squibs.
In fact, they go to often ridiculous lengths. At times, it seems like the dadaists never really went away, they simply relocated to Vienna to run record labels and parties. A few days before our arrival, for example, Cafe Stein hosted a party to protest at the Austrian equivalent of the BBC changing its test card transmission.
Then there are the legendary scams of Abuse Industries run by one man, known only as Constatine , including flyers for parties which don't exist and his infamous "Lucky Bags", handed out in clubs and stuffed full of tiny rag-dolls, religious paraphenalia and old sweets.
And let's not forget the city's weird fixation with VW Beetles, to the extent that Mexico is now the most popular holiday destination of the Viennese, just because it's the only country in the world still manufacturing them.
There's also Vienna's labels themselves. Orel is the man behind most of those cut 'n' paste, Seventies- style kitsch piss-takes which readily identify almost every release from the city touched by Pulsinger or his partner, Tunakan.
Theirs is a world where lurid porn, film-star fantasies, beaver-moustaches, low-cost advertising and cheesy slogans all collide in a hysterical counterblast to the miserabilist tendencies of techno. The Mego imprint, in the meantime, puts out records which seem to largely consist of recomposed fridge noises.
The rest is just the purest lackadaisical individualism. But luckily, between the pranks and myths, some great music is being made and played. THERE is no central meeting place for Vienna's clubbers because, with the city being divided into 23 districts the district number coming at the beginning of the address and the street number at the end , there is no concentrated location for pre-sweating activity.
Some gather in Thelonius Monk, a jazz-cocktail bar decorated like a sleek, art-deco cruise liner, while others prefer the sounds down at Blue Box or The Roxy. DJ Pita's Electronic Lounge-style avant-garde forum at the latter is the place to spot the local muso bods. It's usually open until at least 2am, sometimes through till daybreak. Liberal licensing laws, a wide variety of sounds and free entry make the likes of The Roxy a common choice for a whole night out.
A good alternative is to visit one of the city's numerous Heurigen - traditional wine cellars, where the vino is doled out by the half- pint to thigh-slappers and old hucksters in saturnine surroundings. Viennese authorities have so far given promoters a pretty free reign, and a lot of the most talked- about parties shift from venue to venue, from the gas-works on the city outskirts to unnamed downtown cellars, making it hard to keep a tab on the scene.
One name to watch out for is Pomelo, the stamp of authority of Dan Lodig, the DJ everybody is tipping for a great future. Anything associated with Patrick Pulsinger is also probably worth a risk, although there's not too much evidence of consistently cool happenings, except perhaps the nomadic Happy parties.
One-offs take place every weekend and, for details of these, it's best to check the flyers in Black Market or The dominant club on the circuit is U4, with Friday night's Rise, organised by the Memory Machines duo, standing as the city's premier hardbeat and techno haven. The interior darkness is punctured only by the odd UV light, the dancefloor is solid polished metal and the sound system is amazingly loud and clear.
Gay couples mix with students and reformed Goths - there are none of the obvious cliques you expect in Britain - and if Ecstacy is on the agenda, it's not a way of life. There's no crazy gurning or clutching at water bottles, just passion, dancing and whooping, and forays into jungle and trip hop are fairly well received. One word of warning, however. Just ask our photographer, who found himself extorted for a tip with the threat of violence for non-payment.
Despite the focus of attention falling on U4, another worthy club is Turbulence at Kunstwerk, which hosts some excellent parties for those veering towards the harder side of techno. WUK, a government- sponsored arts centre, is also occasionally used for special events, but the barren interior makes it a difficult venue to really set rocking.
By daybreak, most people. After Five at Bricks is also worth checking, as is the very strange Salt Und Pepper bar, with its porn theatre entrance and low-light murkiness. Grab a hot chocolate, hang out until 7am, then put on your shades and you'll walk out into the fantastic Naschmarktflea and food market.
IT'S not until you visit here that you realise just how deep an influence jazz and hip hop have carved on Vienna's sound. This is, after all, where jazz legends Art Farmer and Idris Mohammed both now call home.
The pioneers of the city's post-funk groove are, of course, Kruder Ft Dorfmeister, who DJ wherever and whenever they're asked.
There's also the Uptight production unit, hip hop spinner DSL, the Duck Squad imprint, and a well-reputed jazz festival during the first two weeks of July.
