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Archive for March, 2011

Let me first begin by stating that I like PJ Harvey. I like concept albums. I like history. And I like weird, plinky music. If these things are not true of you, you may not share my enthusiasm for Let England Shake.

Not often does a night split itself into extremes as much as this. Opening act Hammers start the night painfully dull for such a crushingly heavy band and, whilst anything but dull, following act Iron Will’s haphazard set leaves you wondering if it is deliberate that they sound so incredibly out of time from one another. No surprise then that they announce to the waiting crowd that they are looking for a new drummer.

2010 was the year of the auto-tune. With the increasingly popular Glee, the controversial use of the plug-in on X Factor and a Billboard number one album from Ke$ha- it’s everywhere. Yet, we forget that 15 years ago, international superstar Cher brought it to the forefront of musical technology, creating almost a revolutionary new sound with her hit ‘Believe’. Today it has created problems of “over produced” sounds, with untalented stars being given an easier pathway to success.

Bugged Out! has been at the cutting edge of electro since its conception at Sankeys in 1994. However, the drought of bodies at the door suggested that the excitement surrounding electro-house at the end of the last decade had finally subsided. Luckily, the night left a convincing impression of where the future of this sub-genre may lie.

News of the eagerly anticipated final Streets album release has excited fans, hearing claims that Mike Skinner had returned to the high standards of ‘Original Pirate Material’ and ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free.’ Once again Mike Skinner has produced a fresh and impressive album, reminiscent of the early work that made him the success he is. Many feel that it is definitely not his best album, perhaps third in line, and I would have to agree. Whilst this may seem harsh, this still gives Computer and Blues ample high praise.

It’s a wild life for us music journalists, constantly rubbing elbows with the stars. Nearly every week, we’re barraged with requests to meet the pinnacles of musical excellence. Imagine such treats as interviewing the occasional fill in keyboardist of a local rising band, or chatting on the phone with somebody you’ve been assured is next year’s big thing; we’re just too lucky. Occasionally however, outside of busy journalistic hours, your glowing aura of musical obsession helps you stumble upon an amazing chance meeting and it’s at these times you remind yourself why you bloody love music.

Tom Hoctor The result of the Oldham East and Saddleworth (OES) by-election was not quite, but almost, a foregone conclusion. For reasons best known to themselves a large portion of the electorate voted for the Liberal Democrats at the general election last May. Many of these were what are technically known as protest voters (although […]