And vice versa. Which helps explain the duality of the Cheap output - half fried weirdness and half stoned jazzuality. Come Saturday night and, if the weather is right, you must try the delights of The Pavilion, situated in a lush park called the Volksgarten. Never mind that it's more like a glasshouse bar with a sound system and a few lights than a proper club. What's incredible is that, even though entry is free, there's no trouble apart from the occasional crunch of a dropped pint mug.
People cane it, but the atmosphere never degenearates. There are no resident DJ's, but tonight, Kruder Ft Dorfmeister mesh a celestial mix of sweet, soulful trip hop and funky jazz. At around five, as dawn's early light casts a radiant glow, the back doors open up and in skates a long-haired dreamer on roller-blades.
Without a word, he moves in small circles, lost in the swell of the basslines. An hour or so later, the sounds wind down, he does one final spin and takes off towards the city centre. Only in Europe. And probably only in Vienna. One weekend here and it's going to mean a lot to you.
Thanks to Richard and Sarah for kindness, company and chauffering. It's too loud for him. Take this interview, for instance. Initially reluctant, claiming, "I have nothing to say. I'd rather let my music speak for itself", once he is persuaded to talk, it's impossible to shut him up. Rollo and Bliss are currently proving themselves to be a significant force on the remix and production circuit.
They have an incredible ability to transform other people's music into the sound of ringing cash registers at points-of-sale throughout the world. Which is why, in the wake of their successful interpretation of Livin' Joy's "Dreamer", they've now turned their talents to Donna Summer's iconic "I Feel Love". But it's not just the duo's remixes which send shivers down the backs of sweaty clubbers.
Each track bears their trademark of arm-raising, whoop-inspiring, scream-the-house- to-bits breakdowns. At that time, he was in the process of setting up a studio with Judge Jules and was asked to work on the Felix track by Hooj Choon supremo, Red Jerry. Rollo, Jules and Jerry have known each other since their early teens.
I used to hang out at his house and tape his records. Then we started DJing together and doing parties for our mates. It was basically just a great way to get a screw. It was like, 'Hey, you want to get in? Come and see me, little girl! I hated Jerry when I was a kid. I didn't have much to do with him for years. All is not lost in this world; it is never going to be lost and, in our ordinary lives, most of us have a lot to be thankful for and are not living under a cloud of misery.
Why, then, does Pop music and many other genres feel the need to keep the mood low and edgy? There are articles that posit a link between social media and music , and other articles underline the fact there are so many distractions these days. Perhaps it is impossible to go back and recapture that spirit. Solo artists like Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi are defining modern music with music that is very personal, pained and plain boring.
I can appreciate how difficult it is to summon up something original and euphoric that sounds fresh and is not a repeat of an older sound. I will round things up but, as we all need to be roused and made positive, music is not really delivering. One cannot solely blame Pop but, as it garners the most focus, one has to put some of the blame at its feet. I do really respect big artists like Billie Eilish but, alongside her and her peers, where is the euphoria and the alternative wave?
Pop now is so skewed to the darker or experimental, there is desperately little in the way of anthems, happiness and the sort of track that nestles in the brain and releases endorphins. It might be tricky to find that energy and inspiration, but we all need music that joins us together and puts us in a better mood. Narcissism and experimentation has become too much a staple. Even when artists are trying to write something upbeat, I find there is something lacking — almost hitting fifth gear, but still stuck in third.
I tend to find I listen more to older music now and, as I need something happier, there are few acts from today that I go back to time and time again.
Maybe that is me being picky and elitist, but it is hard to find a lot of joy and euphoria in modern music. It is not only Pop that is culpable of putting the personal above the unifying and uplifting. I am not one who thinks Pop music is lost and can never regain its spark. Although euphoric explosion in Pop seems a long way away, I think the revival….
WHEN it comes to artists who do not have…. It seems he has been struck down with a chest infection, so he has had to reschedule a load of gigs here.
I guess artists cannot avoid it because, like all humans, these things do happen. This NME article reveals more:. In a message to fans this afternoon January 30 , Fender has confirmed that the shows will be rescheduled once more after he experienced continued health issues and a family bereavement.
Fender, it seems, has not been fortunate when it comes to illness and gig timing. I will source from this Guardian interview of August later, but Fender talked about his voice and problems with it:. One can appreciate fans have been waiting to see him play and, with the release his debut album, Hypersonic Missiles last year, the demand and buzz has increased. I do wonder whether there is too much pressure on artists to perform, and whether we take into consideration the effort and resilience needed.
There was a social media backlash against Fender. Many were wondering how he could be blighted by vocal issues yet again. Again, musicians are human beings, and one would not slag off their local mechanic if they took some time off now and then to recover — or maybe they would. Things are worse for musicians, as they are naturally in contact with a lot of people; they also use tour buses, so are in close confines.
Avoiding illness and issues is, sadly, part of music. One cannot speculate as to his overall health and prognosis, but he must be feeling stressed and gutted having to reschedule. The sort of opprobrium aimed the way of Fender has been galling.
Fans do pay a lot for tickets; they have to book time off and look forward, but most will not lose money, and it is a necessary move from Fender. I have written a feature about Madonna, who has had to cancel a few of her gigs lately because of pain and ill health.
Regardless of age of how many dates you play, there is that risk of injury or illness. Fans are entitled to feel annoyed, but I find little use blaming an artist or wondering how they could get ill. Artists like Sam Fender do not do it on purpose and, added with the pressure of gigs and the long hours on the road, I am surprised that tour cancellations are so uncommon.
I will end by stating why we need to have more compassion for artists but, before, I want to return to that interview from The Guardian. The only songs in his repertoire that are in any way romantic are about drunken casual sex. His foamier lager anthems recall Liam Gallagher, if Liam was in any way woke. But Fender really can write songs. And his voice is nothing like the pigeon-warble of his peers, often high-vaulting to Jeff Buckley levels of vulnerability.
Elton John is a fan. So is Stormzy, who recently left him a nine-minute voice message about how much he loved his song Dead Boys, a title that leaves little to the imagination. Fender says he feels uncomfortable being lumped in with the Toms, Jameses and Georges of guitar pop. Or, worse, manufactured. He stops himself. I hate that. Technically, I started off quite comfortable. I lived in a council estate for half of my life, but not the beginning of it. Before my parents split up, we lived in one of them terraced houses, which was quite nice.
And my dad was working, and my mum was a nurse. Sam Fender is an artist worth supporting, and someone who will enjoy a very long career. Over the past few years, we have heard of artists living with depression and mental-health problems. It is tough being in the limelight and not letting fans down. Fender will make it up to the fans who were due to see him on tour very soon. It must be difficult playing so many gigs when you have a voice that has faced problems in the past.
Some people are vilifying Fender, whilst the man himself has apologised and feels bad about the situation. It is annoying for fans when a tour is cancelled, but the artists cannot help it so, in the case of Sam Fender and other artists who are afflicted by illness, let us…. In the case of Madonna, she has been battling through a lot of pain lately. Back in November, she announced some cancellations :. But the pain I'm in right now is overwhelming, and I must rest and follow doctor's orders. The star did not specify the cause of her injury.
However, earlier this month, she told fans in San Francisco she was suffering from a "torn ligament" and "a bad knee". After her most recent tour date in Los Angeles, an Instagram video showed her taking "my usual ice bath for multiple injuries". In an earlier video, she displayed a painful bruise on her right thigh. The reason I did not want to put her and Sam Fender together is that I want to talk more about Madonna and her latest incarnation, Madame X.
Madonna is no stranger to adopting different looks but, not since Erotica in has Madonna taken on this new guise and character. Madonna is currently in London , and the demand has been huge. I think there is this assumption that, when an artist gets to a certain age, they need to scale down live performance and are unable to cut it with younger artists. The fact of the matter is that touring is grueling, and an artist like Madonna puts on a huge show!
Even though she is playing in a smaller venue than she is used to at the moment, it seems like she is packing an enormous show in. There are a series of tableaux that suggest Madonna is an ungovernable force of insurrection oppressed by shadowy forces — soldiers, trench-coated private eyes and indeed actual shadows.
Madonna is still thrilling her fans, and it is great to see her produce such a big and varied show Will Gompertz reviewed Madonna at the Palladium. Sure, the routines and energy is not the same as her Blond Ambition World Tour of , but that was three decades ago now. On 13th April, it will be thirty years since that tour began. On 27th March, it is thirty years since Vogue was released. One looks back of the Madonna of — having released the acclaimed Like a Prayer the year before - and matches her with the Madonna of now.
She still has the same verve and passion for performance and holds her fans in high regard. Madame X is her latest album — released last year —, and I think it is quite underrated. It is an inventive record, and I actually like the heroine; this idea that Madonna is a spy-cum-teacher-cum- everything. Some turned their noses up at the idea, but who wants an artist who writes the same albums and never pushes themselves!? Apart from the fact Madonna has to wear an eyepatch for live shows and shoots — which must be a pain in the arse!
I did not get a ticket for her London shows, but it seems her wit is sharper than ever. Whether joking about curfews , or blaming Guy Ritchie for her English accent , there are few performers like her! There are some great Pop artists now, but few that can ever compete with Madonna. It is important to look at the present and her Madame X revolution, but there are reasons to look back and respect the durability and continued popularity of an artist who has moved with the times yet retained her independence and own sound.
I grew up listening to Pop music in the s and s, and Madonna was a big part of that. It is the way she manages to stay with the times and adapt that is amazing. Although, as we see in this interview from last year, the modern landscape is something that she is not a huge fan of:. Nevertheless, uniquely among her peers, she is still resolutely a pop artist, still making music informed by what is happening in the charts and the clubs.
Madonna will have a fair few tour dates this year, and I hope she does not have to miss too many dates through injury and illness. Writing about Madonna now, it has made me a bit nostalgic, so I am going to listen to her classics, alongside Madame X. Nearly thirty-eight years after she released her debut single — Everybody was released in -, she is definitely still…. It is getting lighter earlier, and we have not experienced the worst the winter has to offer — not in the South at least!
That is good, but I am sure the winter has not left us yet. There have been a lot of great tracks released this week, and so many of them are by the terrific women of music. In this playlist will be artists you know, and some new ones that you may not. Have a listen to this mighty playlist and it will give you the kick and energy you need…. If you do need a boost to get you in the mood and get the weekend swinging, make sure you check the playlist.
It is a busy week, and the quality is sky-high! This year has kicked off with a bang and I am looking forward to seeing what else is coming up. In the meantime, have a listen to the epic tunes below and…. GET the weekend off to a great start. I have talked a lot about small venues but, as the Government announced it is cutting business rates for small and medium-sized venues, it means their survival and prosperity is much more likely.
I want to look at how governments can help venues further and, when we look at changing eating and drinking habits, whether some venues could adapt to draw more people in. Before then, here is that report :. Independent cinemas will also benefit from the reduction.
In March , the British music industry body that collects royalty payments for musicians said it planned to more than double the rates paid by pubs, bars and nightclubs to play recorded music. It is good that so many venues will benefit from these measures. I wonder, as we are just finishing Independent Venue Week it ends on 2nd February , whether more money can be earmarked for venues. There is that issue of noise pollution and, whilst I have mentioned this in a feature before, I do think venues that are especially afflicted by noise concerns — and receive complains — could benefit from capital.
I know there is not an endless kitty for music but, when we consider the money injected into film, theatre and other areas of the arts, I think music is equally valuable. Any support that can be provided to venues is great and, with the reduction of business rates, a lot of money will go to grassroots venues. Past this, what about prevention, growth, and the existence of new sites? I think noise complaints are important to consider and, whilst people who move near venues should know better, venues threatened with penalties because of noise pollution could benefit from funding.
Similarly, so many of us are not eating and drinking out, but I wonder how venues that are not making a lot from food and drink could benefit from extra money available.
I think more awareness and promotion of the great venues around the U. Independent Venue Week is a great way to shine a spotlight on venues, but government campaigns and more spending promoting venues through the media would be a big help. It might be a stretch to think new venues could form but, as we are hearing positive news, who would bet against it? There has been much celebration on social media; people relieved that so many venues will benefit and, with a lot of new money going into the industry, how it will benefit the industry as a whole — and all the great artists who rely on venues.
I am still worried many close and rent prices are so steep — especially if you are in a major city like London. Of course, the fact fewer people are going out contributes, but preservation of existing venues and making people conscious of the fantastic music available near them could well help.
Those who argue that venues are less relevant in an age of social media need to realise that, without venues, artists struggle to perform, hone their craft, and have the confidence to release music. The experience of watching an artist play and being in that space is electric. This BBC article is interesting to read:. Jack says the venues provide a lifeline. Chloe says current "astronomical business rates" are the "main struggle" for lots of the small venues who take part in their event.
They are nurturing talent who goodness knows where they're going to be in five years - they could be headlining Glastonbury or arenas. It is great that there is positive news coming out, just as we throw love towards out vital venues. That, obviously, is for the good….
I do quite a few playlists and, whilst I did…. I wanted to put a playlist together, as Marling is an artist who has not put a foot wrong! I mentioned on Twitter how, in spite of the fact she has a few albums under her solo belt and one as part of LUMP , Laura Marling has not received a bad review.
That is a feat for any artists but, look at each of her albums, and there is so much imagination, poetic brilliance and emotion throughout. Listening to a Laura Marling album is almost like reading a novel or watching a film, so immersive and stunning is the music.
Her sixth studio album, Semper Femina , was released in — to, of course, critical acclaim! I wonder whether there are any plans for this year and whether we might see a seventh solo album. Although Marling has been on this unbroken streak of excellence, there is no pressure on her shoulders to keep up this quality because, unless she goes completely off-tangent or changes musical direction, she will continue to produce the same startling and memorable music she has since Alas, I Cannot Swim in — she was barely eighteen her birthday was a few days before when that debut came into the world.
Rather than share my opinions on Laura Marling, I felt it best to put together a selection of her very best songs to mark her thirtieth birthday. IT is not that I am going after one festival…. It is a great festival in the North East but, as you can see from the names announced, there are very few women! I have already talked about The Great Escape, and produced a playlist featuring some of the artists announced.
It is an exciting festival that gives you a window into the artists who are going to rise through the ranks. I think bigger festivals who house established artists are in no different situation to a festival like The Great Escape.
This Is Tomorrow is not a massive festival, so there is no reason why it had to go male-heavy and ignore the plethora of great women who could easily boss a spot. In terms of the new and bigger acts, there are plenty of women available who would not be too expensive and, actually, afford a festival like This Is Tomorrow greater diversity.
One assumes the notoriously male-heavy Reading and Leeds Festivals are going to refer to type, and they will not push any closer to having a fifty-fifty split in terms of gender. Anyone who argues festivals are reacting to commercial demand and there are fewer women to fill slots need to look around them! Yes , there are fewer women in music than men and fewer women being signed to labels. That is not the same as saying there are not enough women to fill slots. Glastonbury was close to a fifty-fifty balance last year; Primavera Sound know how to throw a party and make sure there is a deserved and pleasing balance of male and female artists across multiple genres.
Look at their line-up, and so many women on the bill could have featured on the bill for This Is Tomorrow. We will have to wait to see how some of the major festivals in the U. If a couple of big festivals can strike gender equality or get very close there are no excuses for others that have a similarly wide approach when it comes to genres. It seems like the same problems are cropping up time and time again. Parklife have announced their line-up and, despite it being a small festival, it is close to a fifty-fifty split.
I thought this year would be a big step up for festivals but, with a few smaller festivals revealing line-ups that are decidedly male-focused, it does worry me. It seems festivals like The Great Escape are an exception and, whilst I appreciate there are small festivals who have female headliners and a lot more progressive than most other festivals, there are far too many festivals not doing enough.
One can dispel the notion there are few women worthy to headline festivals; that there are not enough to lay down a great show and, most definitely, there are few to put the bill at fifty-fifty.
It is not just festivals that are dragging their heels; award shows are just as culpable. The BRIT Awards is, again, short of female nominees when there are some very obvious names that should have been selected. I read a lot of music blogs and websites, and there are so many female artists highlighted. Although radio playlists are still too male-heavy, there are ample female solo artists, duos and bands or female-led bands that would give any festival options a-plenty! There are two main reasons why a lack of female inclusion is tragic.
At a time when so much of the best music is being made by women, young artists coming through are not seeing that on the big stages; they are missing out and, in years to come, will women avoid getting into the industry because festivals are skewed to the men? I know festivals are not the main benefit of being a musician, but they are important and greater gender quality means variation and a wider palette.
I look at festival line-ups and there is very little in the way of surprise or the eclectic. Maybe there is the problem with festivals being run by men who book men. There is a lack of protest from a lot of festival goers which, to be fair, is their choice, but I worry whether many festivals will adopt a fifty-fifty gender balance by — forty-five festivals pledged to have a fifty-fifty split by but, as we are two years off, I wonder whether they can realistically achieve that.
Just like award line-ups and a lack of female inclusion, artists need to speak up and use their platform to call out those who continue to deny women slots at festivals. A lot of the protest and awareness is coming from women in music and the media: men need to do more and not just let things remain as they are.
There are articles that claim that, if we ask for gender balance, that means quotas are being filled. There is no denying things are better now than they were in the past regarding gender, but my argument is that quotas are not being filled. There are plenty of female artists who deserve festival shots, and it is not a case of throwing them a treat or making them feel included! Those who warn against quota-filling feel that women would feel patronised or though they are being booked to create equality, rather than reflect their talent.
I can never understand this argument, as it implies there are not enough women out there now to make gender parity a reality at festivals. Glastonbury will achieve it this year; Primavera Sound can do it easily, so what do they have to say to that?!
I agree there are festivals that deal with particular genres where there are so many more men than women in that field — Electronic and Rap are examples. Whilst it may be harder to get a fifty-fifty balance there quickly, these festivals are still excluding women who are more than worthy, thus exacerbating the problem of inclusion and gender imbalance in these genres.
This Is Tomorrow have announced their line-up, and several other festivals will do the same before the spring — The Great Escape have laid out their stable, and it looks pretty good! Against all those who claim a fifty-fifty split at festivals represents society being too P. Many hoped we would see great progress than we have so far but, sadly, festival organisers are just not…. Like all great bands, they are hard to pin down or define.
Glossii have been compared with Wolf Alice but, when you listen to their music, they are very much on their own plain. In terms of biography, here is some information from Camden Rocks Festival :. I wonder what the band have planned for It is obvious there is momentum behind them and, as you can hear from the songs incorporated into this feature, they create a sound that is hard to forget — and it is original, despite comparisons to other acts.
There is something really down to Earth and relatable about Glossii; a band you could hang down the pub with and chill. There are not a lot of interviews and features out there about them but, when looking online, I did find a feature from NME from August:. We like to take the piss out of how people love the monarchy so much.
Look in any magazine: The Queen does this, the queen does that. Charlie and guitarist Lewis Smith originally formed the band as an excuse to get glammed up. Accidentally, their playful project turned into the real deal after a succession of increasingly bigger slots evolved into a kind of unofficial residency at The Boileroom in Guildford. I think it is harder now to make an impression than ever; artists have to hustle and work all hours.
Whilst I have seen many artists who were tipped a couple of years ago fade away, I think Glossii can build a big fanbase and play huge venues.
The desire for an album is there as, inevitably, when an artists shows glimmers of promise and brilliance, there is that pressure. I will wrap things up but, on the subject of features and interviews, I want to source from one more.
Glossii spoke with Get in Her Ears last year and, in addition to talking about their formation, they also talked about the industry now and how it is set up for band:. Can you tell us a bit about the band? How did you initially all get together and start creating music? We all used to play in different bands on a Saturday music club. Our bassist Charlie Face-timed Lewis asking to be in a band where they would go on stage in drag. It developed into the androgynous style we have today.
We each all have different influences, and that is what creates our sound. The music industry is hard for new bands to understand and it does take a huge amount of determination and perseverance to get noticed. Things are hotting up in the Glossii camp and, with the year ahead of them, many people are looking their way.
It is quite right they are being tipped for success, so make sure you connect with them on social media and check out their music. The South London are primed to…. For one, this masterful album turns twenty on 2nd October. It is hard to believe that Kid A is almost twenty; it still sounds ahead of its time, and I swear I first heard it only a few years ago! It must have taken a biblical effort, but the band have put together all their music and information onto a website.
The Radiohead Public Library has been launched. Here is what Pitchfork reported last week:. Today January 20 , the band has launched the comprehensive archive of all things Radiohead in a corrective to the disorder of the online space. The archive groups the miscellanea by era, with thumbnails linking to ad-free videos and galleries. I have not dipped in yet, but I am going to set aside some serious time to investigate this great archive.
Yet another reason why I want to put Kid A under the spotlight is, back in , there were some harsh and mediocre reviews aimed the way of this album. It seems baffling now, but maybe critics were reacting to the shift from the more accessible OK Computer of — such a left-turn and reinvention displeased some who wanted a more conventional Rock album.
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